Almost two years ago we reported on the number of students invited to the Full Day Kaleidoscope (gifted and talented program) by building in “South End Schools Shortchanged Again-Kaleidoscope Program.” We decided to re-visit the topic to see if the opportunities to participate in this program had improved for children attending South End schools. This year, a total of 65 students from all elementary schools were invited to the Full Day Kaleidoscope program hosted at Webster Elementary School.
The number of third grade students from each school invited to participate in the 2010-2011 Full Day Kaleidoscope is as follow:
North End Schools
South End Schools
In order to automatically qualify for one of the 30 full day slots in the Kaleidoscope program, a student must meet 3 out of 5 “entry windows.” Each “entry windows” is described in the letter Dr. Korostoff, Assistant Superintendent of Schools sent out to third grade students. It is interesting to note that 3 out of the 5 (ELA, Math and writing sample) windows are instructionally dependent. How students perform, is a direct result of the quality of the instruction they received. The windows do not measure raw intelligence. They also do not measure “gift” or “talent.” This further accentuates the point that as students progress through the South End schools, the further they fall behind and the achievement gap widens. It does not matter how intelligent they may be and the potential they may possess, these windows in a sense remain locked for the children attending South End schools.
Sources tell us that at least 4 out of the 5 students from Trinity came from one particular class. It is our further understanding, that none of these students met more than 2 entry windows. As a result, the only option for the students who met only 2 windows, was to try their luck in the lottery. It is also our understanding that none of the Trinity children made the lottery and therefore will not be able to participate in the Full Day Kaleidoscope program, effectively shutting out the children of 2 of the 3 South End schools from the program. The representation is so skewed, that it is hard to believe that these children are from the same school district. Trinity is the second largest elementary school in New Rochelle after Ward. One could conclude that the kids at Trinity are simply not as “smart” as the children of the North End Schools. Or perhaps the education at Trinity is subpar and not geared to excelling in these windows. An even more sinister conclusion is that, it is a systemic problem that no one at Central Administration or the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle has any desire or inclination to address.
During the short time Talk of the Sound has been up, there has been numerous examples of how residents and taxpayers with children attending the same school system are not afforded the same access to educational opportunities or resources.
For the benefit of those readers who are new to Talk of the Sound, we decided to highlight other examples of how children attending South End schools are being shortchanged. Here are a few:
Talk of the Sound Report: The North-South Divide in New Rochelle Public Schools
The following report is the result of more than a year of research and observing the school board in action. I hope you will read this presentation and share it with your friends, neighbors and, for those of you with children in South End schools, your fellow parents. I hope you will be as disturbed to read this report as I was in preparing it. I welcome your comments and feedback below.
New Ro HS Graduation Rate is 66% or less
Most of the kids who are not graduating are from the South End (hence the district's desire to suppress the Smith Report).
New Rochelle School Cafeterias Ranked Worst in Westchester: Ants, Roaches, Rats and Flies
It will come as little surprise to those concerned with the so-called "North-South Divide" that 11 of the 14 (79%) "Unacceptable" Inspections were for schools attended primarily by students from the South End and the three worst schools were all schools primarily attended by students from the South End. Also, that the worst elementary school is a South End school or that the worst middle school is a South End School or that of the "Unacceptable" Inspections for "neighborhood" elementary schools 6 of the 8 (75%) were from South End schools.
How does this translate into opportunities for enrichment at the middle school and eligibility for advance placement at New Rochelle High School? What does it mean for graduation rates? All throughout the nation, there is a body of research that demonstrates that long time excuses of blaming families, students and environmental factors for student failure are no longer acceptable. Circumstances play a role, but do not need to determine the outcome, particularly in a place like New Rochelle.