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NEW YORK (PIX11) — One month before the application deadline, the Department of Education unveiled a new admission system for competitive high schools across New York City.

The DOE’s new system is an effort to boost equity in nearly 400 high schools; 107 schools use academic screeners. Eighth graders have until March 1 to submit an application listing up to 12 high schools or special programs of their choice in order of preference.

For students applying to any programs with a screened admissions method, their highest grades in four courses — English, math, social studies and science will be used.

Parents who spoke with PIX11 News find the process stressful, especially coming off of a pandemic. They also say they were caught off guard by the change in admissions less than a month away from the deadline to apply for these competitive schools.

“Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks are committed to bolstering access, and our admissions process for screened high schools will expand opportunity for all students,” a DOE spokesperson said. “We know applying to high school is a pivotal moment for our students, and these updates center on students’ strengths from the past two years. We have a wealth of information available to support families as they apply, and parents with any questions can contact their school counselor, a Family Welcome Center, ​email or call us for support.”

The city’s education chair, Brooklyn Councilmember Rita Joseph, is calling on the Department of Education to include parent input when making decisions moving forward.