Brooklyn Families Adjust to Middle School Admissions Process
Applying to a school, any school, can be daunting to both parent and child. Grades, tests, attendance records, interviews, all factors that can determine a child’s trajectory. Or do they?
Following approval of a diversity plan that has done away with all of the above, School District 15 is instead asking, “what will this do to help diversity?” And the answer they’ve found is: a lot, actually. School District 15, where the plan is taking affect, encompasses Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, and Red Hook, and has a tremendous amount of diversity, though that isn’t represented in the classroom. This plan hopes to change that.
What this means for parents across School District 15 is that any school is now fair game for their child. For some, this is a first. Schools that previously were out of reach can now seriously be considered and pursued. School tours suddenly have a wide range of parents attending, breaking years of de facto segregation. As one white mom noted, “The fact that they’re going to befriend people that they would maybe never run in the same social circle with, that’s how you start to like not make things based on stereotypes so I think it’s huge. I think it’s great,” after touring the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies in Carroll Gardens.
The Department of Education is also getting involved, doing their best to spread the word to all parents about the new process and how best to take advantage of the new structure. “We’ve prioritized communicating the range of high-quality options available to students and families in District 15,” said Doug Cohen, “including calling every fifth-grade family, hosting new admissions fairs for families in multiple languages, and distributing new fact sheets in multiple languages to all [district] elementary schools.”
Following a similar plan in lower Manhattan, the goal is “…having proportional representation across every school,” Matt Gonzales of New York Appleseed said, adding that he’s hopeful to see results in the coming years.
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