Beginning a journey, building a foundation
A guide to prekindergarten in Albany
step is more important in your child's education than the first one.
this September the City School District of Albany will offer more than
1,000 full-day prekindergarten seats in
all 12 elementary schools, in its
bilingual Dual-Language Program and
at several community agencies.
The district offers prekindergarten programs to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds.
Each program is enrolled through a lottery designed to provide access to
all Albany children.
The lottery for pre-K for 4-year-olds will be held on April 11;
applications for that lottery will be available March 1. Pre-K programs
for 4-year-olds will be located in all district elementary schools and
at community agencies throughout the city.
A lottery will be held on June 7 to fill seats for 3-year-olds;
applications for that lottery will be available May 1. Pre-K programs
for 3-year-olds will be located at community agencies.
Prekindergarteners are enrolled through a lottery designed to provide
access for all Albany children. You must enter your child into the
lottery to get a seat in the program of your choice; the district will
the 2017-18 lottery for 4-year-olds on April 11 and the lottery for 3-year-olds on
A child must be 3 by Dec.
1, 2017, in order to qualify for a 3-year-old's spot and 4 by Dec. 1,
2017 to qualify for a 4-year-old's spot during the 2017-18
school year. Classes have a maximum of 18 children to make sure each
child gets the individual attention that makes the prekindergarten
For more information
about what you need to register your child,
visit our Required
Documents section. You also can call Central Registration at
475-6125 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
does not provide bus transportation to any prekindergarten
How does the prekindergarten lottery work?
enter your child into the lottery to get a seat in the program of your
choice. The lottery is conducted by an independent national firm to
assure fairness and impartiality.
On the lottery application, you
will be asked to select your first, second, third and fourth
choices. Student selection is random for 4-year old prekindergarten
programs, but certain factors take
priority when determining where your child will be enrolled:
with a brother or sister already in elementary school will have a
better chance of getting into a prekindergarten class at that
school. This is called "sibling preference." Prekindergarteners with
sibling preference are drawn first in the prekindergarten lottery.
Sibling preference works only if your first-choice prekindergarten
program is located at the elementary school your other child current
attends AND will attend in 2017-18.
A child who lives within his or her
neighborhood elementary school enrollment zone or within a half mile
of a magnet/themed program will have a better chance of getting into
a prekindergarten class at that school. This is called "neighborhood
preference." (Not sure of your neighborhood elementary school?
Click here for a
searchable list or call 475-6125.) Prekindergarteners with
neighborhood preference are drawn second in the prekindergarten
lottery. Neighborhood preference works only if your first-choice
prekindergarten program is located in your neighborhood school
enrollment zone or a half-mile from your home for a magnet/themed
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). Programs that
historically have more applicants than spots available are Albany
School of Humanities (ASH), the Dual Language Program at Delaware
Community School, the Jewish Community Center, Montessori Magnet
School and New Scotland Elementary School.
After the lottery
lottery seats are assigned, the district will mail you one of three
letters: an acceptance letter, a waiting-list letter or a waiting-pool
If your child receives an acceptance letter
You MUST accept that seat and register your child
Registration, 75 Watervliet Ave. If you do not register your child by
the deadline indicated in the letter, your child's spot will be given to
another child. Please visit the Student
Registration section to see the documents needed for registration.
If your child receives a waiting-list letter or a waiting-pool
If you applied for a spot in one of our
neighborhood elementary schools or community programs, your
child's name will be placed on a waiting list for your
first-choice program. Families will receive a waiting list number and be
offered the opportunity to choose fro another prekindergarten program
that has available seats. Applications received after March 31 will be
placed on the waiting list in the order they were received and without
sibling or neighborhood preference consideration.
If you applied for a spot in one of the district's
magnet/themed programs -- Albany
School of Humanities (ASH), the Dual Language Program at Delaware
Community School, Montessori Magnet School or Thomas O'Brien Academy of
Science and Technology (TOAST) -- your child's name will be placed in a
waiting pool and will be eligible for monthly drawings
based on available seats. This process allows families to enroll in
another district prekindergarten class and still have a chance of
obtaining a seat in one of the themed programs. The waiting pool is
"weighted," meaning that a child with a sibling and/or neighborhood
preference will have priority over other children. All other students
are weighted equally regardless of when they apply throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will transportation be provided to prekindergarten?
A: No. Families are responsible for transporting their child to and from
Q: How are twins and other siblings handled in the lottery?
A: They are treated as individual children in the lottery and not
assigned together. Depending on your choices, it is possible that one
child will get a seat in a program and another child will not get a seat
there – or at all.
Q: If one of my children gets a seat but the other doesn’t, do I
now have sibling preference?
A: It depends. If one child gets assigned to a magnet/themed program,
the other child will have sibling preference in the waiting pool once
you accept the seat for and register the first child. Your child will
not have sibling preference if you applied to a neighborhood elementary
school or community program and were assigned to a waiting list.
Q: What are my chances of getting my first choice?
A: Your chances of getting your first choice depend on a number of
• The number of seats in a program available versus how many families
select that program as a first choice
• The number of first-choice applicants that have sibling preference at
that school (see above to
learn more about sibling preference)
• The number of first-choice applicants that have neighborhood
preference at that school (see
above to learn more about neighborhood preference)
Q: What are my chances of getting a neighborhood preference or
sibling preference school if I do not put it as my first choice?
A: Sibling preference and neighborhood preference only apply to your
first choice. They do not apply to your other choices.
Q: What happens if I don’t get a seat at any of my choices and
there are open seats at other sites?
A: You will receive a waiting list letter or a waiting pool letter
depending on your first-choice program. That letter will include a date
that you can register for programs with available seats and no waiting.
Q: Can I remain in the waiting pool for a magnet school and
accept a seat in neighborhood or community-based prekindergarten
Q: Can I be in a waiting pool for more than one magnet school?
A: Yes, but only if you have not been accepted into any prekindergarten
program and two or more of your preferred programs are at magnet
Q: Can I be on a waiting list for more than one neighborhood or
community-based prekindergarten program?