Getting Into an NYC High School Part 1: A Preview to the Process

You’ve already signed him up for the Specialty High School exam, right?”

Kristen and I looked at each other.

“No,” we answered simultaneously.

“Is it too late?” I asked, the blood draining from my head.

“To sign up it is,” she said shifting her gaze from us to the spreadsheet on the table. At that moment, I was sure she was judging us. Alejandro had just entered seventh grade and we had already failed. He wouldn’t get into one of NYC’s elite public high schools, which meant he would not get into a great college. I asked myself why I didn’t know about this exam.

“He’s in eighth grade, right?”

“No,” Kristen answered. “He just entered seventh.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the coach smiled. “I usually don’t meet with parents until the beginning of eighth grade. You are OK. You’re actually way ahead of the game.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, calming myself. I hadn’t failed. Alejandro still had a chance. We just had to learn to play The Game and this was the first move. The Game of getting our child into a New York City public high school had officially begun, two years before ninth grade, one year before he would have to choose a school.


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