Moving to NYC with children is a daunting decision and you will need a lot of determination and bravery to make it a reality. Best schools in NYC for newcomers are hard to find or better say it’s hard to find an empty spot. The complex public school system in New York City is not easy to navigate and you will need a lot of research, patience and help to complete your goal. This will surely be a stressful period for you as a parent but more so it will be hard for your kids, so try to make it fun for them and as less stressful as possible.
NYC public school system
To find a suitable school for your kids you need a masters degree in NYC real estate, but don’t let this discourage you. Most NYC kids go to their zoned schools but there are many more options available depending on the age of your child and where you live. A lot of great information can be found on NYC department of education website. One thing is for sure, first, you will need to find a place to live, only then you can start looking for schools. NYC public school is a hard terrain to navigate filled with some of the best educational institutions as well as the worst. So let us, here at Capital City Movers the best residential movers in NYC, help you find some steady ground to build upon.
3-K for all, Pre-K and Kindergarten
The best schools in NYC for newcomers start at “3-K for all” which is a great program for 3-year-olds completely free of charge! This is a wonderful way for your toddler to play, learn and lay a strong foundation for future education. The best part about 3-K education is that it is available in 10 different languages! Children born in 2015 can apply in any language using any of the following three ways:
- Online via DOE application site
- By phone at 718-935-2009
- In person at a Family Welcome Center
Pre-K is a free program as well and every child has a right to enroll. Public education in NYC begins when your child turns 4. The city vouches it will find a seat for every 4-year-old but it might not be at a school near you. All NYC families with a child born in 2014 should submit a pre-K application and list 12 choices. Find out more about this amazing program on NYC DOE website.
Kindergarten is a right of every child as well and we suggest you make your 12 choices while your kid is still pre-K. As mentioned earlier kindergarten applications allow up to 12 choices with a priority given to parents of children who live in a neighborhood school’s zone and have a sibling already in that school. The most popular schools, such as the Forest Hills’ P.S. 303, the Academy for Excellence Through the Arts, are lottery-based schools because they have a wider pool of applicants than neighborhood schools. The demand for this school (for example) was so high that there were 10 families applying for one seat at any given time.
Elementary and middle school
Certain neighborhoods in NYC have amazing zoned elementary and middle schools and all you need to enroll is to bring proper paperwork and proof of address. Younger children 5-10 can register directly at their elementary school while older kids need to go to a Family Welcome Center first. NYC is divided into 32 schools districts and each of them provides 3-K, pre-K, kindergarten and elementary schools for your child based on your residence. During the registration period you can write up to 12 choices, but try to be realistic about where your kid can enroll. If you missed out on a popular school you still have a chance on their waitlist.
Best schools in NYC for newcomers
Some of the best schools in NYC for newcomers are the lottery-based ones. These schools give everyone an equal chance to enroll, no matter what your home address is. These are also the most sought-after and have more applicants per seat than other schools.
Among the top ones are East Harlem’s Central Park East 1 and Staten Island’s Michael J. Petrides. Both schools are very progressive and focus on every student’s individuality. They are among some of the most diverse schools around, putting an accent on arts as well as science. Close to follow are Harlem’s Teachers College Community School and Queens College School for Math, Science & Technology. These are affiliated with colleges and boast about their diverse stuff as well as student body.
Brooklyn is proud of their most progressive schools, Fort Greene’s Academy of Arts & Letters and Carroll Garden’s Brooklyn New School. Also, some of the schools to stand out with their hands-on approach are P.S. 150, known as the TriBeCa Learning Center and Upper East Side’s Ella Baker School. The first one has only one class per grade!
One article cannot cover a topic so wast as what are the best schools in NYC for newcomers, but we sure tried to give you a jump start. Just the fact that you are moving your family to another state is hard as it comes, not to mention you are going to live in the Big Apple! There are a lot of obstacles to overcome along the way but try to visualize the future! Your kids will be soon going to some of the most diverse and progressive schools in the world. You are setting them for success and all of the hardship is already worth it.