Kids with IEPs/504s get additional testing time when they take the SHSAT, but that is the only accommodation. There isn’t a separate pool, there aren’t seats held aside. ALL tests are grouped together and ALL offers are made ONLY based on test result. I actually corrected someone on the CEC this week (community education council) who insisted that all schools are mandated to hold seats for students with disabilities. They didn’t know the specialized schools are exempt.
But here’s the deal: if your kid with an IEP earns a seat, make sure the school can accommodate their needs. I’ve heard it’s challenging to get services at specialized schools. Since they’re not mandated to save seats, the aren’t heavily invested in support. I know there’s extra time available on tests once kids are in high school, but I’ve heard many families who’ve had to deal with setting up after school support, which makes for a very long day.
And some last minute reminders/suggestions for test day:
Eat before the test! These kids will be burning a lot of mental energy.
Thousands of kids are being testing. The lines to get in to the tests sites build up quickly. You might want to get there on the earlier side, before it feels like you’re at a standing room only concert. And if it makes your child more comfortable, have them wait with friends in line. They’ll be seat that way and a familiar face, both outside and in the building, can help.
NO CALCULATORS OR DIGITAL WATCHES.
NO CELL PHONES (although I know kids brought them in and made sure they were turned off and in the bottom of bags.
An analog watch can be helpful.
An extra sweatshirt might be smart to send along.
Water is ok. Snacks too but I’ve found they tend to complicate things. Keeping it simple often is the best route.
Make sure you know how you’re getting to the test site and that the subways you need are running if that’s how you’re traveling.
If you’re meeting your child afterwards, set up a meeting place in advance. Post test can be crazy.
Expect to have no idea how they’ll be when they come out. My daughter was super happy (although she left her favorite umbrella in a classroom and they wouldn’t let her go back to get it). Jack was relieved. I saw kids in tears, kids sort of shell shocked into quiet, some disappointed or angry because they felt they didn’t do well. My daughter and I went out to lunch afterwards with friends. My son ditched us to play basketball in Tribeca. Some kids won’t want to see you at all.
Some kids will have homework this weekend. I found that ridiculous but that’s how it goes.
Take care of yourself too. This process is intense and takes its toll on both kids and parents. They’ll be in the test but you’ll be waiting and waiting and waiting. I ended up chatting with friends both after the kids went in the building and before they came out. It helped to be with other people feeling the same things.
And watch out for the after effects of the test. This had a major build up and a lot is riding on it. As I mentioned before, Jack had a ceremonial dumping of all test materials, which gave him a sense of closure about all the work he’d done.
Sending all kids positive thoughts for a good test day and all parents some calm and relief.