East Side Middle School, also known as “ESMS” or “MS114,” is a highly sought after middle school located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The school itself is one of the top-ranked middle schools in NYC, and ESMS screens students for admission.
Read on to learn more about the East Side Middle School’s admission process, including the entrance exam and interview. This will help you determine whether ESMS might be a good environment for your family.
ESMS (MS114) Overview
ESMS is a screened District 2 school in Manhattan. The school itself serves students from sixth through eighth grade and has expanded from 350 to approximately 440 students to date. ESMS used to share space with a nearby elementary school, but the school moved to its own new spacious facility in 2010.
The school itself is well-known for its arts and humanities programs, and the school is dedicated to creating students who see academic rigor across arts, science, mathematics, and literacy / language subjects. Over the course of three years at ESMS, students will take classes in mathematics, science, Spanish, the humanities, the arts, and all the other required curriculum segments for New York middle schools.
The humanities periods take place for 90 minutes and combine English and social studies for an engaging and robust curriculum.
Beyond these typical courses, students will also meet with faculty members for weekly advisory sessions, which focus on anything from study skills to stress management and other helpful tips. Students also have the flexibility to select an elective for each trimester.
ESMS is focused on preparing students for high school, and as part of this commitment the school helps students manage choosing electives and balancing their course loads.
The electives offered cover a wide range of subjects, including robotics, computer programming, and other science courses, to humanities topics such as film history, to other pursuits such as hip hop and soccer.
ESMS also helps students get ready for the all-important year of high school applications. Students have ample support for preparing for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (“SHSAT”), which guides acceptance at several top NYC high schools, as well as the admissions process to top independent, public, and private schools. Students also have additional support through individual conferences and workshops for parents.
Which high schools do East Side Middle School students go to?
The ESMS program prepares its students to succeed in later educational endeavors. Generally, most students score three or fours on their state exams (94% reached a three or more on their math exams, and 93% reached a three or more on ELA). See graphics below for more detailed information.
Math Outcomes. Grades 6-8. 2015 And 2016
ELA Outcomes. Grades 6-8. 2015 And 2016
Students at MS114 go on to attend a variety of top high schools, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, LaGuardia, Frank McCourt and Beacon.
Overall, approximately 80% of the MS114 graduates go on to attend selective and specialized high schools, with the remaining students attending private, independent, or public schools in NYC.
What is the process for East Side Middle School Admissions?
In order to attend ESMS, fifth grade students in District 2 must rank the school as their first choice for the standard Department of Education middle school application.
Students must also have no more than ten latenesses or ten absences in the past year (excluding any exceptional circumstances) to be eligible to continue in the application process.
Students who pass the initial screening round will be invited to attend an interview at ESMS with a faculty member, provide a writing sample, and take a short math exam covering typical fifth grade curriculum content.
In addition to the location, tardiness/absence assessment, and the on-site exam, ESMS will also evaluate students based on their academic history, their recent math and ELA results from the state exams.
The results of the interview, sample, and math problems make up roughly 40% of the total screening criteria, while the rest comprises state test scores, grades, and attendance or latenesses.
As part of the application process, students and families may also attend one of several open houses at ESMS. These visits take place from fall to winter of each year, and they allow families to ask all pertinent questions and get information around the school before making their decisions.
Do students who are eligible for free lunch get priority for admissions to ESMS?
Yes. ESMS put in place a new admissions pilot for students entering the school in 2017, where ESMS gave priority (10 percent of available spots) to prospective students who receive Free and Reduced Lunch.
How to Prepare for the ESMS admissions test?
There are two main parts to the admissions test -- the academic part, which includes a math and literacy component, and the interview.
Students will need to prepare for the different parts of the entrance process separately. Most importantly, students should aim to perform well on their math and ELA exams, because students will need to score at least a three if they want a good chance of being considered for admissions.
Preparation for these exams should be done in the classroom with teachers as part of the core curriculum.
However, if a student is not up to speed on certain fundamentals, needs to refine testing techniques, and/or could benefit from some confidence boosting, then it can be useful to do some additional preparation.
This could mean working through appropriate grade-level common core workbooks, and/or hiring a tutor to help improve core skills or testing techniques.
Secondly, students might want to practice writing short timed essays in response to a prompt because it will be important to turn out a well-composed piece when students create their writing samples during the on-site visit.
Thirdly, we highly recommend that students practice answering questions about themselves in order to get more comfortable during the interview process.
This could include describing their favorite book (this question is, in part, probing to see if your child reads for pleasure as well as for school), hobbies (schools are seeking 'passion' in students -- encourage your child to avoid focusing on TV shows or video games), and sharing thoughts about current events (encourage your child to follow the news for a few months before so she/he can speak in an engaged and informed way about a topic of interest).
If you would like some practice questionto help your child do his or her best at the interview, click the box below to download 17 interview questions.
How Can We Help?
At Origins Tutoring, we believe that preparation for East Side Middle School does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can last throughout a student’s school career and beyond.
Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills on the on-site exam, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus.
Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.
Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child do his or her personal best on the State ELA and Math exams and the East Side Middle School admissions test.