Brooklyn! lets start a new neighborhood school search culture

There are a lot of freaked out 11 year olds out there. This middle school 'choice process' is not kind. The kids that got their heart's desire are relieved, but it is hard to be happy when your friends are not. There are some kids who got great placements but it was not the one they wanted or where their friends are going and there are kids who are headed into the unknown (or even worse - the unpopular known) and that is scarey for everyone. I know that you all feel at the mercy of this process and that your children are being tortured by an unfeeling algorithm. You have a case.

I do think that there is a very significant thing that we, as parents, can do.
Stop talking about it.
I don't mean stop sharing information or staying informed. That is extremely important, but your kids don't have to know about it. I mean zero tolerance expressing your anxiety or replaying your strategies to your friends, neighbors, spouse, or relatives within earshot of your kids. Not at drop off or afterschool or parties or soccer. You don't think that they hear you. They are SO listening to every word. It looks like they are running around yelling at their friends, or totally absorbed on their phones, but I swear. They totally hear you. I am not blaming you. I did it! It takes some self control and it takes a unified effort.
Next year, everybody pinky swear that you are only going to be positive about the range of choices and opportunities and trying new things and meeting new friends. The kids may be believe you and it may make a difference in the level of anxiety on the playground. That change in neighborhood culture won't make a change in your choices or your likelihood of getting what you want. There is no downside to protecting them from the realities a few years longer.

My fantasy is that local PTA's create a 'Zero tolerance for Panic and Anxiety'. Being informed and making educated choices is the only way to go, but worrying never got anyone a better placement. Talking it out at every opportunity may make you feel better, but if your kids hear, they will internalize it. Let's take back 5th grade.