Chancellor Bank Announces Admissions Process Built On Community Feedback

New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today announced changes to admissions in New York City public schools, beginning in the 2023-2024 enrollment cycle.

Following six months of community engagement––including more than 30 meetings with families, students, parents, principals, community and advocacy groups, Community Education Councils (CECs), and school counselors––these changes aim to reimagine the middle and high school admissions experience by making these processes more family friendly, transparent, and fair.

Chancellor Banks also announced his commitment to authentically engaging with families and communities around increasing the types of programs and schools they desire, some as soon as the 2023-2024 school year.

“Six months ago, I promised that we would reform our enrollment and admissions policies and expand access to quality schools,” Schools Chancellor David C. Banks said. “I’m grateful to all the families, educators, and community members who gave their time to share feedback and helped shape improvements to this year’s process. Today, I present changes that take steps toward streamlining our policies, promoting transparency, and making it easier for families to find the right school for their child. One fundamental challenge is we need more schools and programs that provide all that students and families are seeking. We’re also announcing three new schools today to address that challenge, and I look forward to continuing to engage with families and the community around how we can continue to strengthen and increase the number of high-quality schools available for all of our families and our children.”

FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND TRANSPARENT ADMISSIONS PROCESS

Admissions from early childhood through high school should be simple, easy, and intuitive for families. This process may be a family’s first interaction with our schools and it’s important we get it right. Based on extensive community feedback, we are updating the process to provide more information to families and help them make the right choice for their child.

  • Earlier Application Timelines, Earlier Offers – This school year, we are moving the middle and high school application timelines earlier in the fall to begin on October 12th for High Schools and October 26th for middle schools so that offers can be released in March for high schools and in April for middle schools. This timeline will give families and schools more time to plan for the next school year. Additionally, we will release high school offers together with any specialized high school results in one offer letter.
  • Central Open House Calendar – We are launching an events calendar in MySchools so that families can find all admissions events and school open houses and tour information in one place. Families will be able to add events to their personal calendar and RSVP to events directly from MySchools.
  • Clearer Admissions Information –We will display more information about a student’s chance of getting an offer to various programs. For example, we will share the number of waitlist offers a program has made in the past so families can better assess their chances of receiving an offer through the waitlist process.
  • Improved Virtual Audition Experience – The virtual audition and additional material submission experience will be improved by adding clearer instructions and submission confirmation. 
  • School-Day SHSAT Administration – After hearing overwhelming support from families we will continue to enable 8th graders in public schools to take the SHSAT during the school day at their current school rather than traveling to sites on the weekend.
  • Waitlists Extended – Starting with students entering middle and high school this fall, and moving forward, we have extended middle and high school waitlists to mid-September. This means that if any seats become available after the start of the school year, those seats are filled fairly and transparently.  

HOW TO APPLY FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

Children who have completed fifth grade can apply to middle school, and most NYC middle schools serve children in grades 6–8. Many students attend their zoned middle school if they have one, and most students attend middle school in their district. To find out if your New York City home address has a zoned middle school, call 311 or visit schoolsearch.schools.nyc and type in your home address. If your child doesn’t have a zoned school or you need help, reach out to your school’s counselor. Learn about your zoned school and/or other schools in your district online with MySchools.

Children who have completed eighth grade or are first-time ninth graders can apply to high school. Parents and students can use MySchools to explore their school options, learn about open houses, and make a list of programs that interest their child.

For both middle and high schools, during the application period, parents and students can submit their applications one of the following three ways:

MIDDLE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS BEGINS OCTOBER 26th

The middle school application will open on October 26th, and the deadline to apply is December 1st. Students will receive offers in April. Superintendents will partner with school communities’ leadership, staff, and parents to thoughtfully determine if and where middle school screened programs should exist based on instructional and community needs. Where screening is allowed, students would be ranked based on a composite of their course grades from fourth grade. The number of academically screened schools will be limited and based on the needs of the community. Screens will be determined by the start of the Middle School Admissions process on October 26th.


HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS BEGINS OCTOBER 12th  

The high school application will open on October 12th, and the deadline to apply is Thursday, December 1st. Students will receive offers in early March.

Based on community and school feedback, for students and families interested in screened high schools that do not have their own school-based assessment, those schools will admit the top-performing applicants from across each middle school and citywide. Applicants to screened high schools will be in groups based on their final seventh-grade core course grades. Students will be admitted to screened programs in group order, starting with students in group one. If all students in group one have been accommodated, students in group two will then be considered for available seats, and so on.

  • Students will be in group one if the average of their final seventh grade core course grades falls in the highest 15% of their school or citywide, and that average is at least a 90. 
  • Students will be in group two if they are not in group one, and the average falls in the highest 30% of their school or citywide, and that average is at least an 80. 
  • Students will be in group three if they are not in groups one or two, and the average falls in the highest 50% of their school or citywide, and that average is at least a 70.
  • Students will be in group four if they are not in groups one, two, or three, and their average falls in the highest 70% of their school or citywide, and that average is at least a 65. 
  • All other students will be in group five.  

SHSAT REGISTRATION BEGINS OCTOBER 6

Like last year, interested eighth grade students can register for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Taking this test is how students apply to the eight testing Specialized High Schools. SHSAT registration opens on October 6. Most NYC public middle schools will administer the SHSAT during the school day on November 17 for current students. Private, parochial, and charter school students, as well as any interested ninth grade students, will take the test on the weekend of November 19-20.

The full timeline of the middle and high school admissions process and key dates are included below: 

  • October 6: SHSAT Registration Opens
  • October 12: HS Application Opens
  • October 26: MS Application Opens
  • November 17: SHSAT School Testing
  • November 19/20: SHSAT Weekend Testing
  • December 1: MS / HS Application Deadline
  • Early March: High School and Specialized High School Offers
  • April: Middle School Offers

EXPANDING PROGRAMS AND SCHOOLS THAT MEET COMMUNITY NEEDS

Chancellor Banks and this Administration believe that there are academically brilliant children in every neighborhood, however many students have to travel for long hours to reach academically accelerated learning high schools. To fill the gap that exists in some underserved communities of color, three new accelerated learning academies will be opened – informed by community needs. The schools will be located in the South Bronx, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and Southeast Queens, with a geographic priority for students from those areas. The schools will open by Fall 2024.  Engagement with families will begin to identify the potential for further expansion of high-quality options throughout the city based on community interest.

Engagement with CECs on these schools will begin this fall. We encourage families to engage with their Superintendents to share their ideas for the types of programs and schools that they want to see in their communities. Central offices will provide support and technical assistance to Superintendents around the development and launch of community-driven new, expanded and redesigned schools and programs.

The DOE is committed to rebuilding trust and ensuring our public schools are destinations of choice, high-quality learning, and a beacon for families.

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