More than 20,000 students applied in the first round of the citywide enrollment lottery for next school year, according to numbers released by the mayor’s office Friday afternoon.
That marked an increase of about 3,000 applications over last year. Enrollment has been on the rise in charter and traditional public schools, as more families are staying in the city and choosing public schools. City officials also conducted an intensive outreach campaign to make more families aware of the lottery in advance of the deadline.
This year, 72 percent of applicants were matched with a school, up slightly from last year. Of those, 85 percent were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices.
This is the second year that families could apply through a common application and enrollment lottery for more than 200 traditional and charter schools. Historically, families had to submit multiple applications to multiple schools with multiple deadlines. This is the first year that the wait list will also be centralized. The application and wait list are managed by My School DC, which is operated by the deputy mayor for education’s office.
D.C. Public Schools reported a 9 percent increase in the number of applications that included at least one traditional school – from 13,480 to 14,673 – and a 17 percent increase in the number of families who were matched with a D.C. Public School.
Christopher Rinkus, deputy chief of student enrollment and school funding for D.C. Public Schools, said the increase reflects two things: parents becoming savvier consumers of information that’s more accessible through the common application, as well as schools doing a better job reaching out to interested families.
The result is “cutting down on the number of applications that go to the hyper-popular five or ten schools,” he said.