For Aubrey Turner, Thursday marked a third visit to Manhattan’s temporary school registration center.
Turner, who recently moved from Poughkeepsie with his family, said he kept returning with different paperwork while he attempted to enroll his daughter in New York City’s school system.
“They need to get a better process,” Turner said. “It’s too hot for this.”
But several trips to the registration center did not dampen his daughter’s spirit, who broke out into a huge grin when school was mentioned. As she walked away, after finally securing a seat at P.S. 123 in Harlem, her father put his arm around her shoulders.
Turner’s daughter is one of the thousands of students annually who tries to find a school after the regular enrollment cycle. This week, and continuing through the start of the school year, students and their parents will file into the temporary registration centers scattered throughout the city looking for a seat.
Some, like Turner’s daughter, recently moved, while others are trying to transfer between schools or need to provide further paperwork. In each case, city officials must compile family documents and consider city rules, home addresses, special needs, and open seats in a complicated calculus designed to make sure the year starts smoothly.
New to New York
The Manhattan center was filled with those moving to New York from other countries and states, including Africa, Brazil, Idaho, and Florida.
Leticia Herren, a 17-year-old from Brazil, said that she was excited to begin school in New York. Herren moved with her parents, who are completing their postdoctoral research in New York. Herren said she planned to visit schools throughout the day Thursday.
“It’s a city where everybody wants to come and now I’m here,” Herren said.
Armando Garcia moved his daughter, a rising sixth grader with multiple disabilities, with hopes that the city can provide her with services that were not available in Idaho.
But not everyone is moving to New York without reservations. After Chase Strudwick registered for sixth grade at Renaissance Leadership Academy in West Harlem, he paused from running around the sidewalk and jumping onto the walls to reflect on his move from Miami.
“I’m going to miss some of my friends,” Strudwick said.
After running around the city Wednesday trying to register his son, Troy Holston returned Thursday to Manhattan’s temporary center only to hear that his son needed to be present to register. Holston said he was at the Manhattan center yesterday, but he arrived a few minutes after it closed at 3 p.m. after rushing to different location.
“I don’t know what to do,” said Holston, whose son will be out of the city through the weekend. “I just want to make sure my son has a spot.”
As she walked from a temporary school registration center on Thursday morning, Syeda Begum sighed heavily and said, “I failed.”
She tried to transfer her son, a rising seventh grade student, from Technology, Arts, and Sciences Studio School in Manhattan, because he had been bullied — including being stabbed in the chest with a pencil and chased around by a taller boy, she said — but her efforts to move him were not successful.
“I’m fed up,” said Begum, staring at a crinkled, handwritten, list of choice schools. “Now I worry. I’m scared.”
Quick and easy
Not everyone found the process cumbersome. Jesiriam Rosario, a 16-year-old who is trying to get into Satellite Academy High School, a transfer school in Chelsea, did not mind her morning at the registration center.
“It was good, easy, quick,” she said. Rosario is still unsure whether she will get into the school. If she does not get a spot at Satellite, she said she will attend Heritage School in East Harlem.
Rosario said she is “still hoping.”
A new beginning
A number of parents waited to register their children for kindergarten.
Sending a child to their first year of school provokes a range of emotions, said Dorian Acosta, who wanted his son to attend P.S. 140 on the Lower East Side because it is close to where he lives. His older children attended and liked the school too, he said.
“You worry about your kids, ya know?” Acosta said, but added, “You’re happy for them.”
Closer to home
Michelle Legros went to the center with her 15-year-old son, trying to switch his school to one on 84th Street, which is closer to where they live in Manhattan. Legros said she will meet with the school’s principal tomorrow to figure out if he can attend.
“When I received the letter I said, ‘Are they kidding me? Brooklyn?’” Legros said. “If he goes to Brooklyn I won’t know what’s going on.”
Sheron Redden arrived early at the registration center, determined to transfer her daughter from the Gramercy Arts High School to Pace High School, another small school. The guidance at Gramercy, Redden said, isn’t enough for her daughter, who is entering her senior year and wants to attend dental school.
“The kids that want to get out and want a life, it’s like they try to hold them,” Redden said.
Looking at her daughter, she vowed her case would be different.
“She worked too hard to get where she’s at,” Redden said.