The school year is over, and if you are like most 6th or 7th grade public middle school families in NYC, you either just received your new High School Directory and Specialized High Schools Handbook, or you will pick it up or check it out online soon on the DOE website ( For many of you, this is not the first time you’ve seen these kinds of publications.   If you are on the ball, have already started preparing for the high school search, are already familiar with last year’s version, or are going through the process a second or third time, you may be asking yourself:   “What has changed, and what do I need to know about THESE versions?”   Let’s face it, it can take the average person dozens and dozens of hours sifting through this information to identify what really matters and what changes are really meaningful.   I’d like to point out a few things of which you should take note:  
  1. Unlike previous years, the high school fair dates are not listed in the front of the book. Stay tuned, the dates will be announced at future events and on the DOE website. (consider attending the DOE events in July – they are worth your while!
  1. Despite what you may have heard about changes to the admissions process to the specialized high schools and the SHSAT, nothing has changed – yet.
  1. Standardized testing still matters. That’s right. Your child’s 7th grade standardized test scores will still be reviewed by screened, audition, and Ed Opt programs – although NY State law now says it can no longer be considered the primary means of evaluating candidates (you will see this repeated on many pages in the directory – at least near screened programs).
  1. Ed Opt programs still use ELA testing as the primary means of determining matches.   (If that sounds like a contradiction to #3, it does to us, too)
  1. Fewer schools are listing open house dates, but for those that do, be sure to mark them down on your calendars. Unfortunately, high schools are not all required to report these dates for publication in the high school directory – a requirement that would be a significant service to families.  (Who can keep track of all this information by checking websites every day?!)
  1. School accountability letter grades are gone, and school “performance information” is in. Despite the adjustments from previous years away from letter grades, these are measures that you should consider when evaluating schools, but only along with many other factors.
  What has not changed?     You probably don’t want to hear this, given all the summer activities, camps, trips, etc.  But this summer is a critical window of opportunity to get your ducks in order, before the hectic fall period that will be filled with activities. Don’t be fooled by the generic checklist on page 7 of the directory – simply “reviewing the Directory in the summer” does not do justice to all that you can accomplish and is not enough to put yourself in the best position possible for the fall.   In future postings, newsletters, and videos, I will share more advice on what you can be doing this summer to do just that – put yourself in the best possible position for success!   Congratulations on completing your school year…   P.S.  Summer is also the perfect time for a complimentary phone consultation to see how we can help YOU and your child.  A recent client said, “NYCAS provided me with peace of mind and helps put children on a successful path to lifelong learning!”   Contact us today to request your complimentary consultation: 347-709-2258 OR