School diversity the goal of Brooklyn district’s new admissions process for middle-schoolers

Half of incoming sixth-grade seats will be reserved for low-income, English learners or those in temporary housing.

City officials have approved a plan to boost middle school diversity in one Brooklyn district by eliminating screening for grades and test scores and setting aside more than half of sixth-grade seats to low-income students, English Language Learners and students who live in temporary housing.

This is part of a larger effort to better integrate New York City schools, which are among the most segregated in the nation.

“The research is clear — integrated schools benefit all students,” New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement released Thursday. “There’s a groundswell of support from parents, educators, and students across the city, and today, we’re taking a real step toward integration in District 15 and citywide.

Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed the plan, which begins in fall 2019, during a visit to Middle School 51 on Thursday. It was created with the help of parents, teachers and community members in the district.

District 15 includes Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Kensington, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Windsor Terrace.

The changes mean middle schools in the district will no longer use grades, test scores and attendance when considering an incoming sixth grader’s school application.

Officials said the city has pledged to spend $500,000 to help schools with these admission changes. In addition, the city has set up a $2 million grant program available to communities that want to develop diversity plans in their own school districts.