Equity is at the heart of SchoolChoice. DPS believes all families should have equitable access to the schools they feel are the best fit for their students, regardless of their background or address.
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 virtually all schools participate.
When choosing a school, we encourage all students to first look at their neighborhood school. But, any student who wants to attend a school other than their neighborhood school can take part in SchoolChoice.
About Round 1
If you want to enroll in a DPS school other than your neighborhood school for the 2020-21 school year, you may take part in Round 1 of SchoolChoice. Please note:
- Early Childhood Education: 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.
- Kinder through 11th grade: If your student is currently in kindergarten through 11th grade and will be staying at his or her current school for 2020-21, you do not have to fill out a SchoolChoice application.*
The Round 1 SchoolChoice window for 2020-21 is 8:30 a.m. Jan. 15 to 4 p.m. Feb. 18, 2020. 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.
Here’s how it works (Download a printable flier):
- 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, but you may also use your email address). 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, 8:30 a.m. Jan. 15 to 4 p.m. Feb. 18, 2020.
- 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.
Read a recap of last year’s SchoolChoice results, including participation and match percentages.
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.
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.