Kindergarten is the new university.
Or at least that's what it feels like, with families having to apply to a wide range of schools months in advance and biting their nails in anticipation that Junior will get into that public Montessori -- or at least his "safety" elementary school.
As a relatively new mom who recently freaked out upon learning that there was an application process, much less that it is this early (and apparently kindergartners have homework now?), I warn you:
In Palm Beach County, magnet-school applications are due January 30. Unless you wanted to get your kid into Bak Middle School of the Arts, the Conservatory School @ North Palm Beach, Boynton Beach High School Arts programs, or A.W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts -- those deadlines passed in December! Sorry!
In Broward County, applications for magnet schools are due February 11.
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In Miami-Dade, the deadline is soonest -- January 15.
Some schools require a school-specific application in addition to the county application. Good idea to check.
Charter schools are, apparently, entirely different animals -- "public" schools run by outside entities but "sponsored" by the local school district -- and you have to apply to each directly. Here's more info on those for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Or here's a good spreadsheet database for all the charter schools in the state, searchable by county.