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What is Choice Enrollment?

Choice Enrollment is a placement at a school which is located outside of a student’s resident service area or district. The placement requires a minimum 1-year commitment by the student. The choice enrollment placement requires students to reapply as they advance from one level to the next, relative to priority and space-availability issues. Please be aware that any student accepting a choice placement is giving up their space at their resident school. Returning to the resident school would require participating in the choice enrollment process.

Who can participate?

Both resident and non-resident students in grades K-12 can participate by completing a Federal Way Public Schools Change of School Enrollment application (form 5116.4) indicating their desire to attend a “school of choice.”

Important considerations

  • A Choice Enrollment School is best chosen for its “education” impact on your student.
  • The student must commit his/her intention to remain at the “choice” school for a minimum of one school year.
  • WIAA and FWPS athletic eligibility requirements are applicable to all student transfers.
  • The parent needs to provide transportation.

School Profile and Contact Information

For more information contact:

Paula Curtis, Office of the Superintendent
Educational Service Center
33330 8th Ave South
Federal Way, WA 98003
253-945-2013

What is my timeline?

  • Applications are available at all schools and the Educational Service Center during the month of February for secondary schools and during the month of April for elementary schools.
  • Applications are available at all schools and the Educational Service Center from February 1 through February 28 for secondary schools and April 1 through April 30 for elementary schools.
  • Openings are posted at the Educational Service Center for each grade level beginning February 1 for secondary schools and April 1 for elementary schools.
  • Opportunities for students and families to visit are available at all schools, primarily during the month of February.
  • Choice Enrollment applications will be accepted FROM STUDENTS RESIDING IN DISTRICT at the Educational Service Center from February 1 through February 28 for secondary schools and from April 1 through April 30 for elementary schools.
  • Applications for students who live outside the district will not be accepted prior to August 1 for secondary or elementary students. All in district applications received during this time period are considered equally based on the District’s established placement priorities.
  • All out of district applications MUST be accompanied by a release from the resident school district.
  • Lotteries are held at the Educational Service Center, 33330 8th Ave South, approximately one week after the specified application deadlines to establish placement priority for all in district applicants. Out of district applicants are not a part of the lottery process.
  • Written notification of each applicant’s placement status is mailed to the parent/guardian’s home address by April 1 for secondary students residing in district and June 1 for elementary students residing in district.
  • Confirmation of a student’s Choice Enrollment placement must be returned to the School of Choice by the deadline printed on the notification form or the space is offered to the next candidate.
  • All applicants not assigned to their school of choice are placed on their requested school’s “waiting list” in the priority order established by the lottery process.
  • “Waiting List” applicants are contacted by the school of choice between August 1 and October 1 if a placement becomes available. Waiting lists are maintained throughout the “choice” school year.

What does “Space Available” mean?

The number of “choice enrollment” openings available for the upcoming year is determined by the building principal and other administrative staff using a variety of resources. The space available for each grade level at each school, as determined by this process, is published at the Office of the Superintendent on February 1 for Secondary schools and April 1 for Elementary Schools. It is possible that some schools will have NO immediate openings designated for Choice Enrollment, but capacity at the school may be impacted by students who select other choice options.

How are “Choice” applications processed?

All forms received by the deadline are entered into a central database which is used to calculate the number of applicants versus available space at each school. Lotteries to determine the placement status of each applicant are held at the Educational Service Center and are open to the public. (Attendance at the lottery is not required.) Results are mailed to all participants. In order to meet mailing deadlines, we are unable to respond to either telephone or walk-in inquiries regarding lottery results.

Are there any priorities?

Siblings of resident students have a priority status. No priority situation noted herein guarantees a placement if there are NO available openings at the requested school.

What about transportation?

Parents/guardians are responsible for transportation to a school outside of the resident service area. However, in an effort to accommodate parents, limited transportation may be permitted on a space-available basis on existing routes. Parents/guardians must assume responsibility for safe transportation to and from any bus stop, and must comply with all conditions as outlined in RCW28A.160.115.

What about sports?

All student athletes in grades 9-12 must meet the eligibility requirements of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and the Federal Way Public Schools. Students transferring high school attendance areas lose their eligibility to participate in an interscholastic contest at the varsity level for one calendar year.

Exceptions

  • After all students participating in the annual Choice lottery have been placed, transfer students may be placed on a space-available basis. (No placement commitments are made prior to the annual lottery selection.)
  • Any student requesting transfer after the deadlines is placed at the bottom of the requested school’s “waiting list” in the order in which the request is received. After the lottery deadlines, Change of School Enrollment forms (#5116.4) are only available at the schools.
  • Student transfers completed outside of the lottery process are referred to as “post-lottery” and are not considered “Choice Enrollment” placements with regard to continued attendance. The school may specify the duration of each transfer as well as the behavioral expectations associated with on-going attendance at the requested school.
  • Placement priority for resident students is maintained.
  • Students who move out of a school’s service area or out of the district during the year may complete the current school year, contingent upon appropriate behavior, regular school attendance and submittal of all required paperwork. Students who move out of the district during the year may only continue for the remainder of the current school year and must apply for continued attendance.
  • WIAA and FWPS athletic eligibility requirements are applicable to all student transfers.

Copies of the Choice Enrollment Policy and Procedure (3131) are available at all schools and the Educational Service Center and at http://www.fwps.org/info/policies/3000/.

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