Prior to SchoolChoice, DPS families who wanted to apply to schools other than their neighborhood school had to complete different applications on different timelines for different schools. This process was stressful, confusing and inherently inequitable. So, in 2012, DPS implemented a unified one-application, one-deadline system to simplify enrollment for families and ensure equitable access quality schools. DPS is one of the only districts in the country in which all schools participate.
About Round 1
If you want to enroll in a DPS school other than your neighborhood school for the following school year, you may take part in Round 1 of SchoolChoice. Please note:
- Incoming preschool students, and incoming kindergarten students who reside in an enrollment zone, must participate in SchoolChoice on a yearly basis; due to space limitations, enrollment in a preschool program is not guaranteed.
- If your student is currently in kindergarten through 11th grade and will be staying at his or her current school for the following year, you do not have to fill out a SchoolChoice application.*
To participate in SchoolChoice, families submit one SchoolChoice application per student, on which they rank their top schools in order of preference, up to a limit of 12. DPS then uses a computer algorithm that matches students to schools based on those preferences, as well as school admission priorities and available space. The Round 1 SchoolChoice window for 2020-21 is Jan. 15-Feb. 18, 2020. Read a recap of last year’s SchoolChoice process, including participation and match percentages.
Here’s how it works:
- Find: First, to prepare for SchoolChoice, learn more about schools in which you might be interested, starting with your neighborhood school. Check out the School Finder, read the Great Schools Enrollment Guides, attend one or more Regional School Expos Jan. 21-23, 2020, and tour individual schools.
- Apply: Create your account. (We recommend using your Parent Portal account username and password to log in). Then, fill out and submit the SchoolChoice application – including ranking your most-preferred schools (up to 12) – any time during the month-long Choice window, Jan. 15-Feb. 18, 2020. See below for more information on our online, mobile-friendly application tool.
- Register: Once placement notifications are sent in late March, contact your school for registration information.
The Matching Process
Following Round 1, when all applications have been submitted, the Choice computer 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 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 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.
All kindergarten through 12th-grade students are guaranteed a seat at their neighborhood, or boundary, school. Students living within an enrollment zone have a seat at one of the schools within the zone, not just at one particular school. To find your neighborhood school or to learn if you live in an enrollment zone, enter your address at School Finder.
Two years ago, DPS introduced a new online, mobile-friendly site which families will use to submit their SchoolChoice application. This tool is easily accessed from smartphone, tablet or computer. Because of this change to an online application process, lots of resources are available for families, including: the SchoolChoice telephone hotline (720-423-3493); access to computer labs and technology support at their child’s school; and one-on-one support from SchoolChoice staff; community events; and more!
Click here for an in-depth FAQ on SchoolChoice.
*In rare cases, a student who wishes to stay at his or her current school will be asked to submit a SchoolChoice application. Families will be notified by DPS before Round 1 if this is the case.