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Pre-Kindergarten Lottery Application Information

Please carefully read the information below explaining the Pre-K options available through WHPS.


The 2024-2025 Magnet AND PRE-K LOTTERY APPLICATIONS Closed on March 8, 2024 at 4:00 p.m.

***Enrollment age has changed: Children must turn 3 or 4 respectively on or before  September 1, 2024 to apply for Pre-K. Applications for children with birthdays after September 1st will be declined.

1. Magnet Schools

Operates: School Day/School Year  
Population: 50/50 Neighborhood*/Magnet balance; 60% Income Group A; 40% Income Group B

Please be advised that, in accordance with State grant requirements, "Income Group" is a determining factor in acceptance to the Pre-K program. The district reserves the right to revoke acceptance to the program if, through the income verification process, this information is deemed inaccurate.

To determine your income group, please use line 11 of your most recently completed IRS Form 1040 for tax purposes. Please determine if your gross income is less or more than the income cap listed. Those household incomes below the cap listed with corresponding family size, are Group A. Those household incomes above the cap listed with corresponding family size, are Group B.

Preschool tuition is determined on a sliding scale. To estimate a preschool tuition rate for your household, please use one of the tuition estimators below. 

Tuition rates are consistent with State of CT regulations. These rates are subject to change consistent with Connecticut State median income data.





Once enrolled a student may stay Pre-K through 5th grade.

Families may apply to ONE magnet school.

a. Charter Oak International Academy hosts five mixed age Pre-K classrooms for three- and four-year-olds. Any family that resides in West Hartford may apply for a spot at Charter Oak. Siblings of currently enrolled students receive preference in the lottery. Charter Oak International Academy will host an in-person Magnet Information Night/Open House on February 15, 2024.

b. Smith STEM School hosts one mixed age Pre-K classroom for three- and four-year olds. Any family that resides in West Hartford may apply for a spot at Smith. Due to the limited number of spaces available, there is no sibling preference. The Smith STEM School will host an in-person Magnet Information Night/Open House on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

2. Webster Hill Elementary 

Operates: School Day/School Year  

 Webster Hill hosts three mixed aged Pre-K classrooms for three- and four-year-olds. Only families that reside in the Webster Hill neighborhood and/or one of the listed prioritized neighborhoods may apply to Webster Hill. Neighborhoods that may apply are Wolcott, Smith and Hillcrest. The Webster Hill School Pre-K in-person Information Night/Open House will be held on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

*Students that do not reside in the Webster Hill neighborhood will return to their neighborhood school for Kindergarten.

All nine of the Pre-K classrooms are partially funded through grants from the State of CT Office of Early Childhood. These grants require a balance of socio-economic status within each classroom. The lottery is executed using parameters set by the grants, in addition to accounting for age, gender, and neighborhood/magnet status to create balanced classrooms. Thanks to these State Grants we are able to offer high quality early childhood programming on a sliding fee scale.

*If you apply and are accepted to any of the three schools as a neighborhood student and move out of the neighborhood prior to the start of the school year, you will forfeit your spot. You may put your name on the waitlist for the magnet schools as a magnet student, or on the waitlist for Webster Hill if you move to a prioritized neighborhood. If you move during the school year, you may write a letter to Andrew Morrow, Assistant Superintendent to request a waiver for the remainder of the school year and must reapply as a magnet student for the following year.

prek riding in courtyard

Here are some general Pre-K eligibility guidelines:

  • Charter Oak, Smith and Webster Hill allow PK3 and PK4

    • PK3 Lottery - born 9/2/2020 to 9/1/2021 (must turn 3 years of age on or before September 1st)

    • PK4 Lottery - born 9/2/2019 to 9/1/2020  (must turn 4 years of age on or before September 1st)

  • PK students will be able to choose only one magnet school

  • All siblings not currently enrolled in the magnet school need to apply through the lottery

  • There is NO sibling preference in PK lottery, except at Charter Oak, because they have 80 total seats

  • Web Hill PK lottery will run on the same timeline but is not part of the magnet process

  • These pre-kindergarten programs are open only to children who live in West Hartford. Smith STEM and Charter Oak International Academy pre-kindergarten programs are open to children who reside anywhere in West Hartford. The pre-kindergarten program at Webster Hill Elementary is only open to children who live in the Webster Hill neighborhood and prioritized neighborhoods. 
  • Families applying for pre-kindergarten may select one magnet school on their application, either Charter Oak or Smith. Families residing in the Webster Hill neighborhood or prioritized neighborhoods (Wolcott, Smith and Hillcrest) may apply to Webster Hill and one magnet school.


The 2024-2025 Magnet and Pre-K lottery applications are available from January 16th - March 8th at 4:00 p.m. 

  • Magnet and Pre-Kindergarten Application Process begins: January 16, 2024
  • Parent Information Meeting at Webster Hill: January 25, 2024 at 6:00pm
  • Parent Information meeting at Charter Oak International Academy: February 15, 2024 at 6:30pm
  • Parent Information meeting at Smith STEM School: February 8, 2024 at 6:30pm
  • Magnet Application due: March 8, 2024 at 4:00 pm
  • Magnet Lottery Results sent to parents: March 20, 2024 
  • Completed registration to accept spot required: April 3, 2024
  • Before April 3, 2024 Financial paperwork is due as part of your enrollment process. This must also be completed if you wish to be considered for the sliding fee scale. (see Tuition and Income Verification section below) **If you are accepted under Income Group A (as self-reported in the application) and the income verification process determines you are in Group B, your offer will be rescinded.

Waitlist Information:

  • Families on the waiting list will receive their waitlist number on March 20, 2024. 

  • WHPS will not provide waitlist updates. 

  • If your child’s name rises to the top of the list and a space is available, the school will contact you directly.  Students are called from the waiting list throughout the summer and even after the start of the school year when openings arise. 

  • If you are waitlisted, we strongly encourage you to find alternate plans for your child’s Pre-K experience for the fall.

Pre-Kindergarten Information:

Enrollment packets are now all electronic. Accepted families will receive a link providing all required forms and information to successfully enroll their child. For questions regarding registration please contact our residency office at residency@whps.org.

If you wish to apply for the sliding scale for tuition please fill out the income verification form and return to, Barbara Rua, Business Office,  Room 418, 50 South Main Street or email Barbara_Rua@whps.org. Please be prepared to provide copies of proof of income.

ALL children entering pre-kindergarten must have completed current health forms to attend school. This form can be found in the electronic enrollment packet. Completed forms should be returned to the school nurse.