Kindergarten placement notifications were emailed on Wednesday and some families are in for a disappointment. Just one year after rezoning, P.S. 8 will have a waitlist for the 2017-2018 academic year. This year 22 children received an alternate placement (vs. 50 children in 2015). The grapevine indicates children were offered seats at P.S. 307. P.S. 8 received 187 in-zone applications and 165 offer letters were sent for the 125 available seats. The number of offers is determined by the Office of Kindergarten Admissions.
Anecdotally, the impression has been that the rezoning of P.S.8 and 307 would stave off the problem for at least a few years. But while waitlists at P.S. 8 could be the new normal, given historic rates of attrition (number of offers vs. numbers of actual registrations) there is a good chance the waitlist could clear for 2017-18. Parents just have to be patient. NYC School Help consultant, Joyce Szuflita advised in her March 2016 blog post (“A Tale of Two Waitlists”), “People who panic drown. Remain calm.” OK…easier said than done. So what else can parents do, right now?
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
The wait list is stressful for families and all the impacted schools, both the overcrowded and those receiving overflow. So, be a good neighbor. PLEASE NOTIFY P.S.8 ASAP if you DON’T plan to send your child to the school whether your child was offered a seat or placed on the waitlist.
If you DO plan to send your child to P.S. 8, pre-register them without delay. Bring your child with you to the school along with the required documentation Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, until April 7th. The sooner parents notify P.S.8 of their decisions, the sooner the administration can contact wait-listed families.
NEED TO KNOW FACTS & NEXT STEPS:
- Read the P.S. 8 Waitlist FAQs. Many of parents’ initial questions have been addressed by this document.
- Confirm your child’s position on the waitlist. Contact the Office of Kindergarten Admissions at (718) 935-2009 or via email: ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov
- Tour the school where your child received alternate placement. P.S. 307 is offering tours on Tuesday, March 14th – 9:00am and Tuesday, March 21st – 9:00am. Parents are asked to call 718-834-4748 if they are unable to attend on those dates and times.
- Investigate ALL D13 options. The Kindergarten Admissions Guide lists schools by district with full contact information.
- Be patient. The wait list tends to move in mid-April after the close of pre-registration (April 7th) and charter schools hold their lotteries. Expect more activity mid to late June after the Gifted & Talented acceptance deadline (June 16th). Spaces often open up at the very end of the summer and even through the first weeks of school.
- Pre-register your child at the school where they received alternate placement by the April 7th deadline. Your child must accompany you. Please bring the required documentation. This ensures your child a Kindergarten seat in September.
Joyce Szuflita is adamant about this last point. She emphasizes, “You WILL NOT get some imagined advantage by not registering. Not pre-registering does not force the DOE’s hand in any way. You will be placed on a regular wait list (like everyone else) for any school that you have ranked higher than the school that you were placed in (except your zoned school – where you are on the special Capped Zoned School wait list).” The capped wait list is explained in full in the P.S. 8 FAQs.
- Research and apply for charter schools by April 1st. Most charters conduct their admissions lotteries in April.
- If your child tested and qualified for either district or city-wide programs, submit a Gifted & Talented application by April 24th.
- Check with private Pre-K’s such as Plymouth Church and Kiddie Korner, among others. Many offer private Kindergarten programs.
- Try the old stand-by private schools such as Packer Collegiate, St. Ann’s, Brooklyn Friends, etc. They belong to the Independent Admissions Association of Greater NY (ISAAGNY). Acceptance letters were sent in early February and the reply deadline was February 17th. But, it may be still possible to apply and placed on a wait list. AltSchool and Basis Independent Brooklyn are not part of ISAAGNY but have similar admissions timelines. Parochial schools are another avenue to explore as well. It has been suggested too that parents investigate tuition insurance if they apply to private schools late in the game.
- P.S.8 Parent Coordinator, Eileen Carrier: firstname.lastname@example.org (indicate “Wait List” in the subject line) or call 718 834-6740.
- District 13 Family Resource Center: 718-636-3284.
- Consider attending District 13 Community Education Council (CEC) meetings, there is no better way to gain big picture perspective of D13.
- Our elected officials State Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilmember Stephen Levin and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon have all publicly criticized the DOE for its lack of planning surrounding overcrowding. Give them your perspective.
DISCLOSURE: This correspondent was an active participant in advocating for wait-listed families in 2015-16. She is a P.S. 8 parent, school volunteer and frequent attendee of various D13 meetings. Views expressed in this post are gleaned from this experience and are solely those of the author.
EDIT: This post has been updated by removing Grace Church from the list of schools offering private Kindergarten as their program will be discontinued after this academic year. A link for P.S. 307 has been added along with information about school tours.