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LIC's P.S. 78 Has No Kindergarten Waitlist For First Time in Years

 Parents have pushed for more local school seats in Hunters Point, which only has one elementary school.
Parents have pushed for more local school seats in Hunters Point, which only has one elementary school.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

HUNTERS POINT — All the zoned students who applied for kindergarten this year at P.S./I.S. 78 were accepted, the first time in years that there was no waitlist at the popular school, according to admission numbers released by the city Tuesday.

The change is a marked shift from last year, when 50 zoned kids were initially waitlisted at P.S./I.S. 78 — the only public elementary school on Long Island City's rapidly developing waterfront, where competition for a school seat has previously been tough.

"This is very different from the years past. This is amazing," said Jen Theien, head of the the Gantry Parent Association, a local group that's been pushing for more school seats in Hunters Point.

She and other parents whose children snagged a spot got the good news Tuesday afternoon, prompting an outpouring of relief, she said.

"People were crying. People were just so excited," said Theien, whose own oldest daughter was accepted.

P.S./I.S. 78 had a kindergarten waitlist for at least the last four years: in 2012, 22 zoned kids were waitlisted at the school, a number that jumped to 31 in 2013, prompting the Department of Education to add an extra class that year

The DOE also added another two kindergarten classes last year in order to fit the dozens of students who initially didn't get in.

The city eliminated the waitlist at the school this year by adding another extra class — bringing the total number of kindergarten classes that will operate there this fall to seven, according to a DOE spokesman.

"This is a win for the families and students of the community," spokesman Harry Hartfield said.

Citywide, the number of kindergarten kids waitlisted at their zoned school dropped by about 9 percent this year, though the number of overall schools with kindergarten waitlists increased. 

Though Hunters Point parents have cleared a hurdle for kindergarten admissions, Theien said many — herself included — are still waiting to see if there will be a pre-k waitlist at P.S./I.S. 78 this year.

"That one I'm more worried about," she said.

Pre-k offer letters will go out in May, according to the DOE.