NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

The First 100 Days – The NEST of the West?

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Well, it’s been over 100 days since our daughter started the gifted and talented program at P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep for kindergarten.  I thought it would be beneficial to reflect back on the past 100 days and attempt to give an unbiased recollection of the experience thus far.  I stress the word ‘attempt’ since this is about my daughter.

Overall, the experience has been wonderful for our daughter and the feedback I’ve received from other parents of children in the class has been overwhelmingly positive. Of course, with any new program it took a few weeks to get into the groove to make sure everything ran smoothly but all the kinks were worked out in no time. There is a good diversity of children in the classroom that truly reflects the many cultures and backgrounds of NYC. The children all seem to be well behaved for the most part – at least when I’m picking up or dropping off our daughter.

The overall atmosphere of the school is very positive and all the children throughout the school are well behaved. I feel the teacher and principal have done a great job of integrating the G&T class into the school to make the class part of the school and not feel like it’s a separate entity. This was a concern I had going into the school year.  Although the curriculum for G&T is different than general education classes there are plenty of opportunities for G&T students to mix and mingle among the other students in the same grade on field trips, recess and large group activities.  For example, the holiday program and Halloween parade provided great opportunities for the children to be around the other kids in the school. My daughter has actually made 2 friends in another kindergarten class during recess time! The social aspect of the school is strong with emphasis on experiential learning. So far my daughter has taken 10 field trips this year to some amazing venues throughout NYC . That’s more than I took during all of my years in elementary school!   I’m glad the teacher stresses the importance of learning through experiences that only NYC can provide. 

On the academic side, the curriculum has been challenging but achievable for our daughter. The principal set expectations up front there would be homework every night (yes, in kindergarten). I know some of you are cringing by reading that statement but the foundations of good study habits are formed at this time.  The homework consists of reading 3 assigned books along with 1 choice book, drawing and writing about activities our daughter has done that day or week, sight words memorization with spelling each sight word correctly and over the past month there has been a strong emphasis on the math curriculum (which I personally appreciate). The other classes such as music and gym are very well done and our daughter raves about the music teachers and says that her gym teacher is “so cool”.  Over the past 100 days our child has also taken Mandarin Chinese , chess classes and a new robotics class that she absolutely loves.  All of these taught by experts in each of their perspective fields.

The teacher is very accessible after school or email. I appreciate her response to emails usually within just a few hours (even on weekends!). Her passion for teaching is evident and she runs a tight ship in the classroom. She doesn’t put up with any misbehavior and makes sure all students listen and learn to the fullest capabilities. She’s done a great job of individualizing the homework to our daughter so it’s not a “mass” assignment to the entire class. She really does teach to the student and praises each small effort the children make in the learning process.

We went into this program with VERY high expectations and all I can say is P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep has exceeded those expectations. The teachers, staff and principal really have made P.S. 33 a wonderful atmosphere for all the children to learn. Our daughter loves going to school which to me signals she’s in an environment that’s fun, challenging, interactive and engaging.  Even though the entire school isn’t G&T focused I see the day when P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep can potentially become the NEST of the West.  We’ll have to wait and see! 

It’s only a few more weeks until the gifted and talented testing begins for NYC.  OLSAT test prep has begun. You can read where the whole G&T process started back in May of 2009.

If you’d like to receive my G&T newsletter please email me at Thanks – Michael

1 Comment so far
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Hello – thanks for this blog post. My dc received acceptance from PS 33 in Kindergarten. The above activities that you describe (Over the past 100 days our child has also taken Mandarin Chinese , chess classes and a new robotics class that she absolutely loves) – are these offered in the afterschool program for Kindergarten G&T class or they are for the entire school? I was not able to find much information on their website about after school program. Can you please share your experience if their after school program/activities are comparable with city wide schools? Thanks in advance!

Comment by deven

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