Dear Team DPS,
I hope you had a wonderful winter break. I was fortunate to be able to spend time enjoying the season with my family and reconnecting with my friends. What I love most about being an educator is that we get to celebrate two New Years – the start of school and the New Year now in January! I’m excited to be back in schools and seeing the energy, focus and connection with our students and educators. That connection opens up the door to a great education … and a limitless future for our children.
That’s why it’s important for families to be able to pick the school that’s best for their child – the one where they feel a spark for that connection. Many times that will happen at the school that’s closest to home, and we encourage our families to start there. And if families then want to continue to look at other schools, we want to make it easy and inviting for you to do so.
A big part of being an Equity school district is making sure that all families have clear and simple access to our schools. And our SchoolChoice program gives every family equitable access to the schools they think are best for their kids.
We know the school-enrollment process can be a challenge for families who need to manage multiple school applications on multiple deadlines. That’s why we built a common enrollment system in 2012 – to make the important decision of picking a school as simple as possible. One form and one deadline, regardless of which type of school a family is interested in.
The next SchoolChoice window – when families can rank their school preferences on our online application for the 2020-21 school year – opens on Wednesday, Jan. 15, and runs through 4 p.m. Feb. 18.
And our families will have plenty of great choices! We believe that students thrive when they have high-quality options, and our top goal is to have great schools in every neighborhood, close to home. And again, we encourage families to first look at their neighborhood school, where they have a guaranteed seat that doesn’t need a SchoolChoice application.We also know that different kids thrive in different environments, and DPS has a strong network of schools that offer a variety of programs, services and cultures.
An important part of SchoolChoice is giving our families the resources they need to make informed choices. Last month saw the release of our annual DPS Great Schools Enrollment Guides. These catalogues feature profiles on every DPS school, including programs, contact information and more.
We’re also excited about our upcoming DPS School Expo Week, slated for Jan. 21-23. These fun events give our families an opportunity to meet face-to-face with school representatives. DPS team members will be on hand to answer questions and help families fill out their SchoolChoice applications.
And be sure to check out our online school search tool called School Finder. This mobile-friendly website makes it easy for families to look up schools by address, interests or programs. Most importantly, we encourage our families to tour schools that interest them. There’s no substitute for walking the halls, meeting teachers and talking to school leaders.
When families are ready to list their top school preferences, they can access the application at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org using a cellphone, tablet or computer.
Once the Choice window closes, we take a few weeks to run a selection process designed to maximize the number of students receiving their most-preferred school. The system is very effective; last Choice season saw 83% of participating kindergarteners, sixth- and ninth-graders enrolled in their first choice.
Last year, more than 27,000 students submitted a SchoolChoice application, and we’ve seen a significant increase in participation among our families of English learners and low-income households since our move to the simplified common-enrollment system.
I’m very much looking forward to the second semester, especially being out in our schools and community, connecting with our educators and families, and supporting our schools to ensure every student thrives.