Lottery FAQs (información en español)
What is a lottery?
- A computerized selection process that randomly assigns student applicants by the assignment priorities outlined by the DPS Board of Education. Please see Policy #4150 Program Magnet Schools for full overview.
Can a family residing outside of Durham County submit a magnet school or CTE Pathway lottery application for their student(s)?
- The parent/legal guardian or custodian must be domiciled in Durham during the published application window, and be able to provide acceptable proof of residency to verify their domicile during this time. However, if you relocate to Durham County after the published application deadline, you will be eligible to submit a late magnet application for magnet schools that have available seats and no applicant pool. This process may be completed by coming to the Office of Student Assignment and presenting your proof of residency in the form of a lease or deed and your picture ID. The applicant will be placed on a wait list for the schools applied for and will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis if a magnet seat becomes available.
Do I have to reapply each year to the magnet school, once my student begins attending the school?
- If a student accepts their assigned lottery seat and begins attending the school, the assignment is good for the duration of all grades at that school, as long as the student is domiciled in Durham and their assignment is continuous. A student who withdraws from a program magnet school or relocates outside Durham County loses eligibility for continued enrollment at that school.
The 2023-2024 school year is a transition year as the updated School Assignment Policy 4150 will take effect in July 2024. Elementary school assignments for the 2023-2024 school year are only for one year. Elementary school families who apply for application (magnet) schools for this application period and accept a lottery seat may have to reapply for the 2024-2025 school year and will receive priority for a comparable program in their region. Click here to learn more.
Do I have to reapply each year to the CTE Pathway or JROTC school, once my student begins attending the school?
- If a student accepts their assigned lottery seat and begins attending the school, the assignment is good for the duration of all grades at that school, as long as the student is domiciled in Durham and their assignment is continuous, and the student remains enrolled in the assigned Pathway or JROTC program. In addition, all students attending a Pathway or JROTC that is not their base assigned school must maintain a good status in the areas of grades, attendance and behavior. Failure to do so may result in a transfer revocation to their base school.
If my child is assigned to a magnet school through the Title I or Exceptional Children’s Programs, is he/she eligible to remain at that school for the duration of all grades?
- No. In order for a student to be eligible for continued assignment/enrollment, the student must submit a magnet school application and be assigned through the lottery process.
Are children applying for Early Admission to Kindergarten able to enter the DPS magnet lottery?
- No. As the process for Early Admission to Kindergarten does not occur until late April, these students are not eligible to enter the DPS magnet lottery.
How many magnet schools, magnet programs or CTE Pathways can be selected on the application submitted?
- A student may select up to 3 magnet schools/programs including any combination of a calendar magnet, program magnet or CTE Pathway if applicable (Only rising 9th and 10th graders are eligible to apply for a CTE Pathway Program). The selections must be ranked by the applicant in order of priority.
Can I change my school selection(s), student data, etc., after I submit my program magnet or CTE Pathway application?
- You may change your school selection(s) and update your address until the deadline of the published application period by updating the online application previously submitted.
How will I know that my application has been received?
- Once you have submitted your student’s online application, you will receive an online confirmation indicating the application(s) has been received. You may also check the “parent dashboard” tab in the top right hand corner of your online application page or the confirmation page to view your choices.
If my child is not assigned during the March 1st lottery, will he or she have another chance to be assigned?
- Yes, all applicants who are not assigned at this time will be “wait listed”. If students decline their lottery seat, students on the wait list will be seated in the order they are listed, if seat(s) become available. The last day to assigned students to all program magnet schools and CTE Pathways is the last business day of July.
What is a walk zone? (walk zones will no longer exist starting in the 2024-25 school year)
- A walk zone is an assignment priority that allows automatic assignment to students who live within one (safe walking) half mile of the school. Burton IB, Club Blvd and R.N.Harris Magnet Elementary Schools are the only schools that have this assignment priority. A walk zone is not part of the lottery. It acts as an attendance zone, providing automatic assignment throughout the school year. Walk zones will be eliminated starting in the 2024-25 school year.
What is a priority zone, designated choice zone and base school zone? (please note, all of these zones and procedures will be revised for the 2024-25 school year)
- A priority zone is a designated area around the school that provides applicants who are domiciled in that area an assignment priority. This priority takes place when the lottery is conducted. It is not an automatic assignment, as there must be space available at the grade level requested. Applicants must rank the school with the priority zone he/she is domiciled in, as their first choice.
- George Watts Montessori and Morehead Montessori’s have a priority zone. Applicants receive second priority in the lottery process.
- Sandy Ridge Elementary Magnet has a designated choice zone in which applicants receive first priority in the lottery process. In addition, Sandy Ridge has an assignment priority region which is provided to students who are domiciled in the attendance zones of the following schools: Easley, Eno Valley, Glenn, Hillandale, Holt, Little River and Mangum. Applicants receive second consideration in the lottery process.
- Applicants applying for CTE Pathway Clusters will be given first priority for assignment if he/she is domiciled in the school attendance zone in which the Pathway is located and the Pathway is selected as their first choice. For example, students who are domiciled in the Riverside High School attendance zone and apply for the STEM Pathway Cluster will be assigned prior to all other applicants because Riverside is their base high school.
What is a program link priority? (please note, these priority links may be revised starting in the 2024-25 school year)
- A program link priority is an assignment providing a natural link from one program magnet school to another identified middle or high school. An application must be submitted, ranking the linked secondary school as the first choice. Selecting the linked school/program as a second or third choice will cause the applicant to forfeit the link during the lottery process.
- Rising 6th graders from George Watts Montessori Magnet and Morehead Montessori Magnet Elementary Schools are linked (first priority) to Lakewood Montessori Middle Magnet School.
- Rising 6th graders from Burton Magnet Elementary are linked (first priority) to Shepard Magnet Middle School.
- Rising 6th graders from Club Blvd., R.N. Harris and Holt Elementary Schools receive a secondary program link (assigned after all applicants applying from Burton IB Magnet) to Shepard Magnet Middle School.
- Rising 9th graders from Shepard Magnet Middle School are linked (first priority) to Hillside International Baccalaureate Programme.
- Rising 6th grade applicants from Holt Language and Calendar Magnet Elementary will receive a calendar priority link to The School for Creative Studies, if the school is selected as their first choice on the application.
- Rising 6th grade applicants from Holt Language and Calendar Magnet will receive a program priority link (second assignment in the lottery process) to Shepard IB Middle Magnet if the school is ranked as their first choice on the application.
- Rising 6th grade applicants from Easley Calendar Magnet Elementary will receive a priority link to The School for Creative Studies, if the school is selected and ranked as their first choice on the application.
- Rising 6th grade applicants from Persontown Calendar Magnet Elementary will receive a priority link to Rogers-Herr, if the school is selected and ranked as their first choice on the application.
What are sibling priorities?
- A sibling attending priority is an assignment given to applicants who have a sibling currently attending the program elementary magnet school and will be attending during the upcoming school year. An application must be submitted, ranking the identified elementary school as the first choice.
- A sibling applying priority is an assignment given to sibling applicants within the general applicant pool applying to the same school. The sibling applicants must rank the same elementary school as their first choice and enter the required sibling information on the application sibling applying question. There must be seats available at the grades requested for the sibling group, to take advantage of this priority, or none of the sibling group will be seated. If a parent does not want this priority, the sibling(s) should not be listed on the sibling applying section of the application. This will allow each sibling the opportunity to be considered as a solo applicant for assignment.
- A sibling attending priority is an assignment given to applicants who have a sibling currently attending the year-round school and who will be attending during the upcoming school year.
- A sibling applying priority is given to applicants when siblings apply to the same calendar magnet school and different calendar magnet schools during the same application period and one sibling is selected. If there is space availability for the other sibling(s), he or she will be selected over the general applicant pool. All siblings in the applicant group must be assigned during the same lottery or none of the group will be assigned. If parents do not want this priority, they should not list siblings under the sibling applying question on the application. This will allow siblings to be considered in the lottery as a single applicant applying.
*Applicants must submit an application and rank their school of priority as their first choice to be considered for any of the priorities through the lottery process.
*Please note that there is no guarantee of assignment for sibling priority, program link priority, or priority zone for a student’s domicile, as lottery seats must be available at the school/grade level requested.
If I complete and submit an application at the beginning of the application period, will my child have a better chance to be assigned through the lottery process?
- All applications submitted within the application window receive equal consideration for assignment during the lottery process.
What happens if I fail to accept/decline my child’s lottery seat by the published deadline?
- Your child will lose his/her lottery seat (No exceptions).
Can a late application be submitted after the application deadline?
- If a family relocates to Durham after the published application deadline, the family may submit a late hardcopy application for magnet schools and CTE Pathways that have exhausted the applicant pool and available seats. Beginning May 1st, this process may be completed by coming to the Office of Student Assignment and presenting your proof of residency in the form of a current lease, deed, mortgage statement, two utility bills (gas, water, electric), and your picture ID. The applicant will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis until all seats are filled or until the July 31st deadline, prior to the beginning of the school year.