Admissions Letters for Gifted and Talented Programs Go Out

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Thousands of incoming kindergarten through third-grade students began learning on Friday whether they received an offer from one of 89 gifted and talented programs in the New York City public schools.

Officials from the Education Department said that of the 7,562 students who applied, 5,486 -- or 73 percent -- received an offer at one of the programs. The admissions notifications came by e-mail or by regular post, depending on how parents applied. The Education Department did not yet have a breakdown of numbers by geographic district Friday afternoon.

But the number of students who received an offer represents only 41 percent of the total number of students eligible. This school year, 13,508 students received a high enough score to qualify for a gifted and talented program. Among incoming kindergarteners, nearly 5,000 children qualified -- a 22 percent increase from last year.

There are two tiers of gifted and talented programs: citywide, for students who score in the very top on two exams, and district programs for students who score at or above the 90th percentile. The citywide programs are the most competitive.

Not all families whose children are eligible choose to apply, especially if they already paid to guarantee a seat in a private school.

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott told parents last month that the city would try to add seats to gifted and talented programs to accommodate more students. But he said the Education Department was restricted in its ability to do so because of limited school capacity.

The department uses a lottery system to determine which students get into what programs. The roughly 2,000 students who did not get in become part of a pool of families who may be contacted if spaces open up. Families who received an offer but decline because they prefer another program can also become part of that pool.

The deadline for families to accept or decline offers is June 5.