NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

NYC parents distraught with gifted and talented scores
April 14, 2014, 7:49 am
Filed under: tests | 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).