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20 Percent of Eligible Kindergartners Didn't Get Gifted and Talented Seat

By Amy Zimmer | May 28, 2015 7:35am
 Roughly 20 percent of eligible students who applied to G&T programs did not get offers, the DOE said.
Roughly 20 percent of eligible students who applied to G&T programs did not get offers, the DOE said.
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MANHATTAN — Nearly 20 percent of the city's 4-year-olds who applied to gifted and talented programs were left without seats despite scoring high enough on this year's exam, said Department of Education officials.

Kindergarten G&T offer letters were sent Wednesday to roughly 2,900 of the 3,630 eligible preschoolers, according to the data.

As in years past, more children in Manhattan's District 2 applied for and got into gifted programs this year than in any other part of the city.

District 2 — which includes TriBeCa, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the Upper East Side — saw nearly 1,700 preschoolers take the exam. That was hundreds more than any other district.

Of those test takers, roughly 750 qualified for a G&T seat and 418 were given offers.

Other districts with high numbers of offers include southwest Brooklyn's District 20 (230 offers); the Upper West Side's District 3 (199 offers) and central Brooklyn's District 22, which includes Ditmas Park and Mill Basin (194 offers).

On the other hand, several districts with small pools of eligible applicants had fewer than 10 children who were given offers, including the South Bronx's districts 7 and 9 and Ocean Hill/Brownsville's District 23.

► 7 Things to Know About Sending Your Kid to a Gifted and Talented School

More resources were targeted to low-income areas with traditionally low rates of test takers, DOE officials said. The department, for instance, sent postcards to families in these districts and provided hard copies of directories at every pre-K site in the city.

While officials noted there is still more work to do, the department saw an increase in test takers in some of these areas including Northern Manhattan's District 6 and Bedford-Stuyvesant's District 16. Those districts had 46 and 12 G&T kindergarten offers, respectively, up from 41 and fewer than 10 last year.

"Every student — no matter what zip code they live in — deserves a fair shot at these unique programs, and it’s critical that we are making the test accessible to all our students and families while maintaining the same high standards," Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement.

Yet, because too few kids qualified, there are no G&T classes being offered for kindergartners next September in the South Bronx's District 7, Crotona Park's District 12, Bedford-Stuyvesant's District 16 and Ocean Hill/Brownsville's District 23.

Many parents say there's still been little outreach to some lower-income communities beyond the occasional postcard — which some families might think is junk mail, according to Michael McCurdy of the test prep site TestingMom.com.

"With universal pre-K now happening across the city there needs to be a better communication strategy from the DOE for parents in these lower income areas to get their child tested for G&T next year," he said, suggesting the department could encourage more people take the free test.

"Actually, it would be a good idea to give information to parents about the G&T program for kindergarten when they enroll their child for universal pre-K."

Though this year's kindergarten offers marked a nearly 5 percent increase from last year, the overall number of offers was actually less by nearly 100 students because the number of applicants dipped, DOE officials noted.

Families must pre-register at their school by June 11 to accept their G&T placement.

Families can email es_enrollment@schools.nyc.gov or call an enrollment office at (718) 935-2009 for more information.

NYC G&T Applicants and Offers by District for the 2015-2016 School Year