Specialized High School Info Session Hosted by Assemblywoman Diana Richardson and AdmissionSquad, Inc.

On Saturday, February 24th at 2PM, AdmissionSquad and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson co-hosted a Specialized High School Information Session for families in Central Brooklyn and beyond. This event was designed for parents of 5th, 6th and 7th Graders in New York City! We also welcomed teachers, guidance counselors, principals, youth ministers, community youth leaders and anyone having an opportunity to impact the youth. Tai Abrams delivered a thorough workshop about the Admissions Test, preparatory programs, the use of the Student Handbook - and more. Topics Included the following:

  1. What are the specialized high schools?

  2. What parents need to know about the Specialized High School Admissions Test

  3. Programs Available to Help Students Prepare for the Specialized High School Admissions Test

There was also a panel including the CEO of AdmissionSquad (Tai Abrams), CEO of Khan’s Tutorial (Ivan Khan), the CEO of CAS Prep (Sam Adewumi), and current Stuyvesant High School students (Venus Naadi and Eugene Thomas). This world class panel helped to provide more details about what it truly takes to get into a Specialized High School and what opportunities are available to students once they gain admission.

Tai Abrams Presents Tips & Tricks for the SHSAT at the Bronx Library Center

Tai Abrams, Founder and CEO of AdmissionSquad speaks to an eager audience of 5th, 6th and 7th graders at the Bronx Library Center's very first Middle School College Fair. Students were so excited to learn about "Tips & Tricks for the SHSAT." Most importantly, Tai discussed the changes to the SHSAT and what students need to do to ensure they are prepared when they take the exam in 8th grade. As a Bronx Science alumni, Tai would like to see more students from the Bronx attend the boroughs top public high schools which happen to be Specialized High Schools; Bronx Science and American Studies at Lehman. With access to the right information and preparation, she believes that these students can be successful through the process. It is startling to know that very few Bronx students attend Bronx Science and American Studies at Lehman. AdmissionSquad is committed to changing these statistics so that all students, regardless of zip code, have access to a high quality education. Stay tuned for one of her future workshops.

News 12 Covers the 2017 AdmissionSquad Graduation



...shares more about the benefits of participating in her high school preparation program. Also, meet Jabari Legerton, a member of AdmissionSquad's class of 2017 who will be attending Stuyvesant High School starting Fall 2017. 

Here is the write-up from News 12.

Graduation held for students moving on to city’s top high schools

A nonprofit organization is celebrating the lives of some young adults whose lives it haschanged.

AdmissionSquad is an organization that helps students prepare for exams that allow them to get into top high schools and follow the path toward their dreams.

Thirty students are graduating from the program and moving on to New York City’s most elite high schools like Stuyvesant High School, High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, Brooklyn Tech and more.

Several students are also receiving scholarships to have the opportunity to attend the program next year.

The graduation ceremony focuses on celebrating the students and their accomplishments before they move on to the next step in their lives.

AdmissionSquad is not just exam prep, though. Students are also given mentors who went to the city’s top schools to provide them with insight from their own experiences.

Who Finds Out About Summer Test Prep Can Depend on Race

 Tai Abrams teaches students enrolled in the 2018 AdmissionSquad SHSAT summer boot camp hosted at PS 66, a Brooklyn middle school  Story by Beenish Ahmed, WNYC News

Tai Abrams teaches students enrolled in the 2018 AdmissionSquad SHSAT summer boot camp hosted at PS 66, a Brooklyn middle school

Story by Beenish Ahmed, WNYC News

Cecily Robinson teaches two different groups of students in two different academic settings.

She teaches primarily black and Latino students she teaches at a charter school in the Bronx during the academic year and primarily Asian students at an enrichment center, A+ Academy, during the summer. Robinson has found that there’s a huge divide when it comes to information about the test that determines admission to specialized high schools — and that it seems to fall along racial lines.  

“Students here, they already know what specialized high school they want to go to. It’s like no option — it’s like my sister went to this specialized high school, my cousin,” Robinson said. “They have examples of who went there.”

That isn’t the case among her students in the Bronx.

“Can it be done? Can my kids, and I say my kids, have the same achievements? Yes. But it’s knowing where to start.”

Tai Abrams operates a company called Admission Squad whose mission is to get more African-American raise the low numbers of black students who get into specialized high schools. Abrams credited her alma mater, Bronx Science, with paving the way for her to Duke University and then to Wall Street.

She said specialized high schools were often a ticket to good colleges and careers but she thought not enough black alumni  share their experiences with their wider communities.

“Once a family has successfully navigated the process, each family has to find it out for themselves all over again,” she said.

Abrams began offering test prep in 2011 and heard many students tell her they didn’t know about the specialized high school admissions process.

Seven years later, she said, not much has changed.

”‘Oh man, I didn’t know!’ And I’m like how are you guys still not knowing? It doesn’t make sense. It’s all over the news. So there is a gap there.”

The gap extended beyond the disparities in the education system which sees more black students attending lower-performing schools to include what students might face at home, like for example, single-parent homes.

“When you have one person having to go to work, who is that person that’s able to go to PTA meetings, show up in school, get the information needed?” Abrams asked. Unless a grandparent or another adult can step in, single parent families are at a disadvantage when it comes to navigating the complex process of high school admissions, which can require not just tests but also school tours, auditions and interviews.  

Abrams said most of the students in Admission Squad’s summer program came from two-parent homes.

“If it wasn’t for having a dual-income household, I would not be able to afford it at all,” said Auressa Simmons who enrolled her daughter Anaiyah.

On top of the tuition for the summer program, she and her husband pay for a van share that takes Anaiyah to her summer classes.

In contrast, Melissa Doyle is just tuning into the high-school admissions process for her eighth-grade son. She attended a recent session in the Bronx about the specialized high schools.

“I didn’t even know  that they had to take the, what is it, the S-H-S-A-T test,” Doyle said. If her son decides to take the entrance exam in October, he’ll be competing against students who spent years preparing for it.