Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions
Please read below for open enrollment frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is open enrollment?
Open enrollment refers to the process of applying to a school zoned for an address other than the physical address in which the student currently resides, also referred to as an “out-of-zone” school. The open enrollment process is designed to give parents an option to choose from schools that may more closely align with the needs of their child(ren).
Who can participate in open enrollment?
Any Richmond City resident, including students who do not currently attend Richmond Public Schools, may apply to schools via open enrollment.
My child attends a school through previous open enrollment. Do they need to reapply?
No. Students who are already enrolled at an RPS school via a previous year's open enrollment process do not need to reapply to attend that school next year.
How many schools can I apply to?
Families may apply for up to three schools through open enrollment. (There is no limit to the number of specialty schools and /or Governor's schools to which a student may apply, though students may only apply to specialty schools for which they are eligible). Families may also apply to Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts in addition to open enrollment choices, if eligible (grades K-5).
What school zone do I live in?
Each residence in the city of Richmond has a zoned school at the elementary (K-5), middle (6-8), and high school (9-12) levels. The zoned school is based upon the physical address where that student lives. Visit our school locator to use your address to identify your current zoned school.
Can I apply to comprehensive high schools via open enrollment?
Yes. Students who will be in high school in school year 2021-2022 can apply to attend a comprehensive high school other than their zone school via open enrollment. Applications for specialty high schools have separate school-specific processes (more information can be found on the Specialty School page).
How are siblings prioritized in the open enrollment lottery?
When applying to the lottery, siblings are considered separate lottery entries. However, beginning in the 2021-2022 application cycle, twins, multiple or births are prioritized together in their lottery entries (separate applications must be submitted). There may be instances where one sibling may be admitted to an out-of-zone school due to a more favorable lottery position and the other sibling may not.
However, a sibling may attend the same out-of-zone school as another sibling if one or more siblings were previously admitted through the Open Enrollment process during a previous school year. At least one sibling must remain at the same out-of-zone school for the upcoming school year. Admission for the sibling who is new to the out-of-zone school will be contingent on available space at the requested school at the requested grade level.
When does the open enrollment application window close?
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 4:30 PM. Late applications will be added to their respective waitlist in the order they are submitted.
I am an RPS employee and want my child to attend an out-of-zone school. What are my next steps?
Per Richmond School Board Policy 8-2.6, parents or guardians of dependent children who are full-time employees of RPS and do not live in Richmond City may enroll their child in an RPS school after RPS has met all local, state, and federal requirements regarding the enrollment of resident children, including exhausting all open enrollment options. Parents or guardians of dependent children who are full-time employees of RPS and do live in Richmond City must enter the open enrollment process as any other Richmond resident student.
The full text of this policy is below:
"Subject to the approval of the division superintendent or his/her designee, parents or guardians of dependent children who are full-time employees of Richmond Public Schools and who are not residents of the City of Richmond may enroll their children in Richmond Public Schools on a tuition waived basis, subject to the availability of space, as determined after Richmond Public Schools has met all local, state and federal requirements regarding the enrollment of resident children, including fully exhausting all open enrollment options. This shall not be deemed to include alternative public school programs for which Richmond Public Schools is assessed per pupil tuition. Any children of an employee attending a Richmond Public Schools facility through placement made prior to January 4, 2010, may continue in that placement through the terminal grade offered at that school.
Parents or guardians of dependent children who are full-time employees of Richmond Public Schools seeking enrollment in an out-of-zone school with limited space availability and who are residents of the City of Richmond will be entered into the open enrollment process as any other student who parents are residents of the city would do, or, in the case of specialty or alternative programs, enter the prescribed admissions process for that placement."
My child received multiple seat offers. Can I accept more than one?
No. Students can only accept one seat offer; however, students may elect to remain on the waitlist at multiple schools. The decision to accept an initial seat offer will not remove a student from other waitlists.
What if my child is not offered a seat at any school for which they applied?
If a student is not offered a seat at any school for which they applied (either via the open enrollment lottery or through the specialty school application process), the student must attend their zone school. If you do not know your school year 2021-2022 zone school, please click here to locate it.
If I receive an offer from the waitlist, what are my next steps?
If you were originally on a waitlist but later receive a seat offer, you may accept that seat offer by logging into the Enroll RPS portal and selecting "Accept Placement". Doing so will decline any previously accepted offer, if applicable. You will receive an email notifying you of any changes to your waitlist status and will have 10 business days to make an acceptance decision from the date of receiving the email.
I was waitlisted last year at the school of my choice. Do I need to reapply?
Yes - if you would like for your child to attend an out-of-zone school, and you did not accept a seat offer for the current school year, you must reapply for school year 2021-2022. Waitlists do not carry over year to year.
Is transportation provided if my child accepts an open enrollment seat?
Transportation is not provided for students attending a school through open enrollment. Transportation for students admitted to RPS specialty schools or regional governor's schools receive transportation through a hub system.