The Mom Who Did Everything Right When Applying Her Child To NYC Public School Kindergarten – And What Happened Next

Last week, I shared the stories of several New York City parents who, after a great deal of perseverance, hard work, and a whole lot of anxiety, were finally able to get their children accepted at the public schools of their choice.

This week, in her own words, we’ve got the account of a mom who went by the book and did absolutely everything the way the Department of Education (DOE) told her to – and what she got in return:


April 2, 2019

We are zoned for PS 180 (Hugo Newman) and my daughter is currently in the Dual Language pre-k program there. So we should have been accepted into the Dual Language Kindergarten program as both a zoned and a “legacy” student. However, we were accepted into Gen Ed Kindergarten and waitlisted for DL kindergarten.  While I know of 2 other families who are in the zone but NOT in dual language pre-k (or even in PS 180 for pre-k) and 2 other kids who are NOT in the zone who got into the DL program (although currently in the pre-k DL program).  I called the DOE and they said they don’t have my daughter listed as being in the DL Pre-K program, but there is actually NO drop-down choice available for DL in her profile – you can only select PS 180, there is no DL PS 180 option.

I’ve asked for her profile to be updated and they said it’s been escalated to the enrollment committee (I have a reference #) but they don’t seem to understand what happened. She’s literally the only child both in the zone and in the program currently who got waitlisted.  The school knows about it as does the PTA and the other parents (strong community in this program!), but I still have to hope she’s high on the waitlist (they won’t tell me where she is on the waitlist) and that enough kids choose to go elsewhere.

The 2nd issue is that my son is applied for the same DL pre-k program next year and I thought that because he has a sibling in the program that should be less of an issue, however if it’s not in her profile this may impact him?  Same for my youngest daughter who would go the following year.

Here I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of issue, being zoned and currently in the DL program (one of the top 2 reasons we bought our apartment was that it was zoned for this school!). The DOE likes to keep things interesting I guess?

April 8, 2019

Unfortunately the issue still has not been resolved. The school told me she has 2 IDs and that I need to call the DOE to fix it (but that she is #1 on the DL waitlist).

I called the DOE who said I have to go to the Family Enrollment Center to get it sorted, but the employee at the Enrollment Center told me she has 1 MySchools account and 1 School ID and that the school needs to fix it and that he would follow-up with them.

I had everything printed up and kept showing him the acceptance letter and the email that said she was not accepted and he didn’t seem to know what to make of it.  He also said the number that the school said was incorrect was actually her correct number. 

This morning my husband found out they deleted the wrong number or screwed something up and she’s now been moved down the waitlist from #1.  I am still hopeful that they will move her back up as they have more control over it and we are going to talk to them every day, but it’s been a confusing and frustrating experience!

June 11, 2019

We have her placed in Gen Ed but are still waiting to hear from the waitlist for Dual Language.  Unfortunately it seems as though most parents have accepted the Dual Language program, even a couple we thought for sure were going elsewhere (like our neighbors who were not in the program or even the school this year, but somehow got Dual Language).  

I spoke to another mom whose 2 older sons are in the Dual Language at PS 180 but her youngest did not get into the Pre-K program this year and she is also waitlisted for the Kindergarten program – so I wonder (rhetorically) who gets waitlist preference there?  It’s all very frustrating and screwy!

July 10, 2019

Our school decided to open another Kindergarten Dual Language program (Spanish) due to such high demand and interest, so it is also a “happy ending” for us!

We have several classmates whose parents decided against G&T and to stay in the dual language class, so there was barely any waitlist movement in the original class.  Very interesting indeed.

I’d like to say I’ve learned how to better prepare for my younger 2 when they go through the process but I’m sure everything will keep shifting year after year…


As the above indicates, even when parents do everything right, the system can still go wrong for them. Following up and keeping careful records – print everything out or take screen-shots, don’t trust your parent portal result not to disappear without warning! – is key.

Badger the school, badger the DOE, as a mom told us in April:

I work in a public school. I help with registration. I can see how we move kids around. For example, if a parent knows the parent coordinator or someone in the school, they are moved to the top…. Parents shouldn’t trust wait-lists because principals and secretaries modify them all the time.

Happy endings in NYC schools are possible – but they are not easy (especially on the nervous system). Do you have a story to share to help other parents?

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “The Mom Who Did Everything Right When Applying Her Child To NYC Public School Kindergarten – And What Happened Next

  1. This is why the SHSAT needs to be kept in place–because it prevents manipulation, abuse, and special privileges as described in the post.

  2. I went to a kindergarten open house where the assistant principal said the wait list is overseen by the Department of Education so if she were to deviate from the wait list order it would be flagged and someone from the DOE would call her to ask why. So I think this practice of school administrators moving students from the waitlist at their own discretion can no longer be done. Can you verify that?

    1. Waitlists are maintained by the schools, and kids are constantly shuffled around on the whims of whoever is in charge of the lists. I know it happens. I know it happens in Queens, because parents tell me when it happens.

More Comments