Anyone do the competitive public school process in NYC?

  1. I've been trying to get my son into several competitive elementary schools in NYC, also going the DOE gifted and talented route. Anyone have some experience with this? What are the dos and don'ts? My son has an interview with SMS next month and I know they say not to coach them, but I'm nervous. Btw, he's not a transfer, I'm trying to get him into kindergarten. Also, does it matter that he is born in December? He is nearly a year younger than some of the children applying and I know IQ and EQ jumps greatly between months at this time.

    My choices, in order, are:
    Special Music School- Kaufman Center
    Hunter College Elementary (long shot, I know)
    Sheung Wen (recently more inclusive of non-Asians)
    Ella Baker (if all the gods curse me)
  2. How old is your son?

    I have a 9 yr old currently in private prep that previously attended Hunter. I pulled her out for a number of personal reasons but one major issue had to do with the lack of response from school administration. My daughter is a math prodigy so we struggled to find a program that was academically rigorous. I think I visited like 40 schools when she was 4:wtf: plus I wasn't interested in dropping 5 figures on an elementary school education. We were gonna move before that happened.

    Everyone coaches their kids so don't believe the hype. The admissions process in NYC is so political it's disgusting not to mention supercompetitive.

    Out of all the schools you listed TAG and Nest+M are the easiest to get into IMO but by no means easy to get into. I'm not sure about EB's process. District 2 schools for the most part are outstanding by NYC public school standards.

    start here if you haven't:

    also don't kill yourself over k admission because there are tons of great schools in NYC if you are patient and willing to do a little research.
  3. Thanks, harlem_cutie!
    He's 3, will be 4 on 12/25.

    If you don't mind me asking, what grades did she attend through? Was the curriculum consistent? Is there something that you would want a prospective parent to note about the school?
    I feel you! This processing seems so daunting to me, but what can I do? I can't move yet and I'm not financially prepared to dish out like I would need to.
    I've been checking The info there is invaluable!
  4. I believe your son will be entering K in 9/08 but check with each school. You don't want to be caught by surprise.

    She attended Hunter K thru 2. So we were there 3 full years. Our experience overall was great and the curriculum was well developed and challenging but I had a lot of conflicts regarding how a certain administrator dealt with bullying. Said administrator is now gone. The reason we finally left was because she secured a nice fin'l aid package from one of the Manhattan prep schools. I highly recommend Hunter to any parent but certain things do boil down to preference.

    Aside from playing the application and waiting game there isn't much else you can do unless you have a connection. Sad but true. If he's artistic he'll have a much better shot at any of the TAG programs. Those programs love artists.

    Lmao applying to elementary school was harder than applying to grad school. Where did it go wrong??!!

    Best of luck to you!:heart:
  5. Aslan I just wish you good luck... I'm amazed how difficult the school thing is in NYC I have a friend living in NYC she stopped working (she really had a good job) just to make sure her son could get into a good school.
    I know this is very stressing and I hope it will work out great for you.
  6. Yes, I've checked and he is scheduled to enter on September 2008. I've already sent in my Hunter (pre-application) and SMS applications. The other schools' application processes don't start til later.

    Thanks for sharing about your daughter's experience at Hunter.

    H&H, I appreciate the good wishes!
  7. Update: He didn't get a second interview for SMS. I cried a little, but I'm feeling better now.

    We got his Stanford- Binet test scores back for Hunter and he scored in the 97th percentile. That sounds exceptional to me, but I'm told that this year the cutoff will likely be 98th.

    Feeling bummed, still waiting on the DOE's gifted and talented and Sheung Wen.
  8. Good luck. Get to know your kids really well, its more about what school is right for them than vice versa. I have been to many schools as a child, and seen the effects. it may be great if you have a talented son, but a decent public school with many good tutors can be the better route (and possibly more cost effective) I have seen kids turned into wrecks from private schools, particularly in the scholarship kids. They cant deal with the pressure bestowed upon them and the school doesn't care, they just heighten it. Many of these schools threaten to expel students that get under a certain mark frame. isn't life hard enough, a kid should enjoy their childhood not stress over minute marks that make little difference in the long run. At my sisters high school, the students were increasingly competitive as the grades progressed. Most of them came from homes of wealth and woudl employ people to slash their competitors tyres on days of exams so that they would be unable to attend the exam. Or have their boyfriends continually ring their home/mobiles all night, dive past their houses and beep their horns so that they wouldn't get much sleep and affect their exam. At thats school my sisters grade was the first in 5 years to go through the school system without a suicide! they woudl average one student suicide a year, sometimes two or three! The school was amazing at keeping things under wraps and very few people acctually knew this alarming rate. Also did i mention that this school was by no means purely focused academics. The schools get worse as they specialize more and more in academics. Some require boarding, and 6 hour tuition on weekends. It really does get out of hand. One of my friends went to a school like this and the principal threatened to expel him when he got a B in an assessment. I kid you not!!! for getting 85%+ I am not saying you son will fall into any of these categories but be aware that its not just about picking a school thats good on paper, because it might not be good on the individual.
  9. I don't live in NYC, but we had similar issues in Fairfax county. Here they do screening in 2nd grade. We lived elsewhere, so he missed it, so we did testing during the summer and got his former teacher's rec. he took two sets of tests - one he got a 99th percentile, the other an 88th percentile, but he had NEVER taken a bubble test before (where you have to fill in bubbles on an answer sheet) and he got all messed up. This was explained on a sheet by the test giver. He had a glowing review from his former teacher, but he didn't get into the GT center, but a pull out program. We stuck with that for that year, and the next and then realized, this was NOT working. We had him reassessed by teacher rec and the counselor. The counselor was quite shocked he wasn't accepted with the 99th percentile, but there's politcs involved, as always.

    BTW, we NEVER coached our son and maybe we should have - at least in how to take tests (but... if he took that test in 2nd grade, it's not bubble test, but he was taking it as a 3rd grader as that was the year he was entering and that is the year they started the bubble test - so we just didn't know).

    Good luck to you, but remember, it's all about what best for the child, not anything more.

    Also, remember, 97th percentile means that if you take 100 kids, two to three will have scored higher on that test. Multiply that by the number of kids in NYC and by the number trying to get into a particiular soo. So, if 2,000 kids apply RANDOMLY (which wouldn't happen) there are still 40 to 60 kids with scores higher than your son's score. That's when you realize how hard it is to get into schools and why politics come into it. There are probably WAY more kids ABLE to do well in that school than there are spaces.
  10. wanted to add: we will be dealing with some REALLY difficult competition in a few years. Fairfax county (a LARGE county) has ONE math and science high school. It is so competitive to get into. There isn't enough room for all the students who are in the GT centers and it's not only GT students who get in. So, while my son is only in 6th grade, we keep instilling in him how IMPORTANT it is to do his best work and not do sloppy work because teacher recs are part of the criteria. My son LOVES math and science (for fun this summer he did an Algebra 1 course (self taught) in less than two months) Since he LOVES math and science so much, I want him to get the best placement as possible, so it's already started. Not coaching, but just encouraging him to THINK about his schoolwork and to try to look forward. I said, he's brought home a few Cs this past week, but those were in social studies. For some reason he can't STAND social studies, yet on every test he takes at the end of the year for Standards of Learning he gets 100% in SS.. so he must be learning the material, but BOY does he hate the work associated with it. Now in math and science, we never see such grades because he gets "into it".