- 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 high schools or programs (9–12).
The My School DC common lottery is a single, random lottery that determines placement for new students at all participating schools.
- Simplify the application 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.
- 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 high school or program (grades 9–12)
- Enroll in their 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.
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.
- Students should rank schools in the order they like most to increase their chances of being matched to their desired school.
- Students who apply early get no advantage in the matching process.
Yes, the order matters because:
- 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.
- 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.
- All schools ranked below the matched school are removed because they are less preferred than the matched school.
- 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 high schools and programs, and (2) if an applicant's sibling is matched through the lottery.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- In-boundary with a sibling already enrolled at the school (PK3 and PK4 only)
- In-boundary with a sibling who is applying at the same time and is matched to the school (PK3 and PK4 only)
- In-boundary (PK3 and PK4 only)
- Out-of-boundary with a sibling already enrolled at the school
- Out-of-boundary with a sibling who is applying at the same time and is matched to the school
- Out-of-boundary with proximity (PK3–8 only)
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 2019-20?
Yes. Please contact the DCPS Enroll Team at (202) 478-5738 for additional information prior to the application deadlines.
- PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2019;
- PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2019; and
- Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30, 2019.
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.
The lottery application deadlines for school year 2019-20 are:
- February 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. ET - Grades 9-12, and
- March 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. ET Grades PK3-8.
You will need basic information for your child, including name and date of birth. You will also need to provide the legal guardian's name and contact information, including home address. If applying to one of the DCPS selective high schools and programs, 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.
No. Students who want to apply to DCPS schools (out-of-boundary, citywide, selective high schools, or any PK3/PK4 DCPS program) or participating public charter schools must use the My School DC application.
No. The application is only available online.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visit one of our field offices in Ward 4 and Ward 8 during the application period. View the My School DC Calendar page and filter by "My School DC Event" to find locations, dates and times or call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.
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.
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.
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?
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.
This means the school determined that your child is not eligible to attend. For DCPS selective high schools and programs, 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.
If you receive a match in the lottery and you do not enroll your child by May 1, 2019 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.
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 when lottery results are released 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 Seat Acceptance Form and prove DC residency.
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.
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 and will be removed from the waitlists of schools you ranked below the school where you are enrolling. The form is available in Spanish (Español), Amharic (አማርኛ፤), French (Français), Chinese (中文), and Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).
- If a DCPS selective high school or program 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.
Yes, you can re-rank the schools at which your children are waitlisted. Log in to your family account and click the “Edit Rankings” icon for 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.
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.
- You may accept the offer by enrolling your child at the school, or
- You can decline the offer.
How long after receiving a waitlist invitation do I have to enroll? What if I am out of town? Can enrolling be done remotely?
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 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. Please note, if you have other children who applied to the school where your child was originally matched, and your other children received a "sibling offered" preference, they may lose that preference, and possibly have their enrollment or match revoked.
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.
Yes. If students who apply after you qualify for a lottery preference (such as in-boundary, sibling attending, 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.
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 family account, or by contacting the school directly.
My School DC will post schools with short waitlists on www.myschooldc.org shortly after results for the lottery are released. However, schools determine whether and when space is available at their school.
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.
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. Locate your in-boundary school here. The mid-year application period extends from October 6 through mid-March during any given school year.
Do I need to complete a mid-year application to attend my in-boundary DCPS school if I am a new student or seeking a transfer?
You must complete a mid-year application if you are seeking to enroll at or transfer to your DCPS in-boundary school for PK3 or PK4. No application is needed for K-12 students who wish to transfer into their in-boundary school. Call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 to apply. You can locate your in-boundary DCPS school here: http://find.myschooldc.org/
Complete a mid-year application by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336. The My School DC Hotline is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm, and is equipped to provide multilingual assistance by way of staff and interpreters.
My School DC posts schools with short waitlists here: https://www.myschooldc.org/school-waitlists. Offers from a waitlist are never guaranteed. Note: students can find their DCPS in-boundary school here: http://find.myschooldc.org/. In grades K-12, mid-year applicants can directly enroll at their DCPS in-boundary school.
Students in grades K-12 can enroll directly at their DCPS in-boundary school. If a student is seeking to transfer to the PK3 or PK4 program at their DCPS in-boundary school or is seeking to transfer to a DCPS out-of-boundary or citywide school or a public charter school, they must call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 to submit an application. The My School DC Hotline is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm, and is equipped to provide multilingual assistance by way of staff and interpreters.
Applying is simple. You need the following basic information: student’s name, student’s date of birth, student’s grade, student ID (if an existing student in a DC public school, DCPS or charter), guardian’s name, guardian’s telephone number, and guardian’s residential address.
Once you complete the mid-year application via the My School DC Hotline, the My School DC hotline representative will immediately tell you whether you received an automatic offer of enrollment and what your current waitlist positions are. Regardless of when you applied, if you provided an email address when completing your application, you will be notified via email by My School DC when a school extends a waitlist offer to your student.
Schools will also try to connect with families via phone when waitlist offers are made to explain next steps. You can also log into your My School DC family account at MySchoolDC.org as often as you like to check your waitlist positions. If a waitlist offer has been made it will be reflected on your results page. Call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 if you are unable to log into your online account.
Once you receive an offer of enrollment from a school, you must enroll in person, at the school, within the timeframe given by the school or you may lose your space at that school. This includes providing proof of DC residency, completing the My School DC Mid-year Seat Acceptance Form, and completing any other paperwork required by the school.
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 [email protected] or contact your school's liaison for students who are homeless.
Families who are experiencing homelessness or living in unstable housing situations 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?
OSSE’s Homeless Education 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 OSSE’s Homeless Education Program at (202) 654-6123 or [email protected] 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.
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 programs, 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.
Yes, transportation to and from a limited number of schools 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?
Yes. All families who miss the lottery deadlines can apply to schools using the My School DC application beginning on February 2 (for grades 9-12) and March 2 (for all grades). For more information on the post-lottery application period, click here.
Families seeking a transfer from their current school to another public school (DCPS or charter) after October 5 can complete a mid-year application by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336. The mid-year application period extends from October 6 through March 22 during any given school year. Learn more about the mid-year application period here. Families who seek a transfer prior to October 6 can complete a My School DC application at MySchoolDC.org to add their student to schools' waitlists.
There is no restriction on who can apply on behalf of a student, but there can only be one application per student. Whomever completes the application must be able to provide accurate information about the child (i.e., date of birth, grade, guardian’s residential address, school selections), and must be able to receive and act on notifications regarding that application. The person that submits should provide the legal guardian with a copy of the submitted application for their records. A resource parent does not have sole decision-making authority to decide on or change a school placement for the child in their care. For guidance, resource parents can call the educational specialist at Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).
If I apply for the lottery for a child who is in between placements (but coming into my care), what address should I use on the lottery application?
Youth in foster care who are in transition should use their most stable address on the My School DC application; this can be either their current address (if they don’t know where they’ll be placed) or the address they know they’ll have come May 1.
The child in my care is a ward of DC but lives with me in Maryland. How do I know the in-boundary DCPS school for the child?
The in-boundary school for a child in foster care is based on the DC address of the birth parent or caregiver who formerly had custody of the youth. To identify the child’s in-boundary school, simply visit http://find.myschooldc.org, enter the child’s former DC address and it will pull up the child’s in-boundary schools. If you don’t have the prior address, please contact your social worker.
Is the child in my care eligible for sibling preference at the public school that my biological children attend?
Please contact the schools you are interested in for further details on how they define sibling for the purpose of sibling preference. Children living in the same household are not necessarily eligible to receive sibling preference at a school.
Generally, either social workers (with an ID badge) or resource parents may physically enroll children in schools in the District. For additional information, please refer to CFSA’s webpage on school enrollment: https://cfsa.dc.gov/page/office-well-being-school-enrollment-process.
As a resource parent of a DC child that is in foster care, you do not have to prove DC residency. All DC youth in foster care or “wards of the state” are residents of the District and entitled to enroll in and attend DC public schools. During the enrollment process, you must provide a copy of the child’s “ward letter” that you received from the foster care agency when that child was placed in your home. Please note: if the ward letter has the child’s social security number on it, please black it out before submitting it to the school to protect the child from identity theft. The school is not permitted to require a student’s social security number for enrollment.
No, they do not complete a different application. 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. Note that Bridges PCS has an additional lottery preference for high level special education students to gain entry into high level special education classrooms.
No, they do not complete a different application. 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?
The My School DC application is available online in English and Spanish. Application guides are 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, 8am to 5pm.
The DC School Report Card is an interactive website that helps parents understand how a school is doing with its all of its students, in addition to helpful information about the school itself, including the closest public transportation routes, academic programs and extra-curricular options, the best contact person for parents and families, and more. The DC School Report Card will help you answer some of the most crucial questions about your child’s current school, and is a first step for parents and families thinking about their child’s next educational step. Visit dcschoolreportcard.org to view more information about the report card. Learn more here.
The new DC School Report Card will give DC families a look into all public schools in the District and will include each school’s rating on the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework. The DC School Report Card, along with the STAR Framework, is a step toward a more transparent, equitable District of Columbia education system, allowing families and educators to better advocate for their students and schools. The STAR Rating for a school provides an overall view of how that school is doing with all students in multiple areas, including academic achievement, academic growth, English language proficiency, graduation rate, and school environment. This overall view gives families and communities a clear look into multiple elements of school performance without needing to review multiple websites or pages of information. Schools earn a STAR rating based on the percentage of points they earn out of the available points in the framework. For example, a school with a 5 star rating has earned between 80 - 100 percent of all possible points. This school is among the highest performing schools in multiple areas and likely has both high achievement and growth on the state test for ELA and math. A school with a 1 star rating is earning less than 20 percent of all possible points and likely has low performance in several areas. Learn more here.
- Celebrate Successes: The variety of measures helps to identify strong performance, highlight what is working well, and build off existing best practices.
- Plan: The DC School Report Card provides schools with a transparent tool which shows school performance across many areas, including the STAR Framework. Use this tool when engaging with your school in setting goals and tracking success.
- Support Schools: Use additional resources and funding to support schools in addressing areas with significant performance gaps and other areas where they need help.
- Focus Discussions: Understanding school performance helps parents and school leaders in discussions about the school’s areas for improvement, analyze the success of current practices, and highlight opportunities to collaborate with others.
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. Find your in-boundary school using the School Finder.
- Bard High School Early College
- Benjamin Banneker High School
- Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) — CHEC serves grades 6–12. Only grades 9–12 are part of the selective high school.
- Duke Ellington School of the Arts
- Early College Academy @ Coolidge
- McKinley Technology High School
- Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School
- School Without Walls High 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 @ Logan ES, Dorothy I. Height ES, Excel Academy, Ron Brown College Preparatory HS, School-Within-School @ Goding ES and the eight DCPS selective high schools and programs.
DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, 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 (DC PCSB) provides oversight, but does not manage, any public charter schools. 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 participating 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 State Superintendent of 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, 8am to 5pm. You can also send us an email at [email protected].