City Announces New Streamlined Pre-K Enrollment Process

  • Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 Updated: Mon Jul 23, 2018

Under new process, families will submit a single application covering full-day pre-K in district schools and early education centers. Families will be able to make their pre-K decision earlier than ever before

NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced a new unified application process for families enrolling their child in free, full-day, high-quality pre-K. For the first time, families will be able to apply for pre-K in both district schools and NYC Early Education Centers through a convenient single application. The process is being rolled out this March, so families with children who will enter pre-K for the 2015-16 school year have time to consider all of their options. Last year, the DOE enrolled over 53,000 four-year-olds in high-quality, full-day pre-K. This September, we will expand pre-K programs to offer every eligible four-year-old a seat.
The single-application process will allow parents to easily review all of the City’s high-quality, full-day pre-K options and rank up to their top 12 choices. Students will receive a single offer to their highest possible program choice in early June, based on the admissions priorities for district schools and early education centers. Previously, parents were required to fill out separate applications – on two separate timelines – for district schools and early education centers. This new process makes the application process easier for parents, and also benefits pre-K programs, allowing program directors more time to support their staff and students that was previously spent on administrative paperwork. Families will also learn about their pre-K placement earlier than in previous years.
“Pre-K is a critical foundation for our students’ long-term success, and families across our City have access to more high-quality pre-K programs than ever before,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The new single application will make it easier than ever for families to find the right pre-K program for their child. Making this process easier will help to welcome parents into classrooms across the City and help build critical parent engagement.”
“The new Pre-K for All enrollment will make the application process easier for parents and our pre-K operators across the City,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “Our streamlined system will provide families with more information about all of our pre-K programs in one place and give them the ability to submit a single application to up to twelve pre-K programs at once. This is a win for parents, a win for pre-K operators, and a win for the City of New York.”
“High-quality pre-k instruction provides an opportunity for children to learn at a very early age, making it more likely for them to realize later academic success, graduate from high school, and become part of the workforce,” said ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión. “The better we can assist families in enrolling their children in early childhood programs, the greater chance we have at impacting their lives, with the ultimate goal of reducing the need for remedial education, and their involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.”
While the priority structure for families applying for district school pre-K seats will remain the same under the new process, DOE has worked closely with early education centers to develop a clear and consistent structure for filling their seats. The children of families listing early education centers on their application will be placed in the programs based on the following structure:
•  Priority Group 1: Current students enrolled at the early education center (for the 2014-2015 school year) matriculating from three-year-old programs
•  Priority Group 2: Siblings of current students enrolled at the early education center
•  Priority Group 3: Students whose families currently receive free or subsidized social services from the organization operating the early education center
•  Priority Group 4: Students speaking a native language other than English that the early education center specializes in serving
•  Priority Group 5: All other students
District schools and early education centers will manage their own waitlists.
Prior to the start of the application period, the DOE is undertaking extensive efforts to ensure that families understand the new enrollment process and are aware of the options available to their child. Pre-K outreach teams are engaging early education centers on the specifics of the new process as well as helping them engage and spread awareness in local communities. Additionally, the DOE will distribute important information about the new enrollment process – and Pre-K for All – to thousands of families across all five boroughs with children eligible for pre-K next year. The outreach campaign will also include a launch of advertisements on buses, bus shelters, and the radio which will help direct families to the new streamlined application process.
The pre-K application process begins on March 16, 2015, and the deadline to apply is April 24, 2015. Families can apply in any of three ways: online at the Pre-K website, over the phone by calling (718) 935-2067, or in person at one of the DOE’s 12 Family Welcome Centers. The application will be translated into nine languages, and additional translation services are available over the phone in more than 200 languages. Families that apply by the deadline will receive offers in early June.
For the 2014-2015 school year, DOE:
• Opened 245 new pre-K sites across 5 boroughs 
• Enrolled over 53,000 four-year-olds in high-quality, full-day pre-K 
• Made over 300,000 calls and 68,000 successful contacts to enroll families into a pre-K program that met their needs
• Spoke or canvassed at over 575 community events
• Screened more than 10,000 pre-K teaching applicants
• Trained more than 6,000 teachers, assistants, and paraprofessionals in 75 locations across the City
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