Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza
By Forum Staff
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Friday announced changes to the middle and high school admissions process for Department of Education public schools beginning this winter for the 2021-22 school year.
A pause on use of all screens for middle school admissions for this year, meaning that students applying to middle school will not be selected based on previously used screening criteria. 196 middle schools use screens—metrics by which applicants are sorted and selected—for admissions decisions. These screens can include grades, student interviews, school-based assessments, behavioral evaluations, standardized test scores, and attendance. Instead, students will rank their choices on their middle school application as they always have; for schools with more applications than seats available for their sixth-grade class, students will be chosen through a lottery-based system.
The DOE will evaluate this one-year pause on middle school screens in the enrollment cycle for the 2022-23 school year, depending on the availability of data for next year’s applicants and the outcomes of this new approach. A district priority will remain in place for middle schools that currently have it, as many families across the city have indicated they want their young children to go to a school close to their residence. Schools and districts that have priorities in place for students from historically underserved communities, those will remain in effect also.
Students and families can start applying to middle school the week of January 11, 2021, and the deadline to apply will be the week of February 8, 2021.
District priorities for high school admissions will be permanently eliminated this year, and all other geographic priorities will be eliminated next year. This phase out over two years will start with 48 high schools that use district priorities in this first year. Approximately 250 total high schools have some type of district or geographic priority in place, such as borough-based priority, limiting opportunity for hard-working students to attend some of our most in-demand schools based on where they live. This will expand opportunity and increase choice for all rising high school students.
Academic screens may remain in place at high schools that currently use screens and wish to continue to use them. If a student lists a screened school on their high school application, a combination of 2018-2019 state tests, the previous years’ grades, and/or school-established criteria. Schools will be required to publicly publish their rubric criteria on MySchools and the ranking process will be centralized to ensure equity and transparency.
The high school application will open the week of January 18, 2021, and the deadline to apply is the week of February 22, 2021.
SHSAT and Arts Auditions
The City is required by State law to administer the Specialized High School Admissions Test. Beginning Monday, December 21, 2020, students can register to test for admission to the Specialized High Schools.