DREAM-SHSI

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York, which are believed to be the most selective and academically rigorous in the city. Entrance to eight of them is based on results of the SHSAT, 

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York, which are believed to be the most selective and academically rigorous in the city. Entrance to eight of them is based on results of the SHSAT, 

 

There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City, believed to be among the most selective and academically rigorous public high schools in the City. For eight of these schools, admission is based solely on the score attained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). In the 2011-12 school year, 74.3% of high school students citywide qualified for Title 1 Free Lunch status, yet these students represented just 54.6% of student enrollment at the eight testing schools.

To increase the number of economically disadvantaged public school students (as defined by Title 1 Free Lunch Status) who receive an offer of admission, enroll, and succeed in one of NYC’s tested Specialized High Schools, the DOE, with the support of The Fund, created DREAM-SHSI . By increasing the number of these students in specialized high schools, the DOE would increase the diversity of students attending these schools and possibly increase the likelihood of more economically disadvantaged students obtaining a college degree.

Designed and managed by the DOE’s Office of Equity and Access, DREAM-SHSI launched as a pilot program in the 2012-2013 school year, serving 841 students from all five boroughs. After the program showed positive results in its pilot year, private support helped expand and deepen the program, with the aim of serving 2,900 students each year for two years.

The 22-month extracurricular program consisted of rigorous coursework intended to assist eligible NYC public school students with preparation for the SHSAT. Students selected for the program had to apply, as well as meet certain eligibility requirements. DREAM-SHSI coursework emphasized verbal and math skills, problem-solving, critical analysis, time management, and test-taking strategies specific to the SHSAT. At all 20 program sites, which were located at middle schools throughout the city in all five boroughs. Student coursework was based on curriculum which focused on Common Core “anchor” standards that students need to master for the classroom or for SHSAT test performance. Parents were continuously informed about their child’s academic and social-emotional development in the program, and individual counseling sessions with students and families were provided as needed.  

Among the increasingly positive measures in DREAM-SHSI were attendance rates and SHS enrollment. Based on these promising results, the DOE committed to continue the program for 2,900 Title 1 Free Lunch Status students. And to further the original goal of increasing diversity in the City’s SHS, the DOE has also launched the DREAM Intensive, which has the capacity to serve an additional 500 students. The Dream Intensive targets geographic diversity, so students need not be Title I to be eligible, but must live or attend school in one of the 15 districts that send the smallest percentage of students to the Specialized High Schools.