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How to Apply to Choice Schools

If you want to apply for your student to attend a CHOICE school, please follow these instructions very carefully!

A Special Transfer Option application is used to apply for the following types of Choice programs: (1) non-magnet middle school Choice programs; (2) non-magnet high school Career Academy programs; and (3) other non-magnet high school Choice programs. A Special Transfer Option application is also used for transfers to elementary schools that have openings and for other non-Choice program transfers to middle and high schools. Admission is determined by a lottery system which is based on the number of applications versus available openings. NOTE: A Special Transfer Option application is NOT used to apply for High School Acceleration Programs—AICE, IB, Early College, AP Honors. Applications for these programs are available at each school and are submitted directly to the school. Students accepted into a High School Acceleration Program from outside the attendance area must also submit a Special Transfer Option application. NOTE: Invitations to apply for the magnet IB Program at Paxon and Stanton were mailed to eligible DCPS students in October, 2013.

  1. How do I apply for a Choice Program?
    Obtain a Special Transfer Option application from the School Choice Office, the school you are currently attending, the school you are applying to attend, or online under the Forms link. Fill in all the requested information on the application form..

  2. How many choices may I make?
    You may make only one choice on a Special Transfer Option application. There is a place on the application for you to name the specific program that you are applying to attend. Be sure to name the program correctly. Only one application per student is permitted.

  3. Will all schools have openings for the Choice program?
    No, schools that are over their student capacity limit will not be able to accept additional students in the Choice program from outside the school’s attendance area. Schools that have openings will be posted periodically on this website.

  4. Do you have Sibling Preference?
    If you have a sibling already attending the school where you are applying, be sure to fill in the requested information correctly in order to receive a priority for admission. In order to receive special consideration for admission, the sibling must be eligible to return to the school for the 2014-2015 school year.

  5. Do you have to get the principal’s signature on the application?
    New this year: A signature from the neighborhood school principal will give your application a higher priority in the lottery. The neighborhood school is the school that your student is zoned to attend if you do not receive a special assignment.
  6. Who should sign the paper application?
    The parent or legal guardian must sign the application.

  7. How do you submit the paper application?
    You should mail or hand-deliver your application to the School Choice Office. The address is printed on the bottom of the application. We do not accept faxed applications. Do NOT turn in your application to the school.

  8. When is the deadline to apply for a Choice program?
    Applications received or postmarked by May 15, 2014 will be processed in the Choice lottery.

  9. What happens if you miss the deadline?
    We will gladly take your late application and file it according to the date it was received. If there is space in the school or program after the lottery or if space becomes available in the summer, we will let you know.

  10. How does the lottery work?
    Each Choice school allocates a number of seats for its Choice program(s). The lottery is based on “supply” versus “demand.”

  11. Are there priorities associated with the Choice lottery like there are for the Magnet Lottery?
    Yes, but the Choice lottery is much less complicated than the Magnet lottery. The only priorities are for students whose parent is employed at the school; for students who are dependents of active duty military personnel; or for students who have a sibling already attending and who is eligible to attend again in 2014-2015. The priorities do not apply for the high school acceleration programs.

    Priorities Grades K-12
    2 Employee's Child/Military Dependent
    3 Sibling
    4 Principal's Signature
    5 No Prinicpal's Signature/ No priority

  12. When are students notified of the lottery results?
    The Choice lottery is conducted in June and notifications are mailed in mid-June.
  13. How do I apply for a High School Acceleration Program?
    See reference guide.