With all the fuss about private school deadlines, Gifted & Talented testing, charter school applications, and unzoned school requirements, it’s easy – and very tempting – to believe that your local, zoned elementary school is a great fallback option come Kindergarten 2012.
And it is.
But, in New York City, we are long past the days when you can just show up on the first day of school with an electric bill to prove residency and your child’s birth certificate to confirm age, and he or she is assured of a seat.
Nowadays, many schools, especially the most popular ones (i.e. those with good test scores or a unique pedagogical approach) fill up quickly, and even longtime neighborhood residents may find themselves on a wait-list. (Now, those lists do move once private school, G&T, and charter admissions are announced, but if you want to save yourself some sleepless nights, you also want to register your child as soon as possible.)
This year, zoned school Kindergarten admissions begins on January 9, 2012 (also any unzoned schools for which you may qualify).
While the Admissions period runs until March 2, 2012 (see: http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/Elementary/CalendarandEvents/default.htm for more), the NY Gifted Education Examiner strongly urges you to register early.
Admissions priorities are as follows:
1. Zoned students with a sibling who will be in grades 1-5 at the school in 2012-2013;
2. All other zoned students;
3. Students residing in the school’s district but outside the school’s zone, with a sibling who will be in grades 1-5 at the school in 2012-2013;
4. Students residing outside of the school’s district with a sibling who will be in grades 1-5 at the school in 2012-2013;
5. All other students residing in the school’s district but outside the school’s zone;
6. All other students.
When you come to register, you must bring:
* Child’s birth certificate or passport
* Child’s immunization records
* Proof of residence, which will be verified by any two of the following:
o A residential utility bill (gas or electric) in the resident’s name issued by National Grid, Con Edison, or the Long Island Power Authority; must be dated within the past 60 days
o Documentation or letter on letterhead from a federal, state or local government agency, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), City Housing Authority, Human Resources Administration (HRA), the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), or an ACS subcontractor indicating the resident’s name and address; must be dated within the past 60 days
o An original lease agreement, deed or mortgage statement for the residence
o A current property tax bill for the residence
o A water bill for the residence; must be dated within the past 60 days
o Official payroll documentation from an employer such as a form submitted for tax withholding purposes or payroll receipt; a letter on the employer’s letterhead will not be accepted; must be dated within the past 60 day
* Child’s Individual Education Program (IEP) and/or 504 Accommodation Plan (if applicable and available)
To find out your Zoned School by Zip Code or other means, go to: http://schools.nyc.gov/FindASchool/_del_AdvanceSearch.htm (If/when it doesn’t work – I had to try several times when I tested it – call 311 for help.)