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Prekindergarten

Beginning a journey, building a foundation
Pre-K information nights
The district will have people on hand to answer your questions on the following dates during the school events listed below.

March 3, 6-7 p.m.
Pine Hills Elementary School STEAM night

March 7, 6-7 p.m.
New Scotland Elementary School Science Fair

March 9, 5-6 p.m.
Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy Multicultural Celebration

March 16, 6-7 p.m.
Sheridan Preparatory Academy Game Night

March 17, 2:15 p.m.
Giffen Memorial Elementary School Parent-Faculty Basketball Game

March 23, 5-6 p.m.
North Albany Academy Spring Carnival

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.

 

The district offers prekindergarten programs to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. Each program is enrolled through a lottery designed to provide access to all Albany children.

  

The lottery for pre-K for 4-year-olds will be held on April 11. Download an information booklet and application here, or download an application only here. Pre-K programs for 4-year-olds will be located in all district elementary schools and at community agencies throughout the city.

 

A lottery will be held on June 7 to fill seats for 3-year-olds; applications for that lottery will be available May 1. Pre-K programs for 3-year-olds will be located at community agencies.

 

Please note that to be eligible for a Head Start prekindergarten program, your family must meet certain income requirements. For more information, cal 463-3175, ext. 139.

  

Prekindergarten enrollment

Prekindergarteners are enrolled through a lottery designed to provide 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 will hold the 2017-18 lottery for 4-year-olds on April 11 and the lottery for 3-year-olds on June 7.

 

A child must be 3 by Dec. 1, 2017, in order to qualify for a 3-year-old's spot and 4 by Dec. 1, 2017 to qualify for a 4-year-old's spot during the 2017-18 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, third and fourth choices. Student selection is random for 4-year old prekindergarten programs, 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 will have a better chance of getting into a prekindergarten class at that school. This is called "sibling preference." Prekindergarteners with sibling preference are drawn first in the prekindergarten lottery. Sibling preference works only if your first-choice prekindergarten program is located at the elementary school your other child current attends AND will attend in 2017-18.

  • Neighborhood preference. A child who lives within his or her neighborhood elementary school enrollment zone or within a half mile of a magnet/themed program will have a better chance of getting into a prekindergarten class at that school. This is called "neighborhood preference." (Not sure of your neighborhood elementary school? Click here for a searchable list or call 475-6125.) Prekindergarteners with neighborhood preference are drawn second in the prekindergarten lottery. Neighborhood preference works only if your first-choice prekindergarten program is located in your neighborhood school enrollment zone or a half-mile from your home for a magnet/themed program.

  • Number of applicants versus number of seats. Some programs are in greater demand than others, meaning more families apply to those programs. Also, these limited seats often fill quickly with students who have sibling or neighborhood preference (see above). Programs that historically have more applicants than spots available are Albany School of Humanities (ASH), the Dual Language Program at Delaware Community School, the Jewish Community Center, Montessori Magnet School and New Scotland Elementary School. Click here to see a chart with the anticipated number of seats that will be available next year in each program.

After the lottery

Once lottery seats are assigned, the district will mail you one of three letters: an acceptance letter, a waiting-list letter or a waiting-pool letter.

 

If your child receives an acceptance letter

You MUST accept that seat and register your child at Central Registration, 75 Watervliet Ave. If you do not register your child by the deadline indicated in the letter, your child's spot will be given to another child. Please visit the Student Registration section to see the documents needed for registration.

 

If your child receives a waiting-list letter or a waiting-pool letter

If you applied for a spot in one of our neighborhood elementary schools or community programs, your child's name will be placed on a waiting list for your first-choice program. Families will receive a waiting list number and be offered the opportunity to choose fro another prekindergarten program that has available seats. Applications received after March 31 will be placed on the waiting list in the order they were received and without sibling or neighborhood preference consideration.

 

If you applied for a spot in one of the district's magnet/themed programs -- Albany School of Humanities (ASH), the Dual Language Program at Delaware Community School, Montessori Magnet School or Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) -- your child's name will be placed in a waiting pool and will be eligible for monthly drawings based on available seats. This process allows families to enroll in another district prekindergarten class and still have a chance of obtaining a seat in one of the themed programs. The waiting pool is "weighted," meaning that a child with a sibling and/or neighborhood preference will have priority over other children. All other students are weighted equally regardless of when they apply throughout the year.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will transportation be provided to prekindergarten?

A: No. Families are responsible for transporting their child to and from prekindergarten.

 

Q: How are twins and other siblings handled in the lottery?

A: They are treated as individual children in the lottery and not assigned together. Depending on your choices, it is possible that one child will get a seat in a program and another child will not get a seat there – or at all.

 

Q: If one of my children gets a seat but the other doesn’t, do I now have sibling preference?

A: It depends. If one child gets assigned to a magnet/themed program, the other child will have sibling preference in the waiting pool once you accept the seat for and register the first child. Your child will not have sibling preference if you applied to a neighborhood elementary school or community program and were assigned to a waiting list.

 

Q: What are my chances of getting my first choice?

A: Your chances of getting your first choice depend on a number of factors:

• The number of seats in a program available versus how many families select that program as a first choice

• The number of first-choice applicants that have sibling preference at that school (see above to learn more about sibling preference)

• The number of first-choice applicants that have neighborhood preference at that school (see above to learn more about neighborhood preference)

 

Q: What are my chances of getting a neighborhood preference or sibling preference school if I do not put it as my first choice?

A: Sibling preference and neighborhood preference only apply to your first choice. They do not apply to your other choices.

 

Q: What happens if I don’t get a seat at any of my choices and there are open seats at other sites?

A: You will receive a waiting list letter or a waiting pool letter depending on your first-choice program. That letter will include a date that you can register for programs with available seats and no waiting.

 

Q: Can I remain in the waiting pool for a magnet school and accept a seat in neighborhood or community-based prekindergarten program?

A: Yes.

 

Q: Can I be in a waiting pool for more than one magnet school?

A: Yes, but only if you have not been accepted into any prekindergarten program and two or more of your preferred programs are at magnet schools.

 

Q: Can I be on a waiting list for more than one neighborhood or community-based prekindergarten program?

A: No.

 

 

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