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Magnet elementary choices

Magnet Office

1 Academy Park

Albany, NY 12207



Kahla Kuchta

Administrative assistant


Applications available

for 2019-20 magnet school lottery

Applications are available for the lottery to determine 2019-20 enrollment in the City School District of Albany three magnet schools and one magnet program.


Download the application and information booklet here.


The deadline to apply for the lottery is Jan. 31, and the lottery will be held March 13.


The district’s magnet schools are Albany School of Humanities (ASH), Montessori Magnet School and Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (ASH). The district also offers a themed bilingual education program at Delaware Community School, the Dual Language Program.


All are enrolled by a lottery and open to children throughout the city.


Scroll down to learn more.


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. Each magnet school or program is 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, which will be held March 13. Magnet lottery applications are available (download one here) and are due by Jan. 31. On Jan. 28, you will be able to download a prekindergarten lottery application here. Prekindergarten lottery applications will be due by March 1.


Our themed elementary choices

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

  • Albany School of Humanities (ASH), serving prekindergarten through grade 6 and located at 108 Whitehall Road.

    • Open House: Wednesday, Jan. 9 -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

    • ASH strives to educate all students to be lifelong learners, capable decision-makers and contributors to their local and global community. ASH views education through a humanities lens, meaning students learn through lessons in art, music, theater and visual arts. This focus is incorporated daily into all subject areas.

  • Dual Language Program, serving prekindergarten through grade 5 and located at 43 Bertha St..

    • Open House: Monday, Jan. 7 -- 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

    • This unique program at Delaware Community School offers an elementary education in English and Spanish. Each class covers a regular elementary curriculum, but students study in both languages with fully bilingual teachers. The week is divided equally between lessons presented in Spanish and lessons presented in English. The magnet lottery for the Dual Language Program is open to:

    1. Children whose main language is English: those who will enter kindergarten or grade 1 in Sept. 2019.

    2. Children whose main language is Spanish: those who will enter kindergarten through grade 5 in Sept. 2019.

  • Montessori Magnet School, serving prekindergarten through grade 5 and located at 45 Tremont St.

    • Open House: Tuesday, Jan. 8 -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

    • The Montessori philosophy on education gives equal value to the teacher and student. Our work focuses on the use of the five senses, hands-on learning and developing within students the ability to self-regulate while taking ownership of their own learning. The triangle of true learning is evident between the child, the teacher and the environment.

  • Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST). Serving prekindergarten through grade 6 and located in Lincoln Park.

    • Open House: Thursday, Jan. 10 -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.

    • At TOAST, learning involves curiosity, observation, problem-solving, inquiry, creativity and discovery, allowing students to build their own understanding of the world and how its parts fit together. The school's STEAM -- science, technology, engineering, arts 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.

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. Families are asked to select their top four choices. Magnet lottery applications are available now and are due by Jan. 31, and the prekindergarten lottery application will be available Jan. 28 and due by March 1 .


Both lotteries will be held March 13 at 10 a.m. at TOAST.


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.


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 2019-20. Sibling preference will not apply if your child currently in the magnet school or program moves up to middle school in 2019-20. 

  • 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. 

  • Sibling linking -- You can choose how you want the district to process a lottery application for two or more siblings (twins, triplets or children of different ages). You have two options:

    • Link your children's applications and have them move through the lottery process together; your children with linked applications will be assigned to a particular school or program only if they all receive spots. If a school or program does not have enough room for all of your children, then none of them will be assigned there.

    • Do not link your children's applications together. Your children's applications will move through the lottery process separately, which could result in them being assigned to different schools or programs If you opt not NOT link your children's applications, you can accept a spot in the school or program one of your children gets into, and your other child's or children's application(s) will have sibling preference in the waiting pool or waiting list for the next available seat.

  • 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 or waiting list, depending on the program. Please follow this link for more information about next steps for families following the initial lotteries.


You also can call the Magnet School Office at (518) 475-6551 or Central Registration at (518) 475-6125 if you have questions or would like additional information.




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