Guest Post: Open Enrollment Season Is Upon Us

Colorado School Grades is a coalition of 18 partner groups. Our guest posts feature these organizations and others, who will offer tips and advice for parents who want to choose or improve a school.

by Marya DeGrow, Research Associate – Education Policy Center, The Independence Institute

Colorado law allows students to open enroll in a public school other than their assigned neighborhood school, as long as certain criteria are met. Most schools that do not have room for more students have a waiting list. When there is room for more students, schools will either accept students on a first-come-first-served basis or hold a lottery to determine which students may enroll in the school. Priority is usually given to in-district students and siblings of students already enrolled at the school.

Each school district has its own timeline for open enrollment applications (and some charter schools have different deadlines than the districts in which they are located). Some schools accept these applications before the beginning of the year, such as Denver, where the first round of school choice begins December 16, 2013 and runs through January 31, 2014. Others have a short window of time at the beginning of the year, such as Jefferson County, whose first round is from Jan. 8, 2014 through Jan 24, 2014. Some districts have a second time period for choice applications as well.

Resources for Finding the Right School for Your Family:

Click here for a list of the open enrollment web pages for most of Colorado’s largest school districts.

This Open Enrollment Checklist will help guide you if you plan to enroll your child in a public school other than your neighborhood school.

There are various philosophies and teaching methods in different schools. For help in choosing the right school for your family, read our blog post, Which School Is Right for My Child?

Find questions to ask when visiting a school in the 10 Questions to Ask During a School Visit series and in this School Evaluation Tool Kit.