Posted below are the remarks concerning middle school. Email Deb Orr for the full minutes.
When applying to middle school, although it can be stressful for parents, the children should not pick up on any of this stress! Please be careful how you talk about it around your kids. Children should think of this as a positive experience and part of their growing independence.
Please come to Middle School Parents Night on Nov. 9. You will hear all about the different middle schools from the parents of 321 graduates.
Parents can make appointments with their middle school liaison if they have questions about the process. They can also drop in to the PTA Office (or call or email) to talk to Deb Orr, the parent coordinator.
Ben Halioua is the middle school liaison for classes 324 (Gary), 325 (Julie), 326 (Lauren & Caitlin), & 337 (Laurie). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org / phone ext. 1302.
Carlina Ramos is the middle school liaison for classes 328 (Crystal & Vigdis), 330 (Melanie), 336 (Ronda) & 339 (Priya). You can contact her at email@example.com / phone ext. 1303.
You can contact Deb Orr, parent coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org / ext. 1230.
New changes have been made in middle school admissions this year, we think for the better.
District 15 now has blind rankings, so there is no point in gaming the system as parents have tried to do in the past. There is no need to rank the most oversubscribed schools 1st/2nd unless that’s how you want them. Rankings really should be in the order you prefer! 839, a lottery school, is one of the schools that will benefit from the blind rankings. Many parents were hesitant last year to rank it high, fearing they were giving up a 1st/2nd choice spot.
Another change – NEST+M will be on your main round application and must be ranked along with D15 choices (When you rank Nest on your child’s application, they will send an invitation to take their test, if your children meets their minimum criteria. Their rubric is available on their website.)
Applications will be out early November, placement letters will be out in April. Your child will receive only one offer from all schools on the D15 main application.
ICE and charter schools are still separate application processes.
Another change – No letters of recommendation will be accepted at any of the public schools. This helps level the playing field. No pluses or minuses on report cards also make the process fairer – not all schools give pluses or minuses. This helps us to be more equitable and transparent about the process. There is also no more copying the final 4th grade report card; all grades will be looked at electronically.
The 4th grade final marking period report grades are what go in the computer and that is what the schools use for admissions, nothing from 5th grade.
For the middle schools, 5 academic subjects – ELA, math, social studies, science and one cluster grade, and the 5 behavior grades – are all the schools see, all from the final 4th grade report card.
Fewer and fewer schools are doing interviews. 51 and 447 are no longer doing this (447 will have a Math/ELA assessment). 88 and 443 are still interviewing.
ICT/IEP students: The actual IEPs will not be read until a child is admitted. ICT students will be evaluated alongside other ICT students, apart from the gen ed application pool. Non-ICT IEP students are evaluated as part of the gen ed admissions pool.
It is a very fluky process, which is important to keep in mind. While kids with better grades and behavior tend to do better with their placements overall, there are always puzzling results, where we don’t know why one kid was admitted to a school and another was not.
Absences and latenesses do count in admissions. If your child was absent 10 or more times and there were extenuating circumstances, make copies of the Dr.’s notes and give to your guidance counselor. There are not really extenuating circumstances for lateness.
There are many good schools, much more to choose from than even a few years ago. For those of you with older siblings, things are very different now.
Each year, about 75% of our students get their 1st or 2nd choice, but that means that 25% do not. Make sure you put enough choices on the application, NOT just 2 or 3. If your child only lists 2-3 choices and does not get those, they will be placed randomly. We had several parents last year who only listed schools with many more applicants than seats, and who were then surprised to get placed in a school not listed on their child’s application. There is absolutely no benefit in applying to just a few schools, it in no way increases your chances of getting in to those schools.
If you have moved, be sure to change your address in the computer system, not just on the blue card. Bring a utility bill to the main office.
All children who attend D15 schools will get D15 middle schools on the application. You actually have more choices if you live in another district. Applications are customized for your address.
Test scores – sometimes these are part of the admissions rubric, but for schools like MS 51, if there are no 4th grade test scores to evaluate, the report card grades will just be weighted more heavily to compensate. Most of the middle schools now post their admissions criteria on their websites.