NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

NYC parents distraught with gifted and talented scores
April 14, 2014, 7:49 am
Filed under: nnat test, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

The scores are in! It seems many NYC parents are distraught with gifted and talented scores received by their talented tot. According to Testing Mom (the site with thousands of practice questions for the OLSAT test and the NNAT test).

Obviously, these comments from parents are way out of line and very concerning. Testing Mom said she doesn’t condone or approve of these comments but wanted to give people an idea of how intense some New York City parents get when the G&T test scores get released. I feel bad for the poor kids of these parents as some of these comments are just plain mean!

  • “I thought my son was well prepared for OLSAT test from the few practice questions provided by the Dept. of Ed. How did he get score  of 48? I am so disappointed in him and as a mother.  I started practicing with him today but now have to wait another year.”
  • “I think my son has ADHD, if only I put him on meds prior to this test he would have been able to sit, focus and As the verbal section.  He did so awesome on the nonverbal score. Trying to figure out what wrong. “
  • “He scored 88th percentile which is ok but still disappointing! I’m trying not to look at him differently but it’s hard not to right now. I thought he was so smart but now I realize he’s just average like his father (my ex).”
  • “I’m shocked at how our child could have scored so low on the OLSAT and so high on the NNAT-2 test but since signing up on Friday I can see how. We thought she’d breeze through the verbal OLSAT test but now I know better.”

My jaw dropped (literally!) after reading these comments from parents but I suppose they were being honest about their feelings. I hope they get over the initial shock quickly and start supporting their child emotionally.

NYC Gifted and Talented School Tours
April 9, 2014, 7:12 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Well, it’s that time of year and the NYC gifted and talented school tours have begun! I received this detailed report from a very involved Brooklyn parent who took the time to write down play-by-play during their school tours for the gifted and talented programs in Brooklyn. Thanks so much for this detailed report from this Brooklyn parent!

School name: PS229 Dyker in Brooklyn, New York, NYC DOE district 20. It has a district-wide G&T program.

  • Grades in school: K-8, but gifted and talented program ends on 5th grade. After that, the school offers NYS Regents track in Math (Common Core Algebra) and Science (Living Environment). Since 2012/13 school year they have 8th grade, which is why on some web sites tis school is still incorrectly identified at K-7. It is K-8 for both General Ed and G&T (for the students currently entering into K).
  • School hours for Kindergarten is 8:10 am – 2:30 pm,
  • Building and location. The school is located in a new building (feel like a couple of years old), with a large community park with a children’s playground directly across the steet.
  • Admissions and available seats. Gifted and Talented Kindergarten class in 2014  – 1 class with 25 kids T, entering K in Fall of 2014. In total, the school has 4-6 classed per grade: 1-G&T, 1- special ed (or co-taught with special ed kids), 3-4 – regular classes. At K level, each of these classes has 25 students. G&T program is district-wide, it admits all kids within the district based on the gifted and talented priority guidelines, regardless of which particular zone your child lives in within district 20.
  • This year, the number of G&T spots available in each grade was:
  • K – 25 seats
  • 1st grade  – 6 seats
  • 2nd grade – 1 seat
  • 3rd grade – 3 seats
  • As a district-wide: Last year’s lowest gifted and talented score for in-district non-siblings, still admitted to the G&T program at this school, was no known to the principal or parent co-ordinator.
  • G&T Approach,  curriculum and instruction. G&T class follow the “enrichment” model, which means the same exact Common Core curriculum and schedule as general ed, no acceleration, but rather enrichments. Per Ms Valentine (G&T k teacher), they go on trips a lot (Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, many other places – sounded like almost every month). In-class poetry on Fridays. So, they would go through the standard curriculum faster, with the remaining time left over for trips and other activities (in theory, anyway). Use “leveling” of books – children are bundled into group based on their reading level, each level then is assigned books most appropriate to their reading level.
  • In K G&T, there is daily homework, which usually takes about 20- 30 min to complete.
  • One teacher per class of 25, no TA’s . This is not a Title 1 school. (in my opinion, having only a single teacher per 25 kids will severely limit the ability of the teacher to customize work to the kids of different knowledge levels).
  • The classroom has multiple stations / centers for different activities. The K G&T classroom is large and bright, has several tables each seating 4 students. There is some whole group instruction and some – small groups instruction. No foreign language instruction in the K class.
  •  G&T K teacher, Ms Valentine, is G&T certified and worked in this school since 1984.
  •  School Uniforms are optional but encouraged. Ibn the current G&T K class, most kids didn’t appear to wear uniforms.
  • Physical activity. Gym – once a week. Going outside of the building: in K, it’s not built into the schedule. No going outside during the Fall and Winter, start going outside one a week in the Spring. Go outside into a community park, using small gates to segregate school kids from others playing in the park.


After school programs: there is a free after-school program (by lottery), conducted in-school by an outside agency NIA Community Services network ),  with 24 seats for K (out of the 4-6 K classes, each having 25 students). Additionally, there are 12 private fee-based afterschool companies that work with the school, some of which pick up kids at this school:


  • Chang’s Learning Center (1661-63 Bath ave)
  • Excel 1 – 8640 20th Ave
  • Excel 2 – 7907 New Utrecht ave
  • 18 Av NWT – 8004 18th ave
  • Elite Learning Group – 2234 bath ave
  • Yoyee Learning center – 1952 86th st
  • Marks JCH of Bensonhurst – 7802 Bay Parkway
  • Scholar Zone Learning Center – 1434 86th st
  • Mei Mei Daycare – 6805 14th ave
  • IQ Leaning Center – 123 Ave S
  • AmWins Tutoring Center – 6402 8th Ave suite 229
  • Brilliant Minds – 1650 bath ave
  • Dyker Excel Tutoring – 6717 11th Ave

Observations: In the current K class, about 70% of the kids appeared Asian, most others appeared white.

I observed about 15 minutes of whole class reading instruction in the class – the teacher was holding up one card at a time with one word written on it,  then would read the word aloud and the kids would, altogether (all 20+ kids), say out loud  the first sound of that word. I was a little turned off by this – the exercise seem way too simple for my son’s reading revel (he reads about two grades ahead, as do many of the other G&T kids). Mind you, this was in the current K class (close to the end of their K school year). This type of activity feel to be more appropriate for my 3-year olds, so I am a little worried if the instruction level is rigorous enough for strong G&T students.

The Kindergarten class proceeded to have lunch at 10:30 am (seemed a little early).

45 Percent of 8th graders get first choice for high school

Well, it looks like 45 percent of 8th graders get first choice for high school applications!  This is great news if you’re a white or Asian student since only 5% of black students and 7% Hispanic students are going to be admitted to these specialized high schools. These are basically gifted and talented programs for the high school students in New York City. Schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science not only rank as 2 of the best high schools in NYC but also are in the top school rankings in the United States.  According to the article in NY Daily News 84% of the students got one of their first 5 rankings so it’s great news for those students who now can relax for now until the upcoming New York Common Core testing in a just a few weeks. Although, the impact of this year’s test scores for the 8th graders is limited since they have just received their acceptance letters. Not sure why the DOE doesn’t wait until after the testing this year to send out acceptance letters after the Common Core test results are released later this year but I suppose the timeline doesn’t work well since these students need to plan their next step for their high school experiences.

NYC private school testing no consistency

Well, so long to the ERB test, sort of.  There is now no consistency in the admissions process for private schools in New York City when it comes to testing.  According to a recent article in WSJ online it seems that it’s up to the school to decide if there will be test at all and in some cases it’s not mandatory. Although, in the most competitive schools it would be strongly encouraged for parents to present some sort of test scores for their darling child in the admissions process for the most competitive private schools in New York City.  It seems that each of the private schools are required to come up with their own admissions standards which I suppose sounds good in theory except for those parents applying to 5 to 10 private schools which could become a logistical nightmare in a process that historically has been extremely stressful for parents.

This of course has no impact on the NYC gifted and talented admissions process although parents applying to Kindergarten G&T programs and private schools could possibly encounter an array of testing from the OLSAT, NNAT-2 test, Stanford-Binet, WPPSI-IV (ERB) and any other assessment that comes into play for this new group of 4 years olds vying for a spot in the most competitive school systems in the world.

erb test nyc

NYC prepares for the ELA and math test
March 1, 2014, 6:16 pm
Filed under: common core test | Tags: ,

NYC prepares for the ELA and math test coming up in April. This year they are separating the ELA and the math tests over a several week period. Last school year the tests were given back-to-back over a one week period. At least there’s a little break this year.  Sites like Testing Mom have tons of practice materials for the ELA and math test for NYC common core testing this year.

Last year was the first year of the new and much tougher test that only 29% of the students in New York actually passed the exam so that’s left lots of room for improvement for this year’s test. There have been many rumors coming from Albany about the delayed implementation of the common core standards but this isn’t going to stop the NYC dept of ed from administering the ELA and math test this school year.  The test results have little to no impact on students outside of New York City but within the city the fourth grade test is used for admissions for the middle school process. If your child doesn’t score at least a 3 or 4 on the fourth grade ELA and math tests then you can forget about getting him or her into one of the top middle school programs in the city.  Many parents are now worrying as much about this as they did for the gifted and talented test for getting into kindergarten.

This school year the tests remain pencil to paper although the long-term goal is to eventually have all the testing done on tablets within the school. As with any technology initiative within the public school system (especially New York City) I don’t foresee the implementation of the testing tablets to happen in any time soon.

We’ll see if the students score higher this year than in previous years as parents are stepping up the prep for this test because they know the stakes are high.  Getting into one of these top middle schools sets the stage for where the child will end up going to high school. Yep, only in New York City folks!

Brooklyn gifted and talented school gets the axe
February 5, 2014, 6:05 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Well, it looks like a very popular Brooklyn gifted and talented program gets the axe. PS 139 in Ditmas Park plans to eliminate their G&T program to promote more diversity amongst the student population.  It looks like the decision wasn’t made by the DOE but rather from the school itself.  It seems there were complaints from parents that this particular gifted and talented program was full of white students while most of the general ed population skews mostly black and Hispanic.

According to the letter below the principal told parents: “Our Kindergarten classes will be heterogeneously grouped to reflect the diversity of our student body and the community we live in.”

Letter parents received regarding the elimination of the gifted and talented program at PS 139 in Brooklyn.

Letter parents received regarding the elimination of the gifted and talented program at PS 139 in Brooklyn.

PS 33 Chelsea Prep attended robotics competition
January 20, 2014, 12:38 pm
Filed under: PS 33 chelsea prep | Tags:

This past weekend PS 33 Chelsea Prep attended robotics competition at the City College of New York . There were 2 teams represented by Chelsea Prep both from the 4th grade G&T class with teacher Mrs. Ladman. The purpose of the competition is to get kits to apply math and science to solve problems with team exercises with LEGO robotics. Each team prepared a presentation and also did a robotics competition with remotes which were judged by the panel. It was a great team effort and one of the teams from PS 33 qualified for the next round at the Javits Center in NYC in a few weeks!  Although the competition lasted all day it was a fun filled day of excitement and seeing all the kids aglow was the energy of learning on a weekend is just another testament why PS 33 Chelsea Prep is one of the best gifted and talented programs in NYC! The children from PS 33 worked over the past 2 months on this project with help from 3 engineers from Google! (Yes, *that* Google!). It’s great to have community involvement from the high-tech community to get the kids involved in math and science activities such as robotics.

Here are some pics from before the competition:

ps 33 chelsea prep

Google engineering helping the kids design their Lego robotics projects and explaining the ins-and-outs of the technical application of their project. Thanks Google!

PS 33 gifted and talented 4th graded getting ready for the robotics competition weeks ahead of time.

PS 33 gifted and talented 4th graded getting ready for the robotics competition weeks ahead of time.

Here are some pics during the competition:

Aerial view of the competition floor where all the teams set-up their displays. Such an amazing facility to have the competition at City College of NY!

Aerial view of the competition floor where all the teams set-up their displays. Such an amazing facility to have the competition at City College of NY!

PS 33 Chelsea Prep students cheering loud and strong for their winning entry to the competition.

PS 33 Chelsea Prep students cheering loud and strong for their winning entry to the competition.

The team celebrates with the the winning trophy. Next stop: Javits Center!

The team celebrates with the the winning trophy. Next stop: Javits Center!


We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when the kids enter into the mammoth Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan.


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