stuyvesant open house thoughts

Posts circulating about the Stuy open houses: I'm putting them together in this post for easier reference.

This, from a parent at the open house this week:

So the Stuyvesant Open House went from 5-8pm.  I got there with a bunch of other moms (and some brought their 7th graders), very early, and we were right up towards the front of the line.  As they let us in, students were in a line, cheering and applauding us as we all streamed into the auditorium.  There probably was about 800-900pp there.  There was a Brief slide show, some inspirational words by the Principal / Asst/ Principal / Parent Coordinator, then 3 senior students spoke.   Then ALL of us herded out into the hallway,a nd divided up into smaller student guide-led groups.  

Our group had about 20pp in it (kindof too many...).   Our guide was FABULOUS.  We covered all 10 floors, she answered masses of questions, and showed us EVERYTHING.   Occasionally a student in the group would ask a fairly lame question, many of which were on the website, or could've been figured out by reading the DOE information (i.e.   Do you only have to take the SHSAT to get into Stuy?   Are they other essays or interviews you do?)  but we all pressed on, figuring that student was only in 7th grade and hadn't figured it all out yet, (and all secretly thinking well SHE'LL never get in if she can't figure that out!).  There were Stuy student guides leading groups all over the place.  We frequently were squished into crowded hallways.  It would be helpful if someone told the guides to have their groups keep to the right (or something!) so we could all transverse the hallways more easily.   We mostly took the stairs, as the escalators and elevators were so crowded.   Our poor guide had to holler much of the time, but was very soft spoken so it was hard for her, and hard for us to hear.   (It was prudent to stick right next to her, in order to hear her and be able to ask questions.)   Sometimes it was hard to keep our group together, so I occasionally hollered "**'s group, we're going this way, through that door!"  (I've worked with many large events and in the theatre, so can project in large crowds...).   Having the guides wave little pennants, or carry mini-megaphones would've been helpful...

I wanted to know if my kid could take AP classes earlier on (rather than as a junior or senior) if he was at that level, and never got a straight answer on that one from anyone.   (He's already taking college-level math and computer coding courses).  It did sound as though the honors and AP classes were based on a grade point average, so maybe its possible.   There were some kids from ARISTA, which is the Stuy branch of the national Honor Society, but they really just mentored other kids, it wasn't as though that provided them access to other classes or such.

At any rate, it looked GREAT.  The theatre was huge and state of the art, the classrooms/labs fully fitted out, vast array of classes, over 100 clubs.   The student-run newspaper was awesome and the girls running it truly powerhouses.   Every student I met loved the school (though DUH, they wouldn't have kids who DIDN'T like it acting as guides...), and all of we parents walked away very impressed.   Someone asked what was the cutoff score on the SHSAT (though obviously it changes every year), and our guide said don't quote me on this, but I think it is around 570.   Very impressive overall.

From another parent:

My husband reported lots of talk about the homework load, tests, AP course loads, getting into "the best" colleges. Lots of suggestions on how to find community. No English classes in 9th grade other than freshman composition. The student guide told parents,  "rumors of rampant Adderall abuse are exaggerated."

A couple more thoughts (from me:

Check out the time capsules embedded in the ways. I thought that was fabulous. Also, the escalators weren’t working when I was there last and we got so overwhelmed at a certain point Jack and I tried hard to ditch the tour but the hallways were so crowded we couldn’t pull it off. 

And recently there have been issues with how many AP classes kids could take:

http://www.stuyspec.com/opinion/ap-another-problem

With a new principal this year it’ll be interesting to see if things change or stay the same.