Four vertical photos of pre-K students engaged in different activities.

Pre-K registration and lottery

We offer two prekindergarten programs in the City School District of Albany: pre-K for 3-year-olds (pre-K 3) and pre-K for 4-year-olds (pre-K 4).

A child must be 3 by Dec. 1 of the following school year in order to qualify for a pre-K 3 program. 

A child must be 4 by Dec. 1 of the following school year to qualify for a pre-K 4 program.

Both programs are enrolled by a lottery, which are held at two separate times. 

All prekindergarten students are enrolled through a random lottery designed to provide access for all children in Albany (one lottery for pre-K 4 and another for pre-K 3). To have the best chance of getting a seat in the program of your choice, you must enter your child in the lottery. An independent national firm conducts the lotteries to assure fairness and impartiality.

You are welcome to attend the pre-K 4 lottery to find out if your child has been awarded a seat. District officials will be at the lottery drawing to answer any questions. The lottery for pre-K 3 is not open to public attendance.

After both lotteries, the district will send an official notification by mail and email to the addresses you provide on the application.

 

Pre-K program locations

You are allowed to select up to four of the program sites below in the prekindergarten lotteries. Please note that pre-K 3 is offered only in our community-based programs.

Arbor Hill Elementary School
1 Arbor Drive • (518) 475-6625
School day: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
After-school care: Until 6:30 p.m.

Delaware Community School
43 Bertha St. • (518) 475-6750
School day: 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:30 p.m. 

Eagle Point Elementary School
1044 Western Ave. • (518) 475-6825
School day: 8:10 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:45 p.m. 

Giffen Memorial Elementary School
274 South Pearl St. • (518) 475-6650
School day: 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
After-school care: Until 6:30 p.m.

New Scotland Elementary School
369 New Scotland Ave. • (518) 475-6775
School day: 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:45 p.m.

Pine Hills Elementary School
41 North Allen St. • (518) 475-6725
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care: No

Schuyler Achievement Academy
676 Clinton Ave. • (518) 475-6700
School day: 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
After-school care: Until 6:30 p.m.

Sheridan Preparatory Academy
400 Sheridan Ave. • (518) 475-6850
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care: Until 5:30 p.m.

*Many programs charge a fee for after-school care, and it is offered at the discretion of outside providers when there is sufficient enrollment and qualified staff. Contact the school or program for more information. The Albany County Department of Social Services may be able to help you pay. For more information, contact them at (518) 447-7435 or DSSchildcaresubsidyunit@albanycounty.com.

Albany School of Humanities (ASH)
108 Whitehall Road • (518) 475-6575
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:30 p.m.

Dual Language Program at Delaware Community School
43 Bertha St. • (518) 475-6750
School day: 9:05 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:30 p.m.

Montessori Magnet School
45 Tremont St. • (518) 475-6675
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:30 p.m. 

Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST)
Lincoln Park • (518) 475-6875
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: Until 5:30 p.m. 

*Many programs charge a fee for after-school care, and it is offered at the discretion of outside providers when there is sufficient enrollment and qualified staff. Contact the school or program for more information. The Albany County Department of Social Services may be able to help you pay. For more information, contact them at (518) 447-7435 or DSSchildcaresubsidyunit@albanycounty.com.

ACAP Head Start (four locations)
Please note that to be eligible for a Head Start prekindergarten program, your family must meet certain income requirements. For more information, call (518) 463-3175, ext. 135.

Ann Klose First School Head Start  (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
295 Colonie St.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Extended-day care: None

Early Learning Center (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
25 Monroe St.
Before-school care*: 7:30-8 a.m.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-5:30 p.m. 

Hackett Boulevard Head Start (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
21 Hackett Blvd. 
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: Being considered

Nathan Lebron Early Learning Center (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
170 Ontario St. 
Before-school care*: 7:30-8 a.m.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Olivia Rorie Center (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
7 Morton Ave. 
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: Being considered

Albany Jewish Community Center (Pre-K 4 only, no pre-K 3)
340 Whitehall Road • (518) 689-0039
School day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care*: 3-6 p.m.

Arbor Park Child Care Center (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
96 Second Street • (518) 465-8466
School day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care: No

Capital Milestones Childcare (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
3 Harriman Campus Dr. • (518) 457-3020
Before-school care*: 7-8 a.m.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Children’s Place at the Plaza (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
Swan Street Building, Core 2, 
Empire State Plaza,
Crystal Room Pavilion • (518) 474-4736
Before-school care*: 7-8:30 a.m.
School Day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care*: 3-5:30 p.m.

Children’s Place at the State Education Building (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
10 N. Hawk St. • (518) 474-2918
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-6 p.m. 

A Child’s Place at Unity (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
50 Philip St. • (518) 434-0815
Before-school care*: 7:30-8 a.m.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Ernestina DiCioccio Bilingual Day Care Center-Centro Civico
230 Green St., 1st Floor • (518) 465-1145
Before-school care*: 8-8:30 a.m.
School day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care*: 3-5 p.m.

Infinite Care (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
43 Quail St. • (518) 432-2750
Before-school care*: 7:30-8:30 a.m.
School day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care*: 3-5:30 p.m. 

St. Anne Institute (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
160 North Main Ave. • (518) 437-6735
Before-school care*: 8-8:30 a.m.
School day: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
After-school care*: 3-5 p.m.

St. Matthew Lutheran School (Pre-K 4 only, no Pre-K 3)
75 Whitehall Road # A • (518) 463-6495
Before-school care*: 7-8 a.m.
School day: 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 2:30-5:45 p.m.

Temple Israel (Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4)
600 New Scotland Ave. • (518) 438-7858 ext. 120
Before-school care*: 8-9 a.m.
School day: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
After-school care*: 3:30-5:30 p.m.

*Many programs charge a fee for after-school care, and it is offered at the discretion of outside providers when there is sufficient enrollment and qualified staff. Contact the school or program for more information. The Albany County Department of Social Services may be able to help you pay. For more information, contact them at (518) 447-7435 or DSSchildcaresubsidyunit@albanycounty.com.

Important information to consider

Your choices likely will be affected by a prekindergarten program’s location, 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.

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

A child with a brother or sister already in a neighborhood or magnet/themed elementary program 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 currently attends AND will attend in the following school year. Sibling preference will not apply if your child currently at the elementary school moves up to middle school in the following school year.

There is no sibling preference for community-based prekindergarten programs.

A child who lives within his or her neighborhood elementary school enrollment zone or within a half-mile of a magnet/themed elementary 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? Call (518) 475-6125 to find out or visit our Attendance Zones directory.)

Prekindergarteners with neighborhood preference are drawn second in the prekindergarten lottery.

Neighborhood preference works if your first-choice program is either:

  1. A neighborhood school and you live within that school’s enrollment zone; or
  2. A magnet school and you live within a half-mile of that magnet school.
     

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. This can affect your child’s chance of being assigned to your first-choice program.

Programs that historically have more applicants than seats are at Albany School of Humanities (ASH), the Dual Language Program at Delaware Community School, the Albany Jewish Community Center, Montessori Magnet School and New Scotland Elementary School.

The number of seats available in our community-based programs varies.

You can choose how you want the district to process the lottery applications for two or more siblings (twins, triplets or children of different ages). This is known as “sibling linking.”

If you choose to link your children’s applications, they will go through the lottery together. That means your children either will be:

  1. Assigned to a school or program together; or
  2. Not assigned to any school or program, which may happen if there is not room for two or more children there.

If you opt not to link your children’s applications, each will go through the lottery and be assigned individually.

In that case, it’s possible that your children will not be assigned to the same school or program. However, you can accept a spot in the school or program one of your children gets into, and your other child’s or children’s application(s) will have sibling preference in the waiting pool for the next available seat.

After the lottery

Once lottery seats are assigned, the district will send an official notification by mail and email to the addresses you provide on the application. You will receive one of three letters: an acceptance letter, a waiting-list letter or a waiting-pool letter.

You MUST register your child at our Central Registration Office, located at 75 Watervliet Ave. If you do not register your child by the deadline indicated in the letter, his or her spot will be given to another child.

If you applied for a spot in one of our neighborhood elementary schools, the Dual Language Program at Delaware Community School or a community program, your child’s name will be put on a waiting list for your first-choice program. Families will receive a waiting-list number and be offered the opportunity to choose another prekindergarten program that has available seats. Applications received after the deadline 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 three magnet schools – Albany School of Humanities (ASH), 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 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 students. All other students are weighted equally regardless of when they apply throughout the year. Again, a monthly lottery will select students from the waiting pool through March of the following year.

Frequently asked questions

Below are commonly asked questions about the pre-K lottery process. If you have futher questions, please feel free to contact us at (518) 475-6551.

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

You can choose how you want the district to process the lottery applications for two or more siblings (twins, triplets or children of different ages).

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. There is no sibling preference for applications submitted after the deadline.

Your chances of getting your first choice depend on a number of factors, including the number of available seats, sibling preference and neighborhood preference.

Sibling preference and neighborhood preference only apply to your first choice, and only apply to school-based and themed programs.

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.

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.

It depends. If your child is assigned a seat at a magnet school, he or she can attend through fifth or sixth grade, depending on the school. Otherwise, children automatically are enrolled for kindergarten in their neighborhood school.