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News and Speeches

The NYC Department of Education Kicks Off Public School Pre-k Admissions


4,000 new full-day seats targeted towards high needs areas will help close achievement gap

Awareness campaign – utilizing subway ads, text messages, and on-the-ground canvassing – will inform parents about pre-k benefits and boost enrollment

The New York City Department of Education launched the pre-kindergarten admissions process for the 2013-2014 school-year. Children born in 2009 who live in New York City are eligible to apply to the nearly 1,500 free pre-k programs at public elementary schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) across the city. The application deadline for public schools is April 5, and the Department will notify families in early June about public school placements.

Studies clearly show the importance of an early childhood education:

  • Children experience rapid brain development in the first five years of life

  • Research from leading economists has shown that every dollar spent on high-quality early childhood programs for disadvantaged children creates $7 to $10 in future savings

  • A recent DOE analysis showed children who participated in the city’s pre-k programs achieved statistically significant higher scores on 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade NY state exams than those who did not.

As such, in the fall the Department of Education announced the expansion of full-day pre-k options by 4,000 seats in public schools and community-based settings.  These new options will be targeted towards high needs neighborhoods to support the DOE’s effort to ensure all children enter kindergarten school-ready and on a path to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.

“The benefits of an early childhood education are clear, so we encourage every family to enroll their child in a pre-k program. The achievement gap starts before kindergarten, and we know that high-quality, accessible pre-k programs can help close it. That’s why we’re opening 4,000 new full-day seats in areas that need them most,” City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said. “Developing college and career ready students doesn’t have to start in elementary school – it often starts in early childhood settings. The creation of not just new seats, but high quality seats, is just another way we’re developing students equipped to lead our city into the future.”

The DOE aims to maximize the number of children who participate in pre-k next year. As such, the Department has also launched a strategic outreach campaign to reach all parents including both citywide awareness efforts and targeted strategies for reaching high needs communities. Using subway and bus ads, a text message campaign, and on-the-ground canvassing, the DOE is aggressively targeted families who may not be considering early childhood education.

Other Important Dates and Information about Admissions

  • Families can obtain the 2013-2014 Pre-Kindergarten Directory – a list of all public school and CBO pre-k programs and information about how to apply online – at www.nyc.gov/schools/prek, at borough enrollment offices, or at any public elementary school with a pre-k program.

  • Families can submit the public school application either online or in person at a borough enrollment office.  A complete list of enrollment offices is available at www.nyc.gov/schools/enrollmentoffices.  Families can also visit their local public library branch to complete the online application after they sign up for a free library card.

  • The application for Community-Based Organization (CBO) pre-k programs is available at CBO program sites and on the DOE’s website at www.nyc.gov/schools/prek. Families should submit applications to CBO programs directly, and will be notified by CBOs of their placement. CBOs may continue to accept applications as long as they have openings, so families are encouraged to contact CBOs about seat availability before they apply.

The Department will hold pre-k information sessions – all of which will run from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – in each Borough beginning March 4. Representatives from the Office of Student Enrollment and the Office of Early Childhood Education will present information about pre-kindergarten programs and the admissions process. All sessions will run from and translation and interpretation services will be provided. For ongoing updates about the admissions process, text “prek” to 877877 and/or sign up for email updates at www.nyc.gov/schools/subscribe.


Date (2013)




Monday, March 4

Long Island City High School

14-30 Broadway


Tuesday, March 5

Brandeis High School Campus

145 West 84th Street


Wednesday, March 6

P.S. 5 Port Morris

564 Jackson Avenue

Staten Island

Thursday, March 7

P.S. 069 Daniel D. Tompkins

144 Keating Place


Monday, March 11

Sunset Park High School

153 35th Street