Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced changes to the admissions process for New York City Public Middle Schools and High Schools, including Staten Island schools, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
NYC Public Middle Schools will not use academic screens — academic records, auditions, attendance, discipline records, special assessments, interviews, or other measures — as part of their admission process this school year. With no state test grades from last year and inaccurate data due to the pandemic, there is no way to rely on screens the way they have been used in the past.
In a letter to parents, the Department of Education said: “In effect, screening fifth graders without data, especially in a year as challenging as this one, is unfair, unequal, and untenable to continue.”
The DOE says this situation offers an opportunity to implement inclusivity in classrooms, since “screening criteria can be so closely connected to a student’s housing stability and economic status.”
The schools will prioritize admission to students who live near the school. If a school has more applicants than available seats, offers will be made using a random lottery.
The change to middle school admissions is temporary, could influence the process in the future.
Read more about these changes at the DOE website. This year’s middle school application will open the week of January 11.
NYC Public High Schools will be permitted to use screens — academic records, auditions, attendance, special assessments, interviews, or other measures — but not from the 2020 year. So if your child is currently in the eighth grade, the school will look at his or her sixth grade academic grades (a combination of 2018-2019 state tests, the previous years’ grades, and/or other measures) instead of seventh grade. However, use of screens at all will be left up to the school. Schools will be required to publicly publish their academic screening criteria on MySchools.
In a letter to parents, the DOE said “schools that maintain academic screens are encouraged to make a concerted effort towards greater equity in their processes, either by electing to remove additional screens now, or implementing a Diversity in Admissions priority.”
Another major change is the removal of geographic prioritization. District priorities for high school admissions will be permanently eliminated this year, and all other geographic priorities—like borough residence requirements— will be eliminated next year. This means schools will no longer be able to give preference to students living nearby. After next year, the location of a student’s home cannot alone determine their chances of getting into a certain school.
As for the city’s nine Specialized High Schools, SHSAT exam will be administered in students’ own middle schools to reduce travel and different cohorts of students. Registration for the test opens on Monday, December 21, 2020 and ends on January 15, 2021. Test administration will begin in late January
Read more about these changes at the DOE website. This year’s middle school application will open the week of January 18.
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