UPPER WEST SIDE — The Department of Education is opening a new gifted and talented program that won't rely on test scores in the neighborhood next fall, officials said.
P.S. 191, a pre-K-8 school on West 61st Street, will offer one third grade G&T class starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the DOE said.
As it did with four new G&T programs that opened this school year across the city, the DOE will not rely on testing for admission into the new P.S. 191 program, it said.
Instead, parents whose District 3 second graders received high report card grades will receive a letter notifying them of their child's eligibility for the program, the DOE said.
The DOE will then use academic performance, grades and teacher recommendations in granting admission to the P.S. 191 program.
“We’re committed to providing all families with high-quality elementary school options, and the 3rd grade Gifted & Talented program at P.S. 191 will provide a great choice for families in the district, offering students accelerated, rigorous and specialized instruction," said DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness in an email.
Currently, there are three existing G&T programs in District 3: P.S. 166 on West 89th Street, P.S. 163 on West 97th Street, and P.S. 165 on West 109th Street. Additionally, the Anderson School on West 77th Street offers a G&T program open to students citywide.
G&T seats are in hot demand across the city.
In the past, the DOE hasn't had enough gifted and talented seats to fulfill the demand. In the 2015-2016 school year, 20 percent of students who qualified for a gifted and talented seat didn't get one because there weren't enough seats; that figure went up to 30 percent in the 2016-2017 school year.
For students applying to G&T programs in District 3 that do require testing, parents have to submit a request for testing by Nov. 14 to be eligible for a placement next year. Testing happens in January 2017, scores are sent out in early April and applications are due by April 24. Offer letters are sent out in early June with a June 16 deadline to accept or decline an offer.
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The city is currently awaiting a vote on its rezoning plan that would have P.S. 191 move buildings — from its West 61st Street building into a new home in the Riverside School building opening next fall. The G&T program would be among the new offerings in the Riverside School building.
The city also revealed that it plans to offer a new pre-K program at P.S. 452 for the first time, on condition that the district-wide school rezoning plan passes next week.
The rezoning plan calls for P.S. 452, a West 77th Street elementary school, to move to a more spacious building on West 61st Street. The resulting expansion would make room for pre-K seats, though it wasn't clear how many.