March 30, 2012

DCPS Receives Across the Board Increase in Lottery Applications 

Strong gains at the preschool and pre-kindergarten levels

Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202-535-1096

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DCPS experienced an across-the-board increase in applications for the annual Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and K-12 Out-of-Boundary lottery with strong gains at the preschool and pre-kindergarten levels reflecting a continuing trend of growth in those grades.

This year, DCPS schools received a total 7,299 lottery applications, an increase of about 9.5 percent (or 631 applications) over the 2011 lottery. Much of the increase reflects continued strong interest in early childhood programs with 4,106 applications for seats at the preschool and pre-K levels, an increase of about 8 percent over 2011, when DCPS received 3,807 applications for preschool and pre-K seats. 

“The increase in applications, particularly at the preschools and pre-K levels, indicates a growing trend of families seeking to enter the school system,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “We expect interest in our schools will continue to grow as we continue to strengthen our academic programming and instruction and improve the quality of our schools buildings.”

The 10 schools to receive the most applications saw the bulk of requests at the preschool and pre-K levels, including Maury Elementary in Ward 6 and Bancroft Elementary in Ward 1 - two schools new to the top 10.  

Increases in preschool and pre-K applications reflect a coordinated effort led by the DCPS Office of Early Childhood Education to engage families and caregivers about the importance of enrolling our youngest learners in quality education programs and to explain and assist them with the application process.

Overall, about 52 percent of all applicants were placed in one of their requested schools. At the preschool and pre-K level, about 66 percent of applicants were offered a seat through the lottery. The overall increase means there are fewer remaining open seats in DC Public Schools for the 2012-2013 school year – 28 percent this year compared to 32 percent in 2011.

DCPS attributes increases in participation in the Out-of-Boundary lottery process to academic improvements in schools; the variety of compelling programs offered at all grade levels; building modernizations; a more user-friendly application process, and a greater emphasis on outreach efforts, which included online initiatives as well as tradition face-to-face interactions.

Families could apply to the lottery between Jan. 30 and Feb. 27. Results were available online March 2 at and mailed home March 9. Applicants who receive a seat in the lottery must accept the offer by April 2 by returning the “Letter of Intent to Accept Lottery Seat” to the accepting school.

Applicants must also submit a complete enrollment packet by May 2 (including DC residency verification) in order to secure the seat. Enrollment packets will be available on the DCPS website,, Monday, April 2.

Applicants must be prepared to prove in-boundary and sibling preferences at this time. Information on next steps for those who received a seat and those who were waitlisted is available on the DCPS website, as are documents related to acceptance, enrollment and residency verification.

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