It is almost March 1! - time for the public prek applications.
UPK stands for Universal PreK - government subsidized fours programs. Your child must have been born between 1/1/06 and 12/31/06 (4 years old this year) and reside in NYC. These are programs available to everyone (not based on need). Unfortunately, there are not enough seats available for everyone. You can find them in public schools (full 6+ hours for five days) or in different private preschools around the city. The programs that are located in the public schools are free.
What is a CBO? They are Community Based Organizations. These are various preschools and daycares that have applied for UPK funds. Many of these are private for fee programs (some neighborhood preschools that you may recognize). You apply for them in the regular way (whatever applicaton, touring or interview/playdate that they normally require). The difference is that in the fours "preK" year the tuition will be cheaper than the threes tuition because of the UPK subsidy (usually a couple thousand off). It won't be free though.
The Prek directories are coming online to the DOE site on Monday, March 1. You can download the pdf or pick up a hard copy at your borough enrollment office. You will find the preks in the public schools listed in the front of the book, as well as an application. The back of the book will have the CBO's listed for your convenience, but you need to go to the individual school to apply.
On March 8 you can pick up a directory at your local Elementary school if they have a prek program.
The application period for the preks in the public schools is from March 1 to April 9 and it is a lottery process (not first come first served, so don't go nuts trying to download the directory at 4am on Monday). The date of your application definitely does not matter as long as you get it in before April 9.
To apply to a CBO, just contact the school and follow their procedures. They are not part of the lottery.
To apply to a public prek, study the directory and list up to 12 choices on the application. I recommend using the online app. which enables you to recieve an email receipt of the app and email notifications as well as by snail mail. There are many more ways for error with the paper app. If you do the paper app. I recommend hand delivery and make sure that you get a receipt, or send it in plenty of time in the envelope provided, so that it doesn't go missing. Also, make a copy of the app. and keep it in a safe place.
There is a priority to this lottery:
First siblings of children attending a school
Then children zoned for the school,
Then children outside the zone with no prek program in their zoned school
Then children outside the zone but within the district
Then children outside the district but within the borough
There will be information sessions to explain all of this:
3/8/10 Brooklyn Tech HS 29 Ft. Greene Place 5:30 - 8pm
check the DOE's website for other dates.
Schools will continue conducting tours through March. Check the school's website or contact their parent coordinator for information.
You will not hear about placement in the public prek programs until Memorial Day.
There are no waiting lists but there is a second round and most schools have at least a tiny amount of seats still available. I will explain this in further posts.
They love the drop down menus, so before you call me saying that you can't find something, actually answer the question. You will find that when you give specific answers a drop down may appear to take further information, like if you have twins.
If you will have a kindergartener attending your zoned school in 2010 you need to have preapplied to that school to get the "inzone sibling preference" in the lottery for your preschooler.
I can help you. If you want some insight into your prek application, I do 15 minute and half hour phone consults. Just call and I am happy to help. 718 781-1928