The New York City Department of Education accepted 989 current eighth grade students to attend Stuyvesant High School in the fall. Of these 989 students, 885 confirmed that they will be attending Stuyvesant.
Students residing in New York City received the results of their performance on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) from their middle school guidance counselors or via mail on Thursday, February 4 and Friday, February 5. The letters indicating their choice of school were to be returned by Thursday, February 26.
New York City has seven specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant. Scores on the SHSAT determine admission to these schools. The competition is tough, as, on average, more than 28,000 students compete for fewer than 6,000 seats.
This year, an estimated 29,000 eighth graders all around New York City took the SHSAT, which was administered on Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26.
“Just so you understand, with the class of 2012, we actually sent out 1,003 letters and 84 percent said yes,” Teitel said. “I have no way of knowing how many will say yes [this year], but if the number is the same, percentage-wise, we’ll end up with less students.” “I’m expecting a class size of about what we have in the [current] freshman grade, which is 842 students,” Teitel said.
However, Teitel was mistaken in his prediction as 885 students accepted the invitation to attend Stuyvesant High School, 43 students more than in the previous year. Students voiced their concerns over the increased class size.
“I already feel that the school is crowded, so I don’t see how they’re going to fit all the students if they keep making the classes larger every year,” freshman Josiah Mercer said. “With this increase, class sizes will be too large,” freshman Melissa Chan said. “If this increase continues, teachers aren’t going to be able to give enough of their expertise to all those students.”
Teitel acknowledged that the present economic struggle “might have had some effect” on the class size of 2013. Stuyvesant usually accepts a large number of students, but a substantial number of them opt for costly private schools instead. According to Teitel, this year, more students may have chosen to attend the public Stuyvesant High School because of the current economic recession.
“I recognize that the city is pressed for money, but this doesn’t help the school and it doesn’t help them,” junior Allegra Wiprud said. “With so many kids, it’s going to be harder to have good teachers and enough resources to go around.”
“My initial reaction is to note that I’m not surprised and that this trend has been happening for a while,” English teacher Jonathan Weil said.
“However, I do have some concerns on two levels,” Weil said. “One would be there’s a space issue that is already problematic in this building, in terms of classroom space and not having overcrowded classrooms [...] The other thing that I would say concerns me as a teacher is that it gets a little bit harder to provide the services to students that we want to provide.”
A problem with the classroom availability is anticipated with a larger class size. “We’d like to have pretty much everybody here by second period,” Teitel said. “We may be forced to let some students start third just to increase space. I know there’s a small number that already do, but I might have to increase that number substantially. I won’t have classrooms to house everybody.”
“As professionals, we deal with the situations handed to us,” Weil said. “Dealing with these kinds of numbers makes it harder to find and take advantage of what Stuyvesant has to offer.”