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What to do if you were shut out of universal pre-k

Let me preface this by saying, I am *not* an expert! However, I have done a lot of research (like most parents I suspect), and have also chatted with friends who went through this process last year. If your child didn't receive a placement in this first round, do not give up hope! That said, you should start laying the groundwork for non-public school care. Check out CBOs (community based organizations), either near your home or workplace. See if they have space. In some cases, they'll keep your kid for the full day for an extra fee, which means you won't have to figure out how to pick up your kid at 3 p.m. If you're hellbent on getting a free UPK placement...call the schools you're interested in. Be prepared to be blown off, but do everything you can to forge a personal relationship with someone at the school--a parent coordinator, an administrator, etc. Without being too desperate (or creepy!), explain how strongly you feel about your child attending that particular school and ask if you could call in the fall to see if a space suddenly ends up vacant. A parent coordinator once told me, "Call the first week of September. There's always at least one kid who doesn't show up." In addition, apply for round 2. I don't have the statistics on how many kids are placed during that round but some must be. I assume you'll be told which schools still have space, and hopefully one of them will be a good fit. Lastly, check InsideSchools.org for updates and info. No other site has such comprehensive news about the NYC public school system. Good luck!

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