New School for Gifted-Only Students Opens, Tuition Tops $28K

Filed under: In The News

A group of high-powered New York mothers banded together to create a new school for gifted students at a time when seats for academically-advanced kids are few and far between in the city's public schools.

The Speyer Legacy School opened this fall in rented space and currently has 26 students in grades K-2, according to The New York Times. The founder-moms include Kelly Posner Gerstenhauber, a professor at Columbia University, and Malena Belafonte, daughter-in-law of singer Harry Belafonte.

The move comes at a time when New York's best public schools for gifted kids are struggling to offer enough space. Last year, according to The Times, 14,822 4-year-olds tested for admission to the city's gifted kindergarten programs, an increase of more than 2,000 over the previous year. However, the number of spaces available -- 395 -- is nowhere near enough for the 4,576 kids who qualified.Speyer Legacy doesn't come cheap -- tuition is set at $28,500 a year, and the school is currently offering financial aid to 11 of its students. Ten of those students, according to the story, are minorities. Headmistress Connie Williams Coulianos told The Times that the school has already received applications for next fall and that plans are in the works to expand.

Just what are the admission requirements? The school looks at reports from preschool teachers, asks applicants to participate in a sample class, and also looks at test scores, although admission is not dependent on hard numbers alone.

"We do not want to be dictated to by tests," Coulianos, who was previously the director of Hollingworth Preschool, told The Times. "It's our belief that not all children test well, and the assessments do not pick up all gifted children."

How much would you pay to send your gifted child to a school just for academic superstars?

Related: Nannies Get Degrees

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