Here’s a list of seats available in the pre-school, pre-K and out-of-boundary lottery for 2012-13. As you can see, the traditionally coveted schools in upper Northwest have little-to-no space. That includes the bursting-at-the-seams Deal Middle School and Wilson High School.

It’s much the same for the upper Northwest elementary schools. Outside of pre-K openings, there are no out-of-boundary seats at Janney or Lafayette. Mann has one seat apiece in grades 4 and 5; Murch has one in grade 5. The major exception is Hardy Middle School, one of two sites for next year’s new gifted-and-talented program: 40 apiece in grades 6 and 7 and 20 in grade 8.

DCPS is encouraging prospective out-of-boundary parents to look at some lesser-known schools that Chancellor Kaya Henderson calls “gems.” Bancroft Elementary in Ward 1 has 57 pre-school and pre-K seats in what officials describe as a strong early childhood program. There are also two seats in grade 1, six seats in grade 2, and eight in grade 4.

Francis-Stevens Education Campus, where both math and reading scores grew last year, has 22 pre-school seats, three in kindergarten, four apiece in grades 2 and 3, and 2 seats each in grades 4 through 7.

Kelly Miller Middle in Ward 7, the other gifted and talented school, has five seats each in grades 6 to 8. Powell Education Campus in Ward 4, which offers a Dual Language program and the widely-praised Tools of the Mind early childhood curriculum, has seats at nearly all levels. Takoma Education Campus, also in Ward 4, offers Reggio Emilia early childhood education and a building nicely renovated after last year’s fire. It has 30 preschool seats and spots in grade 2, 3 and 4.

DCPS cautions that these numbers might change before the lottery closes on Feb. 27. To apply, go to the DCPS Web site here and access the Preschool/Pre-K/Out-of-Boundary application.

Those applying for preschool or pre-K must do so online, even if they are seeking space in their in-boundary school. If you have questions about the application, you can call the DCPS Critical Response Team at 202-478-5738.