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Manhattan schools that (might) have room

PS 63 is one of several District 1 schools that may have room for  out of district applicants. PS 63 is one of several District 1 schools that may have room for out of district applicants.

We’ve heard a lot of scary stories about kindergarten waitlists at very popular schools, but what about good schools that aren’t hopelessly oversubscribed? Insideschools has compiled a list of Manhattan schools that accept children from outside their immediate neighborhoods. We’ll be posting similar lists for other boroughs soon.

For this list, we have concentrated on schools that don’t require a "gifted and talented" exam. All a parent has to do is apply between now and March 2--and hope there are seats available. Call the schools directly for details. These schools fall in a couple of categories:

--Magnet programs. These schools receive federal money to develop a theme, such as science or technology. They give first preference to children who live in their attendance zone, but usually have room for children from across a district. Some also have room for children outside the district.

--Dual language programs. These programs are designed to make children fluent readers and writers of English and another language: Spanish, French or Chinese. Instruction alternates between the two languages. Typically, half the children speak English at home and half speak the other language. Zoned children get preference, but others may apply.

--Unzoned schools. These schools accept children from a particular district. A few accept children from all five boroughs.

--Good neighborhood schools. Children who are zoned for the school get preference, but sometimes there are extra seats, even though you may not find out until August.

--Charter schools. These accept children by lottery. (You have until April to apply.)

Lower East Side

In District 1 on the Lower East Side, there are no zoned neighborhood schools. Everybody has to make a choice. Preference goes to children who live in the district, but there are sometimes spots for out-of-district children, including Brooklynites.

Long-time favorites are The Neighborhood School, The Earth School, and PS 184—which will most likely fill up with District 1 kids this year. (Note: out-of-district families who are willing to wait until August may snag a seat). Out-of-district children may have a better chance at the Children’s Workshop School and East Village Community School. Also consider PS 20, which has a nice dual language program in English and Mandarin. PS 63 is gaining in popularity. The Girls Preparatory Charter School offers a single-sex option.

Downtown, the Village and Midtown

Forget PS 234 or PS 41 if you live out of zone. Those popular schools have long wait-lists even for their zoned kids. There are some other options, however. PS 150 and Midtown West are sought-after unzoned schools for District 2. PS 33 and PS 11 are zoned schools that may have room for other kids who live in District 2. A new school, Peck Slip or PS 343, will be opening in the Department of Education headquarters in the Tweed Courthouse. See the District 2 CEC website for details. New schools often have space for out-of-zone kids in their first year.

Upper East Side

The good news: the Upper East Side will have some new buildings, easing overcrowding. PS 267 and PS 59 are moving into new buildings in the fall, and  PS 267 may have room for out-of-zone kids. A third school, PS 527, will open in the former parochial school, Our Lady of Good Council, at 323 East 91st Street. It, too, may have space for out-of-zone students. See the District 2 CEC website for details.

Ella Baker is a progressive K-8 school that has long accepted children from all five boroughs.

Upper West Side

PS 199 won’t have room for out-of-zone kindergartners, but other District 3 schools may. Consider English-Spanish dual language programs at PS 84, PS 87, PS 163 and PS 75. In addition, PS 84 has a French-English dual language program. These schools mostly limit admission to District 3 students, but French-speakers from out of district may be eligible for PS 84.

Manhattan School for Children accepts children from across District 3.

PS 145, which has a federal magnet grant, has room for out-of-zone children, as does PS 165.

As for charter schools, people seem to either love or hate the Harlem Success Academy Charter School and its sister school Upper West Success Academy. Both give preference to District 3 residents.

East Harlem

The birthplace of school choice, District 4 in East Harlem has welcomed out-of-zone and out-of-district children for decades. Central Park East I, Central Park East II and River East are small progressive schools. The Bilingual Bilcultural School, PS 57 and PS 171 are also popular choices, but they give preference to kids who live in the zone.

Central Harlem

Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, Harlem Success Academy 2 , and Harlem Success Academy 5 are good unzoned options in District 5.

Upper Manhattan

District 6 offers a number of choices for parents who want to look beyond their neighborhood school, including Muscota New School, Amistad Dual Language School, Hamilton Heights School, Washington Heights Academy and PS 178, The Professor Juan Bosch School.

For more on these and other tips on how to apply to elementary school, attend the Insideschools workshop in Manhattan on Feb. 7.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:51

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