• MLK Day 2021 - Update for Students & Families

    Please see Principal Lynch's MLK Day 2021 - Update for Students & Families.

  • eNotes - 1.13.2021

    Please see this week's issue of eNotes - 1.13.2021

  • Community Update - 1.13.2021

    Please see our Principal's Community Update regarding news of the G&T test.

    January 13, 2020

    Dear NEST+m Community,

    I hope you are all well. I am writing today to share some thoughts on the Chancellor’s tweet last night announcing that this is the last year the G&T test will be administered. There has been no communication to us from the Department of Education about this policy change, nor were we asked to weigh in as stakeholders, so I can only share with you today what I think and hope as your Principal.

    Every child deserves an education that meets their intellectual and social-emotional needs. NEST+m, through a commitment to accelerated, enriching, deep learning, is designed to meet the needs of students who require a creative, above-grade-level curriculum to thrive. Every child who needs this unique type of programming should have access to it. As your principal, I promise that whatever changes to admissions are made outside of the school, your children will continue to engage in accelerated learning designed to meet the needs of gifted students.

    While the lack of details about any new programs and processes, and the manner in which this announcement was made was upsetting, the announcement itself does NOT to me signal the end of Gifted & Talented programming, nor the end of our school. NEST+m was founded as a school for gifted learners before the G&T test, and we will persevere through the changes and challenges that spring up around us, guided by our mission, vision, and commitment to our students.

    I also want to acknowledge that the underlying reason why this change was made is something we can all agree needs addressing. Every child is hurt by racial isolation and segregation. We know that gifted students come from every racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic group. Yet, every year we see very few Black and Latinx students admitted to our school through the gifted and talented testing process. We know that New York City is filled with exceptionally gifted Black and Latinx students, and we know that fact is not reflected in the demographics of our school or in other gifted programs across our city. A tool that systematically fails to identify the brilliance of Black and Latinx children is broken.

    We hear from our students how painful it is at times to be the only Black or Latinx student in a classroom; to not see yourself in the faces of your peers, teachers, or curriculum. In addition to our full staff professional learning focus on anti-bias/antiracist teaching, students, teachers, and administrators on the NEST+m Antiracism council have been meeting regularly to discuss what steps we can take to ensure that our school reflects the diversity of our city- we agree that this is urgent.

    We must have a school that meets the needs of students with exceptional aptitude, and that reflects the rich diversity of New York City- I know this is possible. So while I have serious concerns about the lack of details in the Chancellor’s announcement, the absence of community engagement before making this decision, and the very rushed timeline of this potential change which must be addressed, I choose today to also look for the opportunities in this announcement. I look forward to working with our community and with the DOE on creating systems that equitably identify students with exceptionally high aptitude, and to ensuring we have programming that meets the intellectual and social-emotional needs of all gifted learners.

    In the Chancellor’s tweet, he expressed a commitment to programming that is “more inclusive, enriching, and truly supports the needs of academically advanced students.” I hope that in line with national standards and research into the needs of gifted students, this will mean a commitment to:

    • Professional learning for all 3k - 12 teachers on the learning and developmental needs of gifted students

    • Universal training for all 3k - 12 teachers on identifying gifted students in their classrooms

    • Research-based processes that use multiple measures to identify students in need of special services or programs, including twice-exceptional students

    • Evidence-based, advanced curriculum for all student in need of acceleration and enrichment, and time and training for all teachers to learn such curriculum

    • A continued commitment to culturally responsive teaching and learning

    • A commitment to providing a continuum of services for all gifted learners, including specialized programming and services to meet the needs of students with exceptionally high aptitude

    • Support and strategies for parents to help them understand and support the intellectual and social-emotional needs of their gifted children

    I know this announcement has caused anxiety and upset in our community, and it has raised many unanswered questions; I will share updates with you as I receive them. Please rest assured that we are committed to honoring our core values of intellectualism, inclusivity, collaboration, and exploration by providing enriching, nurturing, responsive, accelerated programming to our students and to ensuring that all students who need a school like NEST+m have access to one.

    Meaghan Lynch

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