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The secret to getting into City Honors

Want to know how to get your kid into City Honors?

City Honors I'll tell you, but you have to promise to tell at least three other people.

The first step is that your kid has to take the admissions test. But before he or she can take the test, you have to know when and where it is.

Good luck getting that information.

If you look on the district website and scroll down a bit, you'll see a link for "Open House and Testing Schedules."

Click on the link, and you get to a page that supposedly has all the info you need.

What you actually get is a screenshot of a page that lists all the times and dates for open houses and admissions tests. Here it is, in the actual size it is displayed on that page:

BPS testing dates
It measures 3 inches by 3.5 inches. Let me know if you can read it. I tried squinting, crossing my eyes, standing on my head and a bunch of other things. I could decipher enough to tell that something is happening on Oct. 1 (which is Saturday), at both City Honors and Olmsted.

So I checked the district's online calendar.

For Oct. 1, there's a listing for the Olmsted High School, grades 9-12, admissions testing at 8 a.m. that day: "Admissions testing will take place at City Honors School due to the renovations currently underway at Olmsted H.S."

Curiously, there's not even a mention of the fact that testing is also being given that day for admission to City Honors.

Now, I wouldn't want to speculate as to why this information is basically impossible to find on the district's website.

But I will say that it is exactly this sort of scarcity of readily available information that leaves many parents with the impression -- be it warranted or not -- that the district is not user-friendly (at best), or actively trying to keep certain information from getting out to the general public, so as to limit access to the top-tier schools to just those who are "in the know."

Luckily, the City Honors website is more helpful. A section of that website lays out details on admissions tests for City Honors (as well as Olmsted High School).

Here's the skinny:

For students who would be entering ninth grade next year, testing is at 8 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) at City Honors, 186 E. North St. According to the school's website, students "do not need to register or apply ahead of time to take the test."

Keep in mind, though, that City Honors parents will tell you that you should make sure you arrive plenty early.

Admissions tests are also given at 8 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) at City Honors for next year's grades 9-12 at Olmsted.

Additionally, other admissions tests also will be given over the next few weeks at City Honors, 186 E. North St.

Specifically, for:

- Next year's fifth grade at City Honors: 8 a.m. Oct. 15

- Next year's grades 6-8 at City Honors: 8 a.m. Oct. 22

- Call back for students invited to write an essay for City Honors admission: Nov. 5

- Next year's grade 5 at Olmsted: 8 a.m. Oct. 15

- Next year's grades 6-8 at Olmsted: 8 a.m. Oct. 22

- Call back for test of creativity at Olmsted: Nov. 5

There is also an open house scheduled for City Honors from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 19.

I'll be posting information on the admissions process to other schools in the district, just as soon as I finish squinting hard enough to make it out.

- Mary Pasciak

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