Do I need to apply through the lottery?
You must submit an application if you will be a NEW student at a:
- Participating public charter school for any grade (PK3 – grade 12);
- PK3 or PK4 program at any DCPS school, including your DCPS in-boundary school;
- Dual-language strand at your DCPS in-boundary elementary school (PK3 – grade 5). See list of schools here
- DCPS school outside your boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3 – grade 12), including DCPS citywide schools;
- DCPS selective high school or program (grades 9–12)
You do NOT need to submit an application if you will:
- Remain in your current school. In this case simply contact your current school to re-enroll;
- Enroll at your DCPS in-boundary*, geographic or programmatic feeder school (grades K-12);
- Enroll at your public charter feeder school (if applicable)
Note: Only DCPS schools and public charter schools that serve PK3 – grade 12 participate in the My School DC lottery. For options outside of the lottery, such as PK community-based programs, DCPS Opportunity Academies, or adult public charter schools, click here.
How many schools can I apply to in the lottery?
For each student, you may apply to as few as one, or as many as 12 schools. You cannot apply to more than 12 schools. Click here to view lottery data from prior years, including seats made available in the lottery by school and grade. The more schools you apply to, the better the chance of getting a match to one of your school choices. However, only apply to schools you want your child to attend.
Tip: Use the School Finder to begin your school search. If you are interested in a school option for your child, add it to your lottery application by the required deadline and rank it in the order you prefer most amongst your other school selections.
How does the lottery matching work?
The two most important things to know about the program are:
- Students should rank schools in the order they prefer to increase their chances of being matched to their desired school.
- Students who apply early get no advantage in the matching process.
The lottery program follows the below process for all schools:*
The program assigns each student a random lottery number and attempts to match each student with their 1st choice first. If the program is unable to match a student at their 1st choice, it will then attempt to match them at their 2nd choice, then their 3rd, and so on in the order listed on the application. However, when it compares two students who have applied to the same school option, the decision is based on two criteria:
(1) The students’ lottery preferences at that school (e.g., sibling preference); and
(2) The students’ randomly assigned lottery number.
The student’s ranking of the schools is critical – it informs the order that the algorithm tries to match students in. However, it is not a factor in whether the student should or will get matched. In other words, the system does not try to fill a school’s seats with students who ranked them highest first. This is why the system is strategy-proof and why students are best served by ranking schools according to their true preference.
After identifying the highest ranked match possible for a student, the algorithm uses the student’s ranking to determine which waitlists to place the student on. Each student is placed on a waitlist at every school they ranked higher than the school at which they are matched. Exception: Siblings who apply to the same schools are placed on a waitlist at any school where one of their siblings is matched regardless if that school is ranked lower on a sibling’s application than where they are matched.
It is possible for a student not to receive a school match in the lottery due to space availability and demand. If a student is not matched to a school, they are placed on the waitlist at every school on their list.
*DCPS selective high schools and programs admit students based on specific criteria. Each of the selective high schools identifies which applicants meet their specific minimum requirements, and then each school determines the order of priority among that group. The lottery program uses the same process described above based upon the student’s ranking, and students will not be matched to more than one school. If a selective high school determines that a student is ineligible to attend, the lottery program will skip this school in the student’s rankings and try to match the student as the next highest ranked school and so forth.
Note: The student’s ranking of their school choices on the My School DC application may include any combination of DCPS schools and public charter schools. However, when the program is comparing two students who have applied to the same DCPS selective high school, the decision is made based on the school’s order of priority for the applicants.
Does the way I rank my schools on the application matter?
Yes, the way you rank your schools on the My School DC application matters because:
- The lottery system tries to match 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, they will be placed on a waitlist at every school they listed.
There are only two exceptions to this: (1) DCPS selective high schools and programs, and (2) if an applicant's sibling is matched through the lottery.
- If a DCPS selective high school or program finds a student not eligible, they will not be placed on the waitlist for that school option 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.
Will schools be able to see how I ranked them on my application?
No. My School DC does not give this information to schools.
Will the school my child is currently enrolled in be notified that I am submitting an application through the lottery?
No. My School DC does not notify students' current schools. Additionally, submitting a My School DC application does not impact your child’s enrollment at their current school.
How do lottery preferences work?
Students that qualify for a preference at a particular school are offered a space at that school before students who don’t have a preference, or receive a higher waitlist placement than students without a preference. Preferences act as tie-breakers: if there are more students than spaces in a particular grade at a school, the lottery will match students in order of their preference groups. Within preference groups, ties are broken by random lottery number.
Each charter school can determine which preferences are offered at their school and the order that those preferences are offered. However, for most DCPS schools the order is:
1. In-boundary with a sibling already attending the school (PK3 and PK4 only)
2. In-boundary with a sibling offered (PK3 and PK4 only)
3. In-boundary (PK3 and PK4 only)
4. Out-of-boundary with a sibling already attending the school
5. Out-of-boundary with a sibling offered
6. Proximity Preference (PK3 – grade 5 only)
7. Out-of-boundary applicant (with no other preference)
At DCPS dual language schools or programs, out-of-boundary siblings are prioritized before in-boundary applicants without siblings. DCPS citywide schools and public charter schools do not offer in-boundary or proximity preferences, and DCPS selective high schools and programs do not offer any preferences. The preferences that a school offers are listed on its My School DC school profile. Please contact a school directly if you have a question about their preference order. Learn more about preferences here.
Some schools offer designated seats for priority groups instead of, or in addition to, lottery preferences. Learn more about how lottery preferences and designated seats work here.
How you rank a school does not impact whether you are eligible for a preference at that school
Can my child who is applying to attend their DCPS in-boundary PK program claim sibling preference if their older sibling will be enrolling at the school for the first time in school year 2023-24?
Yes. If the student will attend and does not currently have a student ID number, input “0000000” (seven 0’s) as the student ID number in the Sibling Preference section of application. This option is only available to families planning on enrolling an in-boundary student. If you do not enroll the compulsory aged student, the preference will be removed from the PK student who may lose the match and be placed on the waitlist without the preference. Confirm with the school’s registrar, or within the application itself using the preference status page, that this preference has been applied prior to the lottery. After the lottery, these preferences are applied only when the older sibling is enrolled.
Please contact the DCPS Enrollment Team at [email protected] or (202) 478-5738 for additional information prior to the application deadlines. DCPS's sibling information can also be found in their Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
Do all schools take new students in every grade they serve?
Most schools accept applications from new students in all grades (although space may be limited in some grades) and some schools only accept applications for new students at certain 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. To view seats made available in past years’ lotteries by school and grade, click here.
What are age cutoffs and cutoff dates?
- PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2023;
- PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2023; and
- Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30, 2023.
What are the lottery application deadlines?
The lottery application deadlines for school year 2023-24 are:
- February 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m. ET for Grades 9-12, and
- March 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m. ET for PK3 – Grade 8.
If I submit my lottery application early, will my child have a better chance of being admitted?
No, there is no advantage to applying early but you must submit your application by the deadline. All applications submitted by the deadline are treated equally in the lottery and for placement on waitlists.
Can I edit my application or change the order of my schools?
Yes, you can edit your application any time before the deadline without penalty. This includes adding schools, deleting schools, or changing your school rankings. After editing, you must re-submit the application before the deadline to ensure your application is considered in the lottery.
Note: All lottery applicants are able to change the order of their schools if they so choose until March 15. 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. If your contact information changes after the deadline, please contact the My School DC hotline immediately at (202) 888-6336 or at [email protected] to make note of the change.
What if I miss the lottery application deadlines?
You can submit a post-lottery application. Note: The best chance of getting into the schools you want is to participate in the lottery.
What do I need to apply?
Visit the What you need to apply page to learn what is needed to apply.
How can I find schools near me, including my DCPS in-boundary schools?
Enter your address in the School Finder to find schools near you, including your DCPS in-boundary schools. Visit the DCPS website to learn more about school boundaries. Note: public charter schools are citywide schools with no school boundaries. A My School DC lottery application is required for all new students at participating public charter schools (PK3 – grade 12).
If I have more than one child, do I need to create a separate application for each child?
Yes, you must submit a separate application for each child applying to attend a new school. However, all siblings must be under one family account. This is the only way the application can identify your children as siblings and award sibling offered preference.
Can I apply to schools directly?
No. Students who want to apply to DCPS schools or participating public charter schools must use the My School DC application. The only exception is your DCPS in-boundary schools (Grades K-12) at which you can directly enroll without submitting a My School DC application.
Can I get a paper copy of the application?
The application is an online application only; however, you can download and print a PDF copy of your application once it has been submitted for your records.
What if I do not have access to a computer?
Families who do not have access to a computer have several options for completing their applications:
- 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.
- Complete the application on your smartphone, at a DC public library, or at any participating DCPS or public charter school.
- Attend an event where staff and computers will be on-hand to help users complete their application(s). View the Calendar page to find upcoming events.
Can I apply if I am not a DC resident?
If you are planning or considering moving into DC, you may submit a My School DC application without a DC address. However, you will not receive in-boundary or proximity preference at DCPS schools.
If you are matched with a school through the lottery, you must enroll at the school by the enrollment deadline or you will lose your space at your matched school. Accepting your space requires submitting required enrollment forms and proving DC residency.
Only residents of the District of Columbia are eligible to receive a free public education in the District and all parents and guardians are required to verify residency each year. This process is regulated by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).
Families who move to the District after the lottery can apply to individual schools during the post-lottery application period using the My School DC 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 [email protected].
If you do not plan to move to DC, you can still apply to DC schools, however, all DC (or prospective DC) residents will be prioritized. If you are a non-DC resident and do receive a match or waitlist offer, you must enter into a tuition agreement with OSSE and make an initial tuition payment before the student is eligible to attend class. Only DC residents are eligible to receive feeder rights. Non-DC residents will need to reapply to continue within a feeder pattern after the terminal grade of their current school.
My contact information has changed, including my email address. How do I change that information in my family account?
Prior to the application deadline you are able to edit and resubmit your application yourself. After the application deadline has passed, please contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 or at [email protected], 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.
Note: You are not able to change the email address you use to create an account with (it will remain as your username for login purposes), but you are able to update your application with your new email address if it changes.
I am a teacher, guidance counselor, or social worker helping a parent or guardian with an application. Should I create my own family account?
No, you should not create your own account. All information in the account should be family information only. If you are helping multiple families, you must create a separate family account for each family and then, within that family account, a separate application for each child in that family who is applying to attend a new school. The application will prompt you to provide the contact information for a parent or guardian. However, you can list yourself as the additional contact on as many applications as you and the family would like. My School DC will provide information about the application or allow changes from contacts listed on the application with the permission of the family. Please remember to provide the username and password used for each account to each family you assist so they may be able to access their account at any time.
To obtain materials to assist families, email us at [email protected], call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, or visit the Resources for Families and Schools page.
When and how do I receive my lottery results?
Lottery results are released online. Log in to your family account on March 31, 2023 to view your lottery results.
If you created a family account using an email address, you will receive your results via email. You can also indicate on the My School DC application to have your results mailed to you. If you do not have an email address associated with your account, we will automatically mail a letter to the address listed on your application. Expect to receive a separate letter for each child’s application.
You can also get your results by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning April 1, 2023.
If I am matched at a school through the lottery, what do I do next?
If you are matched with a school through the lottery, you must accept your space by the common enrollment deadline or you will lose that spot. Accepting your space requires submitting the school's required enrollment forms, up-to-date health forms, and proof of DC residency. Please note that accepting your match will NOT remove you from any waitlists, or prevent you from later enrolling at a school where you are waitlisted should space become available.
Note: Enrolling at a new school removes your child from their current school. If your child was enrolled at an out-of-boundary DCPS school and you choose to enroll at another school, you will also be giving up your right to continue on in the school’s out-of-boundary feeder pattern. Similarly, if your child was enrolled at a charter school that belongs to a feeder pattern and you choose to enroll at another school, you will also be giving up your right to continue in that charter school’s feeder pattern.
If my child is waitlisted at all schools I applied to, what do I do next?
If your child is waitlisted at all schools you applied to, you may apply to additional schools during the post-lottery period. The post-lottery application period opens on April 1, 2023 for applicants who applied through the lottery.
Post-lottery applicants will be added to waitlists on a first-come, first-served basis below applicants from the lottery, except for applicants with lottery preferences. The My School DC Matching Algorithm video explains how the program and waitlists work.
If your child will attend grades K-12, you may also directly enroll at your DCPS in-boundary school. Enter your home address in the School Finder to find your DCPS in-boundary school.
For PK3 and PK4 applicants, click HERE for additional resources or visit MyChildCareDC.org.
Note: Offers off waitlists are not guaranteed. To view historical waitlist movement by school and grade for past lottery years, click here.
What if I no longer want my child to attend the school they were matched to?
If you don’t want your child to attend the school where they are 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. You may also enroll your child directly at their DCPS in-boundary school for grades K-12. Enter your home address in the School Finder to find your DCPS in-boundary school.
My child was matched in the lottery, but I just found out that they will be held back a grade. What should I do?
Contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 or at in[email protected] for assistance. A My School DC team member 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 matched through the lottery, can the school turn them 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 they are not eligible based on credit requirements, your child 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 prior to applying.
What does it mean if my lottery result for a school is "not eligible"?
This means the school determined that your child is not eligible to attend. For DCPS in-boundary and citywide schools, students may be marked ineligible if an application was no longer needed. For example: an application is submitted for a K-12 out-of-boundary student who moved in-boundary before the date of enrollment. Students who received formal placements from DCPS after applying will also be marked as ineligible. For DCPS selective high schools and programs, students are not eligible if they do not meet the school's entrance requirements. Other cases of “ineligible” are rare, such as a student re-applying to a school from which the student was expelled. If you have questions, contact the school directly or the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 or at [email protected].
What is the process for enrolling my child? Is there a deadline?
If you are matched to a school in the lottery, you must enroll your child by the common enrollment deadline, or you may lose your space at that school. This includes submitting proof of DC residency, the school's required paperwork, and up-to-date health forms. Some schools may require you to complete paperwork online.
For students called off a school’s waitlist, enrollment deadlines vary by school. If a school has space for your child, and you provided an email address when completing your My School DC application, you will be notified right away by My School DC through email when a school extends a waitlist offer. You will also receive a text message from My School DC if you opted in to receive text alerts on your child’s application. If you did not provide an email address nor opted in to receiving text alerts, 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 contact the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 or at [email protected] for assistance. The school will also reach out to you directly by phone and email to explain next steps, which will include submitting all required enrollment documents.
Reminder: A parent or guardian must complete the enrollment process for each child.
What happens if I miss the lottery enrollment deadline to accept my child’s spot?
If you receive a match in the lottery and you do not enroll your child by the common enrollment deadline of May 1, 2023, you may lose your space at that school. And, if you are extended a waitlist offer and miss the deadline that the school sets, then you may lose your space at that school. Waitlist positions at other schools will not be affected by missing the enrollment deadline. If you think you are unable to meet an enrollment deadline, immediately contact the school.
Do all schools have the same enrollment requirements?
No, many schools have their own enrollment requirements. Families should contact the school at which they are matched directly to learn about enrollment paperwork required by the school, including how to submit required enrollment documents and residency verification. You can also visit the Enrollment Requirements by School page when lottery results are released to learn more.
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?
Please review the guidelines for verifying that you are a DC resident. If you are unable to prove DC residency, immediately contact the school where your child is matched and ask what options are available to you.
How do waitlists work?
Waitlists work according to how you rank your schools on your application.
For example: A student applies to 5 schools and is matched to the school they ranked #4. The student is automatically waitlisted at schools ranked #1-3. School #5 is removed from the student’s active school selections as it was less preferred than where they received a match. Students who are not matched through the lottery are waitlisted at all schools listed on their application. Remember: Enrolling your child at their matched school will not remove them off any waitlists.
The two exceptions to waitlists are for eligibility and sibling reasons:
- 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.
Schools make offers off their waitlist in order. If a space becomes available at one of the schools at which your child is waitlisted and they are next on the waitlist, that school will contact you by phone. If you provided an email address on your application or opted in to receive text messages, you will also be notified immediately by My School DC through email and text 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. Because waitlists do not roll over into a new year, your child will need a new application for each school year if they do not receive an offer.
If you have already enrolled your child at a school and your child is offered a space off the waitlist at a different school, you may choose to withdraw your child from the school at which they are currently enrolled and enroll them at the new school. If you choose to accept the waitlist offer, your child will be removed from all waitlists of schools you ranked below that school, as well as their current school.
Waitlists are ordered first by preference group (in-boundary, sibling, etc.). Students with no lottery preferences are placed at the end. Each preference group, followed by the group of students with no preferences, is ordered by the lottery applicants’ random lottery numbers. Students who apply after the lottery are added below lottery applicants on waitlists and are ordered by submission date. The only exception is for applicants that qualify for a lottery preference, such as in-boundary, sibling, etc. More on how waitlists work here.
Important: There is no guarantee that a student on a waitlist will get an offer.
At any time, you can log into your family account to see your child’s waitlist position at the schools you applied to. You can also view historical waitlist movement by school, grade, and lottery year. This video explains how the program and waitlists work.
Can I reapply to a school if my child is on the waitlist?
No. The application prevents families from reapplying to a school if their child is already on that school’s waitlist as a student cannot move up a waitlist by reapplying. If you are not on the school’s waitlist, you can re-apply to that school.
Can I re-rank the schools my child is waitlisted at on my application?
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.
Who manages each waitlist?
My School DC oversees the waitlists of all schools participating in the lottery. However, schools determine whether space is available at their school, when to call students off the waitlist, and the deadline to accept or decline the offer. Schools will only be allowed to offer available spaces to students in numerical order as determined by the lottery. For example, students with numbers 1 through 7 on a waitlist must be made offers, in order, before number 8.
How will I be notified if my child is called off a waitlist?
The school will also contact you by phone and/or email to explain the next steps which includes turning in all required enrollment documents and proving DC residency.
My child was extended an offer from a school’s waitlist. Now what?
Congratulations! You have two options:
- You may accept the offer by enrolling your child at the school, or
- You can decline the offer.
To accept the offer, simply enroll your child by submitting all required enrollment forms, including proof of DC residency, by the school’s communicated deadline. Contact the school for their enrollment and residency verification processes. Accepting an offer will remove your child from all waitlists ranked below the enrolled school, as well as from the school where they are currently enrolled.
To decline the offer, you may do so online through your family account or by contacting the school directly.
Important: If you do not respond to the school by the communicated deadline, the school will assume you are not interested in enrolling your child and can decline the seat on your behalf.
How long after receiving a waitlist offer do I have to enroll? What if I am out of town? Can enrolling be done remotely?
The time allowed to enroll varies by school. Please contact schools directly to ask about their waitlist deadlines.
If you are nearing the top of a waitlist and plan to be out of town, we recommend you reach out to the school directly and let the school know. Schools may be willing to work with families if they are notified about the circumstances ahead of time. Contact the school for their enrollment and residency verification processes.
Will I be notified each time my child’s waitlist number changes?
No, you will only be notified if your child is extended an offer and your status changes from “Waitlisted” to “Waitlist Offer Extended.” However, you can log into your 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 they are matched or enrolled?
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, the intention of sibling preferences is to allow siblings to attend school together at the same time. If you have other children who applied to the school where your child was originally matched or enrolled, and your other children received a "sibling offered" or “sibling attending” preference, they may lose that preference, and possibly have their enrollment or match revoked.
If I accept a waitlist offer, will my child be removed from all waitlists?
It depends on where that school falls in your ranked order of schools. If your child is called off a waitlist and you choose to enroll at the school, they will be removed from all waitlists of schools you ranked lower. For example, if your child is waitlisted at their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice schools, and is called off the waitlist and enrolls at their second choice school, they will be removed from the waitlist of their 3rd choice school, but remain on the waitlist of their 1st choice school. We do this to maximize placement of all students and to ensure your child is at their most preferred school.
Is it possible for my child’s waitlist number to go up?
Yes. If students who apply after you qualify for a lottery preference (such as in-boundary, sibling attending, etc.) at a school(s) you applied to that you do not qualify for, then it is possible that they will be placed ahead of your child on the waitlist and your child’s number will increase.
I am happy where I am. Can I decline a waitlist offer?
Yes. Once a waitlist offer has been extended, it is up to the individual family whether they would like to accept or decline it. Declining an offer removes your child from that school’s waitlist. If you would like to decline your offer you may do so online through your family account, or by contacting the school directly.
What happens after the lottery deadline? Can families still apply to schools?
Yes, families who miss the lottery application deadlines can apply to schools using the My School DC application. The My School DC post-lottery application period begins on February 2 for high school applicants (grades 9-12), and March 2 for all grades. Prior to April 1, 2023, only applicants who did not submit a lottery application may apply to up to 12 schools in the post-lottery period. Beginning April 1, 2023 there is no restriction as to who can apply and the number of school selections.
Families who already have a lottery application can add their students to the waitlist of any school they wish using the original application. There is no need for a new application, simply log into your My School DC account and click on the PLUS (+) icon to add more schools.
Similar to the lottery application, families who apply to multiple schools in the post-lottery application period will be asked to rank their school choices. After April 1 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 for all the schools they are interested in.
Post-lottery applications are automatically added to the bottom of schools’ waitlists in the order in which they are received and below the applicants who applied by the lottery deadline and were waitlisted through the lottery. However, most schools continue to offer lottery preferences, such as in-boundary and sibling attending, in the post-lottery period. In these cases an applicant that qualifies for a lottery preference will jump ahead of an applicant without an in-boundary preference on the waitlist regardless of when they applied.
I completed a post-lottery application. Where can I see my results?
Although families who did not submit a lottery application can submit a post-lottery application beginning February 2 (grades 9-12) or March 2 (all grades), post-lottery applications cannot be processed until after My School DC has released the results from the lottery on April 1, 2022. To view your child’s waitlist positions, log into your family account on or after April 1, 2023.
Where can I search for schools with short waitlists after the lottery?
My School DC posts schools with short waitlists on www.myschooldc.org after results for the lottery are released. However, schools determine whether and when space is available at their school. Note: Offers from a waitlist are never guaranteed.
What is the My School DC mid-year application?
The mid-year application is an application for students applying to PK3 – Grade 12 who move into the District midyear 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, though no application is needed for K-12 students who wish to transfer into their DCPS in-boundary school. Locate your in-boundary school here. The mid-year application period extends from October through mid-March during any given school year. The My School DC Hotline is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm, and is equipped to provide multilingual assistance in submitting mid-year applications.
Do I need to complete a mid-year application to attend my DCPS in-boundary school if I am a new student or seeking a transfer?
You must complete a mid-year application if it is after October 5 and you are seeking to apply to transfer to your DCPS in-boundary school for PK3 or PK4 only. In-boundary PK3 and PK4 families who submit a mid-year application will be added to the school’s waitlist with an in-boundary preference. Mid-year applications are submitted by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336. No application is needed for K-12 students who wish to transfer into their DCPS in-boundary school. You can locate your DCPS in-boundary school by entering your address in the School Finder.
Where can I access the mid-year application?
The mid-year application can only be completed 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.
Where can I search for schools with short waitlists after the lottery?
My School DC posts schools with short waitlists. Offers from a waitlist are never guaranteed. Note: Students can find their DCPS in-boundary school by using the School Finder. In grades K-12, mid-year applicants can directly enroll at their DCPS in-boundary school.
What information do I need to apply?
Visit the What you need to apply page to learn what is needed to apply.
How will I be notified if a school offers a mid-year seat to my student?
Once you complete the mid-year application via the My School DC Hotline, the My School DC hotline representative will immediately tell you what your current waitlist positions are. Regardless of when you applied, if you provided an email address when completing your application and/or opted in to receive text alerts, you will be notified via email and/or text 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 family account 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.
What is the process for enrolling my child?
Once you receive an offer of enrollment from a school, you must complete the school's enrollment and residency verification processes within the timeframe given by the school or you may lose your space at that school. This includes submitting proof of DC residency, completing all paperwork required by the school, and submitting up-to-date health forms.
What is the DC School Report Card?
The DC School Report Card is an interactive website published annually by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) that helps parents understand school performance and learn about the school itself, such as the closest public transportation routes, academic programs, extra-curricular options, and the best contact person for parents and families. The DC School Report Card answers crucial questions about your child’s current school and is a key resource for planning your child’s next educational step. The DC School Report Card is available here. Historical report card data from 2018, 2019, and 2020 can be found at this link
What are School Accountability Ratings?
OSSE is required by federal law (the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA), to measure and report overall school accountability ratings for the purposes of identifying schools that need additional support. OSSE uses many different metrics to calculate overall ratings, including academic achievement, academic growth, attendance, English language proficiency, and graduation rate. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reduced the number of metrics available, so OSSE did not calculate ratings for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years and will use a modified calculation for the 2021-22 school year. Past school accountability ratings from the 2017-18, 2018-19 school years are publicly available on the historical site.
What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act?
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a federal law that requires each state education agency (SEA) to ensure that children and youth who are experiencing homelessness have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including preschool education, as permanently housed children and youth.
The Office for the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is the SEA for the District of Columbia and works closely with local education agencies (LEAs) to ensure that educational opportunities, supports and services are provided. To learn more about the Act and to identify the homeless liaison for your school, please visit OSSE’s Homeless Education Program webpage. You may also contact OSSE’s Homeless Education Program for additional information at (202) 478-5927 or [email protected].
Do I have to prove DC residency if I live in DC, but I am currently experiencing homelessness?
No, students who are currently experiencing homelessness do not have to prove DC residency. The residency requirements include an exemption for students experiencing homelessness. If you have questions about your particular situation, please email [email protected] or contact your school's homeless liaison. If you are unsure of who the homeless liaison is for your school, a list of DC homeless liaisons can be found here.
My family is currently without a home. What address should I list on the My School DC application?
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 may also list the name and contact information of their case manager as a secondary contact on the My School DC application, if applicable.
Whom should be contacted if a dispute arises regarding enrolling a child or youth experiencing homelessness 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 child or youth experiencing homelessness is having difficulty enrolling in school, please contact OSSE’s Homeless Education Program at (202) 478-5927 or [email protected] for assistance.
Are military families eligible to apply to public charter schools or DCPS out-of-boundary schools?
Yes, military families can use the My School DC application to apply to PK3 and PK4 programs, out-of-boundary DCPS schools, DCPS selective high schools and programs, and public charter schools. Families must provide proof of DC residency and follow all enrollment requirements by the school.
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 for additional information. The number to call is (202) 706-3618 or (202) 284-4064.
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 Officer for additional information. The number to call is (202) 706-3618 or (202) 284-4064.
Is transportation available for children of military families to attend school?
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, but restrictions do apply. Families may call the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Liaison Officer at (202) 706-3618, (202) 284-4064 or the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling School Bus Coordinator at (202) 315-6243 or (202) 284-4062 for specific information regarding this program.
What are the right-to-attend schools for military families housed at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling AFB?
The right-to-attend schools for families residing in Joint Base Anacostia Bolling are Leckie Education Campus, Hart Middle School, and Ballou High School.
Are military families who move to DC post-lottery eligible to apply to schools?
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.
What is the process to transfer schools after the school year has begun?
Families seeking a transfer from their current school to another public school (DCPS or charter) after October 5 can complete a mid-year application to be added to schools’ waitlists. Mid-year applications are submitted by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336. The mid-year application period extends from October 6 through mid-March during any given school year. 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.
Who can submit a lottery application on behalf of a child in foster care?
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 the application should provide the legal guardian with a copy of the submitted application for their records. A foster parent (commonly referred to as “resource parent” in DC) does not have sole decision-making authority to decide on or change a school placement for the child in their care. For further guidance on education decision-making, foster or resource parents can consult Chapter 9 of the Resource Parent Handbook issued by the Child and Family Services Agency (“CFSA”), using this link.
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 by the common enrollment deadline, when decisions on lottery choices have to be made.
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 the School Finder, 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 the child’s social worker for guidance.
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.
Who is authorized to enroll a child in foster care in school -- the social worker or the resource parent?
The decision whether to accept a lottery match and where to enroll a child in school, is reserved for the “parent” or individual with the authority to make educational decisions for the child. For a child in foster care, those rights generally remain with the child’s birth parent unless: 1) their rights have been terminated by the court, 2) an educational decision-maker has been assigned to the child by the court, or 3) the child was newly placed in foster care or recently changed foster homes and the social worker is given the authority to make a to make best interest determination about where the child should attend school after consulting with other individuals that know the child. . At no time should a child’s foster or resource parent accept a lottery match or enroll a child in a new school without consulting with the child’s social worker and other team members.
What residency form do I need to verify that I am the child’s guardian?
As a DC foster parent, 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.
Is the lottery process different for students with disabilities?
The My School DC lottery process is available to all DC residents. Students with disabilities are treated the same as all other students who enter the lottery and use the same application process. No student shall be denied admission into a DC public school because of disabilities or suspected disabilities. If you have a student with disabilities, here are some important things to be aware of:
When a student is matched or receives a waitlist offer to a school or campus, the Local Education Agency (LEA) must enroll that student regardless of the student’s special education status. However, the LEA may enroll the student at a different campus within their LEA than where the student was matched in order to appropriately serve the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). If you have a student with disabilities, we encourage you to each out to individual LEAs to learn more about their individual special education.
- My School DC has included some questions specific to students with disabilities in the “Helpful Questions to Ask Schools” resource.
- Bridges PCS has an additional lottery preference for high level special education students to gain entry into that school’s high level special education classrooms.
Do English Learner (EL) students need to complete a different lottery application?
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. 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.
Where can a non-English speaker receive assistance in their language with questions regarding the My School DC application and lottery?
Is the My School DC lottery application available in other languages?
The My School DC application is available 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, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or email [email protected].
My student speaks a language other than English and does not speak English yet. How will the school help my child learn English?
When you enroll your student in school for the first time, the school will ask you to complete a home language survey. The home language survey is not used to determine a family’s immigration or residency status, or assess if the student is an English learner (this is determined by the English language proficiency screener). The home language survey is used to determine if your student is eligible to take an English language proficiency screener. The screener score determines if the student is identified as an English learner or not an English learner. Students who are identified as English learners have the right to participate in the English language instructional program at school. Federal law requires schools to offer eligible students an English language instructional program so they may attain English language proficiency and achieve academic success. If your student is an English learner, we encourage you to reach out to the schools to which you are interested in applying to learn more about their EL supports. My School DC has included some questions specific to EL students in the “Helpful Questions to Ask Schools” resource. You can also use the School Finder to filter by “dual language / language immersion” to find out which schools offer instruction in both English and a second language (e.g., Spanish, Chinese, French, or Hebrew) which is one approach to providing language assistance to ELs in the District of Columbia.
What is District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)?
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is the local 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 per grade band — a school where they can enroll at any time. A right-to-attend school can be identified as a student’s in-boundary school or feeder pattern 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 DCPS in-boundary school. Find your in-boundary school using the School Finder.
What is a DCPS selective high school or program?
DCPS selective high schools and programs have no boundaries and admit students based on specific criteria. All students eligible to enroll in grades 9-12 can apply to these schools and programs, based on the schools' admissions rubrics, only some students will be eligible to attend. Learn more about what is needed to apply to the selective high schools and programs here.
What is a DCPS citywide school?
A DCPS citywide school is a DCPS school that does not have a designated boundary and therefore cannot be claimed as an in-boundary school.
What is a public charter school?
DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, open to all students, and they do not have selective entrance requirements or geographic attendance zones. 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 for public charter schools, but does not manage any schools. Students complete a My School DC application if they wish to attend a participating public charter school.
Do schools in Maryland and Virginia participate in the My School DC application and common lottery?
No. Only public schools in Washington, DC are part of My School DC.
Who is in charge of My School DC?
My School DC staff are employees of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). My School DC is governed by a board called the Common Lottery Board with voting representation from both DCPS and participating public charter schools. The Deputy Mayor for Education chairs the board. A Parent Advisory Council and committees of participating LEAs provide input to My School DC and the Common Lottery Board to inform the design of the process and parent outreach efforts.
How can I contact My School DC?
You can reach us by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also send us an email at [email protected].