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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. Charter Oak International Academy will host an in-person Magnet Information Night/Open House on Thursday, February 9, 2023 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 will host an in-person Magnet Information Night/Open House on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.

2. Webster Hill Elementary 

Operates: School Day/School Year  

Population: Neighborhood and COVID Recovery Grant prioritized neighborhoods* - 

a. 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: Webster Hill, Wolcott, Whiting Lane, Smith and Hillcrest. The Webster Hill School Pre-K in-person Information Night/Open House will be held on Thursday, January 26, 2023 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 Anne McKernan, 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:

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

    • PK3 lottery – born 1/2/2020 to 1/1/2021 (Aged 2 years, 8 months to 3 years, 8 months)

    • PK4 lottery – born 1/2/2019 to 1/1/2020 (Aged 3 years, 8 months to 4 years, 8 months)
       

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

  • K-5 students should indicate their 1st and 2nd choice of magnet schools

  • 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 (Whiting Lane, Wolcott, Smith and Hillcrest) may apply to Webster Hill and one magnet school.

Timeline

The 2023-2024 Magnet and Pre-K lottery applications will be available from January 9th - March 3rd at 4:00 p.m. Please return during the lottery window to complete an application.

  • Magnet and Pre-Kindergarten Application Process Begins: January 9, 2023
  • Parent Information Meeting at Webster Hill: January 26, 2023 at 6:00pm
  • Parent Information meeting at Smith STEM School: February 2, 2023 at 6:30pm
  • Parent Information meeting at Charter Oak International Academy: February 9, 2023 at 6:30pm
  • Magnet Application due: March 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm
  • Magnet Lottery Results sent to parents: March 22, 2023 
  • Parent responses to acceptances due: March 29, 2023
  • Completed registration to accept spot required: April 6, 2023
  • First look at waiting list: April 24, 2023
  • 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.