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Office of School Choice & Enrollment


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and helpful answers for parents, families and students.

1) When does the School Choice Placement open? What is the deadline for submitting an application?

The current NHPS school choice application period will begin on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 and will end on Friday, March 1, 2024. Families will be notified in April 2024 of their initial placement results. Families are encouraged to submit applications online. Why? Online applications can be modified throughout the application period and real-time notification of placement results. Paper applications will be accepted in our office at 54 Meadow Street, New Haven, CT. We urge families NOT to mail in applications, as we have no control over the timeliness of receipt of mail. No applications received after Friday, March 1, 2024 will be accepted.

2) Do I have to submit a separate application for each child?

If you are completing a paper application, you can use a single application to apply for up to 2 children. You must use an additional application if you are applying for more than 2 children. If you are completing an online application you must complete a separate application for each child but do have the ability to use the sibling linking option.

3) If I applied last year and was placed on the waitlist, do I have to reapply?

Yes. All waitlists from the previous year have expired. Typically, all waitlists expire on October 1st of each school year.

4) I would like my child to remain at his/her current school; do I have to reapply for that school every year?

No. Once your child is placed at a school, he/she can remain until the last grade of his/her current school. You DO NOT need to apply through the school choice process if your child will be staying at his or her current school next year and the school offers your child’s next grade level.

5) How old must my child be to enroll in Kindergarten OR Pre-K in a New Haven Public School?

Public Act 23-208 states, “public schools shall be open to all children five years of age and over who reach age five by September first of each year.” Effective fall of the 2024-2025 school year, a child should attain their fifth birthday on or before September 1 in order to enroll in school. New Haven Public Schools understands the timing of this change creates a number of challenges for families. For this reason the New Haven Public Schools has created the following transition plan:

  • If your child turns 5 on or before September 1, 2024, they are eligible for kindergarten and no action is necessary.
  • If your child turns 5 after September 1, 2024, and IS currently enrolled in an NHPS PreK 4 Program, they will automatically move on to Kindergarten for the 2024-2025 School Year.
  • If your child is NOT enrolled in a New Haven Public Schools PreK program and turns 5 after September 1, 2024 and before January 1, 2025 and you would like them to attend Kindergarten in the fall of 2024, you must: Submit a written request for a consultation with our Early Childhood Office to determine eligibility by clicking the here.

See this page for more details.

This law also impacts the age requirements for incoming PreK3 and PreK4 students starting with the 2024-2025 school year:

  • If your child turns 4 on or before September 1, they are eligible to enter PreK4
  • If your child turns 4 after September 1, they are NOT eligible to enter PreK4
  • If your child turns 3 on or before September 1, they are eligible to enter PreK3
  • If your child turns 3 after September 1, they are NOT eligible to enter PreK3
6) Are students who require special education, English Language Learner, or other related services eligible to apply?
Yes. All students will enter the process with the same access to potential seats in all schools.
7) How do I determine my attendance zone?
Click here and type in your street address.
8) Do I have to select 6 school choices in order for my application to be processed?
No, only one school choice is required in order for your application to be processed. You should only select the schools that are the best fit for your child. However, we encourage families to select up to 6 choices to maximize their options as the number of seats available at each school varies by grade.
9) I have a child already enrolled in a school. If I apply for another child, is he/she guaranteed a placement in the same school.
No student is guaranteed a seat in a school. The applicant child will receive sibling preference which improves an applicant’s chances of being placed. Sibling preference, which is defined as an applicant who has a sibling in the school and shares the same address.
10) Once I submit the application, can I make changes?

Yes. Changes can be made until the deadline of Friday, March 1, 2024. Please note only one application is accepted per child. If you applied online, go to to update the information. If you submitted a paper application, another paper application is required. Only the latest application received by the deadline date will be included in the placement process.

11) What happens if my student is retained in his/her current grade but I applied for the next grade?
It is important that you inform the Choice & Enrollment Office of any changes to your child’s application, including the grade for which you are applying. Depending on when the grade change is received, a determination will have to be made based on seat availability. If your child applies for a specific entering grade level and then is subsequently retained they will forefeet their seat offer and will remain at their current school.
12) Is transportation provided to all schools?
Yes. Transportation is provided for all K- 8 students who live more than one mile from their school. Transportation is NOT provided for PreK-3 and PreK-4 students. Please note New Haven Public Schools does provide school bus transportation to the following schools: Sound School, Riverside, Worthington Hooker. To further inquire about school transportation please contact the Office of Transportation at 475-220-1600.
13) Can students only be placed in schools through the School Placement Process?
The School Placement Process allows families to select from neighborhood, magnet and charter school options during a given time period. Families who enroll in the district after the application period closes are placed in schools where seats are available. In addition, placements are made to accommodate significant extenuating circumstances.
14) How are student placements determined?
All students applying through the choice process are considered for the schools and grade indicated on their application. To ensure the school choice application process is equitable, each applying student is considered for placement at each school they selected on their application. If a student is not initially placed at one of their choices they are still considered in the same manner at their next choice until all of their choices have been considered. For this reason, we highly recommend that all applicants select a total of four schools on their application.
15) What information is used to place students at schools?
All information used for the school choice process is taken from the completed application. This includes the residential address, selected schools of interest, the name and grade of any sibling currently attending a school the student is applying to and the applying grade level.

The Office of Choice & Enrollment uses the preferred list of schools’ submitted by each applicant, the number of seats offered at each school by grade in the upcoming school year and each school’s priority structures (e.g., sibling preference and neighborhood preference) to determine placement. In the common case that there are more applicants than seats, applicants are placed by their priority. Ties between applicants with the same priority are settled using an assigned lottery number.
16) Why didn’t my child get placed at a School of Choice?
There could be several reasons a child is not placed at their preferred school. Most commonly, there are no available seats in the school and grade combination your child is applying to. For example, a student applying to one of our K-8 interdistrict magnets for Grade 4 may be considerably less likely to be placed there because there may be no open Grade 4 seats, since the majority of these seats will be occupied by rising 3rd graders.

Student placements are made using a computer-based algorithm. This algorithm takes into consideration the applicant’s preferred schools and their verified preferences. In a nutshell, this is what happens:

Process Steps:
  • All applicants are temporarily assigned to their most preferred school.
  • Next, at each school, the temporary applicants are sorted by their priorities at that specific school. Priority ties are settled using a lottery number.
  • At each school, seats are now filled in the above order until no more seats are available.
  • Students who do not receive a seat in Step III will now be considered for their next preferred school. The process continues until 1) all applicants are placed or 2) all non-assigned applicants were considered at all their preferred schools.
17) What is Sibling Preference?
Sibling preference is taken into consideration for applying students who already have a sibling attending a school they are applying to for the next school year. Sibling preference simply improves an applicant’s chances of being placed at a school of their choice and is NOT a guarantee. Sibling preference is defined as an applicant who has a sibling in the school and shares the same address and at least one legal parent or guardian as documented in PowerSchool. Sibling preference is always denied for all applicants not meeting the above definition.
18) If my child didn’t get placed at their preferred school, where will they go?
It is the responsibility of the New Haven Public Schools to provide a free education to all children residing in the City of New Haven in grades K-12. If a student who is currently enrolled in a New Haven Public School has applied via the school choice process and is not placed at one of their preferred schools, they will remain enrolled at their current school provided the school serves their grade level for the next school year.

Entering Kindergarten students who are New Haven residents and are not placed at a school of their choice will be assigned to a school with appropriate availability.

Grade 8 students currently enrolled in a New Haven Public School students who are not placed at a school of their choice or do not apply via the school choice application process, will be enrolled at their neighborhood zoned high school. These schools include James Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross.

Students who are not residents of New Haven and have applied via the school choice process but were not placed in a preferred school must enroll in their home district.
19) Is my child now on a waitlist?
Students will only be placed on a waitlist if the Choice & Enrollment Office is unable to place them into ANY of their listed schools of choice. In such cases, our office will work collaboratively with school administrators and parents to exhaust school placement waitlists when a seat may become available prior to October 1st. Waitlists will not be considered after this time.
20) What documents must I bring to the Choice & Enrollment Office at 54 Meadow Street to register my child for school?
You must bring the following documents:
  • Photo ID of parent/guardian
  • Child’s birth certificate or passport
  • Proof of New Haven residency—a current utility bill or lease/mortgage papers with parent/guardian name