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Magnet elementary choices

Magnet Office

1 Academy Park

Albany, NY 12207



Cora Derocher

Administrative assistant


So what's a magnet school or program?

A magnet school or program focuses instruction on a particular theme and incorporates that theme across all subject areas.


Albany's three magnet elementary schools and one magnet program give families a choice in public education. Students have a unique opportunity to deeply explore enriched, theme-based programs in specific areas.


 All are open to children citywide and enrolled by two random lotteries: one for prekindergarteners and one for older students.


Families need to apply for both lotteries, were held April 11. You can download a magnet lottery application and information booklet here or a prekindergarten lottery application and information booklet here.


Our themed elementary choices

Click on its highlighted name below to learn more about each school or program.

  • Albany School of Humanities (ASH). Serving prekindergarten through grade 6. ASH learners explore global citizenship through the study of visual arts, literature, music and theater arts. Students participate in year-long activities that incorporate the humanities into daily teaching and learning.

  • Montessori Magnet School Serving prekindergarten through grade 5. Montessori seeks to educate students in a way that incorporates all five senses, creates a warm and inviting community and encourages students to give their best efforts. The Montessori curriculum is carefully structured to demonstrate connections among the different core subjects of English, math, science and social studies.

  • Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST). Serving prekindergarten through grade 6. At TOAST, learning strategies reflect and reinforce approaches that drive the development of science and technology: curiosity, discovery, observation, problem-solving, inquiry and creativity. The school's STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- theme is reinforced with specialized instruction in the state-of-the art computer lab, the dedicated science room and an outdoor pavilion and geologic rock park.

  • Dual Language Program Serving prekindergarten through grade 5. This unique program at Delaware Community School offers an elementary education in English and Spanish. The program features one bilingual class for each grade. Most students begin the program in prekindergarten and continue through fifth grade. Therefore, few spots are open for children after prekindergarten. However, the district keeps a waiting pool on the chance that a seat becomes available. Children enter the program speaking at least one of the two languages, and they leave speaking, reading and writing in both.

Applying to magnet programs
Admission to Albany's magnet schools is done through two random lotteries -- one for prekindergarten, and one for grades kindergarten through 5 or 6, depending on the school. Both lotteries require applications.


The names of students with sibling preference (see below) are drawn first in both lotteries. The names of students with neighborhood preference (see below) are drawn second in both lotteries. All other names are drawn for remaining seats. Families can attend the lottery drawings to learn of their child’s placement and also are notified by mail.


Both lotteries were held April 11 at 10 a.m. at TOAST.


Lottery process

Student selection in the lottery is random, but certain factors take priority when determining where children will be placed:

  • Sibling Preference -- A child with a brother or sister already in a magnet school or program will have a better chance of getting into that school or program. This is called "sibling preference." Students with sibling preference are drawn first in the lottery. Sibling preference works only if your first-choice program is located at the elementary school your other child currently attends AND will attend in 2017-18. Sibling preference will not apply if if your child currently in the magnet school or program moves up to middle school in 2017-18. 

  • Neighborhood Preference -- A child who lives within a half-mile of a magnet school or program will have a better chance of getting into that magnet school or program. This is called "neighborhood preference." Students with neighborhood preference are drawn second in the magnet lottery. Neighborhood preference works only if your first-choice magnet school or program is located within a half-mile from your home.

  • Number of applicants versus number of seats -- 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 (see above). This can affect your child's chance of being assigned to your first-choice program. Click here to see a chart with the anticipated number of seats that will be available next year in each grade for Albany School of Humanities (ASH), Montessori Magnet School and Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST).

  • Special Education -- Placement of students who receive special-education services, including placement in integrated classrooms, must be determined by the Committee on Special Education since students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are placed into appropriate programs based on the committee's recommendations.

Students entered in the lotteries who do not receive a seat are placed in a waiting pool. Please follow this link for more information about waiting pools and next steps for families following the initial lotteries.


You also can call the Magnet School Office at 475-6551 or Central Registration at 475-6125 if you have questions or would like additional information.



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