Colorado has long been an open enrollment state, meaning that students can choose to attend their assigned neighborhood school, or they can apply to other public schools within their district, or even outside it. Despite its benefits, open enrollment can be confusing for families who need to manage multiple school applications on multiple deadlines.
That’s why DPS launched the one-application, one-deadline SchoolChoice process in 2011-12 — to ensure equity, consistency and simplicity in school enrollment. During the application window mid-January to mid-February, families rank their top school preferences and submit their Choice application. DPS then matches students to schools based on those preferences, as well as school admission priorities and available space. The system, based on the 2012 Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr. Al Roth, is designed to maximize the number of students getting their most-preferred school.
The system is highly effective in placing students in their preferred schools. Last year, 81% of incoming kindergarteners were placed in their first choice; 83% of sixth graders received their first choice; and 85% of ninth graders were enrolled in their first choice. Read a full recap of this year’s SchoolChoice results, including participation and match percentages.
DPS is one of the only districts in the country in which virtually all its schools are options in this enrollment process. Because of its commitment to real choice, DPS was twice rated the No. 1 school district in the country for school choice by the Brookings Institution.