DCPS releases full school lottery data

A week after D.C. parents found out how they fared in the District’s citywide school enrollment lottery, the traditional school system has released more data meant to give a fuller picture of how the lottery played out across the city.

Parents can now see how many children applied for slots at each grade level at each DCPS school; how many got in; and who among those admitted and those waitlisted had a preference in the lottery, such as a sibling already enrolled at the school.

It’s the same information that the school system has made available in previous years, but it was not released this year, the first year that all traditional and most charter schools joined together in a common lottery. Parents complained, arguing that the school-by-school data not only helps them judge the chances of getting off a waitlist, but also provides transparency that’s necessary for families to trust that the lottery is fair.

The data show the wide disparity in demand for schools around the city. For example, Aiton Elementary, a long-struggling school east of the Anacostia River, has 37 preschool slots available for three-year-olds, but only 11 of those slots were filled through the lottery. Janney Elementary in Northwest, one of the more highly sought-after schools in the city, filled all 78 of its prekindergarten slots. Janney waitlisted more than 300 children, including dozens who live within the school’s attendance zone (preschoolers are not guaranteed the right to attend their neighborhood school).

Click here to find lottery data on all DCPS schools.

Each of the city’s dozens of charter schools will decide whether to release the same information, said Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith. Charters are not required to release those data, and schools that are not highly sought-after may not want to advertise that fact by publicizing application numbers.

Emma Brown writes about D.C. education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.
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