Results of My School DC, the District’s first-ever common lottery system for D.C. Public Schools and most public charter schools

From a press release:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today the results of My School DC, the District’s first-ever common lottery system for D.C. Public Schools (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,” Mayor Gray said. “I’m also proud to see so many families got seats in the schools of their choice. This lottery is One City in action.”

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.

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.

Families can log onto 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.

For more information on the process and how to submit an application for Round 2, please visit My School DC.”

36 Comment

  • We will be participating in this next year for my son and I’m already really tense about the whole process.

  • gotryit

    Yay, my boy is going to Pre-K next year! The common lottery is a great step. I hope the remaining charter schools move to it.

  • “85 percent were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices”

    Wow, I really hope this is true but can’t help but doubt this number given the response on DCUM and among friends who participated this year.

    • My guess is a lot of “revitalized” NE DC is disappointed.

    • That is a misleading stat, it needs to be combined with the previous statement. Only 71% of applicants were placed in ANY school (out of choice of up to 12, and I know for certain that a lot of those 8-12 spots for families were the back up to the back up to the back up). Of those 71% of students who were matched, 85% of them went to a top three choice. So, yes, if you got a match you likely got into a top choice. But almost 1/3 of applicants got NOTHING. We lucked out with a match mid-way down our set and have GREAT wait list numbers at some of our highest choices that we think will roll down in a couple months. It sucks that this all comes down to blind luck, I really feel for our friends who weren’t so fortunate.

      • Yep. This is the right, non-press release way to look at it. Only 60% of kids got into one of their top three choices.

        • But, none of these participants had to apply all over town, on separate schedules and with separate paperwork.

      • and there were a lot of people who didn’t apply to 12 choices. I think there were many families that only applied to a couple, figuring if they didn’t get in they’d stay in their current school, move out of DC, go to private school, etc. There’s a lot of talk on the DC Urban Moms forum about folks whose kids go to good schools in NW who applied to just BASIS and Latin, but who aren’t terribly upset about the prospect of their kids going to Deal, Hardy, Wilson, etc. instead.

      • By the same token, I bet at least some participants who were shut out were like us, who are happy for at least another year or two at their current school, but took a flier on some other hard to get into options just to see what happens. Applying for second grade to Eaton, Janney, Key, Laffayette, Mann and Murch, we didn’t get in anywhere, but didn’t really expect to. (Of those 6 schools in second grade, only one kid was admitted – total, and that kid was IB for Eaton.) If we’d been serious about needing a spot, we’d have certainly been more realistic with our choices.

        • in the past DCPS would post the data so you could see who was in front of you, where else they applied, the # that got in. did they/are they again this year??

  • I know there are some bad teachers and staff, union does not help that, but is the real problem with the schools or the kids? I mean it is the same books, the same instruction, the teachers have to graduate with the ability to teach, they have to meet certain standards, what what point to we say, hey, kids sit down, shut up, listen, learn. Clearly there are some kids that want to learn and do good in school, but seems the over whelming majority do not. At what point to we just look at that reality and find a way to fix the parents and the kids. One would think the schools will follow suit if the students were all there to learn and grow.

    • The problem is most certainly not the schools, or the kids. The problem is too high of a % of parents at certain schools could not care less about education.

      When parents dont care, kids don’t care/aren’t able to prosper. When there are enough parents that don’t care, the whole school breaks down, and you have Roosevelt High School etc.

    • How exactly do you propose to “fix” the parents and kids? Even if you are correct that they are the problem (I’m not saying you are or are not), what’s the solution?

      • Umm, well, schools are improving as demographics are changing. That will continue to happen. There are definitely some unique things you can do like P3 and P4, extended school days and school years, but at the end of the day, a kid who goes to a home where the parents could care less about education has way less of a chance of being successful as a home where education is a priority.

    • Wow, this reads like a haiku of ignorance about ed policy.

  • What was the process like from the other side? Are you all happy with where you ended up?

    • gotryit

      I “cheated” and moved in bounds of a school that I like. So yeah, I got my top choice.

    • The combined lottery system seems better than the old system. But it doesn’t magically create enough spots in good schools for the kids who need them. We got into our tenth choice. It’s a school we will try out but are not thrilled about.

  • Is it true that many families didn’t even get their designated in-bound school due to siblings of existing students getting priority? Where the heck are those people supposed to go?
    (I’m a single guy with no kids – I have no idea how this stuff works. Thank god.)

    • you are garaunteed entry to your IN Bound school started in K…this mad rush in the lottery is usually for PS3/PK 4 slots which are wide open (aside for some preference for siblings and proximity). But I know a lot of people wait listed at the neighborhood PS3/4 now. its so stressful. We need to double to number of PS3/PK4 spaces. None of the schools in Ward 3 even have them.

      • What does “PS3/PK4” mean? Is that pre-school/pre-K? And does that mean if you get into your desired PS3/PK4, your kid is set for all his elementary school years?

        • Yes, that’s public preschool for three and four year olds. Which is great, especially for those who have a good guaranteed spot at kindergarten. We live in popville (neighborhood close to Petworth), have a terrible in bounds school, and getting into a school for the first year in opens is our best chance at getting into a school that allows us to stay in the city.

          • gotryit

            What school is that? I’ve heard good things about some of the schools in Petworth and nearby.

          • Probably not great for my property value to publicize it, but LaSalle-Backus. Terrible. None of our neighbors with kids send our kids there. Trying to respond to gotryit, but there was no reply button under your post.

    • Folks on my TL were griping last night that there was no sibling preference nor was preference given if parent taught at particular school.

      • Well, there actually is sibling preference given. That’s one of the few ways to guarantee a spot at many schools.

  • Yeahhh, I’ll just move to Virginia.

  • Wait, I don’t understand. 5,000 kids just didn’t get into any school at all? Isn’t that unconstitutional or something? I thought you had to at least get the opportunity to go somewhere…

    • gotryit

      Pre-K (3 yr olds and 4 yr olds) is not guaranteed. Beyond that, I think that everyone gets in somewhere.

    • You don’t have to apply to get into your in-bounds Kindergarten or above school. So, the lottery is only for people who want to go to an out-of-bounds school or a charter. Many people entered the lottery as a true lottery: they like the school they are in bounds for and will default to it, but would prefer a school with language immersion or some other characteristic.

  • Every student gets to go somewhere – but public i.e. subsidized PS-3 and Pre-K 4 is NOT guaranteed, it is by lottery and limited by the number of seats the school accommodates.
    Then you have the families that are already in somewhere, and start to look around at where can they transfer that is even better, or feeds into a better middle school? Because if we all could go out of boundary to the “best” schools based on test scores, there would be thousands of kids at just those schools and only the kids whose parents don’t/can’t care at the rest.

  • This thread is dissuading me from ever having children, at least in DC (or even in the U.S.)
    Eff this.

  • hahahahahaha

    • uhhh… this was supposed to be in response to a comment that is somehow not here anymore… oopsy!

  • We got into our 4th choice and have a great waitlist # at our top pick. I can say that I am happy…but I am not sure if it is the new lottery or if I was just lucky?

Comments are closed.