Abacus Mom received this today from BASIS Brooklyn:
BASIS Independent Brooklyn Accepts Coveted 2014 Blackboard Award
Only three months after opening, BASIS Independent Brooklyn (serving grades K-12), was honored with the “New & Noteworthy” school award, at this year’s Blackboard Awards. Blackboard honorees are nominated by parents, educators and the board of advisors at Manhattan Media with the specific aims of celebrating our city’s outstanding educators, principals, and schools and helping parents make informed choices about their child’s education. This is a quite an honor for us to be recognized for this award so early on in our program!
It seems that the award is grounded on the parent’s satisfaction with the academic program, our teachers, and administration. We were recently covered in www.achildgrows.com, highlighting that our school’s STEM-focused Liberal Arts program is offering what parents are wanting. “I’m impressed!” said Troy House parent of a 2nd grader. “My son came home and explained what a prototype is and how he managed to build a prototype boat, test it, and improve it in just three weeks of 2nd grade Engineering.”
It’s also clear that the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Head of School, Rosalind Thompson, is passionate about our students and faculty, “We have a student body that truly loves school - and thanks to our teachers, that's been the case since the beginning of the school year, our first in Brooklyn”, she says. “Parents tell us that they no longer have trouble getting them out of bed to go to school, and we see that in our classrooms and hallways every day, every period.”
As you can see, there’s a lot more going on at BASIS Independent Brooklyn! If you haven’t already, you should check us out at one of our upcoming events and see for yourself what all the buzz is about.
AABL test scores, required for 2015 admission to NYC private school kindergarten at Horace Mann, Riverdale, Collegiate and Avenues, are coming in. NYC preschool directors and families are reporting AABL scores all over the map, with some surprised at children's doing poorly in specific AABL sections that they were thought to know well.
Children receive AABL percentile ranks and stanines in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and achievement sections early literacy, and mathematics. Reading the AABL score report, I was struck by its similarity to the ISEEs, the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) test required for admission to private middle and high school.
On its website, the ERB dispenses a bit of fluff: (italics mine)
The AABL, administered on an iPad, is fun for early childhood applicants and informative for schools. If your school is interested in using the AABL in your admissions process or participation as a research partner...please contact your ERB representative.
Some of my clients are reporting high AABL scores. These children are early readers and mathematicians, with precocious capabilities. Unfortunately, later bloomers, who may in a few years turn into excellent test takers once they learn to read and develop more academic skills, are at a significant disadvantage with this new test. Attending an academic vs. play-based preschool, playing iPad learning games and completing test prep drills all help the AABL test taker but hurt the preschooler who wants to spend her early years playing and engaging in more age appropriate and rewarding activities.
It remains to be seen what will happen with the AABL, the ERB's new preschool testing experiment. This test-making company has a lot riding on the test's being adopted by many private schools, and the schools can make their teaching easier by taking in kids who already have proven achievement in math and reading. Knowing current trends, I expect more schools will use the AABL test next year which unfortunately will increase stress for families. Unlike what the ERB says, the test is not "fun for early childhood applicants". Fun is running in the playground, people.
Almost every week Chinese and Korean educational consultants call me seeking to partner and place students from Asia in New York City private boarding school. I also often get calls from Russian families. So it is not surprising to me that Leman Meritas now runs a NYC boarding school catering to wealthy foreigners seeking an entree into American educational opportunities.
Inside Manhattan's First and Only Boarding School is an interesting account of life at Leman, which includes luxury housing, housekeeping, and a health club membership, for the cool price of $72,000 per year.
If you have memories of roughing it at boarding school, see Chang-Rae Lee's recent New Yorker essay, Immovable Feast. Phillips Exeter Academy in the 1980's was the polar opposite of 21st Century Leman Meritas.
Watch for Avenues to follow Leman into providing a New York City private boarding school, and I expect many other for-profit school companies to follow. Meanwhile in Westchester, Masters School and Hackley both offer boarding options.
I have helped many families whose children now attend Avenues.
Today I received this email from Soraya Díaz Tamayo, who is Director of Avenues School Admissions:
We have three admissions cycles:
Early admissions—sibling and employee applicants
Application deadline October 1 / File complete November 21 / Notification December 17 / Parent reply January 9
Early notification—first-choice applicants for all grades
Application deadline November 3* / File complete December 17 / Notification January 9 / Parent reply January 16
* We will accept early notification forms after this date provided the application has been submitted and all interviews and supporting materials are completed by December 17.
Regular notification—all applicants
Application deadline December 1 / File complete January 16 / Parent reply as per ISAAGNY dates
In addition to open admissions for typical entry grades – nursery, kindergarten, sixth and ninth – we have a limited number of openings in other grades for the 2015-2016 school year. All applications will be fully processed regardless of the notification cycle, though priority consideration will be given to early notification candidates. All regular notification applicants will be interviewed, including nursery, pre-K, K and 1 (Note: this is a change from an earlier communication). Applicants to grades 2–4 must demonstrate age-appropriate language proficiency in either Spanish or Chinese.
Change to Immersion Format
For the 2015–2016 school year, immersion instruction will go through the fourth grade. Our 50/50 immersion program is now on an alternating day schedule rather than a half-day schedule. Students spend one full day in their immersion classroom and the next full day in their English classroom. This has allowed us to recover about one hour of instructional time and reduced the number of transitions our students must manage.
I appreciate Avenues' transparency with their admissions process.
Miriam Kreinin Souccar of Crain's New York profiles the new school BASIS Brooklyn: It's Academic: Families Flock to Brooklyn for School.
BASIS Brooklyn features tuition that is half that of other NYC private schools, a diverse population, a rigorous science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, and Mandarin. I find that a large number of my Brooklyn clients, many with very varied backgrounds, are interested in applying to BASIS. For a school that opened only this September and is not yet housed in its permanent building, this is quite impressive.
In Souccar's article, I said:
Education consultants say these results are resonating. "Basis is hot," said Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, which coaches families on getting their children into top New York schools. "Its emphasis on [science, technology, engineering and math] is in line with parental desires today."
"There is such an overflow of affluent educated parents in Brooklyn who are looking for good private schools, and you really have just a handful," Ms. Glickman said.
Many Brooklyn parents are fed up by what they view as overly progressive, loosey-goosey schools that don't teach the three R's. BASIS Brooklyn, with its emphasis on STEM and academic structure, offers what many parents today want.
Apparently taking a cue from the Common App, numerous NYC private high schools, including Dalton, Grace Church and Trevor Day, have debuted the new ISAAGNY Common Essay. In 2014-2015, students can choose from common essay topics:
1) Describe the environment in which you live – your family, home, neighborhood, or community. How does it shape who you are?
2) If you could capture your life in just one snapshot, what would that photograph look like? Describe it and explain why you chose that image. You may include a photograph if you would like (you may mail or email your photo to the Admissions Office with your essay, or bring it to your interview).
3) Music spans time and culture. Explain how the lyrics of one of your favorite songs define you or your cultural experience.
4) If you could change any existing law, or if you could bring a new law into existence, what would it be
I think this is a smart direction for NYC private high schools. Too often, 8th grade applicants are caught in a crunch with too many private school essays to write in too short a time. Often I see sympathetic parents stepping in and getting overly involved helping students, either by editing and writing essays themselves, or by hiring English tutors to do the job. These actions send students the wrong message, and can be detrimental to their admissions chances. As a reader, it's irritating when an essay doesn't sound like a real 8th grader.
While I like that many NYC private high schools are sharing the ISAAGNY Common Essay, I am not keen on the questions, which are needlessly highfalutin and difficult. Can you describe your life in a snapshot? Or your cultural experience in music lyrics? It's not easy for a 13-year-old, either. I am not sure what value this exercise brings to an admissions decision.
I am working now with my clients applying to NYC private high school to help them best approach the new ISAAGNY Common Essay.