Sixth graders on pins & needles waiting on DOE - Area families await middle-school admission letters

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The wait is almost over for parents of District 15 students.

Children hoping to attend middle schools in the district, which encompasses Red Hook, Park Slope and Sunset Park, have been anxiously awaiting admission letters, which are expected to arrive at the end of this month.

“We said we will have the notifications out in May,” Sandy Ferguson, the city Department of Education’s executive director of middle school admissions, explained at a meeting of District 15’s Community Education Council (CEC) at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens.

“We’re closing things out,” he continued. “I think that it will be the last few days of May that we will mail these out.”

The wait has been nerve-wracking for prospective sixth-graders and their parents, who want to finalize their September plans.

“As this drags out, it seems like the anxiety of parents and children has increased each day we don’t receive a letter,” said Anna Brackett, whose daughter is a fifth-grader at P.S. 146 in Carroll Gardens.

In the future, the DOE wants to speed up the admissions process so acceptance letters are mailed home in a timely manner.

“I have gotten feedback [from parents] and it has been registered that people would like earlier notificati­on,” Ferguson said.

“At least a month earlier is what I’d like to do,” he added.

However, he did ask parents to be patient, as the enrollment process is complicated and involves numerous schools and thousands of students.

“It does take us some time,” he said.

After parents receive acceptance letters, there will be an appeals process for students unhappy with their assigned schools.

But Ferguson warned that reassignments will only be given in cases of “legitimate” health or travel issues.

He noted that even those changes will be limited, as the district’s most popular schools will likely have no remaining space for additional sixth-graders.

“[M.S.] 447 and 51 don’t have more seats for kids,” he said.

The District 15 schools that have often received the most applications are the Upper Carroll School, Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, New Voices School for Academic and Creative Arts, Sunset Park Prep, and M.S. 51.

Updated 3:46 pm, October 19, 2011
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