We have been 111 from K-2nd now and the school has improved immensely (my son scored a 96). But this year when my 5 year old scored a 99, I decided to visit Anderson, TaG, and NEST+M. After visiting the other programs, I was quite surprised to discover that the academics at 111 are right in line with the work I saw at all three city-wides in the 2nd grade level. I felt that the writing of students at NEST was actually a bit below the level of work I see from the 2nd grade G&T at 111. Also, my son (because the school moved him up to 4th grade gifted math) is completing math curriculum at a level higher than what I saw at Anderson for 2nd grade. Overall, I have to admit that after visiting these city-wide programs, I actually liked 111 a lot more than I did previously. We ended up just applying to 111 and not the citywide programs.
Here are my overall impressions:
Lots of wonderful extra programs
Very small classrooms (half the size of those at 111 & lots of kids stuffed in the class.
Too much clutter/ papers everywhere, hanging from the ceiling.
Overall, classrooms feel very small and cluttered.
I felt that the academics are very high here but I also got the feeling that the administration is not rum well. The office are looked disorganized. The biggest negative about this school (for us) is the lack of choice/play time for Kindergartners. It's pretty much standard that K's get one period of choice time per day, usually at the end of the day. At TaG, the only have choice time at the end of the day on Fridays. This was very concerning and heavily factored in to why we did not apply to this school. I agree with others that even in Kindergarten, the atmosphere was heads down, quiet, and busy working. I was really hoping that this school had more engagement and hands on learning activities in Kindergarten. That said, I think it's a better option for upper grade levels. The student tour guides seem very bright and well educated.
This was my favorite of all three city-wides I visited. This school seems very well rounded and I would love for my child to attend this school but ultimately we decided that the commute would be far & time consuming for our 5 year old.
From K-2, I see equivalent work from 111 students in comparison to the three city-wides I visited. But, I would like to see higher quality math and science instruction at our school.
111 has a beautiful campus, brand new school yard and playground. Spacious classrooms and smaller class sizes. Second grade G&T only has 16 students. This year, they expect Kindergarten G&T to fill (7 out of 15 students in my son's Pre-K class alone qualified for G&T). But, the rumor is that if K G&T fills/overfills this year, they will add a second G&T Kindergarten. This means that if you accept a seat here that you are likely to be in a class of less than 20 students.
I think our school doesn't "sell" itself well at the tours. We have many great programs at the school including free after-school music instruction (wind instruments), chess, a general after-school program, studio in a school, after-school dance, Might Milers (track), Read Ahead, puppetry, in-school swimming, Eco club, there are plans to start a math club and a science club next year. I'm sure I'm also missing a bunch of programs that I didn't think of right now
A huge plus at 111 is that they are willing to move your child up to the next grade level (by subject) if your child is exceeding standards. For example, this year my 2nd grader is in the 4th grade G&T math class.
I also love how diverse the population is at 111!
What I wish was better:
We still are in great need of more parents to be active in the PTA.
I wish that this school had a math team and took part in competitions for math, science, spelling, etc.
We could really use a makeover of the library.
The school has enormously improved communication this year, but they can still do better particularly when it comes to individual teachers. Some teachers provide amazing & thorough communication, while others provide very little.
I wish we had more staff to assist the classrooms and to monitor recess (in most public schools this is paid for by the PTA)
I also wish we had an alternative organic lunch program
MomToBoys, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I listed ps111 on our application but it was the only G & T we didn't tour (the open house school schedule was so packed). Your info is definitely more detailed than the school would have given us on a tour. I particularly like the after school activities and the in school swimming. Just curious, do they have a swimming pool in the school? It sounds like you are quite happy at ps111 and your kids are thriving there.
Are there any other parents with kids currently in G & T classes at PS 130 and PS 111? Please share your experience. And PS 124 in Chinatown? Seems like there are no parents on this board with kids there.