Beth Fertig at the New York Times and Philissa Cramer at Gotham Schools posted some shocking statitstics about New York City Gifted and Talented (G&T) programs:
40% of students who tested for the G&T kindergarten program tested as gifted.
68% of eligible "gifted" kindergarten applicants actually received G&T offers
These statistics suggest:
Test prep works.
Is the test testing giftedness or affluence? Can you even determine giftedness when a child is four?
Better have a backup kindergarten plan. And the city backup plans are not very good: zoned public schools that sometimes go to waitlist, especially in desirable neighborhoods, private schools with limited seats and high tuition.
I am excited to revisit Calhoun, a Manhattan coed private school that has intrigued many of my New York clients over the years. I admire Calhoun's headmaster, Steve Nelson, and its chef, Chef Bobo.
Dear Ms. Glickman,
My admissions colleagues and I would welcome the opportunity
to share an updated view of Calhoun’s mission in action along with our expanded
facility including nine floors of learning spaces, science laboratories,
Athletic Center with full-size gym, Performing Arts Center, art studios,
woodshop and eco-friendly Green Roof Learning Center.
Calhoun inspires a passion for learning in each child
through a progressive approach to education that values intellectual pursuit,
creativity, diversity, and community involvement. Small classes and an
experiential, interdisciplinary curriculum create a vibrant learning
environment for our youngest students and an intellectually stimulating,
seminar-style experience for our older students. Calhoun graduates develop
fine-tuned skills in oral and written expression, critical thinking, research
and analysis; they are as comfortable with scientific inquiry as with artistic
pursuit; and they are imbued with compassion and a true appreciation for
We look forward to hearing from you to arrange a visit to
our 433 West End Avenue building, which houses second through 12th
Sarah Gonser has a New York Times article today: Kindergarten ‘Redshirting’ Gets Tougher in N.Y.C., With Repercussions . The article confuses me, because holding your child back for public school kindergarten in NYC has always been extremely difficult. It's only in NYC suburbs and in private schools where parents can easily hold their kids back.
According to Gonser:
Starting this fall, children will be expected to start kindergarten or
first grade in keeping with their birth year. Kindergarten, which had
been considered optional, is now mandatory, although parents can home
school their children or send them to a private school for the year.
Children with birthdays in the kindergarten range who are not enrolled
in public kindergarten will still be expected to enroll in first grade
the next year.
Gonser addresses an ongoing, key point: kindergarten is much tougher than it used to be, and not every child is developmentally ready, especially if the child has a fall birthday close to the December 31st deadline.
Interestingly, some of my private school consulting clients send their children to NYC public school kindergarten for a year, and then work with me to apply to private school kindergarten. And yes, the NYC private schools like a repeater, because clearly the child can handle kindergarten.
One interesting question: public elementary schools have not traditionally been so strict with the grade placement of kids switching in from private school. I wonder if some families will choose to keep their children in ongoing private school for a few years and then switch back as a way to redshirt a few years down the line.
I have two spots left to consult with you about how to "bucket" your NYC private schools list for your preschool director. Consultation includes advice about sending I Love You/ strong interest letters and First Choice letters, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Westchester private and public school options, confidential thoughts about various schools. Call now, 212-712-2228 or email info(at)abacusguide.com. First come, first served.
In this provocatively titled article, Brooks discusses how over the last generation, the meritocracy took over from the old Protestant establishment, rising to positions of power in banking and government. In his view, the meritocracy believes in the power of an individual's performance, not in the individual's responsibility to the collective good.
Given the recent cheating scandal at Stuyvesant, the growth of performance enhancing study drug use, SAT cheating scandals, and more, it seems clear that today's kids feel so much pressure to compete that their character development is at risk. And nowhere is the pressure so great as in top private and public schools in New York City and Westchester.
Meanwhile, the front page of today's New York Times is all about financial fraud at major banks.
As a society, we've got to turn this trend around. It's very hard. When cheating is so widespread, and pressure to succeed is so great, individuals have less incentive to act honestly and generously.
Kyle Spencer of The New York Times broke an important story today about how Manhattan parents at some public schools in affluent areas have done an amazing job fundraising for their students, in some cases raising more than a million dollars a year. I said:
“Many now have amenities that can compete with private school offerings,” said Emily Glickman, the president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, a private-school admissions company, on the Upper East Side.
Just one example: the Upper East Side's PS 6 raised the funds for a "rooftop ecology center".
Spencer's story will inspire parents at public schools throughout the tristate area to band together and fundraise even more effectively. Most people had not previously been aware of what public school PTAs can accomplish.
In an era in which private school tuition is priced at $40,000, shutting out many middle class families, it is inspiring that some NYC public schools are offering kids an exceptional experience.
To sum up, as NYC private school admission generally has become more competitive, Packer has become more competitive, with more students applying and more money spent on improved facilities.
In my day, many of the best students left Packer in middle or high school, going on to specialized NYC public and top Brooklyn high schools like Hunter, Stuyvesant and Midwood, or to Manhattan private schools. Anderson notes:
J. Geoffrey Pierson, who was the head of school immediately before Mr. Dennis, worked to improve its <Packer's> academic profile and entice more students to stay through high school, rather than leave for better-known schools after the eighth grade.
I have noticed in the past few years that more and more of my clients applying to top private Manhattan and Brooklyn high schools and middle schools have included Packer on their lists. The school has long been a favorite for Brooklyn kindergarteners. With Brooklyn's increased population of young families, all the better Brooklyn private schools have seen application increases.
The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both weigh in today about what happens when families who sign a contract for Manhattan private school then back out, often because the child has been admitted to a top public school. A number of schools, including Mandell, Friends, York Prep, and Little Red, have sued parents for a year's tuition.
One private school administrator claims that holding New Yorkers liable for tuition money is necessary because the school will not necessarily be able to refill the spot. I think that in this admissions climate--this was the hardest year ever for kindergarten admission--that is not true at the more desirable schools at typical admissions years such as kindergarten and 6th grade. Only at the less competitive schools, particularly at off years, would this be an issue.
Obviously rather than asking the NYC Department of Education to adjust their G&T notification calendar, as another private school administrator blithely suggests, private schools should adjust their kindergarten contract schedules. Naturally most haven't because it's a sellers' market.