NYC DOE expands public school’s Gifted and Talented Program in Kindergarten and Third-Grade to all districts

by PDM STAFF

School Chancellor David Banks announces the expansion of the Gifted and Talented program. | Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK – New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) has expanded the public school’s Gifted and Talented program to serve elementary school students. Approximately 100 new kindergarten seats will be added, expanding the program to all 32 districts to 2,500 seats. Also, it will add 1,000 third-grade seats. Through this expansion and updates to the admission process, the program will serve every community citywide for the first time.

“Expanding our Gifted and Talented program to all New York City districts is about giving every child, in every zip code, a fair chance and making sure no child is left behind,” said Mayor Adams. “We’re doubling down on this administration’s commitment to our youngest New Yorkers by adding additional seats and removing inequities in the admission process to allow students throughout this city to gain access to accelerated learning. And thanks to this expansion, for the first time ever, there will be a Gifted and Talented program in every school district in this city. This is how we give every young person an opportunity to grow, to learn, to explore their talents and imagination.”

According to DOE, the 2022-2023 elementary Gifted and Talented expansion results from the DOE’s engagement with parents and community stakeholders to establish priorities for this year’s admissions. Specifically, the DOE said it met with a diverse set of parent representative groups and advocacy groups with a dedicated interest in this topic and provided thoughtful, nuanced feedback.

David C. Banks | Photo via DOE

“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 Chancellor 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.”

Universal pre-K screening takes the initial burden off families and creates access for more children with a more diverse eligibility pool. First implemented for the 2021-2022 school year, universal screening led to a more diverse pool of students receiving invitations to apply for the Gifted and Talented program. The DOE said that their teacher for a potential nomination would evaluate every current pre-K student. Students enrolled in non-DOE programs and those not yet enrolled in school will participate in an interview with DOE staff to confirm eligibility.

Families of eligible, nominated children will receive an eligibility letter inviting them to apply before the application opens.

For the first time, the DOE said every district in New York City would provide an additional third-grade Gifted and Talented entry point, amounting to a baseline of one program in every district and 1,000 seats. According to DOE, child development research shows that identifying gifted behavior in later grades may accurately assess gifted ability.

Determined by grades in the four core subject areas, the top 10 percent of second graders in each school will be invited to apply to a third-grade Gifted and Talented program. Using grades in the four core subject areas ensures the DOE uses multiple measures to determine eligibility for the program.

Grounding the screen at the school level will ensure that district programs are representative of the district’s population. Families will be considered for placement at all of their application choices, and offers will be made based on district and sibling priorities and seat availability. Grade three programs will grow to grades four and five in subsequent years.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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