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Applying to NYC High Schools: Zoning

This LibGuide aims to provide information about the New York City public high school application system.




What is a district?
A school district is a geographical unit where the public-schools within that area are run by a local board of education. New York City is divided up into 32 school districts.


For high school, students are free to attend any school outside their district and, in most cases, school districts have no effect on a student's high school choices. Although districts have no direct effect on upper-level students, the size, ranking, location, and administration of a district is something to consider looking into before applying to schools.


  • Niche: Largest School Districts- A college, high school, and neighborhood research webpage that provides information on district ranking, number of schools within a district, and programs offered. 

Zoning, A Brief Overview


What is a zone?

Each of the 32 districts is divided up into smaller zones that exist within them. In total, there is something around 750 zones within the five boroughs. Zones are not as large as districts and can consist of just a few blocks. Your home address will determine what school you are zoned to. 


When applying to high school, students are guaranteed a spot at the school or schools located within their zone. Students should list their zoned schools somewhere on their MySchools application when applying. It is important to know that not all districts will have a zoned high school or any zoned schools at all (these districts are referred to as choice districts 1, 7, and 23). As a result, it is important that students living in these districts rank their preferred schools when applying. 


District Contact Information

If you are concerned about issues going on in your school or district, you can reach out to your local superintendent's office. Every district has a superintendent who is responsible for the schools in their area. Some districts may have separate high school and lower level (elementary and middle school) superintendents.


At your local superintendent's office, you can also get into contact with a District Family Advocate or Family Support Officers. District Family Advocates work to support children who are at a greater risk for school-based discrimination and/or academic failure. Family Support Officers help families resolve problems that students may be having with school staff.


  • Department of Education: Superintendents- Government webpage where students and families can download google docs of current New York City superintendents and their contact information. You can also use this link to connect with Family Support Officers.
  • District Family Advocates- Non-profit organization website with important contact information and advice for at-risk students and their families. It is an essential source for families living in temporary housing as well as for students in foster care, students attending charter schools, students with disabilities, students involved in the criminal justice system, and ELL students.