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Beginning a journey, building a foundation

A guide to prekindergarten in Albany public schools
No step is more important in your child's education than the first one.
That's why this September the City School District of Albany will offer more than 1,000 full-day prekindergarten seats in all 12 elementary schools, in its bilingual Dual-Language Program and at several community agencies.


For September 2016, the district will offer prekindergarten to 3-year olds and 4-year olds. A lottery was held in April to fill prekindergarten seats for 4-year olds. Also, a state grant allows the school district to offer additional prekindergarten options to 3- and 4-year olds. A lottery to fill those seat was held in June.


Scroll down to learn more.


Prekindergarten enrollment

Prekindergarteners are enrolled through a lottery designed to provide equal access for all Albany children. You must enter your child into the lottery to get a seat in the program of your choice; the district held the 2016-17 lottery for 4-year olds on April 7 and held an additional lottery for 3- and 4-year olds on June 21.


A child must be 3 by Dec. 1, 2016, in order to qualify for a 3-year old's spot and 4 by Dec. 1, 2016 to qualify for a 4-year old's spot during the 2016-17 school year. Classes have a maximum of 18 children to make sure each child gets the individual attention that makes the prekindergarten experience meaningful.


For more information about what you need to register your child, visit our Required Documents section. You also can call Central Registration at 475-6125 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


The district does not provide bus transportation to any prekindergarten program.


How does the prekindergarten lottery work?

You must enter your child into the lottery to get a seat in the program of your choice. The lottery is conducted by an independent national firm to assure fairness and impartiality.


On the lottery application, you will be asked to select your first, second and third choices. Student selection is random, but certain factors take priority when determining where your child will be enrolled:

  • Sibling preference. A child with a brother or sister already in elementary school receives first preference at that school.

  • Neighborhood preference. Second preference is given to a child who lives within a half-mile of a magnet school or within a given neighborhood school’s attendance zone.

  • Open enrollment. This option allows parents to choose a non-magnet school outside their attendance zone.

If your child is selected for a seat in the prekindergarten lottery, you must accept that seat by going to Central Registration, 75 Watervliet Ave. There is a three-week timeline to accept the seat. Please visit the Student Registration section to see the documents needed for registration.


What if my child is not selected?

The district will inform you by mail about whether your child was selected for the prekindergarten program of your choice. Families whose child was not selected will be placed on a waiting list for the program of their choice and be contacted if a spot becomes available.


Families will be assigned a number on the waiting list but the number may change if future applicants already have a sibling at the school you want your child to attend or if future applicants live in the enrollment zone for the school.


How do sibling and neighborhood preference affect the waiting list

Students who already have a sibling in preferred school will be given first preference over all other students regardless of when they applied to be on the waiting list.


Students who live in the neighborhood zone for the school will be given the next level of preference over all other students regardless of when they applied to be on the waiting list.


Either circumstance can change the original waiting list assignment.


Will I be notified if my position on the waiting list changes?

No. You will be contacted only when you are eligible for an available seat


Can I be on the waiting list for more than one school?

No. You may be on the wait list for only one school. You may apply to be in the waiting pool for any magnet school.


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