prek round 1

Now that the Kindergarten application period is winding down (it ends March 4 this year) it is time to start thinking about prek.

Beginning Monday, March 7, the prek directory and application will be available on the DOE's website at the borough enrollment offices and at all elementary schools that have a prek class.

There is an information session at Sunset Park HS (35th St. and 4th Ave.) on Tuesday, March 8 from 6 to 7:30pm

The deadline to submit and application is April 8
Families will be notified of placements in early June and
Pre-registration at schools for placed families will be June 8 - June 17

The programs funded by UPK (Universal Pre-K) money can be found in two different places; public schools and CBO's (Community Based Organizations). CBO's are private or needs based programs that have their own individual application procedures. In past years the CBO's have been listed at the back of the directory for your convenience, but you may find that many of them have already completed their admissions. The lottery process that I will be describing is for the classes that are housed in the public schools.

I highly recommend that you submit the application electronically. The computer doesn't let you fill the form out wrong and you will get an electronic confirmation. In the past you have been able to list 12 choices (although you can list as few as you want). Spaces are assigned by lottery with priorities: first to siblings, then to in zone families, then to out of zone but in district, then to out of district, etc. The exact number of seats is assigned (no waitlist) and because of the late notification sometime families don't take the seats. That is when the Round 2 is announced (I blogged and linked to last year's Round 2 directory if you want to look at the numbers)

You won't find reference to "Round 1" or "Round 2" on the DOE's info. It is too confusing for most people, but I think that it is important information if you want to strategise. Round 2 has a very fast turnaround and placements and registration usually happens before everyone leaves for August.

I suggest that you check out the info session (I may see you there). I also do short phone consults around this process, 15 min. for $45. and 30 for $90. to help you strategise, talk about specific schools and figure out the wrinkles. Remember, if you are dead set on going to prek at your very popular zoned school, you are probably out of luck, but if you are flexible and keep your mind open to the less obvious choices (and perhaps travel a little) you may find a wonderful place for a year and save tens of thousands of dollars on a full day program.