NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Plans to abolish NYC Gifted and Talented Program
August 29, 2019, 11:21 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags:

Well folks, it looks like the NYC Gifted and Talented Program may be coming to an abrupt end if the current Chancellor of the NYC Dept. of Ed. has his druthers.  The jury came back with a strong and resounding GUILTY verdict as it pertains to alleged unfairness, racist and downright elitist program for the gifted and talented. Everyone, of course, has the right to their own opinion but this so called committee obviously had it in for the G&T program before they even officially met.  They took their marching orders from the Chancellor and got in line with his own personal agenda of doing away with one of the few silver linings of the NYC public school programs.  Based upon the report, the committee is now suggesting desegregation of students so every school in New York City eventually represents the same exact demographic by race. Welcome back to the 1970’s where children were bused to various schools that were in some cases an hour (or more) from their home all in the name of “fairness”. For those of us old enough to remember we know how that ended (spoiler alert: it was a complete disaster).  Many things seem so good in theory until you actually think through the consequences, and one if this ridiculous proposal made by a bunch of political hacks.  In other words, did they even think through this? Based upon what I read, that answer is NO! No big surprise there.  Here are initial thoughts of what comes to mind:

  • There are major benefits to some district wide programs that have GT classes if the gen ed program isn’t strong. The GT classes raise the overall state scores. It also looks good on the city to have some schools (Anderson, NEST) score super high on state tests.
  • School overcrowding if the G&T program goes away is another issue – downtown, UES, UWS , Park Slope – many kids in these areas go to GT programs. If the GT programs go away all of the sudden there are hundreds/thousands vying for space at an already overcrowded gen ed school.
  • There will be a mass exodus of GT teachers if the program goes away. Many GT teachers only want GT students since it makes their job easier.
  • There will be a mass exodus of families from NYC who can’t afford private school (over $50,000 a year) and their new public option of mediocrity isn’t suitable for their child.  They will all move to the suburbs.
  • The solution should be more GT programs throughout the city (especially in under represented areas), not less. When we have a bunch of political hacks running the DOE so what else should we expect.  Many parents in areas like the Bronx still have no idea this program is even available for their child.
  • How about making the G&T test required for all U pre-K students and parents can “opt out” if they want to. This would dramatically increase the number of minority students (Hispanics and African Americans) admitted into the program based upon the sheer volume of students who would end up taking the exam.

Here are a couple of good articles written by Alina Adams on the topic:

People always ask how did someone like Giuliani ever become mayor New York City. Well folks, it’s when things like this happen that even the most staunch liberals are outraged and they will for sure go to the ballot box in 2021 when the new mayor of New York City is elected.  De Blasio isn’t eligible to run for mayor again after his 2nd term in office. I know, such a shame.  Maybe he’ll end up being President?

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%

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.

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.”

More and more gifted programs join diversity effort
September 21, 2018, 5:24 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: ,

New York City Gifted and Talented Programs embrace diversity efforts

Over the past two years gifted programs in NYC have adopted changes into their admissions processes to promote a more diverse student population. Some schools, like P.S. 11 in Chelsea, now open 30% of its gifted and talented seats for the coveted program for lower-income, homeless, or reduced lunch students for their program. TAG citywide program reserves 40% of its seats for lower-income students. This makes citywide programs even more competitive now that so many seats are going to be reserved for these students thus cutting out a large percentage of students who would otherwise get a seat and now will not.

The reason behind the diversity push is due to the current demographic makeup of the gifted and talented programs. Hispanics and black students only make up 27% of students in the gifted and talented programs while the entire student popultion comprises over 70% of students across all five boroughs.


The gifted programs that start in kindergarten are considered the gateway for children get into a top middle school and eventually into a specialized high school like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science. That’s one of the reasons pay hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for their child to get prepared for these tests.

One of the major concerns is that many children in the lower income areas of the city don’t participate in the gifted and talented testing while students in the more affluent areas do participate at an exponentially higher rate. It’s not that parents in the lower income don’t want their kids in these programs, most of these parents have no idea these programs even exist. The NYC dept. of ed. has tried outreach programs although there seems to be little impact on increasing the participation rate for these kids to take the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. This could be attributed to many of these parents may not speak and/or read English which is a hindrance in learning about the program the DOE has to offere. Hopefully this school year we’ll see higher participation rate of students taking the G&T test in the lower-income areas of the city.