School's open! For parents who still have questions—or who don't have a school assignment—here's where you can get help and find answers.
Your school district
Got a question about enrollment? Missing special ed or English language services? Contact your newly appointed family support coordinator. There is one for each of the city's 32 districts. Their job is to work with individual parents who have problems or concerns. It's a new position so we don't know how well it is working yet, but it's worth reaching out.
Family leadership coordinators replace the DFAs (district family advocates). Their job is to support PA/PTAs and SLTs (School Leadership Teams) and to lead district workshops and events. If you're wondering why your school's PTA isn't active, or have a question about how to get involved, talk to your district's leadership coordinator. Many of them are former DFAs and know their schools very well.
For more tips about the start of the school year, see the DOE's "Back to School Basics" here. Make sure to download a copy of the Parents' Bill of Rights. Your school should also be sending one home with your child.
With the massive expansion of universal pre-kindergarten this year, there are bound to be snafus. Some 51 programs closed before the start of the school year. If you were assigned to one of those, and need a new placement, call the pre-k outreach team at 212-637-8036 for help. If you never got a placement, or are new to the city, you can go to one of the Department of Education's new registration centers, contact the outreach team or call the DOE's enrollment helpline at 718-935-2009. You can also contact programs directly. (Sometimes you need several options!) Here's a list of schools that had available seats at the end of August.
For the first few days of school, 4-year-olds have a much shorter day. Start times vary from school to school and some programs even want parents to be there for the entire phase-in. If you're still uncertain what time to show up, call your public school or program. If it's a new program or the pre-k center doesn't have a phone number yet, call 311 or the outreach team.
For parents of older children who are uncertain of their school's start time, the DOE has added a new search tool. Key in the name of your school and you can see the school day start and end time. That doesn't work for pre-k programs yet though.
New to NYC? No school yet?
Students who are new to New York City public schools, or who are re-entering city schools after a time away, may enroll in school at temporary registration centers.
The centers are open Monday–Friday, 8 am–3 pm through Sept. 18, but are closed on Sept. 14–15 for Rosh Hashanah. Family Welcome Centers will reopen on Sept. 21. On the first day of school, families were still trickling in to the centers, both those new to the city and those seeking transfers.
All high school students as well as elementary and middle school students who do not have a zoned school must go to a registration center to enroll in school.
Elementary and middle school students who have a zoned school, including special education students who have a current New York City–issued IEP (individualized education plan), may register now at their zoned school. Regardless of whether or not you have a zoned school, new students with IEPs from outside of New York City should go to a registration center.
Students with more restrictive or specialized needs may also visit a Committee on Special Education (CSE) location. For more information, including CSE locations, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/schools. Advocates for Children offers a great Q&A for the start of the school year for parents of students with disablities. Check it out here.
Our advice: Do your research before you get to the registration center. Read our school profiles on Insideschools and look at Insidestats. If you have doubts about your zoned elementary or middle school, know that there are alternatives. Search for "unzoned" schools, including charter schools, or look at the DOE's elementary school directory online. Last year's middle school directories are no longer online but you can pick up a hard copy at a registration center.
Students must be present to register, and you will need to bring some documents including proof of address, a birth certificate, passport or record of baptism, immunization records and the student's latest school transcript or report card. Visit the DOE's New Students page for more details on how to register and a full list of which documents you will need to bring.
The centers are designed for new students and students who aren't yet assigned to a school, but the enrollment staff can sometimes help students who want to transfer to a different school or who are applying to attend a school outside of their zone (known as a placement exception request.) It all depends on whether there is space in the school.
See the DOE's website for more information. If you have additional questions, you can call 718-935-3500.
Here's a list of the centers:
Walton Educational Campus
2780 Reservoir Avenue
Herbert H. Lehman High School
3000 E. Tremont Avenue
Edward R. Murrow High School
1600 Avenue L
Boys and Girls High School
1700 Fulton Street (enter at Schenectady Avenue)
Brooklyn Technical High School
29 Fort Greene Place (enter at South Elliot Place)
The High School of Fashion Industries
225 W. 24th Street (enter at West 25th Street)
Long Island City High School
Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School
165-65 84th Avenue
The Michael J. Petrides School
715 Ocean Terrace (Building A)