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Friday, October 31, 2014

Gifted, talented but without seats in local schools

By Sarina Trangle
Posted

 

More than a dozen families whose kindergartners tested into the district-wide gifted and talented program have found themselves without a placement offer for next fall. 

Students who score in the 90th percentile or higher on entrance exams are eligible for their district’s G&T classes, which aim to offer students more rigorous coursework than general education. 

The number of Community Education Council District 10-qualified  kindergartners swelled from 68 last year to 103 this fall, making local G&T classrooms more competitive. Similarly, the number of local students who tested into the  citywide program jumped to 49 this year.

According to the Department of Education, kindergarten and first-grade students who score 90 or higher are guaranteed a seat in one of their district-wide gifted programs as long as parents indicate that they will send their children to any available program within the district. 

But a spike in the number of students qualifying for the gifted & talented program combined with what could be some parents’ unwillingness to consider all programs has left 15 District 10 kindergarten students and eight first-grade students with no placement offers. 

Students who score in the 97th percentile or higher are eligible for the more selective citywide program. But this year, 82.7 percent of those eligible did not get a placement offer in one the five citywide programs, located in Manhattan at New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math, in District 1, Tag Young Scholars, in District 4 and the Anderson School, in District, 3. There is also a citywide program in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, in District 20, and in District 30 in Queens at STEM.

That makes District 10’s kindergarten G&T classes — a 25-seat class at PS 24 and a 25-seat class at PS 7 — more likely to be filled with top scorers, who are eligible for the citywide program but also get priority for seats in the district-wide programs. Applicants who have siblings enrolled in a particular school also get priority in both citywide and district-wide programs offered at that school.

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