District Choice Programs and Schools
Choice schools are open to all students that reside within the Lake Washington School District. Families must have established residency in the district by the choice school application deadline in order to be eligible for participation in the choice school lottery. The children of district employees who reside outside of the district boundary are eligible for enrollment per RCW 28A.225.225 and therefore eligible for the choice school lottery. Students currently enrolled in a choice school are not prohibited from applying to different choice schools, however, it is preferred that students remain at their current choice school.
Students must apply to be considered for enrollment in a choice school. All choice schools will hold an informational session prior to the application due date. Attendance at informational sessions is not required as part of the application, lottery, or enrollment processes. Choice school applications will be developed and published by the district. Application due dates will be established annually by the district and posted on the district website. Incomplete or late applications will not be included in the lottery process.
All choice school lottery processes will be conducted centrally by the district. Lottery numbers will be assigned using a random number generator. Students will be assigned a unique lottery number for each school to which the student applied. The district will communicate lottery results directly to the school.
Schools will directly notify families of their child’s lottery number. If offered placement in a choice school, parents must respond within the school’s established timeframe. Timelines for response will be no less than 24 hours. When placement in a choice school is accepted, the student will be immediately removed from all other choice school waitlists.
Supplemental Information and Activities
Once a student accepts placement at a choice school, the school may request completion of supplemental information or participation in supplemental activities such as additional registration materials, academic histories, work samples, student and parent statements, and/or a site visit. Specific timelines for returning supplemental information or participating in supplemental activities will be determined by the individual school. Should a family not return supplemental materials or participate in supplemental activities in a timely manner, the building administrator will make a plan with the family to complete the supplemental information or participate in the supplemental activities.
After choice school rosters are finalized, each school will establish a waitlist based on the lottery numbers previously assigned. When openings become available, the school will offer placement to the next student on the waitlist. The family will have 24 hours to accept or reject placement. If the family declines placement at the choice school, the student will be removed from the school’s waitlist.
Each choice school will maintain a continuous waitlist. Students will be moved to the next grade level each year and will maintain their lottery placement throughout the duration of the school’s grade offerings unless placement was previously declined.
Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
Choice schools are open to all students. Students with IEPs will be entered into the choice school pursuant to the lottery process unless the IEP team has determined alternative placement. Placement decisions and service options are made by the IEP team in accordance with federal and state law and district procedures (IGB-R).
Quest Eligibility and Choice School Enrollment
Students may concurrently participate in the choice school and Quest application processes. Should a student be offered placement at a choice school, he/she may continue with the Quest selection process. Should the student be offered and accept placement in full-time Quest, he/she will be removed from the choice school and will not be placed on the waitlist.
If a student in full-time Quest applies for a choice school and is offered placement at the choice school, the student may transfer to the choice school and relinquish the Quest placement.
Students may be enrolled in full-time Quest and remain on the choice school(s) waitlist. Should the student be offered placement at a choice school, the family shall have 24 hours to accept or deny placement. Should the family not accept placement at the choice school, the student would be removed from the waitlist. Should the family accept placement at the choice school, the student will be removed from all other choice school waitlists.
Students may participate in elementary pull-out Quest while enrolled at an elementary choice school.
Elementary Sibling Preference
In recognition of the level of parent involvement and growth and developmental level of elementary age students, elementary choice school enrollment policies allow for sibling preference for students concurrently enrolled (i.e. grades 1-4) with a previously admitted sibling. Sibling preference does not apply when enrollment to the choice program or school is limited to students from the school at which the choice program or school resides.
Sibling preference is initiated only during the lottery process into the first available grade at the elementary choice school. Should the number of students with concurrently enrolled siblings in the first available grade with older siblings in the school exceed the number of spaces available, a waitlist shall be established.
Twins and Multiples
In the case of twins/multiples, each student must enter the lottery as an individual and each student will receive an individual lottery number. There is no guarantee that twin/multiples will receive admittance into an elementary choice school. However, due to the elementary sibling preference policy (outlined above), should one twin/multiple be admitted via sibling preference or lottery into the first available grade, the other twin/multiple siblings will also be accepted, provided there is space available.
Secondary Sibling Preference and Twins/Multiples
Secondary choice school programs are designed to meet individual secondary student interests. In recognition of the unique interests of individual students, no sibling preference is provided in secondary choice school lottery processes. In the case of twins/multiples, each student enters the lottery as an individual even if he/she has a twin or sibling applying for the same school. There is no guarantee that secondary twins or siblings will receive admittance into a choice school.
Donations and Volunteer Hours
Typically, choice schools do not conduct traditional student/parent fundraisers. In lieu of fundraising, schools often request a voluntary annual donation to fund extra projects and excursions that are typically funded. Each school shall communicate and make available financial scholarships/assistance for families that cannot make an annual donation.
Parent and family involvement is an important aspect of the district’s choice schools. As such, families may be asked to contribute volunteer hours on an annual basis.
No volunteer hour and/or donation requests may be used as a condition of student placement or continued enrollment.