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School Raffle

Parents play the lottery for UWS kindergarten spots.

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There are many steps to getting your kid into a good public school, and one happened June 6, when District 3 on the Upper West Side held a public lottery for district parents hoping for a spot in a better kindergarten than at the school to which they were geographically assigned. (This was separate from applying for gifted-and-talented programs or charter schools.) There were 452 applicants for 302 spots; ultimately, 76 seats went unfilled, because they weren’t in the most desirable schools. S. Jhoanna Robledo spoke to hopeful moms and dads.

SHAQUIRA THOMAS
Thomas’s son, wait-listed at the Harlem Success Academy charter school, was waiting to hear from Manhattan School for Children, a “choice public school” (you must apply to get in), with its own lottery the same night. They were aiming for P.S. 75, which has a popular dual-language program. “It’s nerve-racking, but I think he’s getting into the charter school,” Thomas said. “He was No. 49 on the list, and now he’s No. 5.”
Wanted
P.S. 75
Got
Got her fourth choice at the lottery and rejected at MSC. “I’ll still hold out for the charter school,” she said.

ROBERT KING
With his daughter wait-listed at Columbia’s private elementary school, King was hoping for a P.S. 84 placement. “She got a 98 on the Stanford-Binet,” King said. “We wanted to take the OLSAT”—the eligibility test for the city’s gifted programs—“but the date kept getting pushed back. It’s more stressful for my wife than for me. ”
Wanted
P.S. 84
Got
Ended up with P.S. 165, their fourth choice. “The whole process is opaque to me,” he said. “If we don’t get into Columbia, we’ll send her to Catholic school.”

ANNIE LUNAVAT
Lunavat was looking for an apartment in P.S. 9’s district to assure her daughter’s enrollment at the school but hadn’t found anything. Still she listed P.S. 9 as her second choice in the lottery, after P.S. 199, which she figured she wouldn’t get. She wasn’t too worried, though. “I like my catchment school, P.S. 75,” she said.
Wanted
P.S. 9
Got
“I won! I got the last spot at P.S. 9,” said Lunavat. “I made everyone check the numbers to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.”

PATRICIA FRISBIE
Frisbie wanted P.S. 163, with its dual-language kindergarten program, for her daughter and felt good about her odds. “I thought I’d had a good chance, as P.S. 163 is not at the top of the list for many parents,” she explained.
Wanted
P.S. 163
Got
Nothing—she only listed one choice, P.S. 163, and didn’t get it. But there was a snafu: She was incorrectly issued a lottery number for families living outside the district, which may have lowered her odds. She’s now appealing.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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