Office of Access and Enrollment

Open Enrollment

An open enrollment school is a neighborhood school that offers another option to parents and students who are interested in schools outside of their attendance area. Open enrollment schools have neighborhood attendance boundaries and give priority to students who live within the attendance boundary. They do not offer a magnet program, but open enrollment schools offer a wide variety of programs and activities to enrich their curriculum. In addition to enrolling attendance area students, open enrollment schools accept students from outside the attendance area, through a computerized lottery, if space is available.

Application Information

Eligibility Requirements for Open Enrollment Schools

There are no eligibility requirements for Open Enrollment schools, with the exception of the age requirement to enter kindergarten (five years old, on or before September 1st) and first grade (six years old, on or before September 1st).

Student Selection Process

Students are selected for available seats through a computerized lottery, which ensures that all applicants have an equal chance to be selected. (Note that tiers are NOT considered in the selection process for open enrollment schools.) The computer program randomly selects students to fill the spaces in each grade.

For Open Enrollment schools, there are two types of lotteries:

  • Sibling lottery: conducted only for students who have a brother or sister in the same household who already attends the school to which the student is applying, and who will still be enrolled in that school in the 2017-2018 school year.
  • General lottery: conducted for all students not included in the sibling lottery (tiers are not considered in the selection process for open enrollment schools).

Students who are not selected for a seat through the computerized lottery are randomly assigned a number on a waitlist.

Waitlists

After the available spaces in each grade are filled through the computerized lottery, waitlist numbers are randomly assigned, beginning with number 1, to the remaining students in each category. Parents of students who are selected in the lottery are given approximately three weeks to accept an offered space. After the deadline for accepting an offer, principals must fill any remaining spaces through the waiting list, beginning with number 1 and selecting students based on their category. For example, if a student was selected in the sibling lottery and the parent does not accept the space, the principal will contact the parent of the first student on the sibling waiting list for that grade to offer him/her the available space. If this student declines the offer, the principal will contact the second student on the sibling waiting list for that grade, and so on. Principals are not allowed to contact students outside of the waiting list order, and offers must be made to replace students in the same category. For instance, a principal cannot offer a space to the student who is number 1 on a waiting list and then skip the next five students to offer a space to the student who is number 6 on the list. As another example, a principal cannot attempt to fill a space declined by a student from the sibling category by offering the space to a student on the general waiting list, unless the sibling waitlist has been exhausted. (Note that when parents of waitlisted students are contacted, they will be given 24-48 hours to accept or decline a seat. Be sure to include at least one telephone number on your application where you can be reached at all times.)

NOTE: If your child is currently on a waitlist from last year’s application process, and you have not yet received an offer for the current school year, you will need to reapply for the 2017-2018 school year if you want to be considered for that year. Waitlists are not maintained from year to year.

 

Apply to an Open Enrollment School


Applying to Open Enrollment schools is easy! Just follow the directions below, and contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu if you have any questions.

But first, please note the following:

  • The application period begins October 3, 2016, and ends December 9, 2016.
  • You have a choice of applying through the online application portal, or by using a paper application. (We recommend the online portal ‐ it's easier, faster, reduces chances for error, and provides email confirmation and online notifications.)
  • There is no testing required for open enrollment schools ‐ students are selected via computerized lottery.
  • Your child’s application notification letter will be released on March 3, 2017, to notify you whether or not your child received an offer from any of the schools to which you applied. If you apply ONLINE, your child’s letter will be accessible via the online portal. If you apply via PAPER application, your child’s letter will be mailed to your home on March 3, 2017 (note this is the date that the letter will be MAILED, not received.)

  • Next, see the step-by-step instructions below, for both the online process and the paper process. Throughout the instructions, you will also find application tips ‐ just click the links!

    ONLINE PROCESS:

    Step 1:Starting October 3rd, go to the online portal, apply.cps.edu, and click “Apply Online” under Step 1. This will allow you to open your account, create your password, and request your Personal Identification Number (PIN), which will be mailed to your home.

    Step 2:After you receive your PIN, and access the online portal, click the APPLY button for the magnet, magnet cluster and open enrollment schools to select the schools to which your child is applying. You can apply to up to 20 open enrollment, magnet, and/or magnet cluster schools, in any combination.

    Step 3: After you successfully submit your application, the online portal will show the word “Completed” under the status for applying. You will also receive an email confirmation. If the online portal shows “Not Completed,” you have not successfully submitted your application.

    PAPER PROCESS:

    Step 1: Go to the home page of this website and click ‘Apply’ and ‘Paper Applications’ to download and print the Standard Elementary Schools application.

    Step 2:Complete the application and rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to 20 open enrollment, magnet, and/or magnet cluster schools, in any combination. Be sure to sign the application.

    Step 3: Submit the application to the Office of Access and Enrollment. Paper applications can be mailed or hand-delivered only.

FAQs


A. When you fill out your child's application -- whether online or paper -- you must indicate your child's "primary address." The primary address is defined as your child’s regular, fixed nighttime abode. Note that you must use the address that is your primary address at the time that you apply. You cannot apply using an address where you plan to live in the future.

A. If you share joint custody and your child sleeps at night at only one residence the majority of the time, that is the child's primary address, and that is the address that must be entered on the application. In cases of joint custody where a child's residence is equally divided between two addresses, either address may be used. Note that the address of only ONE parent can be used; your child cannot be considered for schools by using more than one address, and your child cannot submit applications with different addresses. The address that is used for the application and selection process must be the same, single address. If your child submits applications with more than one address, he/she will be considered for the selection process using the address on the first application that is processed by the Office of Access and Enrollment

A. No. Transportation is not provided to open enrollment schools.

A. Yes, you have to live in Chicago to enroll and attend an open enrollment school. You don't have to live in Chicago to apply, participate in the computerized lottery selection process, and even be selected, but you have to provide proof of city of Chicago residency by July 1, 2017, for the 2017-2018 school year.

A.Your child must be five years old on or before September 1, 2017, in order to apply for kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year.

A. Your child must be six years old on or before September 1, 2017, in order to apply for first grade enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year.

A. Yes – for first grade enrollment only. If your child will become six years old between September 2, 2017 - December 31, 2017, your child may qualify for an exception to the age requirement for first grade enrollment.

To qualify for this exception, your child:

  1. Must become six years old between September 2, 2017 - December 31, 2017
  2. Must have attended preschool and kindergarten at the same non-public school, or the same public school outside Illinois
  3. Must have been taught in kindergarten by an appropriately certified teacher
  4. Must be deemed ready by the non-public school (or public school outside of Illinois) to work at the first grade level

If you are applying for first grade enrollment for your child under this age exception, you must:

  1. Submit a First Grade Age Exception Form to the Office of Access and Enrollment by December 9, 2016.
  2. Provide to the Office of Access and Enrollment by July 1, 2017, a signed letter from the principal/head administrator of your child’s current non-public school (or public school outside Chicago) that affirms each of the following:
    1. Your child has attended the same school for preschool and kindergarten
    2. Your child’s kindergarten teacher is appropriately certified
    3. Your child has been assessed as ready to work at the first grade level. If this signed letter is not provided by this deadline, any seat awarded through the Options for Knowledge application process will be forfeited.

To apply for a first-grade exception, you must submit a PAPER Standard Elementary application; you cannot apply using the online process.

A. If you do not satisfy the four requirements, or if the qualifying documentation is not provided by the deadline, any seat awarded through the Options for Knowledge application process may be forfeited. Once forfeited, your child will not be entitled to move to a kindergarten seat at that school. You can only apply to one grade level.

A. No – this is not permitted under CPS policy. For kindergarten and first grade, CPS will enroll students in the grade that is appropriate for their age. Please note the following:

  • If your child was born between September 2, 2011 through September 1, 2012, your child's appropriate grade for 2017-2018 is KINDERGARTEN.
  • If your child was born between September 2, 2010 through September 1, 2011, your child's appropriate grade for 2017-2018 is FIRST GRADE.
  • If your child was born between September 2, 2011 through December 31, 2010 (only if the requirements noted above have been satisfied), your child's appropriate grade for 2017-2018 is FIRST GRADE.

If you do not apply for the grade that is appropriate for your child, your child’s application will be marked ineligible for the 2017-2018 application process.



A. No. All schools on the Standard Elementary Schools application are considered equally in separate lotteries. As a result, it is possible for your child to receive an offer from more than one school.

A. No. You should apply only to those schools where you would accept an offer.

A. No. The maximum number of elementary magnet, magnet cluster and elementary open enrollment schools to which you can apply is 20. You may not submit a second application in order to apply to additional schools. If you submit more than one application, only the first application we receive will be processed.

A.Only four Options for Knowledge schools – Drummond, Inter-American, Mayer, and Suder – have preschool programs that feed into the kindergarten class. (This means that preschool students at these schools do not have to submit an application for a seat in kindergarten.) If your child is in a preschool program at any other Chicago public school, you will need to submit an Options for Knowledge application if you want your child to be considered for kindergarten.

A.In order for your child to be considered for a different open enrollment school or program, you will have to submit an application, during the application period, and your child will have to participate in the selection process for the school in which you are interested. You cannot transfer your child without participating in the application and selection process.

A.. If you apply online, you can make updates via the online portal to your address and telephone number. If you apply via paper application, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu to request a paper Contact Information Modification Form. For the purposes of determining tiers, attendance/overlay boundaries, and proximity boundaries, address changes must be submitted no later than December 9, 2016. NOTE: If you change your address and you accept an offer from a school, you will be required to provide proof of both the address on the application, and the new address, at the time of your child’s registration.

A..To correct your child’s CPS ID number, IEP/504 Plan status,current grade, or other student-related information, you will need to submit a paper Student Information Modification Form, whether you apply online or via paper application. To request the Student Information Modification Form, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu. Corrections must be submitted no later than December 9, 2016.

A.. We encourage you to attend Open Houses and conduct any other school-related research BEFORE submitting your application, to decrease the need for changing school choices. If you apply online, you can make changes by deleting your application and submitting a new one. If you apply via paper application, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu to request a paper Application Modification Form. Changes must be submitted no later than January 20, 2017.



A.All students with disabilities are eligible to apply to open enrollment schools. Appropriate services within these programs will be provided to meet the student’s individual needs as delineated on the Individualized Education Program (IEP). If a student with a mobility impairment is selected by lottery for a magnet school or program that is not accessible, transportation will be provided to a comparable magnet program at an accessible school.

A.Yes. All ELs are eligible to apply to Open Enrollment schools.



A.No. elementary magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, and elementary open enrollment schools are designed for all students, and students are randomly selected through a computerized lottery. No testing is required.

A.The selections for each type of school on the Standard Elementary Application are conducted independently from each other. Therefore, your child can be selected for any number of schools, depending on the number of schools to which you apply. He could be selected for no schools and placed on the waitlist for all of your choices; he could be selected for some schools and on the waitlist for the others; or he could be selected for all of the schools to which you apply.

A.Sibling applicants to magnet cluster schools will be offered seats to the extent that space is available. If a school receives more applications from siblings than there are seats available, a computerized lottery will be conducted to fill the seats. In order to be eligible, the enrolled sibling and the sibling applicant must live in the same household and must be attending the same school for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, in order to be eligible, the currently enrolled sibling must have entered the school via the Options for Knowledge application and selection process. (The term “sibling” means natural siblings, step siblings, foster siblings and adopted siblings.) Your child cannot be enrolled as a sibling if the enrolled sibling is in a Chicago Early Learning preschool program or tuition-based prekindergarten, or if the enrolled sibling graduates or transfers to another school. If the enrolled sibling graduates or transfers to another school, your child’s offer will be rescinded and he/she will be placed in the general applicant queue. If you do not provide identifying sibling information on your child’s application (currently enrolled student's name, current school name, and CPS ID number), your child will not be given sibling preference in the selection process.

A.After the available spaces in each grade are filled through the computerized lottery, waitlist numbers are randomly assigned, beginning with number 1, to the remaining students in each category. Parents of students who are selected in the lottery are given approximately three weeks to accept an offered space. After the deadline for accepting an offer, principals must fill any remaining spaces through the waiting list, beginning with number 1 and selecting students based on their category. For example, if a student was selected in the sibling lottery and the parent does not accept the space, the principal will contact the parent of the first student on the sibling waiting list for that grade to offer him/her the available space. If this student declines the offer, the principal will contact the second student on the sibling waiting list for that grade, and so on. Principals are not allowed to contact students outside of the waiting list order, and offers must be made to replace students in the same category. For instance, a principal cannot offer a space to the student who is number 1 on a waiting list and then skip the next five students to offer a space to the student who is number 6 on the list. As another example, a principal cannot attempt to fill a space declined by a student from the sibling category by offering the space to a student on the general waiting list, unless the sibling waitlist has been exhausted. (Note that when parents of waitlisted students are contacted, they will be given 24-48 hours to accept or decline a seat. Be sure to include at least one telephone number on your application where you can be reached at all times.)

NOTE: If your child is currently on a waitlist from last year’s application process, and you have not yet received an offer for the current school year, you will need to reapply for the 2017-2018 school year if you want to be considered for that year. Waitlists are not maintained from year to year.

A.Computerized lotteries are conducted to ensure that all children have an equal chance to be accepted at schools that do not require testing. A computer program randomly selects students to fill the spaces in each grade. For Magnet Cluster schools, there are two types of lotteries:

  • Sibling lottery: conducted only for students who have a brother or sister in the same household, who already attends the school to which the student is applying, and who will still be enrolled in that school in the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, the currently enrolled sibling's current grade must be kindergarten or higher.
  • General lottery: conducted for all students not included in the sibling lottery.

Students who are not selected for a seat through the computerized lottery are randomly assigned a number on a waitlist.



A.If you apply using the online application site, your notification letter will be posted to your online portal no later than April 3, 2017. If you apply with a paper application, your notification will be mailed to your home no later than April 3, 2017. (Note that this is the date that letters will be MAILED, not received.)

A.No. Accepting an offer from a school where your child is selected does not affect your child’s placement on the waitlists at any other magnet, magnet cluster, or open enrollment schools. You may accept an offer that you received and, if you later receive an offer from a school where your child was waitlisted, you may accept that offer instead, if you wish. In addition, accepting an offer from a magnet, magnet cluster, or open enrollment school does not affect your child’s status in the applicant pool for the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools selection process. Should you choose to accept a later offer, you will be responsible for notifying the first school of your child’s change in status.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, October 13, 2016