Written by Sally Bertouch
Last month we wrote about nursery school admissions to try and clear-up some of the confusion (like do I really need to write essays!!?)
This month we’re graduating to Kindergarten – where there are three different approaches depending on whether you are looking at Kindergarten at private, public, or gifted and talented schools.
Kindergarten at a private school is a whole other ball game – and your nursery school will help you with everything you need. So this part will be brief. But if you’ve just moved and you’re looking to start at a private school – the best thing to do is find a consultant. The city is full of them and they know all the schools (and the schools mostly know them). A quick assessment of your family’s needs will help them guide you to the right places. They’ll also know where it might be possible to get in. This is one – http://www.nyadmissions.com/ – but there are plenty of others if you google them.
Luckily, if the process, cost and everything else that goes with it isn’t your thing, most of the city has fantastic public schools.
Last year Ella Colley of Inside Schools wrote us as An Inside Guide to NYC School Applications. Not a lot has changed in 12 months, and Inside Schools is the best website that goes into great detail on each school. They have photos, great details and all the stats – ranging from how the kids do in tests to how much the parents and teachers recommend the head of the school.
The most popular public schools (like PS 234 in Tribeca and PS 41 in the west village) have very strict zoning laws and large and involved parent groups. But there are lots of schools outside these zones that are equally fantastic – some of them recently opened to deal with the overflow from those two schools in particular. And they come with a new and vibrant parent community working to make their local school the next PS 234.
Admission into any public school requires proof of address (rental agreement, utility bill etc.) and the child’s birth certificate. The high demand schools – like 234 and 41 will take admissions from the previous November. But you can walk up to any admissions on any day and enroll your child in the school (if they have a place) – even after term has started.
Gifted and Talented
Gifted and Talented (G&T) programs are a whole other gamut. I’m not as up to speed as I probably should be but I’ll share with you what I know (and if anyone wants to add information please do!)
The process begins at this G&T website. In mid-October they will open the registration for testing (RFT) and it closes on November 14, 2016. You need to register your child to be tested, and you want to do it early to get a convenient test centre. Testing takes place largely in January. (Note: these dates change every year – this is written with the 2017/18 school year in mind)
Children must score above the 90th percentile to get into a district wide school – and although they say above the 97th, as far as we know it’s really more like above 99th to get into a citywide program. The citywide programs are highly sought after and there are 5 schools: 3 in Manhattan – Anderson, Nest+M and TAG. There is also one in Queens – 30th Avenue School and one in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn School of inquiry.
Lots of parents prep their children for these tests. It’s totally up to the individual – you can prep them and they will probably get in. But if they don’t get in on their own, they may have a tough time once they’re there. So while some test prep – so they know what to expect – is important, lots of the educators don’t recommend doing too much. Which sounds good to me, it’s expensive and time consuming so I’ll take the advice!
And then of course last but not least there is Hunter Elementary. Incredibly low Acceptance rate, despite the $400 cost to test for it and you can’t prepare. They take 25 girls and 25 boys in kindergarten, with more admissions in high school. It’s only open to people living in Manhattan.
And that is it!
Do you have any NYC Kindergarten tips or tricks?
Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy the school year!
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Bicycle Tour Brooklyn to Manhattan
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