This Thursday, Feb. 4 is letter day. The day that 8th grade students who took the SHSAT will receive word on their placement. If they did get a seat in one of the specialized high schools they will also get word about their placement in their "1 in 12" school. Envelopes will be distributed in the public schools. Families will have about two weeks to make their decisions. There are usually specialized high school tours set up early the following week to enable students to take a look and help them decide. Private school families may have to wait a day or two depending on the efficiency of the distribution.
Students will be instructed to wait until they get home to open the letters, although most can't stand the temptation to rip them open the minute that they step outside the school building.Talk to your 8th grader and try and make the case for waiting until they get home, or at least find a private moment to open the letter. This is what they think is going to happen, "I'm getting into the school of my dreams and all of my friends will be as excited for me as I will be." Of course what happens is always different from our expectations. Often the news is great, but because it may not be what they expect there is disappointment. Their friends are so worried about their own situations everyone feels awful no matter what the outcome. There can be crying, or lying to save face and the students who are really thrilled can't show it without feeling like they are rubbing it in others faces. This sounds awful doesn't it? If they come home they can scream with delight or feel disappointed without humiliation, and you can hug them and give them perspective. Then, when they are composed they can call everyone and be their best selves. It can be an emotional day, good and not so good. It is not a bad idea to be ready for it.
If you have the option, you will need to make the decision in a timely manner. Before you return it to the guidance counselor, make a copy of the letter with your choice and keep it in a safe place.
If you are going to be waiting for your news in March, check out
The New School Fair on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Emigrant Savings Bank Hall, 51 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
You will have an opportunity to see the new programs that are opening in the fall and submit a new application with a new programs included in the list. The Frank McCourt High School will be among them.
New high school choice forms and Specialized Round student decisions are due back to guidance counselors on Feb. 23