Four pictures of students, one from each of the magnet schools. A TOAST student using a flight simulator, a Montessori student painting, a Delaware student watering flowers and an ASH student smiling.

Magnet programs and lottery

A magnet school or program focuses instruction on a particular theme and incorporates that theme across all subject areas. All are enrolled by lottery and open to children throughout the city.

Admission to Albany’s magnet schools and program is done through two random lotteries – one for students who will enter prekindergarten in September of the following school year, and one for students who will enter kindergarten through grade 5 or 6, depending on the school, in September of the following school year.

Our magnet choices

The City School District of Albany offers three themed elementary schools – Albany School of Humanities (ASH), Montessori Magnet School and Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) – and one themed program, the Dual Language Program.

Important information to consider

How you decide your first, second, third and fourth choices may be affected by the location of the program or school, whether you have other school-age children, whether additional child care is offered and other personal preferences. However, certain other factors go into play in the lottery that will influence your child’s eventual assignment. 

The names of children with a sibling preference are drawn first in the lottery. The names of those with neighborhood preference are drawn second in the lottery. All other names are drawn for remaining seats.

Applying for the lottery

Complete the application linked at the top of this page. Please print legibly so that all information can be entered accurately. Review your application carefully to make sure the information is accurate.

Mail or hand-deliver your application to:
City School District of Albany
Magnet Schools Office
1 Academy Park
Albany, NY 12207

Applying outside the lottery window

Although we encourage families to enter the annual magnet lottery in January for the best chance of securing a seat for September of the upcoming school year, we accept magnet applications year-round.

Depending on the program, applications received outside the annual lottery window are entered into an ongoing series of monthly lotteries or a waiting list based on when they are submitted.

For ASH, Montessori and TOAST, applications received outside the primary lottery window will be entered into an ongoing series of monthly lotteries..

For the Dual Language Program applications received outside the primary lottery window are placed at the end of a waiting list in the order they are received. Please note that sibling and/or neighborhood preference do not apply to Dual Language applicants on the waiting list.

After the lottery

Once lottery seats are assigned, the district will mail you one of two letters: an acceptance letter or a waiting-pool letter. This notification will also be sent to the email address you provide on the application.

Frequently asked questions

Below are commonly asked questions about the magnet lottery process. If you have futher questions, please feel free to contac the Magnet Office at (518) 475-6551.