High School Admissions Letters Go Out to Students

Statistics on the city's public high school admissions process were released on Wednesday, but Thursday is the day many eighth graders will learn -- from letters home, from guidance counselors, from calls from their parents -- which school, if any, opened its doors to them.

Fernanda Santos reports in The Times that the number of black and Latino students admitted to Stuyvesant High School and seven other elite New York City high schools rose to 730 for this coming fall, a 14 percent increase over last year. For years, the numbers of black and Latino students offered a seat at these schools have been on the decline. Admittance is based on a single test, which students take as eighth graders, but preparations for many start years earlier.

This year, Stuyvesant accepted 51 black and Latino students; in 2009, 36 were accepted. Yet Stuyvesant is still proportionally the least diverse when compared to the two other large specialized schools, Brooklyn Technical High School and the Bronx High School of Science. Currently, 1.2 percent of the school’s 3,300 students are black; 72.5 percent are Asian.

Citywide, 49 percent of students were matched with their first-choice school and 84 percent were accepted to one of their top five. About 10 percent were not matched at all. These students will have to apply in the second round of admissions for new high schools and those that still have open seats.

Schools throughout the city follow different procedures to notify students of their high school matches. Some students received their envelopes Wednesday at school. Others are still waiting. Some said they planned to tear into their letters right away, while others left school looking for a quiet place to consider their results.

Yasmeen Khan, a WNYC producer, spoke to students who were still waiting to hear.

Saadiq Small-Purvis, 14, an eighth grader at P.S. 105 The Bay School in Far Rockaway, Queens, is eagerly awaiting word from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts.

"Hurry up, LaGuardia, please," he said.

Mr. Small-Purvis, who wants to study acting, described the LaGuardia audition as “tiring and emotional” and the waiting period as “intense.”

“I think I’ve cried about four or five times since the audition,” he said. “I don’t know if I did good or bad.”

The Post reports today that of all 460 high schools, Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan received the most applications from eighth graders -- nearly 6,500 applied for about 110 ninth-grade slots.

The other top five high schools in order of popularity were: Pace High School, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Edward Murrow High School and Beacon High School.

The battle over whether to permit church groups to worship in public school space is continuing. As of Wednesday, when a federal appeals court stopped the city from enforcing its rule against worship services, the church groups can return, at least until June. The broad legal issues in the case will now be considered.

For more in New York City education news, see GothamSchools' morning round-up.

On Thursday night, the Panel for Educational Policy is meeting at Brooklyn Technical High School at 29 Fort Greene Place at 6 p.m. and various groups, including Occupy the Department of Education and a Williamsburg schools organization, are planning to hold a protest.

The protests will actually begin much earlier, at 2 p.m., on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse, where the Department of Education's headquarters are located. According to organizers, students will gather there to rally against tuition increases at the City University of New York, as well as rising student loan debt. Then at 4 p.m., Occupy the D.O.E. is planning a "speak-out" in Fort Greene Park and, an hour later, a press conference outside of the high school across the street. The panel's agenda includes a vote on a controversial plan to co-locate a Success Academy charter school with a Williamsburg middle school.

Also on Thursday, the City Council's education and finance committees are holding a hearing on Medicaid claims for special education students. As The Times reported last year, New York City has failed to recover tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for services it provided to special-needs students in recent years.