The DOE is changing it up this year. They have eliminated the Round 2 lottery for seats left vacant after Round 1. Was it too late for families, or too cumbersome or too expensive? We will never know. What we know now is that the responsibility for placing left over spots goes to the schools and they have not been given any protocol on how to proceed. I called a couple schools to see what they were planning on doing and they said that the DOE will probably send instructions to them in the principals' weekly newsletter but it would likely come just before the process begins (it is not uncommon for the DOE to dole out important information like this at the last minute). When I called Central Enrollment, they gave me the very unacceptable (and probably inaccurate) answer that the numbers of seats available at the schools would be posted in fall of 2012 - like parents would just wander in mid September to claim left over seats?! Clearly, they hadn't thought this through. I have talked with insideschools and they are digging for more a more accurate forecast of the process schools should be following.
Here is what we can guess; most schools will probably not be taking names for a wait list until after the last day of Round 1 registration - according to the DOE's current calendar registration ends on Friday, June 22 - so I would be ready to attack the wait lists on Monday June 25 bright and early. The schools won't know if they have seats available until that date and why bother collecting a list of names before the fact if some of those people may be placed elsewhere and you could lose the list in the many months before you can use it. How will they be assigning seats? Will they get a prioritized list of names? Will they collect names and do it first come first served or will the schools do their own lottery? Nobody knows.
What do you do now?
- I would keep in close contact with the parent coordinator at each school that I am interested in for prek, to make sure that I don't miss what they are going to do in June.
- Sign up for Insideschools.org newsletter right on their home page below the large photo. If they have more news on the process they will blog about it and you will receive an update in your email.
- I would sign up for the DOE's prekindergarten alerts (make sure that you check the appropriate boxes) so that you don't miss anything there.
When I hear of anything I will list it on the blog, in the newsletter and tweet about it.
If you want an idea of the Prek numbers available after Round 1 last year, the 2011-12 School Year Round 2 Directory is here.