Just in! The Department of Education has made significant changes to the middle school enrollment process this year. This year’s middle school application will open the week of January 11,2021. Public middle schools will not use academic records, auditions, or other screens or assessments to evaluate or admit students this year. Schools will maintain priority for students living in the district, because families across the city want to attend middle school closer to home. If a school has more applicants than available seats, offers will be made using a random lottery. In a small number of schools that have launched their own Diversity in Admissions pilots, they will admit priority groups of students first based on their school plans.

New York City is home to nearly 200 middle schools—40% of all middle schools—that “screen” students for admission using academic records, auditions, attendance, discipline records, special assessments, interviews, or other measures. They’ve historically used these academic and other records from a student’s fourth grade to determine if they’re suitable for entry to the school. The measures these screened schools traditionally relied on for making admissions decisions are no longer available during the pandemic. This is not the first time this approach has been implemented. Removing screens from middle schools has been successful in districts that have already begun this work, like in Brooklyn’s District 15.

You can get started here to learn more about the process, and MySchools.nyc to set up your MySchools account to be ready when the application period opens.

Families in District 13 can view the recording of the virtual District 13 middle school fair with all public middle schools in the District here.

New York Appleseed: “Victory at Last NYC SUSPENDS “SCREENS” FOR PUBLIC MIDDLE SCHOOLS! New York Appleseed hails today’s announcement by the New York City Department of Education suspending the practice of screening young children for access to public middle schools. This decision represents the culmination of over three years of strategic advocacy by Appleseed, Orrick, and IntegrateNYC. Middle-school screens purported to evaluate students on their academic performance and behavior in their first nine years of life. There is no other school district in the nation that uses exclusive admissions processes for middle schools as extensively as New York City. The predictable segregation and unequal access to educational opportunities represented a betrayal of the core promises of public education and acquiescence to our city and nation’s legacy of racial oppression. We are grateful for this leadership from Chancellor of Schools Richard Carranza.”

Photo: District 13 middle school principals and community members