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 three 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 three school year.
  • Staff preference lottery: Conducted only for students who are applying to a school where their parent/guardian is a member of the staff.
  • General lottery: conducted for all students not included in the sibling or staff preference 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.


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 2018-2019 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

The regular application process for open enrollment elementary schools is closed for the 2018-2019 school year. However, you still have an opportunity to apply!

An End-of-Year application process will be offered in late May or early June that consists of magnet, magnet cluster and open enrollment schools that still have seats available. Please contact the Office of Access and Enrollment in May for more information on this process.

For information on how to apply to open enrollment schools for the 2019-2020 school year, please return to this website in September 2018.

Page Last Modified on Monday, March 12, 2018