STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND PUBLIC RANDOM DRAWING/LOTTERY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
This Policy shall apply to Our Community School (“OCS” or the “Charter School”). This Policy shall be published in the instructions for student application for admission, the Charter School’s Parent and Student Handbook, and on the Charter School’s website at http://www.oucommunityschool.org.
All students who wish to attend the Charter School shall be admitted, subject to school capacity. If there are more applications than the Charter School has capacity, enrollment, except for pupils currently enrolled, shall be determined by public random drawing (or “lottery”), conducted in accordance with the procedures described below.
The lottery is held in March or April each year. Information about the date, time and location of the lottery will be posted on the Charter School’s website, at the school site, included in public notices, newsletters and/or flyers posted in the community, and will be available by calling the Charter School information number that will be included on all student admissions/lottery materials.
OCS strongly encourages all potential applicants to review the charter and the Parent Handbook (available on the Charter School’s website), and published information regarding OCS, prior to submitting an application for admission.
In addition to any other requirement imposed under law, the Charter School shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of actual or perceived disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code or association with an individual who has any of the aforementioned characteristics.
The Charter School’s Board of Directors shall ensure that student outreach activities and information sessions, including but not limited to those activities as described in OCS’s charter, which are designed to recruit a broad, diverse representation of students, are conducted in accordance with the charter.
- Application for Admission
- Submission of an application for admission is not a guarantee of admission to OCS; the application is an entry into OCS’s lottery. If an applicant does not submit an application by the posted open enrollment deadline, the applicant will not be entered into OCS’s lottery.
- There is no fee to apply to or attend OCS.
- All applicants must complete an application for admission. Applications are available online and must be submitted to the Our Community School’s Schoolmint web page at www.ourcommunityschool.schoolmint.net. Applications for admission for each academic year are valid solely for that academic year. Any offers of admission to OCS or waitlist positions from one academic year shall not carry over to any other academic years. Any applicant who was not offered admission in one academic year, and who wishes to reapply to OCS in the future, must submit a new application for the new academic year by the posted open enrollment deadline.
- Applications for enrollment must be submitted on the OCS Schoolmint web page with a time stamped date no later than the specified deadline date in early March of the same academic year of enrollment (e.g., March 3, 2017 for enrollment in academic year 2017-18). Applications must be submitted online prior to the specified deadline date. The open enrollment deadline will be posted on the Charter School’s website and also indicated on all admissions applications. If one is unable to access the Schoolmint webpage off campus, OCS will provide a computer with internet connection for families to access the online application.
- Once an application is submitted, it becomes an entry for the lottery. Applicants will receive a confirmation email from Schoolmint that confirms the application has been submitted.
- Applications submitted after the specified deadline date will not be placed in the lottery but are time-stamped and will be added to the waiting list in the chronological order received by OCS, with no admissions preference taken into account.
- Admissions Selection Process and Public Random Drawing/Lottery
- Each year, the Board of Directors, acting on recommendations from OCS Principal (or designee), will approve a plan for school growth for the upcoming academic year, which shall include the capacity per grade level, and in accordance with the charter.
- If, at the end of the open enrollment period, the Charter School receives more applications than it has capacity as determined by the Board of Directors, except for existing students of OCS, admission shall be determined by a public random drawing in accordance with Education Code Section 47605(d)(2).
- Lottery Date and Time: The lottery shall be held within two weeks of the application deadline. Public notice of the lottery will be posted at the school site and on OCS’s website, regarding the date, time, and location of the lottery.
- Lottery Location: The lottery will be held in a predesignated room at OCS Charter School, 10045 Jumilla Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311. If necessary, the location of the lottery will be arranged to ensure maximum parent participation in a public space large enough to safely accommodate all interested families.
- As specified in OCS’s charter, preference and exemptions from the lottery will be given in the following order:
- Currently enrolled students
- Siblings of admitted students
- Children of Founding Parents (defined on page 4, #9), teachers, and staff (up to 10% of total enrollment, combined)
- Los Angeles Unified School District (the “District”) residents
- English Learners
- Students eligible for free or reduced price meals (“FRPM”)
- All other applicants
- If a student is extended an offer of admission due to one of the preferences, the Charter School shall require supporting documentation from the parent/guardian with the student’s enrollment package. OCS shall conduct verification of such documentation prior to finalizing the student’s enrollment. If the student was offered enrollment via a preference and at least one preference cannot be verified and OCS deems that the student does not qualify, the offer of admission will be rescinded and the student will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.
- Currently enrolled students are exempt from the lottery and are guaranteed enrollment in the next academic year if the following steps are completed:
- Letter of Intent: OCS will distribute a “Letter of Intent” to parents annually in the Spring. This letter must be returned to the Charter School by the specified date in order to secure the student’s enrollment at OCS. If the letter is not received by the specified date, the Charter School will document in its records that the student is not re-enrolling at OCS. If a student later decides, after the deadline, that he or she does wish to re-enroll, then he or she will either be entered into the lottery or assigned to the end of the wait list.
- Re-enrollment Packet: The re-enrollment packet must be completed in full and submitted through Schoolmint by the specified date to ensure the student is re-enrolled. If the packet is not received by the specified date, the student’s space is no longer reserved and may be filled by the next student on the waiting list.
- Siblings of admitted students are exempt from the random public drawing, but admission is not guaranteed. For purposes of this policy, the term “sibling” is defined as a child who has at least one biological or adoptive parent in common with the admitted pupil, or who has been legally adopted by or placed under legal guardianship of at least one biological or adoptive parent of the admitted pupil. Cousins are only considered siblings if they reside at the same address. If more siblings apply than the Charter School has capacity (after taking into account admission of existing students), a lottery among only siblings will be utilized to admit siblings, and a waiting list will be generated for siblings who exceed capacity. If needed, this wait list will be utilized as the beginning of the overall admissions wait list. Siblings of admitted Charter School students must submit an application for enrollment in accordance with OCS’s policy. Applicants must indicate on their application if they have a sibling currently enrolled at OCS.
- Children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff are exempt from the random public drawing (up to 10% of total enrollment, combined), but admission is not guaranteed. [Founding Parents are parents with at least one student enrolled at OCS in the inaugural school year, 2005-2006 for the entire school year. If more children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff apply than the Charter School has capacity (after taking into account admission of existing students and siblings of admitted students), a lottery among only children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff will be utilized to admit children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff, combined and a waiting list will be generated for children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff who exceed capacity. If needed, this wait list will be utilized as the beginning of the overall admissions wait list, but it would follow a wait list generated from students qualifying for higher exemption categories, if any. Children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff must submit an application for enrollment in accordance with OCS’s policy. Applicants must indicate on their application that they qualify for the children of Founding Parents, teachers, and staff exemption.
- District residents will be given preference in the admissions process if a lottery is held. If offered admission, applicants indicating that they live within the District’s boundaries will need to present an official document in the student’s enrollment package to verify proof of residency. Acceptable proof of residency will include any one of the following :
- Utility bill (current bill within 30 days)
- Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy
- Lease agreement
- Current property tax bill from the County Tax Collector’s Office
- Official letter or form from a social services or government agency (current within 30 days)
- English Learners will be given preference in the admissions process if a lottery is held. If offered admission, applicants indicating that they are English Learners will need to present proof of this status in the student’s enrollment package.
- Students eligible for FRPM will be given preference in the admissions process if a lottery is held. If offered admission, applicants indicating that they are eligible for FRPM will need to present an official document in the student’s enrollment package to verify proof of eligibility.
- All other applicants will not receive a preference in the lottery.
- Lottery Procedures: The lottery will be operated by at least two currently employed Charter School staff members with no personal interest in the lottery. The lottery will be open to the public and families will be encouraged to attend; however, families are not required to be present at the time of the drawing to be eligible for admission.
OCS will purchase specially-designed charter school lottery software to run the admissions lottery. The Charter School will input all application information into the system; will assign applicable weightings to applicants; and the software program will generate the admission and wait lists. The program will be run at a time convenient for a majority of interested parties and will be open to the public, and the results will be posted in real time at the Charter School. The results will be read out by the lottery officials and posted on a board or projection screen so that the public has an opportunity to view the results. The results of the software program will be auditable.
The assigned number of each prospective student will be put on poker chips that are of equal size, shape, and weight. Each applicant will be designated one chip. For each qualified admission preference from section 5B G-F, applicant will be designated an additional chip for each preference. The chip will indicate if the applying student has a twin, triplet, or other siblings of a multiple birth that has also submitted a timely application. All chips will be placed into a container or lottery device and lottery chips will be mixed.
The persons leading the lottery will draw the chips one at a time and read the number on the chip. As each chip is pulled it will be posted in the order it was chosen. Numbers will be given a numerical ranking based on the order they were drawn. Due to preference given to multiples, if a chip is drawn that indicates a multiple, the sibling(s) will be assigned the next available numerical ranking for that grade level if that sibling has also submitted a timely application. If maximum capacity has been reached in a particular grade level and the applicant drawn in the lottery has a twin, triplet, or other siblings of a multiple birth that has also submitted a timely application, enrollment shall be determined on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Principal.
The drawing will continue until all chips have been drawn and all numbers have been assigned a numerical ranking. These rankings will be recorded in an electronic database that will be double checked by the lottery officials.
Separate lotteries shall be conducted for each grade in which there are fewer vacancies than pupils interested in attending. Grade-level lotteries will be conducted in ascending order beginning with the lowest applicable grade level.
- During the lottery, once maximum enrollment is reached, the remaining numbers will continue to be drawn and will be placed on a waiting list in the order drawn. If vacancies occur during the school year, the vacancies may be filled according to the waiting list. Once all enrollment slots have been filled, remaining students will be added to the wait list in the order in which they were randomly drawn, which takes into account their admissions preference, if any. Records will be kept on file at the Charter School documenting the fair execution of the lottery for at least one school year. The top five spots of the waiting list will be reserved at all times for foster youth (whether they applied prior to or after the open enrollment deadline). If a space opens at a time when no foster youth are on the waiting list, the student at the top of the waiting list will be offered admission.
- Results from the lottery will be posted in hard copy in a public location on campus and updated regularly. Individual results will also be available for families upon logging into their Schoolmint accounts. Follow up phone calls or emails will be made to those applicants who will be offered an enrollment spot as the spot becomes available.
- Students who are not offered seats for the academic school year for which the lottery was held will remain on the waiting list until the end of that academic school year unless otherwise requested by the parent/guardian to be removed. The waiting list shall be cleared at the end of the academic year for which the lottery was drawn and shall not carry over from one year to the next; students who remain on the waiting list at the end of the academic year will be required to submit an application again for the next school year.
- Admissions Offers and Acceptance of Offers/Enrollment
- Following acceptance through the lottery, families who are offered admission at OCS will have fifteen (15) business days to complete the following:
- Registration Packet: All forms in the Registration Packet must be completed to gain enrollment at OCS. Each packet will include a “Registration Check List” to assist parents/guardians in ensuring that all necessary paperwork is accounted for and submitted to the Charter School. All paperwork and documentation, as indicated in the packet must be returned per OCS’s instructions.
- Enrollment offers are valid only for the applied for academic year. There is no option to defer an offer for enrollment. No added preference in the future will be given to an applicant who is offered a slot and declines that slot. However, applicants who remain eligible for admissions preference, as defined above, may still receive such preference if they decline an offer of enrollment and then reapply for a future academic year. Similarly, applicants who were waitlisted and who remain eligible for preference, as defined above, may still receive such preference if they reapply for a future academic year.
- If slots become available because an accepted student declines acceptance or a student leaves the Charter School after the start of the academic year, or as spots become available, OCS staff may notify families on the waiting list via telephone and/or email (as stated in the student’s application for admission) in the order they appear on the waiting list. Families shall have 2 business days to accept the enrollment slot (via telephone or email to the Charter School) and proceed with the enrollment process. Applicants must complete a registration packet with all required documentation and by the deadline given by the Charter School to confirm enrollment. This procedure may be repeated until all slots for the upcoming/current academic year have been filled with applicants who confirm their enrollment in OCS.
Issues Not Covered Under this Policy
In the case that the procedures herein do not cover a situation that arises during the admissions and enrollment process, the Principal will take any additional steps necessary to execute the admissions and enrollment process.