“I want to stress…there is no such thing as a gifted & talented curriculum,” Alina Adams told our recent parent panel and audience when delving into selective NYC public school options. Ms. Adams is an education consultant and reporter who wrote the books Getting Into NYC Kindergarten and Getting Into NYC High School.
Ms. Adams moderated our panel to provide parents with more information on the New York City Public School Gifted & Talented (G&T) options, how to navigate the admissions process and how BASIS Curriculum Schools are different. Read on for a brief recap of the key themes from the discussion, as well as personal perspectives shared by current BASIS Independent Brooklyn parents who had transferred from G&T programs.
Overview of G&T School Options
Ms. Adams opened the event outlining all of the G&T school options in New York City, from public citywide schools and district G&T programs, to testing and placement. She focused on explaining that G&T programs are accelerated public school curriculum by one year, and she reviewed the different types of programs that families can apply to as well as the odds of acceptance. More information, podcasts and resources can be found on her website.
Theme #1: Finding the Right Curriculum
BASIS Independent Brooklyn parent Yvette Ortiz told the audience about her daughter transferring out of a citywide G&T school “because common core came full force into the school, which means the curriculum itself stopped looking gifted.” Ms. Ortiz added, “It was time for us to go back to the original mission of finding a gifted curriculum, and that’s what we found at BASIS Independent.”
BASIS Curriculum Schools co-founder Dr. Michael Block went on to emphasize the importance of applied learning. “We aim to hook your kids on learning so that they really want to learn, and it is self-enforcing. That is a lifelong skill, a lifelong attitude that goes way beyond college."
Theme #2: The Importance of Good Teachers
Another BASIS Independent Brooklyn parent named Nina Owens discussed why her family chose not to stay at their K-5 district G&T program. “We had an amazing teacher the first year, but the quality of teaching was quite variable throughout the system.” When they toured BASIS Independent Brooklyn and saw the science experiments -- how teachers made it interesting, exciting and vibrant -- that made her son say, “I want to go here. This is my school.”
Nodding in agreement, BASIS Independent Manhattan Head of School, Jesse Rizzo added her view on the critical role played by teachers. “An amazing teacher makes the biggest difference…hands down.” With BASIS Independent Manhattan hiring passionate Subject Expert Teachers who care immensely about their work, the students are going to care that much too, according to Ms. Rizzo. In addition, Ms. Rizzo compared public and private school teachers where some might have too much accountability and not enough autonomy or vice versa, but at BASIS Curriculum Schools it is critical that their teachers, “strike a fine balance between accountability and autonomy.”
Theme #3: Considering the Whole Student
Parent Kirk Murphy spoke to his first-hand experience with how BASIS Independent provided his family with much more than just top academics. After attending Kindergarten and 1st grade at a G&T school downtown, Mr. Murphy's son became overwhelmed with too much homework - so much so that his vibrancy was disappearing.“He had this defeated glassy look on his face all the time,” Mr. Murphy told the audience. Then after moving to BASIS Independent Brooklyn, Mr. Murphy saw his son get truly excited about school again. “I can’t stress enough – and I get emotional about it because when you see your child speak so highly of every single teacher and just talk about what he did in class every day that is how you know.” Now his son is a kid who can take swim class four days a week and have a world-class education that he enjoys.
National Rankings as a Point of Comparison
Dr. Block highlighted the recent high school rankings from U.S. News and World Report that put five BASIS Curriculum schools in the top ten best public high schools in the country. You can read more about the rankings here.
Thank you to our host for the event Noodle Pros, a tutoring company for Kindergarten through graduate school with full-time professional tutors.
Learn more about BASIS Independent Manhattan by attending one of our upcoming events.