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Open enrollment now underway

New tool aims to ease process for parents

CASTLE ROCK – A new online tool is now available to help parents navigate Douglas County School District’s open enrollment process. 

EngagED Parents launched on Sunday, November 1, with the start of DCSD’s first open enrollment window for the 2016-2017 school year. The tool gives families the opportunity to apply for another school in the District, as long as space is available, without the paper forms and hassles of the old system.

It is so simple and user friendly, which the prior process was not,” explained DCSD Director of Choice Programming Tom McMillen. “It is literally two screens on the computer. You select the schools you’d like to apply for open enrollment, you click and save and you are done.”


Anyone in the District interested in changing schools can apply for open enrollment through January 5, when the first window closes.  Using the new tool parents can even change their elections anytime before the window closes.

“If you talk to your spouse and you change your mind and want to change your priorities regarding which schools you were applying to, or if you want to choose different schools, you can do that all the way up to January 5,” McMillen said.

Families that are happy with their current schools or want their children to go to their neighborhood feeder schools do not need to access the tool or do anything new.

How does it work?
The process during the first window is not first-come-first-served. All applications received by January 5 will be prioritized, not based by the date received, but rather according to the priorities in the following Board of Education policies:

JCA/JFB - Assignment of Students to Schools, School Choice and Open Enrollment
JCA/JFB-R - Assignment of Students to Schools, School Choice and Open Enrollment

According to JCA/JFB-R, where the number of eligible applicants during the first open enrollment period exceeds the spaces available in a particular program or school (as determined by the principal of the school), applications will be prioritized by grade level and on the following criteria:

FIRST Priority - Resident siblings of students currently enrolled and projected to be enrolled in the school for the following school year.

SECOND Priority - Student applicants who have a new neighborhood school due to District boundary decisions and wish to remain at their prior neighborhood school.

THIRD Priority - Student applicants who live at the household address of DCSD staff.

FOURTH Priority - Student applicants who are residents within the District seeking new open enrollment placements outside their attendance area.

FIFTH Priority - Student applicants who are not residents of the District seeking new open enrollment placements.

Second Enrollment Window
The District offers a second open enrollment window, which is February 15 to June 15, to give families a second chance at the school of their choice, as well as to facilitate requests from families that have just moved to Douglas County.

“We recognize that people are coming to the District all year long and not all requests are granted during the first round of open enrollment, so the second open enrollment window is intended to address those situations,” McMillen said.

Choice is a priority in Douglas County
The Douglas County School District understands each child is unique with different interests, strengths and challenges. This is why DCSD has made Choice one of its four strategic priorities.

READ MORE: Douglas County School District’s Strategic Plan
Choice. Providing each child with the maximum opportunity for success

We believe by empowering parents through school choice information and open enrollment, students can be matched with a learning environment that best fits their needs.

“We know that parents know their children best; their abilities, skills, needs, desires and their dreams. Matching those students with the school that will best help them meet their goals is what the District is all about,” McMillen said.

The District has created several means by which parents can gain the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their child’s education, including DCSD’s new EmpowerED Choices school selector tool.

“EmpowerED Choices allows parents to go in and find out a lot of information about every school in the District and compare schools to see which one is the right fit,” McMillen said.


On November 12, families will also have the opportunity to learn about the schools in person during DCSD’s Choice is For Kids Fair.  This year the event is being held from 6-8 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock.

“Parents can come and actually meet and talk to principals, teachers and representatives from each of the schools in the District that night.

When: November 12, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock

November 3, 2015 | By rmbarber | Category: Choice Programming, Schools

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