How To Pages   DCPS Out-of-Boundary Process


Once you have selected a school you want to apply to, the first, most important question is whether or not you are applying to a specialized program or specialized school.  As of January 29, 2003 the list of specialized schools and specialized programs (go here for the difference between the two) was available on the DCPS website. Once you have found out if the program you desire is a specialized or regular program, go here for instructions on regular programs, and here for instructions on specialized programsIf you want to apply to a specialized program and the regular school program that houses the special program, go here.   In all cases, in addition to checking on the DCPS website, call the school of choice  to determine whether or not it is a specialized program/school, to determine where to take applications for the school to, to determine whether there is an element of first-come first-served, and to determine when the deadline for applying is.  Do not assume that the standard guidelines for making applications pertain to the school of your choice. 

For questions or additional information, please contact D.C.P.S., Division of Student Services, 825 North Capitol Street, N.E., 8th Floor, Phone (202)442-5200.  Also go here to contact other DCPS officials for information.

Regular Program       

Application Deadline extended until March 14,  2003!  Read DCPS PDF File.Click here.

Jan 28 - Feb 28 enrollment period

  • Pick up an out-of-boundary application form from the school system.  They should by now be available at most schools.  If you are planning on applying to more than one school, pick up more than one form. You cannot use photocopies of forms.  You can apply to up to three schools.  You may be able to apply to more than three specialized schools.
  • Fill in the form.  Note that it requires your child's DCPS ID number, if they already attend a DCPS school.
  • DCPS is required to state how many out of boundary slots there are at each school.  That information is now available as of February 21, 2003 - Click here.
  • One of the preferences is given to children attending feeder schools.  The list of feeder schools is available as of February 7, 2003. Click here.
  • Take the form to 215 G St NE, Room 102.  You must take it in person.
  • The regulations say to take it any time between Jan 28 and Feb 28.  Even so, it's probably best to do it sooner rather than later.
  • You will be given a tracking number for each application.  Do not lose these.

Mar 1 - Mar 31 Lottery

During March, DCPS fills the slots.  This is all done strictly by the rules.  Preference is given first to siblings, then to those attending feeder schools, then to those who live close to the school.  For any school that has more applications than slots, DCPS will hold a lottery.  Preference will still be given as described above.

The lottery was held on March 19th, and you can see the results here.  If you are accepted, you will get a letter saying so.  You must reply (not sure by what date), or your space will be lost.  It is possible that you will be accepted at multiple schools.

If you are not accepted at a school, you will be put on a wait-list for that school.  Each wait-list will be published on the DCPS web site, with each student identified by tracking number.  Thus you will be able to see how close you are to the top of the list.  At this point, the wait-list is maintained by DCPS administration, not by the school. 

Right To Appeal

You have the right to appeal the outcome of this process. It is unclear who you appeal to.

March 31 Onwards enrollment period

At this point, it all changes.

  • Each wait list is passed to each school to manage, and is kept secret.  This way you cannot tell what schools have spaces left.
  • Each school is required to fill in spaces strictly from the wait list.
  • Parents can contact any school directly, asking for their child to be admitted to that school.  If the school has spaces, it is entirely at the discretion of the principal of that school whether or not to admit anyone.
  • You can contact as many schools as you wish.

Specialized Program and Specialized School  

Please refer to the DCPS website for information on DCPS special programs and specialized schools. as of January 30, 2003. 

For specialized programs and specialized schools, you apply to the school directly.  The process is completely different from the regular application process.  The list of specialized programs and specialized schools is now available on the DCPS website as of January 29, 2003.  In addition to visiting the DCPS website for information, in all cases, please also call the school of choice to determine whether or not it is a special program or specialized school or regular school, to determine where to take applications for the school to, to determine whether there is an element of first-come first-served, and to determine when the deadline for applying is.  If there are discrepancies between the information received from the school and the DCPS website, please contact DCPS officials for more information.  Do not assume that the standard guidelines for making applications pertain to the school of your choice.

  • Each school has its own admission criteria.  It is your right to ask for a copy of them.  You should do that as soon as possible, in case they have an element of first-come, first-served.  Some programs do have an element of first-come first-served.
  • Each school may impose its own deadline for applications. Some of the deadlines come before February 28, 2003. Contact the school to find out what their's is (202)727-1000 (for the number to any school).  For example, January 31st is the deadline for School Without Walls.
  • Each school may have its own applications requirements - for example, letters of reference, medical exams.
  • All of this information is maintained by the school, and may be on available through DCPS administration.  It is not clear whether DCPS administration has access to this information for each specialized program or specialized school.

So, in short, contact the school as soon as possible.

Applying to a Specialized Program and the Regular School it lives in

Distinction between Specialized Program and a Specialized School.

It appears that a specialized program describes a subset of DCPS classes and/or activities organized and unified by a particular academic philosophy or mission and located within a larger, usually, regular school. An example is the Montessori program which is located within six DCPS schools.  In contrast, the specialized school seems to refer to what constitutes a school all of whose activities and academic curricula are devoted to a special set of academic or vocational goals as distinguished from the regular DCPS schools.  Banneker Academic High School is an example. A specialized program is found within a school. 

To apply to a specialized program and the regular school where it is located:

Do not assume that the standard guidelines for making applications pertain to the school of your choice.


Ralph Neal
Assistant Superintendent
Student and School Support Services

Linda Wharton Boyd
Chief Communications Officer - Suite 7096

Paul L. Vance
Suite 9026

Veleter Mazyck
General Counsel
9th Floor




 Bilingual DC is a new organization started by parents, teachers, and concerned citizens.  We want parents across the city to have access to quality bilingual education programs for their children, at all educational levels and in all parts of the city.

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Bilingual DC meets monthly to  plan a strategy to support bilingual education, to learn about bilingual programs currently operating or developing in the city, to research the options and resources available,  and to help parents and teachers design and obtain new programs in their schools.

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This site was last updated 08/04/03