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. All incoming ECE students must complete an application. If your student is currently in kindergarten through 11th grade and is staying at their current school for 2021-22, you do not have to fill out a SchoolChoice application*. Here is how SchoolChoice works:

  1. First, research DPS schools by reviewing the Great Schools Enrollment Guide, using School Finder, and talking to schools of interest.
  2. Prioritize your student’s top preferences and rank them on the SchoolChoice application. We recommend listing multiple preferences, up to a limit of 12 schools.
  3. Submit your SchoolChoice application online during the Round 1 window. The SchoolChoice window for the 2021-22 school year opens 8 a.m. Jan. 15, 2021 and ends Feb. 16, 2021 at 4 p.m.
  4. SchoolChoice combines your student’s top 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. You will be notified in late March. Rank the schools in the order of your preference.

*Note: In some cases, a student who wishes to stay at their current school will be asked to submit a SchoolChoice application. This might include students at ECE-8 or 6-12 schools. Families will be notified by DPS before Round 1 if this is the case.

There is no secret formula! We recommend listing multiple schools, but the most important thing is to rank them in order of preference. If you don’t get your highest preference, the Choice system will move down to your next-highest preference. It is a common misconception that a school cares about how you ranked it on an application. Schools do not see what number you rank them and do not have the option to only pick students who rank them No. 1.

Assignments are made based on the student’s priority group for that school and the student’s lottery number. For example, it is possible that a student who ranked a school No. 3 on their list is accepted to that school before a person who ranked that same school as No. 1, if the first student is in a higher priority group for that school and/or has a higher lottery number.

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

Following Round 1, when all applications have been submitted, the Choice algorithm will randomly assign all participating students a lottery number between 1 and 1 million. Students are also assigned a priority level for each of the schools they selected based on 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. The system is designed to maximize the number of students getting their most-preferred school.

School Finder, available at schoolfinder.dpsk12.org, is the 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 is time to rank your preferred schools on the SchoolChoice application.

In most cases, a transitioning student is one who has completed the highest grade available at their 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, or a current eighth-grader at a 6-8 school is considered to be “transitioning” into high school. In some situations, however, fifth-grade students who attend ECE-8 schools and eighth-grade students who attend 6-12 schools have not reached the highest grade available but are still considered to be “transitioning.” Parents/guardians of transitioning students will be notified by DPS before Round 1 what steps they need to take, if any, to choose a school for the upcoming school year.

Transitioning students living in a school’s boundary who do not submit a SchoolChoice application will be enrolled at their boundary school. Transitioning students living in an enrollment zone or shared boundary, who do not submit a SchoolChoice application, should complete an online Choice application in Round 2. If you have “choiced” out of your boundary school or enrollment zone, your current school of enrollment is your new right-to-attend school. If your student has completed the highest grade available at his or her school or program, or if your student wants to attend a different school next year, the student should submit a SchoolChoice application. Students 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.

  • Jan. 15, 2021: Round 1 of SchoolChoice opens at 8 a.m.

  • Feb. 16, 2021: SchoolChoice closes. All applications are due by 4 p.m.

  • Late March 2021: Families are notified of school assignments

  • Early April, 2021: Round 2 of SchoolChoice opens

The SchoolChoice application will be available online 8 a.m. Jan. 15, 2021. More information about SchoolChoice, including how to apply, will be available at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org as the window approaches.

This will be the fourth year of DPS’ online, mobile-friendly SchoolChoice application. The application will be available at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org. Once the Choice window opens, families can log in using their Parent Portal account credentials or create a new account, fill out their application and submit anytime during the Choice window.

Nearly all district schools participate in the SchoolChoice process, including neighborhood schools, magnet schools, innovation schools and charter schools. Pathways 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. Visit schoolchoice.dpsk12.org for more information about enrollment zones.

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

Yes. All schools have the same deadline for submitting SchoolChoice applications by 4 p.m. Feb. 16, 2021. Families will be notified of their student’s school assignment in late March 2021. 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 form will not affect the likelihood of being assigned to any particular school. DPS strongly recommends that each student lists their top preferred schools in order, up to a limit of 12 schools.

If your student is not assigned to their 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. To see your waitlist positions, log in to your SchoolChoice account at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org.

It is important to note that waitlists are dynamic, meaning your waitlist positions can move up or down based on the actions and priorities of all other applicants, both from Round 1 and Round 2. For example, your student’s waitlist position at a school might change from No. 6 to No. 7, due to a student in a higher priority group applying for a seat at that school.

Here are some specific examples of how this can occur:

  • If you are waitlisted at a school that is not your boundary school or a school in your enrollment zone, a new student who resides within that boundary or enrollment zone will have a higher priority.
  • If a student is admitted to a school from a waitlist, the student’s sibling who remains on the waitlist will move above students without that priority.
  • If an applicant to a school is the child of a full-time employee at that school, the applicant will move above students without that priority.
  • A student living within the DPS boundary has a higher priority and will move above a non-Denver resident on a waitlist.

Learn more about school admission priorities.

SchoolChoice waitlists for kindergarten through 12th grade remain active until late September 2020. Waitlists for ECE3 and ECE4 continue until April 2021 for the 2020-21 school year.

If you are offered a seat from the waitlist at a higher preference school and you accept, any school choices below that option will be withdrawn.

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 in late March. All Round 2 applications are placed on a waitlist initially. If additional seats are available, the school will offer seats in order of the waitlist.

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.

Once the Round 1 SchoolChoice application is submitted, you are requesting a new school for the next school year. You will need to ensure that you have prioritized your schools appropriately, prior to submitting your SchoolChoice application. In March, your student will be given only one school assignment to their “best-match” DPS school.

Round 2 of SchoolChoice begins following Round 1 notifications in March 2021 and runs through late August, 2021. 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. Families will be asked to rank all schools to which a student has applied in both Rounds 1 and 2, and any schools ranked lower than the school at which the student is accepted will be cancelled.

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 a copy of the 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.
  • For high school students, also provide transcripts from the previous school for grades 9-12.

Enrollment Services can be reached at 720-423-3493 or schoolchoice@dpsk12.org.