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Office of School Choice & Enrollment

What's School Choice?

1. School Choice Overview

New Haven Schools of Choice provide quality education and innovative programs to both New Haven students and students throughout the state of Connecticut. The Program is open to students in all grades (PreK through 12th grade). 

School Choice is a proven strategy used to raise academic achievement and foster culturally diverse school communities. New Haven Public Schools is committed to ensuring all students are engaged in their learning. Our School Choice Program supports students’ educational success by offering a diverse set of schools with unique themes and programming designed to engage students’ interests. 

New Haven Public Schools’ options include Neighborhood Schools, Magnet Schools, Interdistrict Magnet Schools and Charter Schools each with its own unique sets of themes and programming. 

There is an application process and lottery system for placement in these schools known as the School Choice Placement Process. 

All students applying to a Magnet, Charter or Kindergarten at a Neighborhood School must submit an application by Friday, March 1, 2024 to enter the lottery. Do not submit your application to the school or school personnel. If any information on the application is not the same information on file in the Office, the application will be returned to you.  


Applications to enter the School Choice Placement Process will be available starting Tuesday, January 30, 2024 online. We look forward to receiving your application via our online system at that time.

Results of the School Choice Placement Process will be available online and emailed to you. 

Watch the School Choice Process Video:

School Choice Process Video

Video del proceso de elección de escuela de New Haven:

Video del proceso de elección de escuela de New Haven

What's The Process?

2. Four Easy Steps to School Choice


We encourage families to EXPLORE our schools, their respective instructional themes and program offerings. We strongly encourage all families to use our School Explorer Tool to view virtual tours of our school buildings and testimonial videos from staff, parents and students. The School Explorer Tool will also allow you to review previous year placement data and simulate your School Choice application; this will help parents determine the likelihood of placement based on their application rankings. During the explore phase, we also suggest that families attend hosted school open houses and register to attend our annual School Expo. All of these steps will ensure you are making the best decision for your child’s academic and social needs.

Step 2: Apply

To participate in our School Choice process, you must by submitting an on-time School Choice application. Our annual lottery application is available online via this website or you may visit our office to complete a paper-based application. Students applying for grade 9 must apply online. Please be sure to submit your application by the posted deadline.

Families have the opportunity to select six schools. High school applicants also select their attendance zone school - James Hillhouse or Wilbur Cross. 

Please Note:  Each school has a set capacity which cannot be exceeded. Therefore, your child may not be placed in one of your selected choices. New students to the district will be placed in a school with available seats.

The application window is Tuesday, January 30, 2024 through Friday, March 1, 2024. 

Step 3: Accept

Once the results of our annual School Choice process are released in April 2024, you will receive written notification of your child’s placement or waitlist position via email. Be sure to check your email on the published date that results are to be made available to students and families. Please read your placement letter very carefully and decide to accept or decline your child’s school offer by the decision date indicated on your letter. All placement decisions are final. 

Step 4: Register

If your child is new to New Haven Public Schools or not currently attending a New Haven Public School you must complete the district’s student registration process. We recommend completing the registration process online. You are able to submit all appropriate documents via our online registration process.

What's The Process?

3. How does the School Choice Placement Process work?

Overview: Placement Process

The School Choice Program relies on a computer-based program to assign students to schools because the number of applicants is greater than the number of available seats in some schools. The School Choice Placement Process is based on placement procedures ordered by neighborhood and/or sibling preferences (see school descriptions to determine which preferences are available at each school).  Applicants with a preference at a particular school are placed or assigned a waitlist number before applicants who do not have a preference.

As the District is not able to guarantee placement in a particular school, we are committed to ensuring that all schools meet the needs of our students.

What's The Process?

4. What if my child is waitlisted?

What happens if my child is waitlisted?

Due to the high number of applications and the number of available seats in some schools, students may not be placed in one of the schools selected on their application.  Students not placed in one of their choices are placed on a waitlist.

Students not placed in one of their choices will be assigned to a school as follows:

Is the student enrolled in a
New Haven Public School?
How will the student be placed?
Not Enrolled in a NHPS*
Placed in a school closest to their home
with available seats
Enrolled in a NHPS, but in the last grade
of their current school
Placed in a school closest to their home
with available seats
Enrolled in a NHPS, but are not in the last grade
of their current school
Remain in their current school for the
upcoming year

* Includes students currently enrolled in Amistad, Elm City College
Preparatory, Booker T. Washington, Highville Charter and Common Ground Charter schools

When does the waitlist expire?

For New Haven residents, the waitlist will expire by October 1, 2024. Efforts will be made to ensure all seats are filled by the start of the school year. However, as seats become available after the start of school, students will be called from the waitlist.