Partnering With Parents in Selecting the Best Learning Environment for Each Student
We embrace school choice by offering a wide variety of pathways to learning, including: neighborhood schools, magnet, charter, online, home education, contract schools, and scholarships to private partner schools. We then empower families to find the best educational fit for their children.
Families who wish to enroll their student in a school other than their neighborhood school must complete an Open Enrollment application during one of two open enrollment periods DCSD offers annually.
DCSD Open Enrollment Windows
Round One applications are accepted for the following school year on a space available basis. Waiting lists, which are prioritized according to Board of Education Policy JCA/JFB-R, will be created if applicants exceed space available at the requested school.
If a student is not accepted at a school during the first round choice enrollment, the student will remain on the school’s prioritized waitlist and be carried over to the second round choice enrollment.
Second Round applications should be be submitted directly to the DCSD school of your choice. Applications during the second round are added to the prioritized round one list on a first-come, first-served basis.
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Douglas County School District's Open Enrollment process.
A: District policy states that any student shall be allowed to attend any school of their choice for which they are eligible on a space available basis, subject to district policy. Here are links to the Open Enrollment policies:
Board File: JCA/JFB: ASSIGNMENT OF STUDENTS TO SCHOOLS, SCHOOL CHOICE AND OPEN ENROLLMENT
Board File: JCA/JFB-R: ASSIGNMENT OF STUDENTS TO SCHOOLS, SCHOOL CHOICE AND OPEN ENROLLMENT
The first round window is open from November 1 to January 5. The second window is open from April 15 to August 15. Open Enrollment applies to the following school year.
A: To access the First Round Open Enrollment form, log into Parent Portal.
A: Applications filed with the district in the first window will be notified of the result on parent portal (application accepted, denied, or put on the annual prioritized list) by January 12. Parents must then go in and accept those applications by January 16. Applicants not accepted during the first Open Enrollment period are automatically be placed on the annual prioritized list and shall have priority over second round applicants.
A: Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the space available in a school, applications are prioritized by grade level according to the priorities set forth in district policy. The annual prioritized list is purged on October 1 of each year.
A: Applications filed with the district in the first window will be notified of the result through parent portal, under the choice tab (application accepted, denied, or put on the annual prioritized list) by January 12. Applications submitted during round 2 may receive notification of status at any time between April 16 and August 15 depending on space availability at that school.
A: Your application is valid until wait lists are purged on October 1. You will need to reapply each year during the Open Enrollment period.
A: Applications received during the second window are time stamped and processed on a “first come, first served” basis. However, First Round Open Enrollment applications that were not accepted during the first Open Enrollment period are automatically placed on the annual prioritized list and have priority over second round applicants.
A: You can apply for up to four schools.
A: Charter schools are a bit different, in that each charter school may maintain a wait list per grade, depending on the space available, and conducts a lottery each year for available seats. The Open Enrollment time frames also apply to charter schools, but each charter has its own enrollment policy. Contact the charter school directly for more enrollment and lottery information.
A: Your assigned or feeder school is either the school you are assigned to based on your residence, OR the school your student attends based on acceptance of an Open Enrollment application.
A: No. Your student will be enrolled at the neighborhood school throughout the years that school serves.
A: YES. Because your open enrolled school is now your “assigned school” you will need to fill out an Open Enrollment application to attend your neighborhood school.
A: No. Elementary students will automatically be enrolled in your neighborhood middle school upon your sending that school an Intent to Enroll form. [link.] If your student wants to attend a middle school other than your neighborhood middle school, you will need to open enroll in that other middle school.
A: YES. If you choose to enroll her after 6th grade at the current school, you WILL need to open enroll her at the neighborhood middle school for 7th and 8th grade.
A: No. Your student will automatically be enrolled in your feeder high school. If your student wants to attend a high school other than your feeder high school, you will need to open enroll in that other high school.
A: YES. If your middle schooler wants to enroll in any high school other than that middle school’s feeder high school, (including your neighborhood high school) you will need to Open Enroll for that other high school.
A: Students may not change their assigned school during a school year or for the ensuing year after the Open Enrollment time period has expired unless they receive an approved administrative transfer. The student’s current school principal and the requested school principal must agree to the transfer. Renewal of transfers is not automatic. You must apply for Open Enrollment for the school for the following year.
A: Requests from parents of special education students are reviewed in accordance with state and federal law. The student’s IEP will be reviewed by the school’s IEP team to determine whether the requested school can meet the student’s educational needs.
A: Families who move to Douglas County outside the Open Enrollment windows should fill out a New Student Choice Application. If the new student wishes to attend a school other than their neighborhood school, the New Student Choice Application should be submitted to the requested school. Applications are approved as soon as practicable if space is available. If no space is available, the student’s name can be added to the annual prioritized list.
A: No. So long as your student wishes to attend the feeder high school, no Open Enrollment application is required.
A: No. Approved applications are valid throughout the grades served at that school.
A: Yes, the online application form must be completed for each child. When Open Enrollment is approved, the new school becomes the school of record for all students in the family including younger siblings who were not enrolled in school at the time the family open enrolled. Even though the school of record has changed for the family, incoming kindergarten students must fill out an Open Enrollment form so that their enrollment can be tracked correctly.
A: No, once Open Enrollment has been approved, that school becomes the student’s “school of record”. To return to the neighborhood school, students must apply for Open Enrollment during the next Open Enrollment period. The application to return may be denied if space is not available.
A: Interscholastic eligibility may be affected if a student changes schools after the school year begins or if the student has practiced with a school team before the start of the school year. A student who transfers schools over the summer without a bona fide family move will have restricted eligibility for the first 50% of the regular season and may have varsity eligibility during the second 50% of the regular season. Additional information is available on the CHASAA website.
A: An application will be denied if:
There is a lack of space or teaching staff;
The school does not offer appropriate or requested programs;
The school is not structured or equipped with the needed facilities for special needs;
The student does not meet eligibility criteria, such as age, prerequisites, etc.;
The student has already graduated from 12 grade or holds a GED;
The student has been expelled within the prior 12 months;
The student’s behavior was detrimental to health and safety in another district;
The student fails to comply with district immunization requirements
A: A parent can appeal an Open Enrollment denial by filing a statement of the grounds for appeal with the Level Director within 5 school days of receipt of the principal’s decision. The Level Director’s decision will be communicated to the parent or guardian within 10 school days after receipt. The Level Director’s decision is not subject to appeal.
A: Email or call the Choice Programming office coordinator, Kristin Schmidt, 303-387-9506.