View Full Version : All NYC Speyer Legacy School for 'Gifted' Is Aiming Higher

02-12-2013, 10:27 AM
From WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323696404578298361459606272.html) by Sophia Hollander:

Speyer Legacy has a lofty mission: It bills itself as New York City's only private school exclusively for gifted children. But despite the built-in appeal for striving parents and their high-achieving children, the four-year-old school has yet to and establish itself as a top choice for the city's most elite students.

Speyer now hopes to change that. It is undergoing a significant expansion and has hired Randall Collins, the director at the Hunter College Campus Schools—Manhattan's highly-regarded publicly funded K-12 schools for gifted children—to oversee the transition.

At the same time, the school is plunging into one of pedagogy's murkiest realms: what a "gifted education" really means.

"We clearly have no consensus," said James Borland, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University specializing in gifted education.

That hasn't stopped parents from pursuing it. Last year, nearly 5,000 city children qualified for a spot in a public gifted and talented kindergarten program, despite only 400 spots in the city's five top programs. Hunter College Campus Elementary school routinely whittles down more than 1,000 applicants to 50 kindergarten spots.

"There's a lot of bright children in New York and there are not enough schools that teach to this group," said private schools consultant Emily Glickman.

Speyer's definition of gifted relies less on test scores than on intellectual curiosity and quick, open minds, administrators say, an ethos they hope their new school building will embody. The move will also provide new credibility in a competitive private school landscape, as the school enters a critical period. Over the next few years, Speyer will seek to join the Independent Schools Admissions Association of New York, expand by three additional grades and become a national voice on gifted education.

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