FAQ

The My School DC Lottery Application and Common Lottery

  • The My School DC lottery application is a single online application families must use to apply to participating public charter schools (PK3–12); DCPS out-of-boundary schools (PK3–12); all DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs, including programs at in-boundary schools; and DCPS citywide selective high schools (9–12).

     

    On each student’s application, a family lists school choices in preferred order — their 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on. Each student can apply to as few as one or as many as 12 total schools. Click here for a video on the common lottery.

     

    Participating schools will only accept the My School DC lottery Application.

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

  • In past years, 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 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 all students and all 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 1st choice, then their 2nd choice, and so on through the student’s list.
  • Submit an application if your child wants 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)
    • DCPS citywide selective high school (grades 9–12)

    You do NOT need to submit an application if your child will:

    • Attend a right-to-attend DCPS school for grades K–12.
    • Remain in his or her current school. (Contact your current school to re-enroll.)
  • For each child, you can apply to as few as one school, as many as 12 schools, or any number in between. (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.

  • This video explains how the algorithm works. The My School DC lottery is designed to match students with the schools they want most, and maximize the number of students who are matched. The matching algorithm is the computer program that runs the lottery. It is a deferred acceptance model that was developed specifically for My School DC by the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice (IIPSC) and is based on the Nobel Prize-winning work of economist Al Roth of Stanford University. IIPSC also developed the lottery algorithms for New Orleans and Denver and is currently working with several other urban school districts.

    The two most important things to know about the algorithm are:

    1. Because of the way the algorithm works, students who rank schools on their application according to their true choices have the best chance of being matched to the schools they most want to attend.
    2. Students who apply early get no advantage in the matching process.

    For all schools except DCPS selective citywide high schools, the algorithm follows this process.

     

    The matching algorithm assigns each student a random lottery number and attempts to match each student with his or her first choice first, then his or her second choice, and so on. A student’s ranking of schools (the order a student puts schools on his or her application) is critical because the matching algorithm attempts to match each student with his or her first choice first, then his or her second choice, and so on. However, when the matching algorithm is comparing two students who have applied to the same school, the decision is based on two criteria: (1) each student’s preferences at that school (e.g., sibling preference); and (2) if there is no difference in preferences, each student’s 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 (the school they most want to attend first, then their second choice, and so on).

     

    Each student is waitlisted at every school he or she ranked higher than the school to which they were matched. (It is possible for a student to be waitlisted at every school on his or her list if they are not matched.) Siblings who apply to the same schools also are waitlisted at any school where one of their siblings is matched.

     

    The six DCPS citywide selective 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 matching algorithm uses the process described above: It attempts to match each student with his or her first choice first, then his or her second choice, and so on. (The student’s ranking may include any combination of DCPS schools, public charter schools, and DCPS selective high schools.) However, when the matching algorithm 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.

  • Yes. You will only be matched to a school you list on your application, and the lottery system works to match students with their 1st choice, then their 2nd choice, and so on through the student’s list. For this reason, it is important that you rank your list of schools in the order you prefer. In addition, students are only waitlisted at schools they rank above the school to which they are matched. For example, if a student applies to five schools and is matched with his or her 3rd choice, the student would be waitlisted at choices #1 and #2. He or she would not be waitlisted at choices #4 and #5. If a student is not matched at any school, he or she will be waitlisted at every school he or she selected.

     

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

    • If a selective high school finds a student ineligible, they will not be waitlisted, regardless of how the student ranked the school. 
    • An applicant will be placed on the waitlist of any school they ranked below their match when their sibling is matched with that school. For example, if a student is matched with their 2nd choice school, the student will automatically  be placed on the waitlist of their 3rd choice school if their sibling was matched with that same (3rd choice) school. 
  • No. My School DC will not give this information to schools.

  • No. My School DC does not notify students' current schools that they have submitted an application in the My School DC lottery.

  • Students may have a lottery preference at one or more schools. Students with 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 types of preferences.

     

    • Sibling preferences. Most schools offer a preference for the siblings of current students, called a sibling enrolled 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 waiting list to siblings or twins of accepted students, called sibling accepted and twin accepted preference. For example, if you have two children applying to the same school this year and one is accepted, the school may offer a preference to the accepted 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. The definition of 'sibling' can vary by school. Please contact the school for further clarification. 
    • Geographic preferences. DCPS offers in-boundary and proximity preference at DCPS schools’ based on applicants’ addresses. You can identify your in-boundary schools using our School Finder. The application will automatically populate any geographic preferences based on the home address you provided. 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. 
    • 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 charter schools offer a preference for 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. 

    This video explains how the algorithm works.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. 

  • 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.

  • Yes. Please contact the DCPS Enroll Team at (202) 478-5738 for additional information prior to the application deadlines: February 1, 2016 for grades 9-12, and March 1, 2016 for grades PK3-8.

  • The age cutoff is the age a student needs to be to attend a particular grade. For all schools participating in My School DC, an applicant for PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2016, an applicant for PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2016, and an applicant for Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30, 2016. In other grades, age cutoffs vary. 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.

     

    Click here to see age cutoffs for individual schools. 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.

  • No. Some accept applications from new students in all grades (although spaces may be limited in some grades), while others only accept applicants in certain grades. This information is noted on each school profile.

How 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 residential 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. Find out more about what you'll need to apply here.

  • A Student ID is only required for applicants who currently atttend 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. Collecting student IDs from students on the My School DC application helps My School DC ensure that only one application is submitted per student. If you need help finding your Student ID, please call the My School DC Hotline at 202-888-6336, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, applicants may also use their DC One Card number if they do not have their Student ID number readily available. 

  • No. Students who want to apply to DCPS (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. Participating schools will only accept the My School DC application.

  • No. The application is only available online.

  • Families who do not have access to a computer have several options for completing their applications.

     

    • You can complete applications at any DC public library, at any DCPS school, or any participating public charter school.
    • My School DC staff will be at school-related events throughout the city, and they will have computers. You can attend one of these events and use a My School DC computer to complete your application(s). Find events here.
    • You can call the My School DC Hotline, 202-888-6336, and 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.
  • Yes. You must submit a separate application for each child who is applying to attend a new school. But, you should create only one family account because students who apply under the same family account are identified as siblings in the lottery. Families use a single family account to create, save, edit, and submit an application for each child in their family who is applying to a new school. Families also use this account to view their lottery results.

     

    Families with multiple children should learn about sibling preferences. All schools, except the citywide selective high schools, offer a preference to siblings of current students, called a "sibling enrolled" preference. If a child wants to attend a school where his or her sibling is already enrolled, the child must apply. The application includes a place to note that a sibling is currently enrolled at the school. Families must provide the name and grade of the sibling currently enrolled at the school to receive a sibling preference.

     

    Some schools also offer a preference in the lottery and/or on the waiting list to siblings admitted in the lottery, called a "sibling accepted" preference. The preferences that each school offers are listed on its My School DC school profile. 

  • 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. The deadlines are February 1, 2016, for grades 9–12, and March 1, 2016, for grades PK3–8. 

  • Use the My School DC School Finder to find your in-boundary DCPS school and nearby schools by entering your address. Find out more about school boundaries here.

  • Only residents of the District of Columbia are eligible to receive a free public education in the District. 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). 

     

    On the My School DC application, you have the option of applying without a DC address. If you use this option, you will not receive in-boundary or proximity preferences.

     

    If you are matched with a school through the lottery, you must accept your space by May 2. Accepting your space requires submitting required enrollment forms and proving DC residency.

     

    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

  • 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. 

  • 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 have to 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. Would you like materials to help you assist families? Email us at info@myschooldc.org, call the My School DC Hotline at 202-888-6336. 

The Lottery

  • The SY2016-17 lottery application deadlines for are February 1, 2016, 11:59 p.m. ET for grades 9-12 and March 1, 2016, 11:59 p.m. ET for grades PK3-8. 

  • Yes. You can edit your application any time before the deadline without penalty. This includes adding schools, deleting schools, or changing your school ranking. After editing, you must re-submit the application before the deadline. 

     

    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.

  • You may apply during the  post-lottery application period.

  • You can get your lottery results online at MySchoolDC.org. Log in to your family account on April 1, 2016, 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. You’ll receive a separate letter for each child for whom you submitted an 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 April 1, 2016.

  • If you were matched with a school through the lottery, you must accept your space by May 2, 2016. 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. 

  • Once you receive your lottery results on April 1st you may apply to additional schools during the post-lottery round. However, you should only submit a post-lottery application if you want to apply to additional schools. Your child will be waitlisted at any of the choices they ranked above the school where they are matched. It is possible to be placed on the waitlist at every school you select. 

     

    The best chance of getting into the schools you choose is to participate in the lottery. During the post-lottery period, students who apply to schools that are filled in the lottery will be added to the schools’ waitlists.  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.

  • 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.  

  • Contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.  The hotline will update your application, explain how the grade change will affect your lottery results, and can help you apply to additional schools if desired. Students will most likely be placed on the waitlist for the updated grade level based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date, and their lottery preference. In other words, students are placed where they would have originally been placed if they had selected the correct grade prior to the lottery or submitting their post-lottery application. 

  • 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 admitted 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.

  • 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.

Post-lottery Application Period

  • 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 2nd for 9-12 grade applicants, and March 2nd for all grades. Prior to April 1st, only applicants who did not submit a lottery application may apply to up to 12 additional schools using the post-lottery application. Beginning April 1st, 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 April 1st 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 applying to.  

     

    Post-lottery applications will be added automatically to the bottom of the schools’ waitlists in the order they are received and below applicants who applied 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 enrolled, 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 April 1st, all students who have already submitted a post-lottery application will be able to view their waitlist position by clicking on 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 April 1st will be able to 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). You will be notified immediately of the new offer by My School DC through email if you provided an email address on your My School DC application. The school will also contact you by phone. Both the email notification and school will relay the number of days you have to accept the school’s placement offer.

  • Although families who did not submit a lottery application can submit a post-lottery application beginning February 2 (9-12th grade) or March 2 (PK3-8th grade), post-lottery applications cannot be processed until after My School DC has the results from the lottery on April 1. On and after April 1 you will be able to view your child’s waitlist position(s) at all schools you applied to by clicking on the “View lottery results and current waitlist positions” button once you log into your My School DC family account.  

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

  • No. There is no benefit to reapplying to a school if your child is already on that school’s waitlist, as your child cannot move up a waitlist by reapplying. 

Enrollment

  • If you are matched to a school in the lottery, you must enroll your child by May 2, 2016.  This includes providing proof of DC residency in person, at the school, 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. If you do not enroll your child by May 2, you may lose your space.  Enrollment opens for all schools on April 1, 2016.

     

    For students called off the 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 to notify you by phone and by email (if you provided one) and explain next steps, which will include turning in all required enrollment documents, completing a My School DC Enrollment Form, and proving DC residency. 

     

    Note: A parent or guardian must enroll each child, in person, at the child’s school. Learn more about How to Enroll.

  • If you receive a match in the lottery and you do not enroll your child by May 2, you may lose your space at that school. However, if your child was placed on one or more waitlists, his or her place on the waitlist(s) will not be affected by missing the enrollment deadline.

  • Every student matched through the lottery must complete the My School DC Enrollment Form and prove DC residency by May 2, 2016. In addition, 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. A parent or guardian must enroll each child, in person, at the child’s school.

  • Contact the school where you were matched immediately and ask what options are available to you.

  • 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.  Finally, the form confirms that you are giving up your child’s space in his or her current school, and will be removed from the waitlists of schools you ranked below the school where you are enrolling. 

Waitlists

  • Students who are matched in the lottery will be waitlisted only at schools they ranked higher than the school at which they are matched. Students not matched in the lottery will be waitlisted at all schools they selected on their application.

     

    There are only two exceptions to this: selective programs, such as selective citywide high schools and dual language programs, and when an applicant's sibling is matched through the lottery. 

     

    • 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. 
    • An applicant will be placed on the waitlist of any school they ranked below their matched school when their sibling is matched with that school. For example, John is matched with his 2nd choice school. This means that John is automatically placed on the waitlist of his 3rd choice school if his sibling is matched with that same (3rd choice) school.

     

    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 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. 

     

    At any time, you can log into your family account to see your child’s waitlist positions at the schools you applied to.

  • My School DC oversees the waitlists of all schools participating in the lottery. However, schools determine whether space is available at their school, and when to call students off the waitlist. Schools also determine how much time families who receive an offer off their waitlist have to accept or decline it. Schools will only be allowed to offer available spaces to students in numerical order as determined by the lottery. For example, if there are 10 students on a waitlist and your child is number 8, numbers 1 through 7 must first be called before an offer can be extended to your child.

  • If 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. You may also call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 if you are unable to log into your online account.

    The school will also reach out to you directly to notify you by phone and by email (if you provided one) and explain next steps, which will include turning in all required enrollment documents and proving DC residency. 

  • 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.
     

    If you would like 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 decline the seat on your behalf. 

  • 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 also be removed from all waitlists at schools ranked below the enrolled school, as well as their current school.

  • 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. 

  • 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 and view your child’s current position on each school’s waitlist.

  • It depends on where that school falls in your rank order of schools you applied to. 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 first, second, and third choice schools, and is called off the waitlist and enrolls at their second choice school, they will be removed from the waitlist of their third choice school, but remain on the waitlist of their first choice school. We do this to maximize placement of all students and to ensure your child is at their most preferred school.

  • Similar to how students are matched in the lottery, waitlist order is also determined by lottery preference and random lottery number. The computerized algorithm first takes into account a student’s lottery preference (such as in-boundary, sibling enrolled, etc.), if any, and orders them on a school’s waitlist based on their random lottery number.

     

    For example, students that have a sibling already enrolled at the school will be placed on the waitlist ahead of those without a sibling, regardless of random lottery number. If there is more than one student with a sibling enrolled, students are prioritized first based on when they applied (during the lottery or in the post-lottery period) and then based on their random lottery number. Selective citywide high schools are the exception. They rank all eligible students prior to the lottery. After all of their seats are filled, the remaining eligible students are ordered on the waitlist according to the way they were ranked by the school. 

  • Not necessarily.  Most schools’ waitlists are ordered by lottery preference group and then by when the applicant applied (during the lottery or post-lottery). For example, a post-lottery applicant with a sibling preference might be placed ahead of a lottery applicant with no lottery preference. However, within lottery preference groups (e.g., in-boundary, sibling enrolled, etc.), lottery applicants will be listed before post-lottery applicants. 

  • 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 they will be placed ahead of your child on the waitlist and your child’s number will increase. 

  • 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.

School Boundaries

  • 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 SY2015-16 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 click here.

  • The lottery system will reflect the rights families have to DCPS zoned schools, based on the updated boundaries approved and released in August 2014.  The lottery application will also reflect the extensive phase-in policies that allow many families to maintain their current rights to schools. For more information on the phase-in policies and how the changes may impact your family, please click here.

Military Families

Homeless Youth

Special Needs and Language Assistance

Other Questions

  • 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 2014–15, 56 percent of DC public school students attended DCPS schools. Find your in-boundary school using the School Finder.

  • 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 Academic 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.

  • DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, and open to all students, and they do not have selective entrance requirements. They offer District families a wide variety of educational choices. Public charter schools are independent from DCPS (the traditional public school system). The DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) oversees, but does not manage, the schools. PCSB uses a Performance Management Framework (PMF) 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 participating public charter schools. In 2014–15, 44 percent of DC public school students attended public charter schools.

  • No. Only public schools in Washington, DC, are part 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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 sooner to parents than we were able to in previous years.