As the NY Gifted Education Examiner has written previously, getting a seat in a New York City Gifted & Talented program is very difficult. Many more children qualify than there are spaces. But the difficulties don't end once you've snagged your spot. Then come issues like transportation, heavy homework loads, and more.
While the below post was originally published in 2009, it remains relevant to 2015 parents who have to decide this week whether sending their child to a Gifted & Talented program is worth it.
On August 31, 2009, ABC News made it even more difficult for parents trying to choose the best school option for their gifted child by writing:
Sure, he's special. But new research suggests that if you tell him that, you'll ruin him. It's a neurobiological fact....
The presumption is that if a child believes he's smart (having been told so, repeatedly), he won't be intimidated by new academic challenges. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short. But a growing body of research - and a new study from the trenches of the New York City public school system - strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of "smart" does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.
So should you send your child to a Gifted & Talented program?
At the NY Gifted Education Examiner we are committed to exploring every schooling option available in NYC.
Today, we feature a talk with a parent who selected the G&T at PS 163 for her child.
Examiner: What prompted you to select the G&T program at PS 163 for your child?
PS 163 Parent: When I knew that my child was eligible for the G&T program, including the citywide option, I really had to think about what was best and so decided to ask for some advice from my child's pre-school director. She was instrumental in helping me reach a decision as she knew my child so well and also the potential schools which my child could attend. Even though the ethos of the pre-school was against G&T, the director told me that such a program would be the best place and provide the right challenges my child would enjoy and thrive upon. The director suggested that PS 163's G&T would provide the best fit for my child for the following reasons:
1) Some gen-ed curriculum only schools, with or without dual-language options, would not be academic enough and would not provide the extra challenges my child enjoys
2) PS 163 is a good local neighborhood school where my child can make many friends who live locally. If my child were to attend a citywide school in another neighborhood there would be a risk of being isolated as classmates may live far away
3) A citywide G&T school may be too academically pressurized and hence my child may not thrive in such an environment
4) Some other neighborhood schools would be too big and hence overwhelming for my child
I also contacted the mother of another child at my child's pre-school who had an older child at PS 163 who gave me a realistic impression of the school which helped me make my decision. Now that my child is moving into First Grade, I can confirm all the things she told me such as it being a good neighborhood school which tries to do it's best, a motivated PTA which is active and raises much-needed funds for the school and engenders a sense of community and also the fact that the school has a dedicated and hard working principal.
Examiner: What have you and your child particularly enjoyed about it?
PS 163 Parent: The G&T class had a phenomenal kindergarten teacher who made learning fun throughout the year, which enabled my child to achieve so much success academically. My child also met and made many friends across his year group, not just within the class and even got to know other children within the school in the years above. The many exciting field trips and monthly publishing parties were very successful and all the children would enjoy these events immensely. Each day my child's class would have a cluster subject including science, music, art, library and gym. They also had the opportunity to have school-time chess and drama classes during the year, which gave the school day much variety. As a parent, I have enjoyed becoming a member of the school community and getting to know so many faces in the local community through seeing them at school.
Examiner: What are some aspects you would like to see changed?
PS 163 Parent: One aspect which other parents have commented on is that the on-site after-school clubs and activities are rather limited. It is exciting to hear that this is already being addressed starting this fall with the introduction of many new after-school clubs, from tap dancing to piano lessons. It is also a shame that the dual-language G&T kindergarten option is no longer being offered at the school as that sounded like an interesting option for G&T students in previous years.
Examiner: Would you recommend PS 163's G&T to other parents, and what, in particular, would you recommend about it?
PS 163 Parent: Yes, I would recommend this program. There are a few other G&T programs in this district which are more popular and the one at PS 163 is like the Upper West Side's best kept secret.
To learn about all of your NYC Kindergarten options, check out "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten," the book that covers it all! Buy on: