The Daunting DC School Lottery System

Eric Broermann December 9, 2021

Are you already thinking about where your child will go to school next fall? Is it causing stress or anxiety in addition to a bit of excitement? You are not alone! If you are considering public schools (District of Columbia Public Schools, DCPS) or charter schools, keep reading for more information on the DC school lottery system.

DC School Lottery-An Overview

The DC School Lottery system opens in January and closes in March each year. It is the system most public schools (DCPS and charter) use to offer seats to students at all grade levels (PreK3 – 12). This means that if you want your child to go to a public school in DC, you must know how to use the Lottery system. All children are guaranteed a Kindergarten spot at your in-boundary, DC Public School. If you are unsure how to find your in-boundary school (it is not always the one that is geographically closest to you), check out this site. PK options (for both PK3 and PK4) are not guaranteed anywhere. The DC School Lottery system is more chance than choice, but it does provide options. Keep reading to find out more about the system itself and how to ease some of your stress in the application process.

Why a Lottery System?

All families throughout the city have the right to apply to any public school. The concept of school choice is decades old and has many implications, but the primary goals are to help improve all schools and to give all families options to send their child to a school best matched to their needs. It is also one way to create a more equitable playing field in the city’s educational system – where you can afford to live should not dictate where you can send your children to school.

On Paper to Online

My School DC created a system so that the majority of public schools, those within DCPS and public Charter Schools would use the same online lottery process.
To learn more, please check out the full post at DC Area Mom’s website.

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The DC School Lottery system opens in January and closes in March each year. You are not alone!

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