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Pre-Kindergarten Lottery Application Information

West Hartford Public School Pre-K has expanded! Please carefully read the information below explaining the Pre-K options available through WHPS.

1. Magnet Schools

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

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. The Charter Oak International Academy Virtual Open House was held on Thursday February 10th at 6:30 p.m.  

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 Magnet Virtual Open House was held on Thursday, February 3rd.

2. Webster Hill Elementary 

Operates: School Day/School Year  

Population: Neighborhood and COVID Recovery Grant prioritized neighborhoods* - 

a. Webster Hill has expanded to 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: Webster Hill, Wolcott, Whiting Lane, Smith and Hillcrest. The Webster Hill Pre-K Virtual Open House was held on Thursday, January 27th at 6:00 p.m. 

*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 Dr. 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.

COVID Recovery Grant - What is it, and how does a neighborhood qualify?

On June 14, 2021 West Hartford Public Schools was awarded a grant to partially fund the opening of two additional Pre-K classrooms. Optimal space was identified at Webster Hill Elementary school. In addition to maintaining the socio-economic balance, the COVID Recovery Grant specifically requires us to prioritize neighborhoods in town that have the lowest Pre-K experience rates. This data is generated each fall through a parent survey of current kindergarten students. Families that live in the identified neighborhoods will have the opportunity to apply to the Webster Hill Pre-K program.  If you apply to Webster Hill PreK but do not live in one of the prioritized neighborhoods, your application will not be considered. As in the past, those that are eligible to apply for Webster Hill may also apply to one of the two magnet schools.

prek riding in courtyard

Here are some general eligibility guidelines:

  • Your child must be turning 3 years or 4 years old prior to January 1, 2023 (born in 2019 or 2018 respectively) to apply for Charter Oak International Academy, Smith STEM, and Webster Hill.
  • 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 (Whiting Lane, Wolcott, Smith and Hillcrest) may apply to Webster Hill and one magnet school.


  • Magnet and Pre-Kindergarten Application Process Begins: January 10, 2022
  • Parent Information Meeting at Webster Hill (Pre-K only): January 27, 2022 at 6:00 PM. 
  • Parent Information meeting at Smith STEM School: February 3, 2022 at 6:30 PM. 
  • Parent Information meeting at Charter Oak International Academy: February 10, 2022 at 6:30 PM.
  • Magnet Application due: March 4, 2022 by 4:00 PM
  • Magnet Lottery Results sent to parents: March 18, 2022
  • Parent responses to acceptances due: March 25, 2022
  • Completed registration to accept spot required: April 8, 2022
  • Financial paperwork for Pre-K sliding scale due: April 22, 2022
  • First look at waiting list: Late June
  • Final look at waiting list: Mid-August

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.