NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Social Emotional Learning in the Gifted and Talented Classroom
May 7, 2019, 5:21 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

Incorporate social emotional learning (SEL) into your child’s first year of school

Over the past few weeks there’s been tons of chatter about the G&T test scores that were recently released by the NYC dept of ed. Now that parents are focusing on the first day of G&T kindergarten you want to make sure your child is equipped for the social emotional learning required in the gifted classroom. If you’ve never heard of social-emotional learning (aka SEL) it’s the newest trend in education across the nation. Districts across America are now developing curriculum specifically for SEL.

As parents our goal is to make sure our child is a lifelong learner and become completely independent as they grow into adulthood. We also need to make sure we focus on the emotional well being of our children as they enter the classroom, especially the first day of kindergarten.

Scheduling is very important to young children and creating the routine for school the weeks before school begins. Make sure you’re focusing on going to bed early and waking up at the same time school starts so your child’s internal body clock is fully adjusted on day one of G&T kindergarten.  It’s also important to teach your child that when they start school they will have classmates that may look different than them or believe in different things. A good tip to tell your child is “wouldn’t it be boring if everyone in the world was exactly the same?”.  Of course it would be!  The first days of school are a great way to educate your child on differences and similarities with their new classmates.


SEL – Social Emotional Learning Flash Cards available on Amazon

As parents it’s important we create early learners that want to collaborate with others and learn from other kids along with supporting others. When we present our child with hard, challenging problems, what do they do when they fail? How does your child handle failure? Now’s a good time to start discussing failure and explain that it’s part of the learning process.  Don’t be afraid of failure, rather use it as a learning tool for your child’s long term educational success.

In today’s world there are no jobs where collaboration with others isn’t happening and working on a team is required.  During the early years in school it’s about your child having a chance to learn about themselves and about other classmates. How to work well with others and being part of a team.

As the NYC G&T school placements are announced good luck to your rising G&T student!  Make sure you add social emotional learning to your home curriculum.  Also, bring it up to your child’s teacher and I’m sure the teacher will agree how important it is for a child’s success in and out of the classroom.

NYC Gifted and Talented Test Results Released!

All the parents can breath a sigh of relief as the NYC Dept of Ed. release this the Gifted and Talented Test Scores for OLSAT and NNAT.

For the pre-K students who took the test there was a slight decrease (25% to 24%) of kids who qualified for the NYC gifted and talented program (both citywide and district wide programs). There was a significant decrease for children applying to 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade with a large drop in the percentage of kids eligible for the test.

Here’s what happened this year for talented tots who took the test in January 2019 (from the NYC Dept. of Ed.):

Comparison of scores from January 2019 vs. scores from January 2018

Total number of students tested in January 2019

Applying Grade Tested Ineligible
Total 32,841 24,891
K 15,153 11,469
1 7,506 5,797
2 5,782 4,228
3 4,400 3,397


2019 Total number of students eligible for District Wide only (90th to 96th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade District Eligible Only % District Eligible Only
Total 5,342 16%
K 2,272 15%
1 1,162 15%
2 1,225 21%
3 683 16%

2019 Total number of students eligible for Citywide only (97th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade Citywide Eligible % Citywide Eligible
Total 2,608 8%
K 1,412 9%
1 547 7%
2 329 6%
3 320 7%


2019 Total number of students eligible for both District Wide and Citywide only (90th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade All Eligible % Eligible
Total 7,950 24%
K 3,684 24%
1 1,709 23%
2 1,554 27%
3 1,003 23%

For comparison, here are the results from January 2018 test takers.

Total number of students tested in January 2018

Applying Grade Tested Ineligible
Total 32,516 23,482
K 14,450 10,791
1 7,866 5,544
2 5,587 4,019
3 4,613 3,128

2018 Total number of students eligible for District Wide only (90th to 96th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade District Eligible Only % District Eligible Only
Total 5,912 18%
K 2,100 15%
1 1,572 20%
2 1,183 21%
3 1,057 23%

2018 Total number of students eligible for Citywide only (97th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade Citywide Eligible % Citywide Eligible
Total 3,122 10%
K 1,559 11%
1 750 10%
2 385 7%
3 428 9%

2018 Total number of students eligible for both District Wide and Citywide only (90th to 99th percentile combined score on OLSAT and NNAT)

Applying Grade All Eligible % Eligible
Total 9,034 28%
K 3,659 25%
1 2,322 30%
2 1,568 28%
3 1,485 32%

Hunter College Elementary Test Prep Tips
April 5, 2019, 2:10 pm
Filed under: hunter elementary gifted talented, Stanford-Binet | Tags:

Hunter College Elementary School application process begins in August!

Hunter College Elementary is not a public school and not part of the NYC DOE (Dept. of Education). That’s what I call fake news. It’s actually closer to being a tuition free private school kindergarten through high school or possibly a charter school since the money comes from New York State.  The teachers at Hunter don’t have to follow common core curriculum, and in many cases the kids don’t have to take the state ELA and math tests.

Going into kindergarten, the child needs to be a Manhattan resident to apply at the kindergarten. Some people may say, “I know a child from Brooklyn or Staten Island that attends Hunter”.  In this case, the child must have gotten admitted in 7th grade since it opens to all boroughs at that point.

Here are some scary numbers. Over 3,000 4-year-olds take the Stanford-Binet test to qualify for Round 2, out of that number Hunter takes 250-300 lucky students who get into the 2nd round. In the end, only 25 girls and 25 boys make the cut (along with 12 and 12 on the wait lists). Hunter only has a wait list until second grade and there many cases of kids making into the program off the the wait list.  If your child is on the waitlist don’t give up hope, you may end up getting that call so make sure you answer your phone!

Here are the details on the test given to make it to Round 2:

  • Hunter administers a modified version of the Stanford-Binet V (IQ test).
  • There are different components to the test and the psychologist assesses many abilities for every child.
  • The test is given in a one-on-one setting in the licensed psychologist’s private office. These are pre-selected by Hunter and you’ll receive a list of 5 to select from when you sign-up your child for the Stanford-Binet.
  • This test does rely on a large verbal component and it’s not a time for your child to shut down and not talk. It seems that the kids who do well on this test are very verbal and expressive.
  • Keep in mind, this test is only administered in English so it your child is bilingual make sure you really beef up the English at home.
  • You’ll need to make sure your child knows many general knowledge concepts. An example might be items while shopping in a grocery store or classroom setting.  The test proctor will ask open ended questions, not “yes” or “no” responses. This is why you want your child to be very expressive in his or her answer. The more descriptive the better!

Hunter makes a BIG deal about prepping for the Stanford Binet this is why you want to work on the underlying skills to do well on this test. Math skills and reading skills are important and the good news is that any prep you do for Hunter translates over to your child’s kindergarten experience. It’s a double win-win!  There are many visual components to this test like visual absurdities where the child is shown a picture and they ask “what’s silly with this picture”.   It could be something easy like a flying dog or something really tricky! That’s why it’s important for your child to pay close attention to whatever the tester asks of him or her.

Many parents ask how early should I start preparing my son or daughter for Hunter? Well, you’re probably doing things right now at home and don’t even realize it! Read to your child, play “I spy”, have your child describe things to you in-depth, etc.  For official prep you’ll need start at least 6 months prior to the test to make sure your child has the underlying skills needed for this test.


Parents anxiously await NYC gifted and talented test score results

It’s that time of year again when New York City parents are wringing their hands

It’s only a matter of weeks before the NYC G&T test results are released to parents who will find out if their child made the cut for qualifying for admissions into the gifted and talented program.  The DOE has implemented this program for K to 2nd graders to take the test for admissions into the district wide programs or the highly sought after citywide programs.  Even at a 98th percentile, those parents may still be disappointed since the very popular citywide programs like NEST, Anderson and Brooklyn School of Inquiry (BSI) have only admitted 99th percentile students over the past several years (unless there is a sibling already attending the school then the student only needs a 97th percentile).  Don’t get me wrong, a 98th percentile is an amazing score for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests but it doesn’t cut the mustard in the most cutthroat city in the world. Some parents will go to any length and spend an enormous amount of money to get their child prepped and prepared for the test to help their child make a 99th percentile. In some cases even spending tens of thousands of dollars won’t ensure your child gets a 99 on the test.

nyc gifted and talented

When you’re dealing with 4-year-olds it’s pretty much out of the parent’s hands what happens in the testing room where it’s one-on-one with a child and the testing proctor. Sorry moms and dads, you’ll have to let your darling daughter or son go into the testing room alone and hope that it’s not a disgruntled DOE employee working on weekends administering the test.  There has been constant talk about changing the entry criteria for the G&T program and some even propose doing away with it all together. It’s now part of the school lexicon in NYC and thousands of kids grades K to 5th are already in the program. What would happen if it’s dismantled? I can see the protests now at City Hall at the Dept. of Ed headquarters.  Unfortunately, the new Chancellor doesn’t seem to have a full grasp on the this program and its importance to parents in every community.  In many cases it’s a way for parents to escape a poor performing local school and give their child a leg up to attend a gifted program in their district or if they are lucky enough to get a spot a citywide school.

Upcoming ELA and math test for New York City students
February 13, 2019, 3:31 pm
Filed under: tutoring | Tags: , ,

Time to start preparing for NY ELA and math tests!

It’s that time of year again for kids in grades 3 to 8 to start preparing for the upcoming ELA and math tests. The ELA is given in March of 2019 while the math portion is saved until April. The NYC kids have been inching their scores upward over the past few years and now companies like Testing Mom are offering in-person tutoring at their center in Manhattan at 6th Ave. and 57th Street (email:

They are offering mock tests and also one-on-one tutoring for these important tests. What I like is they also offer writing workshops and mindfulness workshops too. A good way to mix things up when it comes to preparing your son or daughter for the state test.

ELA / Math Writing Workshops – Groups of 5 students will work with a DOE Citywide G&T Teacher who has experience teaching to the state tests. Students will learn what the tutors who score the test are looking for when they grade the writing portions of the exam. The 3 writing workshops we offer are: ELA Essay Writing, ELA Short Response, and Math Writing.


Mindfulness Workshops – Groups of 8 students will work a former DOE Citywide G&T Teacher who is also a certified yoga instructor. She will give students calming, focus and stamina techniques for test taking. Specifically, they will go over breathing techniques for calming/focus, meditation, journaling, moving through moments of “stuckness”, motivation for reluctant test takers, focusing techniques, brain breaks, movement to revitalize tired hands and bodies, group discussion and art therapy.


Here are the scores for NYC students from the testing done in the spring of 2018.

You want your child to be at level 3 at the minimum and hopefully get a level 4 on their state scores. Scores range from 1.00 to 4.50 and many of the most competitive middle schools use the state test scores as admission criteria to their program.

  • Level 1 – Students performing at this level are well below proficient in standards for their grade
  • Level 2  – Students performing at this level are partially proficient in standards for their grade.
  • Level 3 – Students performing at this level are proficient in standards for their grade.
  • Level 4 – Students performing at this level excel in standards for their grade

New York ELA test scores for 2018 for New York City students

New York State math test results for NYC students from spring 2018


DOE incompetence according to some

New York Post Slams de Blasio and DOE

Well, the NY Post is at it again with slamming the DOE and de Blasio’s grand plan of making the public schools the utopia of education. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse instead of better, especially in the lower income communities around the city.

Let’s face it, sure race plays a roll in disparity of education and whether or not the family has a good income. Unfortunately, this usually falls into distinct racial lines with lower performing schools around the city. The one way the DOE in the past has made efforts to give the best education to all NYC kids is the implementation of the NYC Gifted and Talented program. This newest version of the program was launched under the Bloomberg regime in the early 2000’s and has made a few changes since it’s implementation, although basically the same concept. You sign-up your child ages 4 to 8 to take the NYC G&T test and see what happens. Admissions is solely based on the test results of the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. They used to give the BSRA (Bracken School Readiness Assessment) along with the OLSAT but due to so many kids acing the Bracken test they changed it to the NNAT-2 test a few years ago.

This article goes on to slam how the DOE makes it practically impossible to know if you actually signed up for your kid to take the G&T test after you register online. The woman who wrote the article I assume is internet savvy (she’s a reporter for the NY Post after all) and she was perplexed by the inefficiencies of the registering tool to get her kid signed-up. News flash: it’s the DOE!  She even contacted a so-called kindergarten admissions expert to make sure she did it correctly. Imagine all the of the other parents who aren’t upper-middle-class and have private consultants at their disposal. The unfortunate parents who don’t have privilege might have given up and didn’t bother to come back web site. Or they thought the registration process worked and actually it didn’t. Who knows! No matter what the reason or cause the process to sign your child up for the test should be clear, concise and easy to understand. Most the parents are new the entire NYC Dept of Ed system and this is their first experience and it sounds like it’s a lousy one (at best).

Solution: do it the old fashion way: 1. mail in the form or 2. call in to an operator and give your information. I think at that point there’s less mystery involved in the process to get your child registered for the G&T test in New York City and actually receive some sort of notification or confirmation number from the Dept. of Ed.

We are hoping all communities in the city have participation rates at the highest level possible. Many parents in the some of these communities have no idea this program even exists. What if they did know? I have no doubt they’d jump at the chance to give their child the best education possible (like all parents regardless of socio-economic status).

Is the admissions process perfect from the NYC G&T program? No. But at least it’s an opportunity for all kids in the city to shine. Let’s give them all the opportunity to shine no matter what their zip code, borough or neighborhood. Let’s have the highest expectations for ALL students and expect them to soar to heights their parents could only dream of before the launch of this program.

I’ve heard rumors and mumbling about the DOE planning to make drastic changes to this program in the coming years. Some things should be left untouched and this is one of those programs. As they say, the road to hell is paved with the best intentions.

If you’re child’s in the NYC G&T program you’re privileged (according to some)
October 29, 2018, 10:09 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program

According to a recent interview of the NYC Chancellor of schools here’s his attitude toward the NYC G&T program. I find it interesting since many of the kids who enter the G&T program are from lower income areas in the Asian communities in NYC. These people I’m sure don’t feel any type of “privilege” as stated below.

“Are they really measuring giftedness and talentedness, or are they really measuring, when you’re measuring kids at 4 years old, the privilege of the parent?”

And if that’s not bad enough, here’s what he said about the specialized high schools in NYC like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant. Even though 31% of students qualify for free lunch at Stuyvesant and 32 % at Bronx Science. I doubt the 1/3 of the students at these schools who qualify for free lunch don’t feel like they are at the epicenter of privilege. My guess is, quite the contrary.

They are “the epicenter of privilege” for people like Supreme Court justices — “the ones who don’t like beer.”