more info about the high school process from behind the scenes

I got some feedback from the DOE about questions I/we had regarding specifics about the process. Heard back from them today and this is what I learned:

Honors/accelerated courses on high school applications

It’s up to middle schools to designate if a class is an HONORS class—there are DOE guidelines from the Office of Academic Policy as to what they are. 

SP classes aren’t automatically honors. 

Accelerated programs end in a regents exam. That column is on the application as it’s also used for 8th graders and they can have accelerated grades to record. 

It’s up to individual high schools on what they do with that information. There is zero standardization from the DOE about weighting or adding value based on honors or accelerated status.



These are coded by middle schools in RISA, the school year based, daily attendance report. Schools note absences, latenesses, excused absences. 

You can request to see what they’ve logged. 

If there’s been a mistake it can be corrected. 



This is the grading system middle schools use to compile data about students.

How it works

Information is sent by middle school from both RISA and STARS to the folks at high school enrollment. They pull data together and send it to principals (if a kid doesn’t meet an eligibility screen as noted in the high school directory, they’re not on that list). Principals then use those lists to rank students. They send their ranked lists back to the DOE and then the computer makes matches and offers. 


Some other things:

Yes, principals know what middle schools kids come from.

No, there’s not standardization in ranking by principals.

No, main round schools have NO IDEA if your child took the SHSAT or auditioned at LaGuardia unless your child shares that an an interview or in a written piece. 

If you lived in a zoned school area AND you put it on your application, you will get a spot if not accepted by any other main round schools. You WILL NOT automatically get a spot if it’s not on your application (note: Manhattan has no zoned high schools).

They did not have a list of G&T schools, but will try to get one. 


Apparently guidance counselors have access to a document that’s regularly updated about any changes in admissions criteria (like the NEST test ditch). If they’re not already, you can ask if they’ve got any info. 


The DOE put together an presentation for guidance counselors to share with families this year. Did your school share it with you?











elissa stein l l nyc