If your child didn't get the kindergarten spot you asked for, try to stay calm. Waitlists at sought-after schools move over the spring and summer. We have seen it happen year after year. Children get offers on a rolling basis as families make final choices. Hang in there.
The city sent out offers for kindergarten seats this week: 71 percent received an offer to their first choice, 19 percent got one of their other choices and 10 percent were shut out of all their choices. Some received offers to their zoned school even though they didn't list it.
In all, 590 applicants were put on waitlists at their zoned schools, down from 1,083 in 2017. Fifty schools have waitlists for children living in their attendance zone; half of those listed have fewer than five children.
In many cases, the waitlists for zoned students will clear by April; in most others, they clear by summer as families move away, or opt for gifted and talented programs or private schools.
"I've been doing this 15 years and only once did a child get put in another school and after a week they came back," said Ellen Maurer, parent coordinator at PS 196 in Forest Hills, Queens, which had 63 children on the kindergarten waitlist. "It may be a long summer for some, but by the time the school year starts, we are able to seat everybody."
Your child is automatically placed on waitlists for all the choices above the one you got. Our advice: Call the parent coordinator at the school you want. Stay in friendly touch. Be easy to reach. This is not the time to hike a mountain with no cell phone service.
Whether or not you're happy with the school to which your child is assigned, you should make an appointment by April 27 to pre-register your child there to hold your spot. To do this, bring your child, your child's birth certificate and proof of residence (see the list of acceptable documents). This won't keep you from getting an offer at a school where you are waitlisted, or a gifted and talented program, or a charter school. (Admissions letters for G&T and charters come later in the spring.)
If you missed the boat and didn't apply at all, you may still visit schools and apply in person.
Some zoned neighborhood schools are overcrowded in northwestern parts of the Bronx, Manhattan's Upper West Side, northern Queens, parts of Brooklyn such as Sunset Park, and elsewhere.
Long Island City's PS 78 tops the list with 73 kindergartners in the zone waiting to get in. Borough Park's PS 160, like last year, is also high on the list with 69 on its waitlist. The Upper West Side's PS 87 has 48 children on the list.
Read our school profiles and check InsideStats. You may discover some alternatives that are acceptable. Otherwise, take a breath and give waitlists time.
For more information, families may call (718) 935-2009 or visit www.nyc.gov/schools/kindergarten.
Download the kindergarten waitlist here