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The Nitty Gritty


What Is Open Enrollment?

For those of you who are new, open enrollment is a policy that allows parents to transfer their students from one public school to another.

How does it work?

Parents and students who want to attend a public school not in the “designated attendance area” can apply to open enroll into another school or schools. When you find the right school, you’ll fill out an open enrollment application on the district website. Submit the application within the deadline (see page 25). Depending on the district, you’ll either submit your application to the school (SVVSD) or to the district (BVSD). In SVVSD, you can apply to as many schools as you’d like. In BVSD, you’ll have three options. You will be informed by mail if your student is accepted.

(Types Of Schools)

* Neighborhood Schools

A public school that gives preference to students from the designated attendance area but is also an option for open enrolled students who apply to attend.

* Focus Schools

Schools with a specific curricular focus.

* Neighborhood Focus Schools

Focus schools that give preference to students in a certain neighborhood.

* Charter Schools

Semi-autonomous public schools whose attendance is largely based on open enrollment.

* Online Schools

Schools that allow kids to work from home on their computers. There are both single-district and multi-district online schools, which serve kids across the state.



This year, the state added 13 new charter schools and enrolled more than 8,500 additional students in those charters schools.

(Intradistrict Versus Interdistrict)

Intradistrict open enrollment allows students to transfer among schools within a district. Interdistrict open enrollment allows students to open enroll into a school within a district different from the one in which they live.

* Colorado requires all districts to offer interdistrict and intradistrict open enrollment.

(Getting Turned Down)

According to the Colorado Public Schools of Choice Act, there are five reasons a school district can deny enrollment in their non-neighborhood school.

1) A lack of space or teachers.

2) The student needs a special program the school does not have.

3) The student does not meet the set standards for a specific program.

4) The school is implementing a desegregation plan, and the denial is in compliance with the plan.

5) The student has been expelled or is in the process of being expelled from another district.

(Getting Accepted)

When the number of applicants surpasses the open space, students will be selected in a lottery.

(Tip #1)

If you really, really want one particular school, put that as your No. 1 choice on your open-enrollment form. Most popular schools fill before they get to second and third choices. i.e. If you pick Peak to Peak Charter School as your No. 3 choice, you are wasting that slot.

(Tip #2)

Start early. Apply to your school of choice when your student is in preschool or kindergarten. It’ll promote consistency of academics, focus and peer group.


Each district gives preference to certain students in the open-enrollment process. You want to take advantage of this system, as it can help your kids to stay in your neighborhood school even after you move across town. Here are BVSD’s preferences, in order of distinction:

1) Moving: Students who move out of their district-designated neighborhood school attendance area and wish to remain at the school they are attending.

2) Siblings: A new student, whether he or she lives inside or outside of the district, whose sibling has been in attendance and will be attending the requested school the following year; a sibling of a student accepting placement during the same open enrollment period; when siblings apply for open enrollment at one school, they will be linked as siblings in the lottery.

3) Employees: A student of an eligible employee, whether he or she lives inside or outside of the district. Eligible employees are at the benefit level for each of their respective employee groups.

4) Moving Back: BVSD students who want to return to their designated neighborhood school.

5) Inside Boundaries: Students who live within the boundaries of BVSD.

6) Commuters: Students who move outside the boundaries of the district and who want to stay at the school he or she is attending.

7) Outside Boundaries: Students who live outside the boundaries of Boulder Valley School District.

In St. Vrain School District, open enrollment will be approved for a younger sibling if the older sibling will be enrolled at the school for at least one more year. Check with the individual school for specific preferences.

(To Leave or Not to Leave)

In BVSD, if a student enrolls in a school other than his or her neighborhood school, that school becomes the student’s home school. If students want to go back to their neighborhood school, the parent must fill out another open enrollment application and the principal must accept the student before he or she can return to the school. In St. Vrain, this is not the case. Students can return to their neighborhood school without application.

(To Leave or Not to Leave)

Parent Perspective By Anna Fowles-Winkler, Pioneer Elementary parent

“We open enrolled our son in the preschool at Pioneer Elementary School in Lafayette last year, so he could attend elementary school there, which he now does in kindergarten. We were interested in Pioneer because of its bilingual program, the amazing principal, staff and teachers, and also its close proximity to our house; our son can ride his bicycle to school.”


email no info send march17th/09

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