Thursday, December 25, 2008

New York City Middle School Choice

New York City has a centralized school choice process for high schools, but middle schools are another story. The New York Times reports: New York’s New Choices Raise Stakes for Middle School

"Over the past two years, the city has taken steps to standardize middle-school admissions, organizing fairs in each district, printing directories to clarify options and creating a uniform timeline. Applications preprinted with each fifth grader’s test scores and attendance record were distributed this month and are due, with choices ranked, on Jan. 9. For the first time, the applications will be processed using a $9.7 million system being developed by Vanguard Direct for prekindergarten through high school admissions.
But these changes have also highlighted how wildly admissions policies vary between schools and districts.
For example, of the 16 middle schools in District 2, which covers the Upper East Side and much of Lower Manhattan, one, Greenwich Village Middle, considers grades, interviews, writing samples, teacher recommendations and “group problem-solving tasks,” while another, Middle School 131, weighs attendance and punctuality, among other factors.
In District 12 in the Bronx, 14 middle schools select students randomly or with preference for certain addresses, while five others are open only to students in certain neighborhoods. Two Queens districts do not use the city’s applications, simply placing students by geography (though some schools within them have their own applications).
In fact, there remain middle schools scattered throughout the city that have been allowed to keep their own separate processes, including seven in Manhattan that accept children from across the city."

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