Choice Schools FAQ
- What are the eligibility requirements for LWSD Choice Schools/Programs?
- What curriculum resources do LWSD Choice Schools/Programs use?
- How are LWSD Choice Schools/Programs staffed?
- Is district transportation provided to LWSD Choice Schools/Programs?
- We are interested in LWSD Choice Schools and live outside the district. Can we apply?
- We own a home in the Lake Washington School District but currently reside outside the district. Can we apply?
- How many Choice Schools/Programs can we apply to?
- Do we need to re-apply each year if we are not selected in the lottery?
- How does the Choice School lottery work?
- How does the lottery wait list work?
- If my child accepts a space in an LWSD Choice School/Program and then decides it is not a good fit for them, what happens next?
- My child will be entering middle school in three years. Can I apply to Choice Schools now to get my name on the list?
Choice Schools are open to all students that reside within the Lake Washington School District. Families must have established residency within the district by the choice school application deadline in order to be eligible for participation in the choice school lottery. Families who do not reside within the district by the choice school application deadline are removed from the lottery. Families must provide proof of residency within the district.
Parents/guardians who attend choice schools or programs must arrange their own transportation. In some cases the district offers limited bus transportation. Many families establish carpools as well. Please contact the choice school or program you are interested in attending for more information regarding transportation.
Student(s) who reside outside the Lake Washington School District are not eligible to participate in the lottery unless the parent is a district employee. 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.
Application to LWSD Choice Schools is free of eligibility requirements other than student district residency. Current student grade level and district residency are verified for each applicant. No other student identifying information is gathered or used for the lottery.
The lottery is conducted centrally using a computer-based random number sequence generating tool. The process is conducted by the Director of Accelerated Programs, Choice & Innovation and witnessed in person by no less than two additional district administrators. A lottery is conducted for each Choice School/Program. Each applicant is assigned a random lottery number using the sequence generating tool. Following the lottery, the lists go to each Choice School, parents are notified, and the Choice Programs begin making offers based on the number of spaces available. If students decline placement, the program moves to the next student on the wait list. Once a student accepts placement in a choice program, they are immediately removed from any other wait lists they may be on. Students on the wait list do not need to re-apply, they carry their wait list number forward each year.
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.
Wait lists are continually maintained by each choice school/program and carry forward each year. Student’s retain their waitlist number. For example, if a student applies to Tesla STEM for 9th grade and they are wait list number 250, they carry that wait list number to 10th grade and beyond. Given that Tesla STEM typically accepts 150 students each year, random lottery #151 is waitlist number 1. Choice programs offer spaces from their wait list as they come available, so no two programs would have the same number of students on a wait list, and the wait list can and does change over the course of a year.
Choice schools regularly communicate lists of accepted students with one another via email and phone communication. This communication typically occurs daily during the annual choice lottery notification window and weekly or as students are offered placement during the rest of the school year. For each offer from the waitlist extended, schools also verify, prior to enrollment, that the student has not accepted placement at another choice school.