Inter-school choice is a voluntary state program that allows a parent to enroll his or her child into a school district that is not the child’s home district. Annually, school districts, through their school committee, need to take a vote to determine:
● If any students will be accepted as part of the inter-school choice program
● At what grade-levels school choice seats will be made available
● How many students will be accepted as part of the school choice program
While there is an application process, no information is collected that would be used in determining whether or not a student is accepted as part of the school choice program. In other words, districts can not ask for any information about the student regarding academic performance, disciplinary issues, special education needs, etc. Your child’s home district does not approve the application - you are entitled to apply to any district that is offering school choice. Once your child has been accepted for the school choice program, they are entitled to remain through high school graduation. You do not need to reapply each year.
○ Can anyone participate in School Choice?
Any family within Massachusetts can apply for school choice consideration as long as the school they wish to attend participates in the school choice program.
○ Does the Westport Community Schools accept School Choice Students?
For the 2019 - 2020 school year, the school committee of the Westport Community Schools voted to accept students in grades 9, 10 and 11 through the inter-school choice program. There are ten (10) seats available at each grade-level.
○ How are School Choice students selected?
Families must complete an application for school choice and it must be received by the superintendent’s office no later than Friday, June 28th at 3:00 pm. If there are available seats at the grade-level requested, you will be notified that your child has been accepted into our schools. You will be provided with registration paperwork that will need to be completed and returned to the school no later than Friday, July 26, 2019. Failure to return the registration paperwork within that time-frame could result in your child being removed from the school choice program in Westport.
If, on June 28th, more applications are received at a particular grade-level than available seats, a random, blind lottery will be held to select school choice students. Parents will be notified of the date, time and location of this lottery meeting should it be necessary.
○ How will I know if my child has been accepted?
Families will be notified via mail of the status of their child’s application. This notification will be sent out after June 28th and will include the appropriate registration packet if your child has been accepted into the program.
○ Can I register my child for the school choice program after the application date (if there are still seats available within the particular grade-level?
These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, after reviewing enrollment numbers and staffing patterns at the particular grade-level requested. Families are encouraged to follow the schedule guidelines in order to increase the likelihood of your child being accepted through the program.
○ Will mailing academic records, MCAS scores, letters of recommendation or student resumes in advance help my child get picked?
No. Districts can not choose or deny a student based on their records. All Massachusetts students are eligible to participate in this program. Selection is a blind process.
○ I have a child already enrolled through the school choice program. Can my other children go ahead and enroll in the district without going through the school choice process?
While siblings of students enrolled in the program receive priority for available seats, families still need to complete the school choice application and comply with posted timelines.
○ Does the district I leave pay the district I go to?
School choice tuition charges are assessed against sending districts, and paid to receiving districts, in December, March, and June. Payments are handled automatically through adjustments to the quarterly local aid distributions. Tuition assessments are deducted from the distribution, and tuition revenues are added to the distribution.
○ Do families pay tuition for school choice?
No. However, families are responsible for paying any student activity, sports or extra-curricular fees as per Westport Community Schools policies and procedures.
○ Is transportation provided for school choice students?
No. Transportation to and from school is the responsibility of the parents/guardians.
○ Do I need to apply for school choice again, after my child has been accepted?
No. Once a child has been accepted to a district under the school choice program, he/she is enrolled until they graduate or transfer.
○ Can my child participate in sports if they are a school choice student?
Yes. School choice students are eligible to participate in any school-sponsored activity. Students who are participating in athletics are subject to MIAA regulations.
○ Once a student is enrolled, is the discipline process different for school choice students?
No. School choice students are held to the same standards, both personally and academically, as any other student in the district. District policies apply to all students enrolled in our schools.
○ What if our family moves?
Prior to the move, speak with your child's main office to determine whether or not your child will continue their enrollment in the district. If your child withdraws from school for any reason, please notify your child's school.
○ Can my child transfer back to his/her previous school?
Yes. Your child can return to his/her previous school at any time, as long as you are still residing in the community and in the school-attending area for that particular school.
○ If my child transfers out, can they return without going through the application process a second time?
No. Students who leave the district will be required to complete a School Choice application as was required at the outset.