rising 8th graders: what about high school?

You know that the high school search is going to be taking up most of your fall. What should you do right now to prepare?

Come to my High School Choice: Calm and Clear talk on July 9 at 7pm at Hootenanny Art House (the last two will be scheduled for early Sept). There are tickets still available and if you wait until the fall when I hold the last one (I will be scheduling shortly) you may be a little behind the 8 ball.

You can go to the city's free Intro to HS Admissions Workshop #1, for Brklyn families: Tues. July 14, 6:30pm at Prospect Heights Educational Campus, 883 Classon Ave. (there are also dates in other boroughs).
While these talks are very thorough, you will get policy, designed for every city student (all 78,000 of them) without the nuance, plain talk (gallows humor) and information targeted to college bound students that I provide. if you have come to my talk, it doesn't hurt to hear it again from the city, but you won't hear anything new and I have been told by many parents that you won't get nearly as much information or have as good a time.

You may be very interested in the free Workshop #2 Specialized HS, given in Manhattan on Tues. July 21 at two different locations. It is hard to get a real feel about the 8 testing schools before you have to rank them on the day of the SHSAT in late Oct. The room that they are in at the City Wide Fair (late Sept) is always SO noisy that it is almost impossible to hear yourself think. This panel including faculty, parents and students from the schools will give you a little more insight into the programs. Remember they are all college prep programs and NOT all (or even mostly) Science and Math intensive schools. For example: Tech has a major for humanities kids, in my opinion the strongest teaching at Stuy is in the English and Social Studies departments, Brooklyn Latin is a charmingly old fashioned well rounded college prep IB program. Don't self select out of a great option because of ignorance of who they really are. If you think that your child will tolerate taking the free 2.5 hour test in the fall and it isn't a case of child abuse, you may want to organize a little prep over the summer. This is not the kind of test that you can walk in sight unseen and ace. It is a tricky logic puzzle unlike any other test that your children have taken. They just need to wrap their minds around the form. Mandatory reading for you:
Admissions test's scoring throws balance into question. NY Times

You should be taking your HS Directory to the beach! It makes a great pillow. At the very least, you should be ripping out and highlighting the pages for 15-20 (or more) schools (not including the Specialized HS) that have some aspect that sounds interesting. This is not the time to be picky. Cast your net wide. You are not looking for the perfect school at this point. You are looking for schools where your child could do well. Be mindful of the geographic priorities and admission criteria. If you live and attend school in Brooklyn and you are picking all schools that give priority to District 2 students and residents you are living in a dream world. Go back to the book and find schools for which you have a higher priority. Love the one you're with.

Want to know how the placement actually works?
How game theory improved NYC's high school application process