Key Terms

Family account

Applicants 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 and positions on schools' waitlists. Creating an account with an email address is recommended, however it is possible to create an account with just a username and no email address. 

 

Matching algorithm

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. Click HERE to watch a video of how the matching algorithm works.

My School DC application

The My School DC application is a single, online application families must use to apply for participating public charter schools (PK3–12); DCPS schools outside your boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3-12), including citywide schools; all DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs, including programs at in-boundary schools; and DCPS selective high schools and programs (9–12). The My School DC application is found here and is available in English and Spanish. Application guides are available to download in Amharic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French.

 

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.

Participating school

A DCPS school or public charter school that has agreed to be part of My School DC. All DCPS schools and most public charter schools that serve grades PK3-12 participate. Click HERE for a list of participating schools. Click HERE for a list of schools and programs that do not participate in My School DC.

Unique Student Identifier

Each student currently enrolled in a public school in DC, including DCPS and charters, has a unique ID number, called a unique student identifer, or USI. 

Waitlist

When schools have more applicants than spaces, students who are not matched to the school in the lottery are placed on the school’s waitlist. When a space opens, the school offers the space to students on the waitlist in order. Waitlists are ordered first by preference group (in-boundary, sibling, etc.) and then by applicants with no preferences. Within each group, students are ordered by random lottery number. 

 

Applicants who apply after the lottery deadlines are placed on the bottom of schools' waitlists below lottery applicants by submission date. The exception to this is an applicant who qualifies for a preference that another applicant does not qualify for; that applicant will jump ahead on the waitlist without a preference regardless of when they apply. 

 

To view historical waitlist movement data by lottery year and school, click HERE.

 

 

Advanced Placement

Offers courses approved by the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP) designation. Students that take the AP exam and pass can earn college credit.

Arts Integration

Students study visual and/or performing arts as part of the school’s mission and core academic curriculum, beyond dedicated arts periods.

Blended Learning

Students receive instruction from a mix of traditional teaching and online learning platforms as part of the school's core academic curriculum.

Career and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs complete a three or four-year course sequence (in addition to their core high school classes) that includes preparation for industry-recognized certification exams and participation in work-based learning experiences.

Dual College Enrollment

The school offers its students the opportunity to maintain their high school status while enrolling part-time or full-time at participating colleges or universities. In addition to being able to take challenging college courses that are not offered at their home high school and to earn college credit that can be transferred to many postsecondary institutions.

Dual Language / Immersion Program

Students learn a second language beyond dedicated language periods, with the second language often serving as the medium of instruction in core academic subjects.

Extended Day

Excluding before care and after care, students attend school and receive instruction for longer than 8 hours per day on a regular basis.

Extended Year

The school's academic year exceeds the typical 180 school days, with students attending for at least 190 days.

International Baccalaureate

School is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Primary Years, Middle Years, or Diploma Program(s), or is an active candidate for such authorization.

Interscholastic sports

School has a sports team that competes with other schools.

JROTC

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a federal program sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces. The purpose of JROTC is to instill the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. JROTC will also inform young Americans about the opportunities available in the military.

Montessori program

School uses a Montessori instructional approach to learning; students are grouped into mixed-age classrooms with substantial choice and independence in their learning activities.

Online Learning

Learning is done through a virtual online school with the student remaining at home for most academic hours.

Open house

An open house is a time when you can visit a school and learn more about it. Each school sets the dates and times of its open house(s). You can see open house dates here or on individual school profile pages. Download these sample questions written by parents for parents [coming soon!] and take with you to open houses. For more information about open houses, please contact the schools directly.

PARCC

PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and is the standardized test for public school students in the District of Columbia and other states in English language arts / literacy and mathematics. PARCC assessments measure students' progress towards what they need to learn by graduation to be ready for college and career. Learn more about PARCC here.

 

Single Gender Campus

School's mission targets a single gender.

STEM Focus

STEM integrates science, technology, engineering, and math so that each of these content areas is taught within other content areas and equally alongside literacy and composition. STEM is a part of the school's mission and core academic curriculum.

Children of staff preference

Some charter schools offer a preference for children of their staff members 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. 

In-boundary preference

PK3 and PK4 students receive a preference at their in-boundary DCPS schools. This preference automatically populates on the application based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application. If your child is admitted with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application. 

In-boundary with "sibling attending" preference

Preference for student who is both in-boundary and has a sibling already attending the school. 

 

The "in-boundary" portion of this preference is automatically populated based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application; and sibling status is verified by the school prior to the lottery. If your child is admitted with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application.  

 

The "sibling attending" preference is intended for applicants who have a sibling already attending the school. There is a place on the application to enter the name of a sibling(s) currently attending the school. Before the lottery, the school will verify eligibility for that preference. The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please note that at most schools, this preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If you end up withdrawing the "attending" student for the following school year, it is possible that your sibling preference, and subsequent enrollment, match or waitlist offer, will be revoked. Please contact the school directly for  information about their sibling policies. DCPS's sibling information can be found in their Enrollment and Lottery Handbook

In-boundary with "sibling offered" preference

Preference for student who is both in-boundary and has a sibling who was offered a seat in that school through the lottery. 

 

The "in-boundary" portion of this preference automatically populates on the application based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application. If your child is admitted with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application.  

 

The "sibling offered" portion of the preference is awarded when a lottery applicant has a sibling who is matched or offered a seat from the waitlist. If the sibling who was matched or offered a space at the school does not enroll, the “sibling offered” preference will be removed for all siblings that applied to that same school. This may result in the siblings losing their match, or moving down on the waitlist at that school. The siblings will remain on the school’s waitlist but will be assigned a new waitlist position based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for. 

 

The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please contact the school directly for this information.

Lottery preferences

Lottery preferences are school-specific. The preferences that a school offers are listed on its My School DC school profile.  An applicant may have a preference at one or more schools. Applicants with a preference at a particular school are offered space at that school before applicants who don’t have a preference, and receive a higher waitlist placement than applicants without a preference. There are four types of preferences. Please know that some schools only offer certain preferences during the lottery and do not offer them post-lottery. If you are applying post-lottery, check with the school to learn if they offer the same preferencs in the lottery and post-lottery periods. 
 
  • Sibling preferences. Most schools offer a preference for the siblings of currently enrolled students, called a 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 waiting list to siblings or twins of students who are offered a space at a school through 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 offered a space at the school, the school may offer a preference to the accepted child’s sibling. 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" may vary by school. Please contact the school directly for this information.
  • Geographic preferences. DCPS offers in-boundary and proximity preference at DCPS schools’ based on the guardian's home address on the student's My School DC application. You can identify your in-boundary schools using our School Finder [link to find.myschooldc.org]. The application will automatically populate any geographic preferences based on the guardian's 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. 
  • 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. Some charter schools offer a preference for children of their staff members 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. 

Proximity preference

Students who live greater than a half mile walking distance from their zoned DCPS elementary school will receive a proximity preference in the lottery to a DCPS zoned elementary school that is a half mile or less walking distance from their home. The application will automatically populate this preference based on the guardian's home address provided on the application.

Sibling attending preference

Preference for a student who has a sibling currently enrolled at the school. There is a place on the application to enter the name of a sibling(s) currently attending the school. Before the lottery, the school will verify eligibility for that preference. The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please note that at most schools, this preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If you end up withdrawing the "attending" student for the following school year, it is possible that your sibling preference, and subsequent enrollment, match or waitlist offer, will be revoked. Please contact the school directly for  information about their sibling policies. DCPS's sibling information can be found in their Enrollment and Lottery Handbook

Sibling offered preference

Preference for a student whose sibling is offered a space at a school in the lottery. If the sibling who was offered a space at the school does not enroll, the “sibling offered” preference will be removed for all siblings that applied to that same school. This may result in the siblings losing their match, or moving down on the waitlist at that school. The siblings will remain on the school’s waitlist but will be assigned a new waitlist position based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for.

 

The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please contact the school directly for this information.

Transfer preference

Some public charter schools offer a transfer preference to students who currently attend one of their campuses and applied to attend 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. 

Twin offered preference

Preference for a student who has a twin matched to the school in the lottery. This preference is typically only offered at schools that don't offer sibling attending preference. If your child is admitted with a twin preference, be prepared to prove that your children are twins when you enroll them. 

Age cutoff

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, 2019, an applicant for PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2019, and an applicant for Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30, 2019. In other grades, age cutoffs vary by school. 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.

 

PK3 and PK4

PK3 programs serve students who are three years old. PK4 programs serve students who are four years old. In the past, schools referred to PK3 as pre-school and PK4 as pre-kindergarten. For all schools participating in My School DC, an applicant for PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2019 and an applicant for PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2019.

Active School Selections

This section only displays schools where your child is currently matched, enrolled or actively on a waitlist.

Inactive School Selections

This section only displays schools that have been removed from your application for one of five reasons: (1) Your child is not eligible to attend the school; (2) You declined a match or waitlist offer at that school; (3) Your child was not waitlisted at the school through the lottery because he / she was matched to a school ranked higher on their application; (4) You accepted a waitlist offer at a school ranked higher than this school on the application and your child was removed from the waitlist of this school; or (5) You had formerly accepted a placement and enrolled your child at this school but later accepted a waitlist offer from another school and enrolled at that school.

Waitlist #

Student is currently waitlisted at the school – the number reflects student’s current waitlist position at that school in the grade they applied to.

Not waitlisted

Student was matched through the lottery to a school the student ranked higher than this school and therefore is not waitlisted at the school. 

Not eligible

The school determined that the student is not eligible to attend. For example, DCPS selective high schools may deem students as “not eligible” if they do not meet the school's entrance requirements or a dual language program may deem a student not eligible if they do not demonstrate language proficiency required. If you have questions, contact the school directly.

No preferences

Student did not claim or is not eligible for a preference at this school.

Declined

Student was offered a placement through the lottery or off a waitlist and did not accept the seat. (Parent/guardian either declined offer or missed deadline to turn in enrollment forms and / or prove DC residency.)

Enrolled

Student was offered a placement through the lottery or off a waitlist and has accepted the seat by proving DC residency and turning in all enrollment forms to the school.

Match (enrollment pending)

Student was offered a placement through the lottery but has not yet enrolled at the school. Enrollment takes place in person, at the school. Families must submit required enrollment forms and prove DC residency to the school to claim the seat. Enrolling a student at his or her matched school does not remove them off waitlists.

Waitlist offer extended (enrollment pending)

Student was originally waitlisted and has recently been offered a placement but has not yet enrolled at the school. Enrollment takes place in person, at the school. Families must submit required enrollment forms and prove DC residency to the school by the deadline for the offer in order to claim the seat.

Removed

Student accepted a waitlist offer from a school the student ranked higher than this school and was removed from the waitlist of this school.

No longer enrolled

Student had formally accepted a placement and enrolled at this school, but later accepted a waitlist offer from a school by enrolling at the new school. The student is therefore removed from the school where they were previously enrolled.

Pending

Student has applied to a DCPS selective high school or program but the school has not determined whether the student is eligible to be added to its waitlist. The student will be notified by email when this status changes.

My School DC Seat Acceptance Form

The My School DC Seat Acceptance 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, forgoing feeder rights to schools related to your current school, and will be removed from the waitlists of schools you ranked below the school where you are enrolling. The form is also available in Spanish (Español)Amharic (አማርኛ፤)French (Français)Chinese (中文), and Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).

Residency, DC residency, residency requirements

All DCPS and DC public charter schools require parents and guardians to present proof of DC residency in person as part of the enrollment process. Residency requirements are the documents they must present to prove residency

Post-lottery application

The application used to apply to participating schools (DCPS and charter) if a family misses the lottery application deadlines for a given school year or seeks to apply to additional schools. Post-lottery applicants are added to the bottom of schools’ waitlists below lottery applicants. The only exception to this is for post-lottery applicants that qualify for a preference at a school (e.g., sibling or in-boundary) that a lottery applicant does not qualify for.

Mid-year application

The application for students in grades PK3 to 12 who move into the District or who seek to transfer from their current school to another DC public school (DCPS or charter) during a given school year. The application is used to apply to all participating schools. No application is needed for K-12 students who wish to transfer into their in-boundary school. The mid-year application period extends from October 6 through March 26 during any given school year. New students or students seeking a transfer must complete a mid-year application by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.

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.

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 Bard High School Early College, Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan ES, Dorothy I. Height ES, Excel AcademyRon Brown College Preparatory HS, and School-Within-School @ Goding ES.

Destination school

Early Action PK

Students who live in-boundary for a participating DCPS Early Action school are guaranteed a seat in PK3 or PK4, as long as they meet two conditions: (1) they submit an application through the My School DC lottery by March 1, 2019, and (2) they are not matched with a school they ranked higher. If a student is matched at their Early Action PK school, they will not be waitlisted at any school they ranked lower. Participating DCPS schools in school year 2019-20 are:  

 

 

Extended-year schools

Schools that offer extended-year will provide an additional month of instruction, taking the academic school year from 180 to 200 days. There will be an additional two weeks provided for students who need extra support, and breaks in October and June to accompany the normal winter and spring breaks. Use the filter on the School Finder to see which schools offer an extended year.

 

Feeder-pattern school

A feeder-pattern school (also called a destination school) is a DCPS right-to-attend school that is based on a student’s current school. This assignment only happens during the years a student moves from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school. If your child is currently attending an out-of-boundary DCPS school and you enroll elsewhere, you will lose the rights to the current school's feeder pattern. Click here to see DCPS feeder patterns.

In-boundary school

An in-boundary school (also called a neighborhood school) is a DCPS school that a student has a right to attend in Kindergarten through grade 12 based on where the student lives. The school district has attendance zones (boundary lines), and each student is assigned to an in-boundary school based on those lines. To locate your in-boundary schools, click here.

Magnet school

DCPS does not have magnet schools. DCPS does have seven selective high schools and one selective program. These schools have eligibility requirements. Learn more here.

Neighborhood school

Out-of-boundary school

An out-of-boundary school is any DCPS school that is not the student’s right-to-attend school.

Right-to-attend schools

A student’s right-to-attend school is a DCPS school where that student can enroll at any time in Kindergarten through grade 12. Students do not apply to their right-to-attend schools. There are two types of right-to-attend schools for K–12 students: in-boundary schools and feeder-pattern schools

Selective high school or program

DCPS selective high schools and programs have no boundaries and admit students based on specific criteria or eligibility requirements. Anyone can apply to these schools and programs, but only students who meet their requirements will be eligible to attend. Students applying to one or more DCPS selective high schools or programs must complete an additional section of the My School DC application. The additional section is different for each school because each school has its own requirements. Find out more about selective high school requirements here

Public charter school

DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, open to all students, and do not have selective entrance requirements. 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.

English learner

Public schools do not discriminate based on the language needs or preferred home language of students. Students with limited English proficiency can apply to any DCPS or public charter school. 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.

Special education

Public schools do not discriminate based on special education needs of students. Special education students can apply to any DCPS or public charter school.