2 Things Every Prospective Boston Public School Parent Should Know

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For young parents in Boston, anxiety is beginning to build around the Boston Public School lottery, the mechanism by which the district assigns students to various schools. I’ve discussed the subject in some depth previously.

From hearing anecdotal reports and seeing the evidence on our local school listserv, I wanted to pass on two vital pieces of info.

First, at every school you visit, every parent should be asking “How many kids in last year’s entering class were siblings?”.

The BPS resists issuing this data, and to my knowledge, only released the data publicly in a single year (2005). They also released 2008-9 data for the West Zone to me after multiple requests.

The reason it is important is that many popular schools (like the Lyndon and the Kilmer in the West Zone) have a ton of siblings. Its misleading to tell first-time participants in the process that these schools have “44 open seats” when a significant portion of those seats will be allocated to siblings. Be sure to ask the question.

Another issue to address is when the process starts. For many of the popular schools, if you don’t get in at K1 (4 year old kindergarten), you have almost no chance of getting in at K2 (5 year old kindergarten). The worst case I’ve come across of this is (ironically) the woman who runs the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools, who got shut out of her 11 top choices for K2, and is now moving to Natick. She claims there were only 22 available K2 seats in her entire neighborhood.

Again, you will get admitted somewhere if you wait until K2, but your choices will be more limited.