Applicants use a single family account to create, save, edit, and submit an application for each child in their family who is applying to a new school. Families also use this account to view their lottery results and positions on schools' waitlists. Creating an account with an email address is recommended, however it is possible to create an account with a username and no email address.
The matching algorithm is the computer program that runs the lottery. It is a deferred acceptance model that is based on the Nobel Prize-winning work of economist Al Roth of Stanford University. Click HERE to watch a video of how the matching algorithm works.
My School DC application
The My School DC application is a single, online application families must use to apply for participating public charter schools (PK3 – grade 12); DCPS schools outside your boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3 – grade 12), including DCPS citywide schools; all DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs, including programs at your DCPS in-boundary school; and DCPS selective high schools and programs (grades 9–12). The My School DC application is found here and is available in English and Spanish. Application guides are available to download in Amharic (አማርኛ፤), French (Français), Chinese (中文), and Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).
My School DC common lottery
The My School DC common lottery is a single, random lottery that determines placement for new students at all participating schools. There is no advantage to applying first; however, applicants must apply by the deadlines to participate in the lottery.
A DCPS school or public charter school that has agreed to be part of My School DC. All traditional DCPS schools and most public charter schools that serve PK3 – grade 12 participate. Click HERE for a list of participating schools. Click HERE for a list of schools and programs that do not participate in My School DC.
Student ID/Unique Student Identifier
Each student currently enrolled in a public school in DC, including DCPS and charters, has a unique ID number, called a unique student identifier, or USI. You do not need to know your student’s Student ID number or USI to start the application. When you enter your student’s information in Step 1 of the application, either the Student ID number for current DCPS students or the Unique Student Identifier for charter school students will automatically populate. If this does not happen, please call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336 for assistance.
When schools have more applicants than spaces, students who are not matched to a school in the lottery are placed on the school’s waitlist. When a space opens, the school offers the space to students on the waitlist in order. Waitlists are ordered first by preference group (in-boundary, sibling, etc.) and then by applicants with no preferences. Within each group, students are ordered by random lottery number. Important: There is no guarantee that an applicant on a waitlist will be offered a seat.
Applicants who apply after the lottery deadlines are placed on schools' waitlists below lottery applicants by time and date of submission. The exception to this is a post-lottery applicant who qualifies for a preference; the applicant will be placed behind lottery applicants within the same preference group but ahead of lottery applicants with lower or no preferences. To view historical waitlist movement data by lottery year and school, click HERE.
Rank Order of School Selections
Each student can apply to up to 12 schools on the My School DC application. On each student’s application, a family lists schools in the order they like most. The order in which applicants rank schools matters. The lottery will try to match students with their 1st choice first, then their 2nd choice, etc. Students will be matched with no more than one school and will only be waitlisted at schools they ranked higher than the school where they are matched. Putting your schools in your true order of preference is a critical step in the application process. Families should only select schools they want their child to attend. You may re-rank your school selections until March 15th.
The application used to apply to participating schools if a family misses the lottery application deadlines for a given school year or seeks to apply to additional schools after lottery results are released. Post-lottery applicants are added to schools’ waitlists below lottery applicants based on time of submission. The only exception to this is for post-lottery applicants that qualify for a preference at a school (e.g., sibling or in-boundary) that a lottery applicant does not qualify for. Families can submit a post-lottery application at MySchoolDC.org through the first week of October. Families seeking to apply to schools after that time must complete a mid-year application by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.
The application for students in PK3 – grade 12 who move into the District midyear or who seek to transfer from their current school to another DC public or public charter school 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 DCPS in-boundary school. The mid-year application period extends from the beginning of October through mid-March during any given school year. New students or students seeking a transfer must complete a mid-year application by calling the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.
Locate your in-boundary school here.
Children of staff preference
Preference offered by some public charter schools for children of their staff members applying to their school. There is no place on the application to indicate eligibility. 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. Visit a school's profile to see if they offer this preference.
Preference that applies to DCPS preschool (PK3) and prekindergarten (PK4) programs, as well as dual-language strands at zoned (in-boundary) schools. Zoned schools are any DCPS school that has a boundary. Locate your DCPS in-boundary school here.
There are also three DCPS elementary schools that offer a dual-language strand and a non-dual-language strand. Students applying to their in-boundary DCPS dual-language program (PK3 – Grade 5) at these schools also receive a lottery preference in all grades:
Similar to PK3 and PK4 applicants, this preference is automatically applied based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application.
Important: If your child is matched to a school with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application. If your addresses changes from in-boundary to out-of-boundary and you are matched to the school with an in-boundary preference based on your former address, it is possible you will lose your match and be added to the school’s waitlist according to your child’s random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for.
In-boundary with "sibling attending" preference
Preference that typically* only applies to DCPS preschool (PK3) and prekindergarten (PK4) for a student who is both in-boundary and has a sibling already attending the school. Locate your DCPS in-boundary school here. The "in-boundary" portion of this preference is automatically applied based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application; sibling status is verified by the school prior to the lottery. If your child is admitted with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application.
The "sibling attending" preference is intended for applicants who have a sibling currently enrolled at the school and who will remain attending at the time of the applying sibling's enrollment. List all of the applicant’s siblings attending DC public schools on the Sibling Preference section on step one of the application and the preference request will be sent to the school. Before the lottery, the school will verify eligibility for that preference.
Please note that this preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If you withdraw the "attending" student for the following school year, this may result in the siblings losing their enrollment, match, or waitlist offer, or moving down on the waitlist at that school. The siblings will remain on the school’s waitlist but will be assigned a new waitlist position based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for. The DCPS definition of "sibling" can be found in the DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
*This preference can also apply to in-boundary siblings applying to a dual language strand of the following three elementary schools: Cleveland Elementary School, Marie Reed Elementary School, and Tyler Elementary School.
In-boundary with "sibling offered" preference
Preference that typically* only applies to DCPS preschool (PK3) and prekindergarten (PK4) for a student who is both in-boundary and has a sibling who was offered a seat in that school through the lottery. Locate your DCPS in-boundary school here. The "in-boundary" portion of this preference is automatically applied on the application based on the guardian's home address used on the student’s My School DC application. If your child is admitted with this preference, be prepared to provide proof of DC residency at the address you listed on the application.
The "sibling offered" portion of the preference is awarded when a student has a sibling who is matched in the lottery or offered a seat from the waitlist. This preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If the sibling who was matched or offered a space at the school does not enroll at that school or later enrolls at another school, the “sibling offered” preference will be removed for all siblings that applied to that same school. This may result in the siblings losing their enrollment, match, or waitlist offer, or moving down on the waitlist at that school. The siblings will remain or will be placed back on the school’s waitlist but will be assigned a new waitlist position based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for. If the sibling who was offered a space does enroll at the school, the preference remains as “sibling offered” for all siblings that applied to that same school; it does not change to “sibling attending.” The DCPS definition of "sibling" can be found in the DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
*This preference can also apply to in-boundary siblings applying to a dual language strand of the following three elementary schools: Cleveland Elementary School, Marie Reed Elementary School, and Tyler Elementary School.
Lottery preferences are school-specific. The preferences that a school offers are listed on its My School DC school profile. An applicant may have a preference at one or more schools. Applicants with a preference at a particular school are offered a space at that school before applicants who don’t have a preference, and receive a higher waitlist placement than applicants without a preference. Please know that some schools only offer certain preferences during the lottery and do not offer them post-lottery. If you are applying post-lottery, check with the school to learn if they offer the same preferences in the lottery and post-lottery periods.
- Sibling preferences. Sibling Attending preference, Sibling Offered preference, Twin Offered preference (charter only), In-boundary with Sibling Attending preference (DCPS only), and In-boundary with Sibling Offered preference (DCPS only)
- Geographic preferences (DCPS only). In-boundary preference and proximity preference
- Transfer preference (Charter only)
- Children of Staff preference (Charter only)
- Special Education Preference (Charter only)
- Equitable Access
- Military Preference (Charter only)
A lottery preference provided to students who live greater than a half-mile walking distance from their DCPS in-boundary elementary school and apply to attend a DCPS out-of-boundary school that is a half-mile or less walking distance from their home. This preference only applies to students enrolling in PK3 – grade 5. Proximity preference is not offered at DCPS citywide schools. The application will automatically apply this preference based on the guardian's home address provided on the application.
Sibling attending preference
Preference for a student who has a sibling currently attending the school. There is a place on the application to enter the name of a sibling(s) currently attending the school. Before the lottery, the school will verify eligibility for that preference. The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please note that at most schools, this preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If you withdraw the "attending" student for the following school year, it is possible that your sibling preference, and subsequent enrollment, match or waitlist offer, will be revoked. The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please contact the school directly for this information. DCPS's sibling information can be found in their Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
Sibling offered preference
Preference for a student whose sibling is matched in the lottery or offered a seat from the waitlist. Please note that at most schools, this preference is meant to allow siblings to attend the same school at the same time. If the sibling who was offered a space at the school does not enroll at that school or later enrolls at another school, the “sibling offered” preference may be removed for all siblings that applied to that same school. This may result in the siblings losing their match, or moving down on the waitlist at that school. The siblings will remain on the school’s waitlist but will be assigned a new waitlist position based on their random lottery number or post-lottery submission date and any other preference they qualified for. If the sibling who was offered a space does enroll at the school, the preference remains as “sibling offered” for all siblings that applied to that same school; it does not change to “sibling attending.” The definition of "sibling" may vary by school. Please contact the school directly for this information. DCPS's sibling information can be found in their Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
Some schools offer a transfer preference to students who currently attend one of their campuses and apply to attend another one. Transfer preference is automatically applied on the application based on the applicant’s current school as provided on the application. Schools will verify that a student is eligible for a transfer preference before the lottery.
Twin offered preference
Preference for a student who has a twin matched to a public charter school in the lottery. If your child is admitted with a twin preference, be prepared to prove that your children are twins when you enroll them.
Special Education preference
Preference for an applicant that has been identified as having a high level of need in their Individual Education Program (IEP) as measured on March 1, 2023. Identification for this preference means the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has a record that the applicant has an eligible IEP for the high level special education classrooms where the preference is offered. This preference is implemented using designated seats. Currently, this preference is offered at one public charter school.
Eligibility for this preference means the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has a record that the applicant has met at least one of four measures during the timeframe of April 1, 2022 and March 1, 2023. Those measures identify students who are homeless, in the District’s foster care system, receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or high school students that are one year older, or more, than the expected age for the grade in which the students are enrolled during that timeframe. This preference can be implemented as either a traditional preference or through designated seats.
Preference for an applicant to a public charter school located in the same Ward as a United States military base for children of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces. This preference is implemented using designated seats.
A set amount of a school’s available seats at each grade level that are designated for a specific group of students. Only applicants that have applied to the school and meet the criteria of that specific group are entered into the lottery for the designated seats. All applicants (including those that meet the criteria for the specific group) are entered into the lottery for the remaining general seats.
Applications are updated by My School DC so that eligible students are considered first for the designated seats. If a match can’t be made, they will be waitlisted for designated seats and entered into the lottery for the general seats. Learn more.
If the designated seats do not fill in the lottery, they will not be automatically filled with applicants outside of the defined group. This allows a school to ensure the seats remain open for post-lottery applicants who meet the specific group criteria.
The following three preferences are implemented through designated seats: Special Education, Military, and Equitable Access*.
*The Equitable Access preference can be implemented as either a traditional preference or through designated seats.
Founders preference: Preference offered by some charter schools for children of school founders. Applicants are required to submit proof of DC residency to the school as part of the enrollment process. There is no place on the application to indicate eligibility. Schools will inform My School DC directly of any students who are eligible for this preference. Visit a school’s profile to see if they offer this preference.
The age cutoff is the age a student needs to be to attend a particular grade. For all schools participating in My School DC, an applicant for PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2023, an applicant for PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2023, and an applicant for Kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 30, 2023. In other grades, age cutoffs vary by school. Click here to see age cutoffs for individual schools. If your child does not make the age cutoff for a particular school, you will not be able to select that school on your application.
PK3 and PK4
PK3 programs serve students who are three years old. PK4 programs serve students who are four years old. For all schools participating in My School DC, an applicant for PK3 must be 3 years old by September 30, 2023 and an applicant for PK4 must be 4 years old by September 30, 2023.
Active School Selections
This section only displays schools where your child is currently matched, enrolled or actively on a waitlist.
Inactive School Selections
This section only displays schools that have been removed from your application for one of five reasons: (1) Your child is not eligible to attend the schools; (2) You declined a match or waitlist offer at those schools; (3) Your child was not waitlisted at the schools through the lottery because they were matched to a school ranked higher on their application; (4) You accepted a waitlist offer and enrolled at a school ranked higher than these schools on the application and your child was removed from the waitlist of these schools as a result; or (5) You had formerly accepted a placement and enrolled your child at these schools but later accepted a waitlist offer from a higher ranked school and enrolled at that school.
Student is currently waitlisted at the school. The number reflects the student’s current waitlist position at that school in the grade they applied to.
Student was matched through the lottery to a school the student ranked higher than this school and therefore is not waitlisted at the school.
The school determined that the student is not eligible to attend. For example, DCPS selective high schools and programs may deem students as “ineligible” if they do not meet the school's entrance requirements, or a DCPS dual language program may deem a student ineligible if they do not demonstrate the language proficiency required. If you have questions, contact the school directly.
Student was offered a placement through the lottery or off a waitlist and did not accept the seat. (Either the parent/guardian declined the offer or the school declined the offer when the family missed the deadline to turn in enrollment forms and/or prove DC residency.)
Student was offered a placement through a lottery match or waitlist offer and has accepted the seat by proving DC residency and turning in all enrollment forms to the school.
Match (enrollment pending)
Student was offered a placement through the lottery but has not yet enrolled at the school. Families must submit required enrollment forms and prove DC residency to the school to claim the seat. Follow the school's enrollment and residency verification processes. Enrolling a student at their matched school does not remove them off waitlists.
Waitlist offer extended (enrollment pending)
Student was originally waitlisted and has recently been offered a placement but has not yet enrolled at the school. Families must submit required enrollment forms and prove DC residency to the school by the deadline for the offer in order to claim the seat. Follow the school's enrollment and residency verification processes.
Student accepted a waitlist offer from a school the student ranked higher than this school and was removed from the waitlist of this school.
No longer enrolled
Student had formally accepted a match or waitlist offer and enrolled at this school, but later accepted a waitlist offer from a different school and enrolled at the new school. The student is therefore removed from the school where they were previously enrolled.
Student has applied to a DCPS selective high school or program but the school has not determined whether the student is eligible to be added to its waitlist. The student will be notified by email when this status changes.
Residency, DC residency, residency requirements
Parents and guardians are required to submit proof of DC residency to the school as part of the enrollment process. Follow the school's enrollment and residency verification processes. Only residents of the District can attend DC public and public charter schools tuition-free. To be a resident you have to be physically present in DC and submit valid documentation of DC residency. Learn more here.
The School Finder is an online tool that allows families to search for schools based on address, grade, and program type. Families can also locate their DCPS in-boundary schools by using this tool. Use the School Finder to make a list of schools you are interested in learning more about for your child. You can download, email, and print your searches. The School Finder is available in English and Spanish.
DC School Report Card
The DC School Report Card gives families a look into all public schools in the District. Families are able to search the interactive website for schools by location, program offerings, and much more. The DC School Report Card can help you answer some of the most critical questions about your child’s current school, and is a first step for parents and families thinking about their child’s next educational step.
My School DC data
My School DC data is intended to inform families and support data-driven decisions. Here you will find year-over-year lottery data, including seats made available in the lottery and historical waitlist movement broken down by school and grade.
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.
High school courses approved by the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP) designation. Students that take the AP exam and pass can earn college credit.
Students study visual and/or performing arts as part of the school’s mission and core academic curriculum, beyond dedicated arts periods.
Students receive instruction from a mix of traditional teaching and online learning platforms as part of the school's core academic curriculum.
Career and Technical Education
Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs complete a three or four-year course sequence (in addition to their core high school classes) that includes preparation for industry-recognized certification exams and participation in work-based learning experiences.
Dual College Enrollment
The school offers its students the opportunity to maintain their high school status while enrolling part-time or full-time at participating colleges or universities. In addition to being able to take challenging college courses that are not offered at their home high school, students earn college credit that can be transferred to many postsecondary institutions.
Dual Language / Immersion Program
Students learn a second language beyond dedicated language periods, with the second language often serving as the medium of instruction in core academic subjects.
Excluding before care and after care, students attend school and receive instruction for longer than 8 hours per day on a regular basis.
The school's academic year exceeds the typical 180 school days, with students attending for at least 190 days.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The school is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Primary Years, Middle Years, or Diploma Program(s), or is an active candidate for such authorization.
The school has a sports team that competes with other schools.
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a federal program sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces. The purpose of JROTC is to instill the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. JROTC also informs young Americans about the opportunities available in the military.
The school uses a Montessori instructional approach to learning. Students are grouped into mixed-age classrooms with substantial choice and independence in their learning activities.
Learning is done through a virtual online school with the student remaining at home for most academic hours.
An open house is a time when you can meet school staff and learn more about it. Each school sets the dates and times of its open house(s). You can see open house dates here or on individual school profile pages. Download these sample questions written by parents for parents and use them at open houses. For more information about open houses, please contact the schools directly.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is the standardized test for public school students in the District of Columbia and other states in English language arts / literacy and mathematics. PARCC assessments measure students' progress towards what they need to learn by graduation to be ready for college and career. Learn more about PARCC here.
Single Gender Campus
School's mission serves a single gender.
The school integrates science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) so that each of these content areas is taught within other content areas and equally alongside literacy and composition. STEM is a part of the school's mission and core academic curriculum.
Before and after care
Some schools offer before and/or after care to enrolled families in addition to their regularly scheduled school hours. The cost, programming, and eligibility requirements of before and after care vary by school. Contact schools directly for more information and any adjustments due to COVID-19.
Some schools give priority in the lottery to eligible students. Applicants with a preference at a particular school are offered a space at that school before applicants who don’t have a preference, and receive a higher waitlist placement than applicants without a preference. Lottery preferences are school-specific; not every school offers the same preferences to students. Visit a school's profile to learn what preferences they offer. Learn more about lottery preferences here.
Selective programs admit students based on specific admissions requirements and selection criteria. Anyone can apply to these programs, but only students who meet the program’s requirements will be eligible to attend. DC Public Schools (DCPS) has eight selective high schools and programs. These programs require additional information to be provided on the My School DC application.
Some schools require students to wear a school uniform as part of their enrollment requirements. For information about a school’s uniform requirements or colors, contact the school directly.
A program aimed to keep youth in school, promote a safe and inviting learning environment, address issues, and provide opportunities for youth and adults to be active and accountable members of their school community.
School offers official outdoor garden space that engages students through hands-on lessons that enhance learning.
Local Education Agency (LEA)
"Local education agency" or "LEA" means an educational institution at the local level that exists primarily to operate a publicly funded school or schools in the District of Columbia, including the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and a District of Columbia public charter school.
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is the local public school system of Washington, DC. All DCPS schools are free to DC residents.
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. Students are also not eligible to receive proximity preference at citywide schools. Citywide schools can only be accessed through the lottery and do not provide guaranteed enrollment to any student/family. Students from across the District of Columbia must submit a My School DC lottery application to attend a citywide school. DCPS citywide schools are Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan EC, Dorothy I. Height ES, Excel Academy, Grades 6-8 of Leckie Education Campus, Military Road Early Learning Center, Ron Brown College Preparatory HS, School-Within-School @ Goding ES, Stevens Early Learning Center, and the eight DCPS selective high schools and programs.
Early Action PK
Early Action Pre-Kindergarten (PK) guarantees access to all in-boundary families in preschool (PK3) and prekindergarten (PK4) at select DCPS schools. To secure an Early Action PK seat, in-boundary families must submit a My School DC lottery application online to their DCPS in-boundary school by the PK3-8 deadline. Eligible families who submit a My School DC application by the deadline are guaranteed an Early Action PK match if they are not matched to any other higher-ranked school. If a student is matched at their Early Action PK school, they will not be waitlisted at any school they ranked lower. Locate your in-boundary school here.
Participating DCPS schools in school year 2023-24 are:
- Browne Education Campus
- Bunker Hill Elementary School
- Burroughs Elementary School
- Drew Elementary School
- King Elementary School
- Langley Elementary School
- Miner Elementary School
- Moten Elementary School
- Noyes Elementary School
- Stanton Elementary School
- Takoma Elementary School
- Thomson Elementary School
- Truesdell Elementary School
- Turner Elementary School
- Wheatley Education Campus
- Whitlock Elementary School (formerly Aiton)
A feeder-pattern school is a school that a student has the right to attend based on completion of the terminal grade of a student’s current school. This assignment only happens during the years a student moves from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school, or from an education campus to high school. Geographic feeder pattern rights do not extend to students who enroll as in-boundary students and then move out of the boundary or to students who have withdrawn from an out-of-boundary feeder pattern at any point. For additional information, please visit the DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
In DCPS, there are two types of feeder patterns:
- Geographic Feeder Pattern: Geographic Feeder Pattern schools are grouped by school boundaries and proximity. Geographic feeder pattern rights extend to students who enrolled as out-of-boundary students through a lottery enrollment. Geographic feeder pattern rights do not extend to students who enroll as in-boundary students and then move out of the boundary. For more information about moving out-of-boundary after enrolling, visit the DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook.
- Programmatic Feeder Pattern: Programmatic feeder pattern schools and programs are organized by a specialized program of study (such as Dual Language). A programmatic feeder pattern provides the right for a student enrolled in a specialized school or program to enroll in the next level school within the specialized course of study as they transition into middle school or high school Click here to see DCPS feeder patterns.
Some charter schools are also structured to operate in ways like feeder patterns allowing students to advance to the next grade without application. Click here to see feeder patterns for public charter schools for school year 2021-22.
A DCPS in-boundary school (also called a neighborhood or zoned school) is a DCPS school that a student has a right to attend in K-12 based on a student’s home address. To locate your DCPS in-boundary schools, click here. Students applying for PK3 and PK4, may receive an “in-boundary preference” when applying to their in-boundary school, but do not have a right to attend.
Neighborhood or Zoned school
See in-boundary school.
A DCPS out-of-boundary school is a school other than a student’s in-boundary or feeder school within the DCPS school system.
A DCPS school where students can enroll in grades K-12 and do not have to go through the lottery. There are two types of right-to-attend schools for DCPS K-12 students: in-boundary schools and feeder pattern schools. Students also have the right to re-enroll in their current school. Locate your right-to-attend schools here.
Selective high schools and programs
A DCPS high school or program that admits students based on specific eligibility criteria and requires application for entry into the school. All students eligible to enroll in grades 9-12 can apply, but only those who meet a selective high school’s or program’s requirements will be eligible to attend. DCPS selective high schools and programs have no boundaries and admit students based on specific criteria. Anyone can apply to these schools and programs; however, only some students will be eligible to attend based on the schools' admissions rubrics. Students applying to one or more DCPS selective high schools and programs must complete an additional section of the My School DC application, which differs for each school or program because each school or program has its own requirements. Find out more about selective high school and program requirements here.
The selective high schools and programs, all grades 9–12, are:
- Bard High School Early College DC (Bard DC)
- 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 at Coolidge High School
- McKinley Technology High School
- Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School
- School Without Walls High School
Early Stages is a DCPS evaluation center for children between the ages of 2 years 8 months and 5 years 10 months. Early Stages oversees the developmental screening and evaluation processes for unenrolled children to identify those who may be eligible for special education and related services. Any District resident can seek their free services to identify developmental delays their child may have and arrange services to address them. PK3/PK4 children who have been newly found eligible for special education or who have an existing Individualized Education Program (IEP) and wish to receive services will be offered a seat in a school by Early Stages, if (1) they are not already enrolled, or (2) their current DCPS school cannot implement the IEP. This process occurs outside of the My School DC lottery. Whenever appropriate and possible, the seat offered will be in the child’s in-boundary school. If a seat is not available in the in-boundary school, the seat offered will be in the school next closest to the family’s home where a seat is available and at which the IEP can be implemented. If the family enrolls in a seat offered by Early Stages process, they will be marked as ineligible and removed from the My School DC lottery waitlist for the school where they enroll, if applicable.
Note: Siblings of students placed through Early Stages are eligible for sibling attending preference. How to get: If the student is placed at a school before the lottery deadline, you can ask for the preference in the sibling’s application. After the deadline please ask that the school calls the My School DC hotline to request the preference on your behalf. To see if you are eligible for the preference in the post-lottery period, please call the DCPS Enroll Team at (202) 478-5738. Refer to the DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook for more information.
Public charter school (PCS)
DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, open to all students, and do not have selective entrance requirements or geographic attendance zones. Public charter schools are independent from DCPS (the traditional public school system). The DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB) oversees, but does not manage, the schools.
Students with limited English proficiency can apply to any DCPS or public charter school. Public schools do not discriminate based on the language needs or preferred home language of students. 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.
Students with disabilities
Students with disabilities can apply to any DCPS or public charter school. Click here for helpful links to community resources, transportation information for students with disabilities, family rights/procedural safeguards, and early childhood transition guidelines. Public schools do not discriminate based on special education needs of students.