My husband and I will be moving to Manhattan sometime this fall or winter (probably just after Christmas). Our oldest child will start kindergarten this fall. However, he was born in August 2006, so he will be six. The cutoff where we live is September 1 but they allow holding back if parents choose to do it. Can he continue in kindergarten, or will the Department of Education be inflexible and require that as a six year old he has to go to first grade? Also, what choices do we have as new arrivals in the middle of the school year?
For New York City kids, there is a rather inflexible rule: You must enter kindergarten in the year you turn five and you must enter first grade in the year you turn six. However, when out-of-towners show up their kids are placed in the last grade in which they were registered. You have to submit school records to verify the grade – but then you need those records as part of your registration.
The superintendent has the last word, in case there is a dispute. Admission policy is spelled out in Chancellor's Regulation A-101. As for midyear choices: your best bet would be the kindergarten zoned for your address. It is a balancing act -- figure out where to live first, or find the zoned school and then look for housing. Before you make a final choice, be certain that the kindergarten you chose has space for your child – some are overcrowded. Be sure also that the school is zoned for your new address. The school will know or call the parent service desk at the Education Department: (718) 935-2009 or (212) 374-2363. Of course you should use Insideschools.org to research the schools by reading our reviews of schools and parent comments.
To complete registration you need documents to verify your address and your child's age and immunization records—a rather extensive list so start assembling them ahead of time. Check out our New to NYC section for more particulars on school choice and enrollment.
Entering 9th graders who moved to in the city after November 1, can take the specialized high school exam on August 27 or audition for LaGuardia on August 30. Registration, in person, is required – the borough enrollment offices will accept registration from July 9 through August 22.
Welcome to New York and good luck!