NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Public Schools Chancellor David Banks announced Thursday the expansion of gifted and talented programs in NYC public schools, a topic that caused much contention between parents and the previous mayoral administration.
As part of the expansion, there will be two entry points for students—one in kindergarten and one in third grade. Historically, kindergarten has been the initial entry point for the program. Approximately 100 new kindergarten seats will be added, as well as 1,000 third-grade seats. The changes go into effect in September.
For the first time, there will now be a gifted and talented program in every school district, the mayor said.
“For far too long, we had districts in our city that did not have gifted and talented programs. We are giving every child, in every zip code a chance that has been denied too often,” Adams said. “We have gifted and talented students all over the city. There’s no reason these programs were not all over the city. It’s time all our students have access to the classroom programs that develop their full personhood and their full potential.”
Former mayor Bill de Blasio planned to phase out gifted and talented programs and replace it with Brilliant NYC, a similar program that was set to go into place this fall. Like Brilliant NYC, Adams’ expansion will not rely on a testing process for enrollment into gifted and talented programs.
De Blasio was criticized for not working with parents and students when it came to changing the program. But today’s announcement, according to Banks, is the result of the DOE’s engagement with parents and community stakeholders.
“Today we move to end the era of scarcity — the era of making families fight amongst themselves for limited Gifted and Talented seats in far off schools,” said Banks. “Through this expansion, we are providing more opportunities for accelerated learning to more families, while providing an equitable, fair process to identify the students who will excel with accelerated learning.”
What Parents Need to Know About the NYC Gifted and Talented Program
How will Kindergarten Students be Screened for Gifted and Talented Programs?
Every current pre-K student will be evaluated by their teacher for a potential nomination. Universal pre-K screening takes the initial burden off families and creates access for more children with a more diverse eligibility pool, according to the mayor.
Students enrolled in non-DOE programs and those not yet enrolled in school will participate in an interview with DOE staff to confirm eligibility.
The families of eligible, nominated children will receive an eligibility letter inviting them to apply before the application opens.
How will Third Graders be Screened for Gifted and Talented Programs?
Determined by grades in the four core subject areas—math, science, reading and social studies—the top 10 percent of second graders in each school can apply to a third-grade gifted and talented program. Every district in New York City will provide an additional third-grade gifted and talented entry point, amounting to a baseline of one program in every district and a total of 1,000 seats.
Families will be considered for placement at all of their application choices and offers will be made based on district and sibling priorities, as well as seat availability.
Applications for both kindergarten and third-grade gifted and talented programs open on May 31.
For more information, visit the city Department of Education website at schools.nyc.gov.
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