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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

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | [email protected]


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | [email protected]


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | [email protected]


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | [email protected]

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