FAQ

What is the process for enrolling my child? Is there a deadline?

If you are matched to a school in the lottery, you must enroll your child by May 1, 2017 in person, at the school, or you may lose your space at that school.  This includes providing proof of DC residency, completing the My School DC enrollment form, and completing any other paperwork required by the individual school. Some schools may require you to complete paperwork online.   
 
For students called off a school’s waitlist, enrollment deadlines vary by school. If a school has space for your child, and you provided an email address when completing your My School DC application, you will be notified right away by My School DC through email when a school extends a waitlist offer. If you did not provide an email address, you will not receive an immediate notification from My School DC. However, you can log into your My School DC family account as often as you like, and if a waitlist offer has been made, it will be reflected on your lottery results page. If you are unable to log into your family account, please call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 for assistance.
 
The school will also reach out to you directly by phone and email to explain next steps, which will include turning in all required enrollment documents, completing a My School DC Enrollment Form, and proving DC residency. 
 
Reminder: A parent or guardian must enroll each child, in person, at the child’s school. Visit the How to Enroll page to learn more.
 
 

What happens if I miss the lottery enrollment deadline to accept my child’s spot?

If you receive a match in the lottery and you do not enroll your child by May 1, 2017 you may lose your space at that school. And, if you are extended a waitlist offer and miss the deadline that the school sets, then you may lose your space at that school. Waitlist positions at other schools will not be affected by missing the enrollment deadline. If you think you are unable to meet an enrollment deadline, immediately contact the school.

Do all schools have the same enrollment requirements?

No, many schools have their own enrollment requirements. Families should contact the school at which they are matched directly to learn about any additional enrollment paperwork required by the school or you can visit the Enrollment Requirements by School page to learn more. A parent or guardian must enroll each child, in person, at the child’s school and every student matched through the lottery must complete the My School DC Enrollment Form and prove DC residency by the common enrollment deadline.

My child was matched at a school and I’m not sure I can prove DC residency by the enrollment deadline. What do I do?

Immediately contact the school where your child is matched and ask what options are available to you.

Why is the My School DC enrollment form required?

The My School DC Enrollment Form confirms that you are accepting your space. It also authorizes your child’s current school to transfer your child’s school records to his or her new school.  The form confirms that you are giving up your child’s space at their current school and will be removed from the waitlists of schools you ranked below the school where you are enrolling.

What happens after the lottery deadline? Can families still apply to schools?

Yes, families who miss the lottery application deadline can apply to schools using the My School DC post-lottery application. The My School DC post-lottery application period begins on February 2 for 9-12 grade applicants, and March 2 for all grades. Prior to March 31, 2017, only applicants who did not submit a lottery application may apply to up to 12 schools. Beginning March 31, 2017, there is no restriction as to who can apply and the number of school selections.
 
Similar to the lottery application, families who apply to multiple schools in the post-lottery application period will be asked to prioritize their school choices. After March 31 there is no limit to the number of schools to which a family can apply. However, families will be prevented from reapplying to a school if their child is already on that school’s waitlist. There is no benefit to reapplying since a student cannot move up a waitlist by reapplying. Families will be permitted to submit one application per child, per school they are interested in.
 
Post-lottery applications are automatically added to the bottom of schools’ waitlists in the order in which they are received and below the applicants who applied before the deadline and were waitlisted through the lottery. The only exception to this is for applicants that qualify for a lottery preference, such as in-boundary, sibling attending, etc. For example, an applicant with an in-boundary preference will jump ahead of an applicant without an in-boundary preference on the waitlist regardless of when they applied.
 
On March 31, all students who submitted a post-lottery application may view their waitlist position by clicking the “View lottery results and current waitlist positions” button in their My School DC family account. Families who submit post-lottery applications on or after March 31 may view their waitlist position immediately upon submission.
 
If your child is extended a waitlist offer by a school, your child’s lottery status for that particular school will change to reflect Waitlist Offer Extended (enrollment pending). My School DC will notify you of the new offer via email (provided you included one in your application). The school will also contact you via email and phone. Both the email notification and school will relay the number of days you have to accept the school’s placement offer.
 
 

I completed a post-lottery application. Where can I see my results?

Although families who did not submit a lottery application can submit a post-lottery application beginning February 2 (9-12th grade) or March 2 (all grades), post-lottery applications cannot be processed until after My School DC has the results from the lottery on March 31, 2017. 
 
To view your child’s waitlist positions, go into your My School DC family account on or after March 31 and select “View lottery results and current waitlist positions.”

How can families find out which schools have available spaces after the lottery?

My School DC will post available spaces on www.myschooldc.org shortly after results for the lottery are released.

Can I reapply to a school if my child is already on the waitlist?

No. The application prevents families from reapplying to a school if their child is already on that school’s waitlist as a student cannot move up a waitlist by reapplying.

What is District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)?

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is the local, traditional public school system of Washington, DC. All DCPS schools are free to DC residents. Every K–12 student who lives in Washington, DC, has at least one right-to-attend DCPS school — a school where he or she can enroll at any time. A right-to-attend school is determined by a family’s address and the feeder pattern of the student’s current school. Students do not need to apply to their right-to-attend school(s) for grades K–12. Students can complete a My School DC application to request space at other DCPS schools. Families of all new PK3 and PK4 students must complete a My School DC application and enter the lottery even if they want to attend their in-boundary DCPS school. In 2015–16, 55 percent of DC public school students attended DCPS schools. Find your in-boundary school using the School Finder

What is a DCPS selective citywide high school?

A selective citywide high school is a high school with no boundary. DCPS has six selective citywide high schools that admit students based on specific admissions requirements and selection criteria. Anyone can apply to these schools, but only students who meet the school’s requirements will be eligible to attend that school. 
 
The six selective citywide high schools, all grades 9-12, are:
  • Benjamin Banneker High School 
  • Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) — CHEC serves grades 6–12. Only grades 9–12 are part of the selective citywide high school. 
  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts 
  • McKinley Technology High School
  • Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School 
  • School Without Walls High School 
Learn more about what is needed to apply to the six selective citywide high schools here.

What is a DCPS citywide school?

A citywide school is a DCPS school that does not have a boundary and therefore cannot be claimed as an in-boundary school.  Instead, students from across the District of Columbia must submit a My School DC lottery application to attend.  DCPS citywide schools are Capitol Hill Montessori (PK3-8), School-Within-School @ Goding (PK3-5), Dorothy Height (PK3-5) and Ron Brown College Preparatory (9 only).

What is a public charter school?

DC PCSB uses a tiering system to rate a public charter school’s academic performance, and places each public charter school in one of three performance tiers: Tier 1 (High Performing), Tier 2 (Mid Performing), and Tier 3 (Low Performing). Students complete a My School DC application to request space at a participating public charter schools. In 2015–16, 45 percent of DC public school students attended a public charter schools. 

Are schools in Maryland and Virginia participating in the My School DC application and common lottery?

No. Only public schools in Washington, DC are part of My School DC.

Who is in charge of My School DC?

My School DC staff are employees of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education. My School DC is governed by a board called the Common Lottery Board with representation from both DCPS and participating public charter schools. The Deputy Mayor for Education chairs the board. A Parent Advisory Council and committees of participating LEAs provide input to My School DC and the Common Lottery Board to inform the design of the process and parent outreach efforts. 

How can I contact My School DC?

You can reach us by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. You can also send us an email at info.myschooldc@dc.gov.

Why is there no longer a Round 2 of the My School DC common lottery?

In previous years, the intended purpose of Round 2 was to equitably distribute the remaining seats that were unfilled after the first, main round of the lottery to families who did not receive a match in the first round or who missed the application deadline.  However, upon review of application data from the past two years, My School DC determined that a second round of the lottery is not actually necessary to distribute the remaining seats. Transitioning directly from a lottery to a ranked post-lottery application period has the same effect. Removing Round 2 also allows MSDC My School DC to communicate waitlist positions and available seats to sooner to parents than we were able to in previous years. 

 

 

What are the lottery application deadlines?

The lottery application deadlines for school year 2017-18 are:

 

  • February 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m. ET - Grades 9-12, and 
  • March 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m. ET Grades PK3-8.

Can I change the order of my schools on the application?

Yes, you can edit your application any time before the deadline without penalty. This includes adding schools, deleting schools, or changing your school rankings. After editing, you must re-submit the application before the deadline to ensure your application is considered in the lottery. 
 
Note: Applicants who submit an application by February 1 for grades 9-12 are able to change the order of their schools if they so choose until March 1. They can do so by logging into their family account. Applicants will NOT, however, be able to adjust any other information on their application, including adding or deleting schools.

What if I miss the lottery application deadlines?

You may apply during the post-lottery application period
 
Note: The best chance of getting into the schools you want is to participate in the lottery.

When and how do I receive my lottery results?

You can get your lottery results online at MySchoolDC.org. Log in to your family account on March 31, 2017, and click on the blue "View Lottery Results and Current Waitlist Positions" button to view your lottery results. 
 
If you created a family account using an email address, you will receive notification that your results are available. We’ll also mail a letter to the address listed on your application. Expect to receive a separate letter for each child’s application.
 
You can also get your results by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm beginning March 31, 2017.

If I am matched at a school through the lottery, what do I do next?

If you were matched with a school through the lottery, you must accept your space by May 1, 2017. Accepting your space requires submitting required enrollment forms, including the My School DC Enrollment Form, school-specific forms, and proving DC residency in person, at the school. Please note that accepting your match will NOT remove you from any waitlists, or prevent you from enrolling at a school where you are waitlisted should space become available. 
 
If your child currently attends a different public charter school or an out-of-boundary DCPS school, you will be asked to acknowledge that you are giving up your right to re-enroll at that school.

If I am waitlisted at all schools I listed on my child's application, what do I do next?

If your child is waitlisted at all schools you applied to, you may apply to additional schools during the post-lottery period. The post-lottery application period opens on March 31, 2017 for applicants who applied through the lottery. 
 
Post-lottery applicants will be added to waitlists on a first-come, first-served basis below applicants from the lottery, except for applicants with lottery preferences. The My School DC Lottery Overview video explains how the program and waitlists work.
 
If your child will attend grades K-12, you may also directly enroll at your DCPS in-boundary school. Enter your home address in the My School DC School Finder to find your DCPS in-boundary school.

 

What if I no longer want my child to attend a school I selected and was matched to?

If you don’t want your child to attend the school where he or she is matched, contact the school so they can offer the space to someone else. Declining the match will not affect your waitlist positions at other schools. You may apply to additional schools in the post-lottery application period, as well as schools that you previously applied to but were not waitlisted at.

I was matched in the lottery, but I just found out that my child will be held back a grade. What should I do?

Contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 for assistance. Someone will update your application, explain how the grade change will affect your lottery results, and help you apply to additional schools if desired. 

I have a child applying to high school. If my child is offered a match through the lottery, can the school turn him or her away for past academic performance?

High schools have different policies on credit requirements so it’s best to contact the school directly with questions. For example, some schools do not accept a D as a passing grade. If your child is matched to a school in the lottery and upon reviewing your records the school determines that he or she is not eligible based on credit requirements, the student may not have a space at that school. If you have concerns, review the requirements of the schools you are applying to or talk to the schools’ counselors or admissions officers.

What does it mean if my lottery result for a school is "not eligible"?

This means the school determined that your child is not eligible to attend. For DCPS selective citywide high schools, students are not eligible if they do not meet the school's entrance requirements. Other cases of not eligible are rare, such as a student re-applying to a school from which he or she was expelled. If you have questions, contact the school directly or call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.

What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act?

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a federal law that requires each state education agency (SEA) to ensure that children and youth  who are experiencing homelessness have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education as permanently housed children and youth. This includes a public preschool education as provided to other children and youths.
 
The Office for the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is the SEA for the District and works closely with local education agencies (LEAs) to ensure this education is provided. To learn more about the Act and to find out who the Homeless Lliaison is at your school, please visit the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program page. You may also contact OSSE for additional information at (202) 654-6123 or at transitory.services@dc.gov.

Do I have to prove DC residency if I live in DC, but I am currently homeless?

No, students who are currently homeless do not have to prove DC  residency. The residency requirements include an exemption for homeless students. If you have questions about your particular situation, please please email transitory.services@dc.gov or contact your school's liaison for students who are homeless.

My family is currently without a home. What address should I list on the My School DC application?

Families who are homeless or in transitional housing should list their most stable address and phone number where they can be contacted by phone or mail on the My School DC application. Families should also list their case manager's name and contact information as a secondary contact on the My School DC application, if applicable.

Whom should be contacted if a dispute arises regarding enrolling a homeless child or youth in school or if other assistance is needed?

The Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program is designed to assist children, youth and their families experiencing homelessness with educational supports. If a homeless child or youth is experiencing difficulty enrolling in school, please contact the Office for the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) at (202) 654-6123 or transitory.services@dc.gov for the name of the LEA or school-based homeless liaison for the school or school district you are attempting to enroll your child in.

How do waitlists work?

Waitlists work according to how you rank your schools on your application.
 
For example: A student applies to 5 schools and is matched to the school they ranked #4. The student is automatically waitlisted at schools ranked 1-3. School #5 is removed from the student’s active school selections as it was less preferred than where he received a match. Remember: Enrolling your child at their matched school will not remove them off any waitlists.
 
Students who are not matched through the lottery are waitlisted at all schools listed on their application.
 
There are only two exceptions to waitlists for eligibility and sibling reasons: 
  • If a selective high school finds a student ineligible, or if a student does not meet the language proficiency requirements for a dual language program, they will not be waitlisted, regardless of how the student ranked the school. 
  • After being matched an applicant will be placed on the waitlist for any school their sibling is matched to even if the school was ranked below where they are matched.
 
If a space becomes available at one of the schools at which your child is waitlisted and he or she is next on the waitlist, that school will contact you by phone. If you provided an email address on your application, you will also be notified immediately by My School DC through email when a school extends a waitlist offer.  It is common for applicants to move up the waitlist throughout the spring and summer. Waitlists remain active throughout the duration of a school year and begin anew the following school year.
 
If you have already enrolled your child at a school and your child is offered a space off the waitlist at a different school, you may choose to withdraw your child from the school at which they are currently enrolled and enroll them at the new school. If you choose to accept the waitlist offer, your child will be removed from all waitlists of schools you ranked below that school, as well as their current school.
 
Post-lottery applicants will be added automatically to the bottom of schools’ waitlists in the order they are received and below applicants who applied and were waitlisted through the lottery. The only exception is for applicants that qualify for a lottery preference, such as in-boundary, sibling, etc. For example, an applicant with an in-boundary preference will jump ahead of an applicant without an in-boundary preference on the waitlist regardless of when they applied.
 
At any time, you can log into your family account to see your child’s waitlist position at the schools you applied to. This video explains how the program and waitlists work.
 
 

Once my child is placed on waitlists, can I re-rank the schools on my application?

Yes, you can re-rank the schools at which your children are waitlisted. Log into your family account and click the “Edit Rankings” button next to the application you want to adjust. Please note that re-ranking the order of schools does not give you a better chance of getting into a school. If your child is offered a spot off a waitlist, and you accept by enrolling your child at that school, your child will be removed from all waitlists on your application ranked below that school.

 

 

Who manages each waitlist?

My School DC oversees the waitlists of all schools participating in the lottery. However, schools determine whether space is available at their school, when to call students off the waitlist, and the deadline to accept or decline the offer. Schools will only be allowed to offer available spaces to students in numerical order as determined by the lottery. For example, students with numbers 1 through 7 on a waitlist must be made offers before number 8.

 

 

How will I be notified if my child is called off a waitlist?

If you provided an email address when completing your My School DC application, you will be notified via email by My School DC when a school extends a waitlist offer. If you did not provide an email address, you can log into your My School DC family account as often as you like and if a waitlist offer has been made it will be reflected on your lottery results page. Call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 if you are unable to log into your online account.
 
The school will also contact you by phone and/or email to explain the next steps which includes turning in all required enrollment documents and proving DC residency.
 
 

My child was extended an offer from a school’s waitlist, now what?

Congratulations! You have two options:
  • You may accept the offer by enrolling your child at the school, or 
  • You can decline the offer. 
To accept the offer, simply enroll your child by submitting all required enrollment forms, including proof of DC residency, by the school’s communicated deadline. Proving DC residency must be done in person, at the school, by a parent or guardian. Accepting an offer will remove your child from all waitlists ranked below the enrolled school, as well as the school he or she is currently enrolled in.
 
To decline the offer, you may do so online through your My School DC family account or by contacting the school directly. 
 
Important: If you do not respond to the school by the communicated deadline, the school will assume you are not interested in enrolling your child and can decline the seat on your behalf.

How long after receiving a waitlist invitation do I have to enroll? What if I am out of town? Can enrolling be done remotely?

The time allowed to enroll varies by school. Please contact schools directly to ask about their waitlist deadlines.
 
If you are nearing the top of a waitlist and plan to be out of town, we recommend you reach out to the school directly and let the school know. Schools may be willing to work with families if they are notified about the circumstances ahead of time. Remember: Enrollment cannot be done remotely; it must be done in person by a parent or guardian at the school.

Will I be notified each time my child’s waitlist number changes?

No, you will only be notified if your child is extended an offer and your status changes from “Waitlisted” to “Waitlist Offer Extended.” However, you can log into your My School DC family account at any time to view your child’s current position on each school’s waitlist.

If I accept a waitlist offer by enrolling, am I giving up my child’s spot at the school where he or she is matched?

Yes, students are only allowed to be enrolled at one school at any given time. By accepting a waitlist offer and enrolling your child at that school, you give up your child’s previous placement. Your child will be removed from all waitlists at schools ranked below the enrolled school, as well as their current school.

If I accept a waitlist offer, will my child be removed from all waitlists?

It depends on where that school falls in your ranked order of schools. If your child is called off a waitlist and you choose to enroll at the school, they will be removed from all waitlists of schools you ranked lower. For example, if your child is waitlisted at their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice schools, and is called off the waitlist and enrolls at their second choice school, they will be removed from the waitlist of their 3rd choice school, but remain on the waitlist of their 1st choice school. We do this to maximize placement of all students and to ensure your child is at their most preferred school.

 

 

Is it possible for my child’s waitlist number to go up?

Yes. If students who apply after you qualify for a lottery preference (such as in-boundary, sibling enrolled, etc.) that you do not qualify for, then it is possible that they will be placed ahead of your child on the waitlist and your child’s number will increase.

I am happy where I am. Can I decline a waitlist offer?

Yes. Once a waitlist offer has been extended, it is up to the individual family whether they would like to accept or decline it. Declining an offer removes your child from that school’s waitlist. If you would like to decline your offer you may do so online through your My School DC family account, or by contacting the school directly.

Are military families eligible to apply to public charter schools or DCPS out-of-boundary schools?

Yes, military families can use the My School DC application to apply to PK3 and PK4 programs, out-of-boundary DCPS schools, DCPS selective high schools, and public charter schools.

I am a military family, and I do not yet have my housing orders. Can I still participate in the lottery?

Yes. Please connect with your Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Liaison Officer at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB for additional information. The number to call is (202) 404-1014.

If I am matched through the lottery, what do I do if I am undergoing a permanent change of station (PCS) to the District and my arrival date does not coincide with the school's enrollment deadline?

Immediately contact the school at which your child is matched to explain your circumstance. It will be up to the school to accommodate your specific situation. You may also contact your Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Liaison at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB for additional information. The number to call is (202) 404-1014.

Is transportation available for children of military families to attend school?

Yes, transportation to and from school is provided by the Department of Defense to families residing on Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB, but restrictions do apply. Families may call the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Liaison Officer at (202) 404-1014, or the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Bus Coordinator at (202) 767-8138 for specific information regarding this program.

What are the right-to-attend schools for military families housed at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB?

The right-to-attend schools for families residing in Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB are Leckie Elementary School, Hart Middle School, and Ballou High School

What do I need to apply?

You will need basic information for your child, including name, date of birth, and your child's student ID number if he or she is a current DCPS or public charter school student. You will also need to provide the guardian's name and contact information, including home address. If applying to one of the DCPS selective citywide high schools, you will need to provide additional information required by the selective high school(s) to which you are applying. Watch the My School DC Lottery Overview video to learn more about how to apply and what you'll need to apply.

Where can I find my child's student ID number?

If you need help finding your child's Student ID, please call your child's school or the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. A Student ID is only required for applicants who currently attend a DCPS or public charter school. If an applicant is not currently enrolled in a public school in DC, they do not need to provide an ID. Applicants may also use their DC One Card number if they do not have their Student ID number readily available.

Can I apply to schools directly?

No. Students who want to apply to DCPS schools (out-of-boundary, selective citywide high schools, or any PK3/PK4 DCPS program) or participating public charter schools must use the My School DC application.

Can I get a paper copy of the application?

No. The application is only available online.

What if I do not have access to a computer?

Families who do not have access to a computer have several options for completing their applications. You can:
 
  • Complete the application at any DC public library, at any DCPS school, at any participating public charter school, or on your smartphone.
  • Attend one of many My School DC school-related events held throughout the city where staff and computers will be on-hand to help users complete their application(s). View the My School DC Calendar page to find upcoming local events or schedule an appointment.
  • Call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 to complete your application over the phone. The Hotline is staffed with bilingual staff and equipped with telephonic interpreters to assist families who are not able to communicate in English.   

If I have more than one child, do I need to create a separate application for each child?

Yes, you must submit a separate application for each child applying to attend a new school. However, all siblings must be under the same family account. This is the only way the application can identify your children as siblings and award sibling offered preference

If I submit my lottery application early, will my child have a better chance of being admitted?

No, there is no advantage to applying early. All applications submitted by the deadline are treated equally in the lottery and for placement on waitlists.

How can I find my DCPS in-boundary schools and schools near me?

Go to the My School DC School Finder and enter your address to find your in-boundary DCPS school and nearby schools. Visit the DCPS website to learn more about school boundaries. 

Can I apply if I am not a DC resident?

You may submit a My School DC application without a DC address. However, you will not receive in-boundary or proximity preferences at DCPS schools. 
 
If you are matched with a school through the lottery, you must enroll at the school by the enrollment deadline. Accepting your space requires submitting required enrollment forms and proving DC residency.
 
Only residents of the District of Columbia are eligible to receive a free public education in the District and all parents and guardians are required to verify residency each year. This process is regulated by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE). 
 
Families who move to the District after the lottery can apply to individual schools using the My School DC post-lottery application.
 
Families currently living outside of the United States will need to apply using a U.S. address. For more information, please call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, or email info.myschooldc@dc.gov.
 
 

My contact information has changed, including my email address. How do I change that information in my family account?

Please contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, and we will update your account. We also recommend that you call the schools where you are enrolled or waitlisted to ensure they update their internal records as well.

I am a teacher, guidance counselor, or social worker helping a parent or guardian with an application. Should I create my own family account?

No, you should not create your own account. All information in the account should be family information only. If you are helping multiple families, you must create a separate family account for each family and then, within that family account, a separate application for each child in that family who is applying to attend a new school. However, you can list yourself as the additional contact on as many applications as you would like. Please remember to provide the username and password used for each account to each family you assist so they may be able to access at any time.
 
To obtain materials to assist these families email us at info.myschooldc@dc.gov, call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, or visit the Resources for Families and Schools webpage.

What is the My School DC lottery application?

The My School DC lottery application is a single online form families must use to apply to: 
  • Participating public charter schools (PK3–12); 
  • DCPS schools outside your boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3–12), including DCPS citywide schools; 
  • All DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs, including programs at in-boundary schools; and 
  • DCPS selective citywide high schools (9–12).
List school choices on each student’s application in preferred order — 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on. The order in which you list schools matters. Students may apply to up to 12 schools.
 
Participating schools will only accept the My School DC lottery application. Visit the What You Need to Apply webpage to learn more.

 

What is the My School DC common lottery?

The My School DC common lottery is a single, random lottery that determines placement for new students at all participating schools.

Why does DC have a common lottery?

Prior to 2014, DCPS had a lottery for out-of-boundary spaces and for all PK3 and PK4 spaces, plus a separate application process for the selective citywide high schools. Each public charter school also had its own application and lottery. Many families found the process confusing and difficult to manage.
 
My School DC gives families a single application and a single lottery that matches students with participating schools. The My School DC application and common lottery are designed to accomplish the following goals:
  • Simplify the process for families;
  • Maximize the number of students who are matched with a school they choose. No student will be offered more than one space, so more students will be matched with schools; and

Match students with the schools they want most. My School DC will try to match each student with their most preferred school in the order they were listed, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on through the student’s list. Students are only waitlisted at schools ranked above where they are matched or enrolled.

 

 

Do I need to apply through the lottery?

Yes, you must submit an application if your child seeks to be a new student at a:
  • Participating public charter school for any grade (PK3–12)
  • PK3 or PK4 program at any DCPS school, including your in-boundary school
  • DCPS school outside your boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3–12), including DCPS citywide schools
  • DCPS selective citywide high school (grades 9–12)
You do NOT need to submit an application if your child will:
  • Go to a right-to-attend DCPS school for grades K–12, or
  • Remain in his or her current school. In this case simply contact your current school to re-enroll.

 

How many schools can I apply to?

For each child, you may apply to as few as one, or as many as 12 schools. You cannot apply to more than 12 schools. The more choices you list, the better the chance of getting a match. Remember to only apply to schools you want your child to attend.

How does the lottery matching work?

This video explains how the lottery matching works. The My School DC lottery is a computerized program designed to match students with the schools they want most, and maximize the number of students who are matched.  Developed specifically for My School DC by the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice (IIPSC), the lottery is based on the Nobel Prize-winning work of economist Al Roth of Stanford University. IIPSC also developed the lottery program for New Orleans and Denver and is currently working with several other urban school districts.
 
The two most important things to know about the program are:
  1. Students should rank schools in their true order of preference to increase their chances of being matched to their desired school.
  2. Students who apply early get no advantage in the matching process.
For all schools except DCPS selective citywide high schools, the program follows the following process:
 
The program assigns each student a random lottery number and attempts to match each student with his or her 1st choice first, then 2nd, 3rd, and so on in the order listed on the application. However, when it compares two students who have applied to the same school, the decision is based on two criteria: 
(1) The students’ preferences at that school (e.g., sibling preference); and if there is no difference in preferences,
(2) The students’ randomly assigned lottery number. 
 
The students’ rankings of the schools are not a factor at that point in the process. This is why the system is strategy-proof — and why students are best served by ranking schools according to their true choices.
 
Each student is placed on a waitlist at every school he or she ranked higher than the school to which they were matched. So it is possible for a student to be on a waitlist at every school on his or her list if they are not matched. Siblings who apply to the same schools are placed on a waitlist at any school where one of their siblings is matched.
 
The six DCPS selective citywide high schools admit students based on specific criteria. Each of the selective high schools identifies which applicants meet their specific minimum requirements, and then each school determines the order of priority among that group. The lottery program uses the same process described above based upon the student’s selections.
 
Note: The student’s ranking may include any combination of DCPS schools, public charter schools, and DCPS selective high schools. However, when the program is comparing two students who have applied to the same selective high school, the decision is made based on the school’s order of priority for the applicants.
 
 
 

Does the order in which I list my school choices on the application matter?

Yes, the order matters because:

  1. The lottery system matches students with their choices in the order in which they’re listed, 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc., all the way through 12.
  2. After making a match, the program will add the student’s name to the waitlist of those schools that were ranked above the matched school.
  3. All schools ranked below the matched school are removed because they are less preferred than the matched school.
  4. If a student is not matched at any school, he or she will be placed on a waitlist at every school they listed.

 

There are only two exceptions to this: (1) selective citywide high schools, and (2) if an applicant's sibling is matched through the lottery.

  1. If a selective high school finds a student not eligible, they will not be placed on a waitlist regardless of how the student ranked the school.
  2. After being matched an applicant will be placed on the waitlist for any school their sibling is matched to even if it is a school ranked below the matched school.

 

Will schools be able to see how I ranked them on my application?

No. My School DC does not give this information to schools.

Will the school my child is currently enrolled in be notified that I am submitting an application through the lottery?

No. My School DC does not notify students' current schools that parents have submitted an application to the My School DC lottery.

What are lottery preferences?

Each school offers preferences to students in the lottery. Students that qualify for a preference at a particular school are offered space at that school before students who don’t have a preference, or receive a higher waitlist placement than students without a preference.
 
There are four preference types:
  • Sibling preferences. Most schools offer a preference for the siblings of current students, called Sibling Attending preference. There is a place on the application to indicate that you have a sibling currently attending the school. Before the lottery, the school will verify eligibility for that preference. Some schools also offer a preference in the lottery and/or on the waitlist to siblings or twins of students who are matched in the lottery, called Sibling Offered and Twin Offered preference. For example, if you have two children applying to the same school this year and one is matched, the school may offer a preference to the matched child’s brother or sister. If your child is admitted with a sibling preference, be prepared to prove that your children are siblings when you enroll them.
  • Geographic preferences. DCPS offers an In-boundary preference and a Proximity preference at DCPS schools based on an applicant’s address. Use the School Finder to identify your in-boundary school. The application will automatically populate any geographic preferences based on the home address you provide. If your child is admitted with a geographic preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application when you enroll your child.
  • Transfer preference. Some public charter schools offer a Transfer preference to students who currently attend one of their campuses and want to transfer to another one. Transfer preference will automatically populate on the application based on the applicant’s current school as provided. Schools will verify that a student is eligible for a transfer preference before the lottery. 
  • Children of Staff preference. Starting in SY15-16, some public charter schools began offering a preference to children of their staff applying to their school. There is no place on the application to indicate eligibility. Schools will inform My School DC directly of any applicants who are eligible for this preference. 
The preferences that a school offers are listed on its My School DC school profile. How you rank a school does not impact whether you are eligible for a preference at that school.
 

How does the lottery factor in my child's lottery preferences?

The preference order for charter schools varies by school. For all DCPS schools except dual-language schools, the order is:
  1. In-boundary with a sibling already enrolled at the school (PK3 and PK4 only)
  2. In-boundary with a sibling who is applying at the same time and is matched to the school (PK3 and PK4 only)
  3. In-boundary (PK3 and PK4 only)
  4. Out-of-boundary with a sibling already enrolled at the school
  5. Out-of-boundary with a sibling who is applying at the same time and is matched to the school
  6. Out-of-boundary with proximity (PK3–8 only)
 
Email us at info.myschooldc@dc.gov or call us at (202) 888-6336 if you have a question about preference order at a specific school.

Can my child who is applying to attend his DCPS in-boundary pre-K program claim sibling preference if his older sibling will be enrolling at the school for the first time in school year 2017-18?

Yes. Please contact the DCPS Enroll Team at (202) 478-5738 for additional information prior to the application deadlines.

What are age cutoffs and cutoff dates?

Age cutoff is the age a student needs to be to attend a particular grade by the school year to which they are applying. For all schools participating in My School DC, applicants for:
  • PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30,
  • PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, and 
  • Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30. 
In other grades, age cutoffs vary so visit the Age Cutoff page to learn more. If your child does not make the age cutoff for a particular school, you will not be able to select that school on your application.

Do all schools take new students in every grade they serve?

No, some schools only accept applications for certain grades and others accept applications from new students in all grades (although space may be limited in some grades). You may view this information on the list of participating schools, and each My School DC school profile also notes the  grades for which schools accept applications.

Do students with disabilities need to complete a different lottery application?

No, they do not. Public schools do not discriminate based on special education needs of students. Students who are eligible for special education services can apply to any DCPS or public charter school. The My School DC application does not ask if an applicant has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or any other questions about special education. 

Do English Learner (EL) students need to complete a different lottery application?

No, they do not. Public schools do not discriminate based on a student's English proficiency. EL students can apply to any DCPS or public charter school. The My School DC application does not ask any questions about a student's English proficiency level.

Where can a non-English speaker receive assistance in his or her language with questions regarding the My School DC lottery application and common lottery?

Non-English speakers should call the My School DC Hotline, (202) 888-6336. A hotline representative will work with a telphonic interpretation service to assist the caller. This service is available in multiple languages, including, but not limited to,  Spanish, Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and French.
 
The My School DC application asks for the guardian’s preferred language so My School DC can better communicate with the guardian. It is not used for a student's placement and does not impact lottery results in any way.
 
 

Is the My School DC lottery application available in other languages?

The My School DC application is available online in English and Spanish. Application guides will be available to download in Amharic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French. My School DC Hotline staff are equipped with telephonic interpreters to assist families who are not able to communicate in English with completing their application. Call (202) 888-6336 for assistance Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Have the new attendance zones (boundaries) gone into effect?

Yes. In August 2014, the Mayor and Chancellor approved and adopted the updated attendance zones and feeder patterns. The new attendance zones went into effect in school year 2015-16 with extensive phase-in (grandfathering) policies that are meant to help ease the transition for many families.  For more information on phase-in policies please visit the Boundaries and Feeder Planning page.

How do the new attendance zones (boundaries) impact the My School DC common lottery?

The lottery application reflects the rights families have to DCPS zoned schools based on the updated boundaries approved and released in August 2014. The lottery application also reflects the extensive phase-in policies that allow many families to maintain their former rights to schools. For more information on the phase-in policies and how the updated boundaries may impact your family, visit the Boundaries and Feeder Planning page.