We are waist deep in the middle of the New York City kindergarten process, and for some people the process is not over until their kid steps foot into their school on the first day in September. I hope we will have finalized answers by the end of May, but this is the NYC DOE, so we might have to wait longer.
Kindergarten aged kids in NYC are guaranteed a seat
For so many parents this waiting game is stressful, and the main NYC Kindergarten process stress is making sure your 4 year old gets into YOUR top choice school. In NYC your kindergarten aged kid is guaranteed a seat placement within your district, but not necessarily your zone (space permitting), plus you can apply to schools outside of your zone.
Most schools start monthly tours in the fall
Before applying to public school kindergarten in NYC it is recommended to take a school tour, most schools start monthly tours in the fall, previous to the February application deadline. The kindergarten application process is between January and February, and parents can apply up to 12 schools. DOE applications can easily be completed online.
Application results are given to parents mid April and they have until early May to lock in their acceptance. This year 72 percent of the kindergarten applicants received their first choice and 12 percent received one of their top three choices. 10 percent of applicants did not receive any offers from their list, so they might be defaulted back to their zoned school (space permitting).
Waitlists are another big stress for parents, but these lists almost always clear by September as families move or decide to attend other schools. But having to wait through the whole summer not knowing where your kindergartener might be placed must the worst.
Gifted & Talented in NYC
Now if the kindergarten process does not seem to be complicated enough, throw in the Gifted & Talented wrench to confuse and stress parents out even more. For your kid to even be consider for a G&T seat they must take the verbal (OLSAT*) and nonverbal (NNAT**) tests. The application for the NYC G&T test is in the fall, one whole year before your kid even starts kindergarten. They will be given a testing date after the new year, and you will receive your kids G&T score report early April. Parents have until mid April to apply to either G&T district wide program (score between 90-99) or a G&T city wide program (score between 97-99).
This year 25 percent of test takers qualified for G&T programs. There is no guarantee that your child will receive a placement offer to a G&T program. The number of eligible students typically exceeds the number of seats available at these programs. Yep, you read that correctly, you do all that work and your kid scores high enough to be considered, but G&T placement in NYC is not guaranteed.
Parent will not find out about G&T placements until late May, so you MUST secure your kids kindergarten placement (early May) before you find out your kids G&T placement. This process then allows relief on the waitlists if your kid receives a coveted NYC G&T placement.
Your kid with thrive wherever they go to school
Yes, this whole process is crazy, but clearly if you are a parent willing to go through this stress, you are also a parent to a kid that will most likely succeed wherever they are placed, zoned, district, G&T city wide, G&T district wide or private school.
Good luck to all of you out there and hopefully this process readies us for the even crazier NYC middle school process in 5 years.
*Measures your child’s ability to comprehend information communicated through spoken language.
**Measured your child’s ability to solve problems using pictures