The School Choice Process

What is it?

The School Choice Placement Process supports the New Haven Public Schools’ School Choice Program. Through an application process families are able to select from neighborhood, magnet and charter school options that best fit their interests and educational needs.

What's New?

What's New?




Attention All Rising Kindergarten Students (students entering KG for the first time)

Kindergarten applicants who select their neighborhood zone school as their first choice, but are placed in another school, will remain on the waitlist for their neighborhood zone school. Kindergarten applicants currently attending a NHPS PreK School Readiness or Head Start program must submit an application for Kindergarten enrollment.

Attention Rising 9th Graders (students currently in the 8th grade)

Starting this year, all currently registered 8th grade students, currently registered high school students, and new high school students to the district must apply through the School Choice Placement Process for entrance into all high schools - including Hillhouse and Cross. Because Hillhouse and Cross have numerous academies, all new students, including neighborhood zoned students, must rank their academy preference(s) for Hillhouse and Cross. All rising 9th graders must do this in addition to applying for any magnet schools. Placement in the academies will be determined by the school administration according to ranking and seat capacity for each academy.

Attention All Students Interested In Transferring Schools

Any student wanting to transfer from their current school, whether it be magnet, interdistrict magnet, neighborhood or charter, must apply through the School Choice Placement Process.

PLEASE NOTE: Once a student is placed in a school, the placement is for the entire school year (August 2018 through June 2019). Mid-year transfers will only be considered for extenuating circumstances.

What are the Steps?

1. Identify your child’s interests and talents.

2. Explore school options by attending Expos, Open Houses and Community Events.

3. For K-8 schools, choose up to 4 Schools that best fit your child’s interests and educational needs. For grade 9-12, choose up to 5 schools and select the Academy of your neighborhood-zoned school. Use our School Choice Worksheet.

4. Apply: Complete the School Choice Placement online or paper application on or before March 4, 2018.

5. Receive Placement/Waitlist Notification: 
By Email-April 4th; Mailed by April 6th.

6. If placed, Accept/Decline Placement by May 4. If waitlisted, Choice Office will notify you if a seat becomes available (refer to notification letter for specific instructions).

7. Complete or confirm registration with Choice & Enrollment Office at 54 Meadow Street by May 4.

The School Choice Placement System 

The School Choice Placement System (formerly called The Lottery) is a computer-based method that assigns students to schools based on placement procedures based on school type and preferences.


What are the Types of Schools?



Magnet Schools seek to engage students in learning through by offering a range of themes, including STEM, performing arts, and technology and languages. These schools are also designed to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation.  

Eligible applicants: New Haven Residents



Neighborhood Schools give New Haven families the choice of sending their child to a school that is closer to home and strongly rooted in the community. Like all New Haven Public Schools, neighborhood  schools offer students access to quality education with talented and passionate teachers and  administrators, a rigorous curriculum, vibrant arts and music programs, and strong community partnerships. 

Eligible applicants: New Haven Residents



Interdistrict Magnet schools, like magnet schools are designed to attract students by offering high quality curriculum and a range of themes.  Students attending interdistrict magnets engage in learning with their peers from nearby suburban towns in support of efforts to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation.

Eligible Applicants: New Haven and Suburban Residents



Charter Schools offer specialized educational programs, small class size, and a focus on teacher-parent communication.  These small-scale programs are managed by governing board comprised of teachers, parents/guardians, and may include community members. 

Eligible Applicants: New Haven Residents


What are the Preferences?

1. Neighborhood & Sibling
Applicant has sibling in the school and lives in the school’s attendance zone.

2. Neighborhood Only
Applicant does not have a sibling in the school, but lives in the school’s attendance zone.

3. Sibling Only
Applicant has sibling in the school and the siblings share the same address.

4. Sibling Linking *NEW*
Applicant has two or more siblings applying to the same school(s), in the same order and checks Sibling Linking on the paper application. Online applicants must fill out separate applications for each sibling and click Sibling Linking. Assignment of these multi-sibling applications will follow the preference order so that if one sibling is placed, the other sibling(s) will be given a preference. The Choice Placement System will place the other sibling in the same school if a seat is available. If a seat is not available in the same school, the system will attempt to place the sibling in one of their other choices. If the sibling is not placed, he/she will be placed on the waitlist for all choices with a sibling applying preference. Please note: The Sibling Linking preference is only applied during the first placement round which is scheduled for April 4.

5. No Preference / No Sibling Linking
Applicant lives outside the school’s attendance zone, does not have a sibling in a chosen school, and did not check Sibling Linking.


How Does It Work?

The Placement System starts by 1) selecting applications for a given school, starting with 1st choice; 2) groups applications based on preferences (Note: preferences vary by school, see school description); 3) assigns placement number within each preference group; 4) fills seats, starting with applicants with the highest preference; 5) Repeat Cycle for remaining choices until all seats are filled.   

Students not placed in one of their selected school choices will be placed on the waitlist.  Students will be called from the waitlist if placed students decline the seat or if additional seats open up due to student mobility.

We Provide

  • State-of-the-Art Schools

  • Free Transportation &
    Free Tuition

  • Free Preschool for
    3 & 4-year-olds

Our Mission

In addition to providing effective and innovative educational practices, New Haven Schools of Choice are designed to foster student enrollment patterns that reflect racial, ethnic and economic diversity.

Families must apply to our schools.  Students are placed in schools through a lottery.


Who Can Apply

New Haven residents can apply to any magnet or charter school in the city. Our Interdistrict Magnet Schools are open to all Connecticut residents. There are no admission requirements, tests or prerequisites for our students. We serve special education students, English Language learners, talented and gifted students and everyone else who comes through the lottery to our schools. No student may be denied enrollment because of race, ethnicity or disability. 

Contact Us

New Haven Public Schools -
Office of Choice & Enrollment

54 Meadow Street, First Floor
New Haven, CT 06519 MAP

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Phone: 475-220-1430 &

© 2016 New Haven Public Schools of Choice - Office of Choice & Enrollment