Frequently Asked Questions / Preguntas frecuentes

SchoolChoice is for any student who wants or needs to attend a new school for the following year, particularly “transitioning” students. If your student is staying at his or her current school, you do not have to fill out a SchoolChoice application. Here’s how SchoolChoice works:

  1. First, research DPS schools by reviewing the Great Schools Enrollment Guide, using School Finder and visiting schools of interest.
  2. Prioritize your student’s top five preferences and list them in order on the SchoolChoice application.
  3. Submit your SchoolChoice application online during the Round 1 window in February. The next SchoolChoice window is February, 2019 for the 2019-20 school year.
  4. SchoolChoice combines your student’s top five preferences with each school’s admissions priorities and available space. All students are randomly assigned a lottery number that will determine at which school they are awarded a seat.
    Students will be awarded a seat at their highest-preference school with an available seat and you will be notified in April. There is no additional priority given for selecting a school as your No. 1 choice. Rank the schools in the order of preference.

There is no secret formula! Use all five choices and rank them in order of your preference. If you don’t get your highest preference, the system will move down to your next-highest preference. Schools do not see what number you rank them and do not have the option to only pick the students that rank them No. 1. So put your first choice first – you might get it! It is a common misunderstanding that the system cares about how a school is ranked on an application. We accept applicants in each priority group in order of that priority group and then lottery number, and then assignments are made based on student lottery rank. Note that it is entirely possible that a person who ranked a school No. 3 on their list is accepted before a person who ranked a school as No. 1 if the first student is in a higher priority group for that school.

No, applications that are submitted during the Round 1 SchoolChoice window are treated identically. There is no priority given for submitting an application earlier in the window.

Following Round 1, when all applications have been submitted, the Choice algorithm will be run at an offsite location to ensure the integrity of the process. This algorithm will randomly assign all participating students a lottery number between 1 and 1,000,000. Students are also assigned a priority level for each of the schools they selected based pre-determined priority categories published by each school.

The algorithm will then rank and stack students within each priority category based on their randomly assigned lottery number. This produces an ordered (ranked and stacked) list of students for every grade at every school. The system then allocates seats to students based on the order in which they fall on this list; the system then assigns waitlist numbers to all students who do not obtain a seat in order of how they were ranked and stacked.

School Finder is the new online, mobile-friendly school-search tool for DPS families. Here, you can enter the school features that are important to you, and get a list of matching schools that are ranked by how closely they meet your desired criteria. You can also search by address, or by simply using an alphabetical list. Determining the schools that best fit your student’s needs will help you when it’s time to rank your top-five schools on the SchoolChoice application.

A transitioning student is one who has completed the highest grade available at his/her current school or program. For example, a current fifth-grader who is attending an ECE-5 school is considered to be “transitioning” into middle school.

Transitioning students living in a school’s boundary who do not submit a SchoolChoice application will be enrolled at their boundary school.  Transitioning students in an enrollment zone or shared boundary who do not submit a SchoolChoice application will be assigned to a school based on space availability.

Yes. Students who are interested in choosing a different school other than the school where they are currently enrolled should submit a SchoolChoice application.

Late January, 2019: DPS Regional School Expo Week
Feb. 1, 2019: Round 1 of SchoolChoice opens
Feb. 28, 2019 by 4 p.m.: SchoolChoice applications are due
April, 2019: Families are notified of school assignments
May 1, 2019: Round 2 of SchoolChoice opens

The SchoolChoice application is available Feb. 1-28, 2019. Round 2 of SchoolChoice will open May 1. Check schoolchoice.dpsk12.org for more information.

This year DPS is introducing new resources to help families more easily participate in SchoolChoice. This includes a new online, mobile-friendly tool with which families will submit their Choice application. Click here to create an account and fill out the application Feb. 1-28. All families need to get started is an email address. Lots of support will be available for families, including: the SchoolChoice telephone hotline (720-423-3493); access to computer labs and technology support at schools; one-on-one support from SchoolChoice staff; online information to help families use the new School Finder and SchoolChoice application tool; community events; and more.

Nearly all district schools participate in the SchoolChoice process, including neighborhood boundary schools, magnet schools, innovation schools and charter schools. Intensive Pathways (sometimes referred to as “alternative”) schools typically do not participate. Please contact those schools directly for enrollment information.

Within DPS, an enrollment zone is a geographic area where the students living within it are guaranteed a seat at one of several schools, not just one particular school. There are many benefits to a shared-access zone, including: increased access to high-performing schools; increased access to transportation options; priority over students who don’t live in that area; and access to different types of school programs. Click here for more information.

A few schools have extra enrollment steps for qualification beyond simply completing the SchoolChoice application. For example, Denver School of the Arts requires auditions as part of a student’s application. These schools are identified in the SchoolChoice Enrollment Guide and on the SchoolChoice application.

Yes. All schools have the same deadline for submitting SchoolChoice applications  by 4 p.m. Feb. 28, 2019. Families will be notified of their student’s school assignment in April, 2019. Some magnet programs have extra enrollment steps and follow separate timelines for completing these steps. If you are considering a magnet school or program, please contact the school for details about extra enrollment steps.

Students will be considered for enrollment at each school based on the preferences they list on the SchoolChoice application and the admissions priorities (siblings or Denver residents, for example) established by each school. Admissions priorities for each school may be found at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org. Within each priority group, a random number will be assigned to each student to break any “ties” within the priority group. The SchoolChoice system will consider student preferences, schools’ priorities and available seats to determine the order in which students are enrolled.

No. The number of schools listed on a SchoolChoice application will not affect the likelihood of being assigned to any particular school. DPS strongly recommends that each student lists his or her top five preferred schools.

If your student is not assigned to his or her first-preference school, he or she will be placed on the waitlist at that school. When and if the school has space available, you will be contacted and offered enrollment. Please keep in mind that waitlists are dynamic and your waitlist position may change.

Yes. The SchoolChoice process does not change district policies including a guaranteed spot for grades kindergarten through 12th grade at your boundary school. If your student is accepted via Choice into a school that is not your boundary school, then that school becomes your “home school” and the seat at your boundary school will no longer be guaranteed.

To return to your boundary school, you may submit a Round 2 SchoolChoice application following Round 1 notifications. Round 2 begins May 1. If your boundary school is not full in your child’s grade after the Round 1 SchoolChoice assignments, he or she will be enrolled right away. However, if your boundary school is full after Round 1, your child will be placed on the waitlist. Click here to read the SchoolChoice Parent/Guardian Agreement.

Please note that if your student is accepted into a school other than your boundary school, you cannot withdraw your student from this seat to admit them into another DPS school without first being accepted into another DPS school. Also, withdrawing your student from the accepted seat will not admit your student automatically into his or her boundary school.

Waitlists are active until the end of September. Schools will offer seats to waitlisted students when they learn they have a seat to offer, which may be after the school year begins.

High priority is given to siblings of current and returning students during Round 1, and most siblings are approved to the same choice school. However, enrollment for siblings at a choice school cannot always be guaranteed due to space limitations.

In April your student will be given only one school assignment to his or her “best match” DPS school. You will need to ensure that you have prioritized your schools appropriately, prior to submitting your SchoolChoice application in February.

Round 2 of SchoolChoice begins following Round 1 notifications in April of each year and runs through August. A Round 2 SchoolChoice application must be submitted with the requested school. Students will be assigned to their desired school on a first-come, first-served basis, contingent upon space availability. A Round 2 school assignment will replace the Round 1 school assignment. However, a Round 2 assignment will not remove a student from any waitlist placements from Round 1.

Transportation is not guaranteed. Please visit the DPS Transportation website at transportation.dpsk12.org for details.

Families will need to submit the following documents:

  • Verification of child’s age. Acceptable documents include copy of child’s birth certificate, baptismal record or hospital record.
  • Verification of current address. Acceptable documents include copy of current lease, proof of home ownership, or utility bill such as gas, electric, water or cable.
  • Verification of one month’s income (needed for ECE-4 only). Acceptable documents include most current pay stub (if paid more than once a month, include all stubs for month), wage statement or tax return.

The Office of Choice and Enrollment Services can be reached at 720-423-3493 or schoolchoice@dpsk12.org.