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District of Columbia Public Schools experiences record enrollment lottery

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With rising test scores and excellent teacher attendance, the District of Columbia Public Schools has the largest enrollment in decades and Mayor Vincent Gray announced today the results of My School DC, the District’s first-ever common lottery system DCPS and most public charter schools. My School DC received 17,322 applications from families interested in attending one of 200 DCPS or public charter schools for the 2014-15 school year. This new process allowed families, for the first time, to use a single online application. The common lottery then maximized the number of students matched to a school they want to attend.

Families applied to 90 participating charter schools and all DCPS early childhood, out-of-boundary and specialized high schools, eliminating barriers and streamlining the process. Of the 17,322 applications received, more than 12,200 students were matched at the time of the lottery – a 71 percent match rate. Of these students, 85 percent were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices. PK3 and 9th grades had the highest number of applications submitted and also had the highest match rates compared to other grade levels – 88 percent and 78 percent, respectively. Additional students will be offered spots from waitlists over the spring and summer.

“For years, families struggled with paperwork and processes to participate in multiple lotteries across DCPS and charters. With this new system, we helped eliminate barriers and created an environment where families can see their options all in one place, empowering families to help make the best decisions for their students. I’m also proud to see so many families got seats in the schools of their choice. This lottery is One City in action,” Gray said.

A joint effort between the Deputy Mayor for Education, DCPS, the Public Charter School Board, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and public charter school leaders, My School DC is a successful example of how District agencies and schools – public and public charter – can work together in an innovative way for the benefit of District families.

With more than 200 public schools participating, parents could rank up to 12 schools for each child. Families are wait-listed at schools they ranked higher than where they were matched. This makes waitlists a more accurate measure of demand for schools, which was often an issue in previous years.

“We are excited to be participating in the My School DC common lottery process. It has enabled our school to reach a broad audience and empowered families to make informed choices through a streamlined process. This lottery brings simplicity, fairness and transparency to a system that touches all D.C. students,” said Kristin Scotchmer, Executive Director of Mundo Verde Public Charter School.

The distribution of applications by students’ ward of residence reflects the current distribution of public-school students in the city – an indication that families in every part of the city were able to access the application and participate in the lottery.

“The application process was easy – not intimidating. Not only did this process save me time, but having all the information on our school options in one place was very helpful and informative,” said Ward 5 parent Dameon V. Alexander.

Families can log onto www.myschooldc.org and check their results or call the My School DC hotline at 202-888-6336. Families who were matched in Round 1 must submit their enrollment forms to the school where they were matched by May 1 in order to accept their seat. Anyone who was not matched with a school or missed the deadline can submit an application for Round 2 of the lottery. Applications (PK3-12) for Round 2 are due by May 15, 2014.

For more information on the process and how to submit an application for Round 2: go to myschooldc.org.

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