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Top 10 things to know about applying to the Hartford region’s school choice program

Interior lobby of the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, a magnet school.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
Interior lobby of the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, a magnet school.

1) Know the deadlines and apply on time for the best possible chance. The on-time deadline for applications for the magnet and Open Choice program is Jan. 31, 2022. The early application deadline for the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System High Schools is Jan. 10, 2022.

2) If you miss these deadlines, you can still apply. The late application period starts March 1, 2022, and ends Sept. 15, 2022, for magnets, Open Choice and technical high schools.

3) Know your child’s interests if you’re submitting an application to a magnet school. There are 40 magnet schools with a variety of themes ranging from the arts to engineering to environmental science.

4) Attend virtual or in-person school choice fairs and school open houses to learn more. You can find nformation on the fairs and open houses here. The next in-person fair, which will include representatives from the region’s magnet, Open Choice and technical schools, is Jan. 8, 2022, at the Academy of Science and Innovation, 600 Slater Road, New Britain. Information on that fair is here.

5) Apply to multiple schools to increase the chances of placement. You can apply to up to five magnet schools. It’s also possible to apply to magnet schools and to Open Choice. Apply at ChoiceEducation.org.

6) Refer to ChoiceEducation.org or the Family Guide to School Choice for key information and background about the schools, the programs and the lottery process.

7) Your child’s best chance for admission to magnets comes if you apply at the entering grade for a particular school. So if the school starts with pre-kindergarten, try to apply that year. If it starts in sixth or ninth grade, try to apply then. You are free to apply any year, however.

8) Get familiar with what the state calls “placement priorities.” These priorities are connections that applicants have to schools or programs that give them preference during the placement process. These may include having an enrolled sibling at a school, living within a certain distance of the school, having a guardian employed at the school or having a “pathway” from a student’s current magnet school to the new one. Also, there’s this addition to this list: Applicants who applied last year and didn’t get a placement will get some preference this year. More information is available in the Family Guide (see No. 6) or online at ChoiceEducation.org. These priorities increase the likelihood of a placement but don’t guarantee it.

9) Get help with your application if you need it. To get help, call the Regional School Choice Office at 860-713-6990 or click here for information on where to go to get assistance.

10) The placements for on-time applicants to magnet, Open Choice and technical high schools begin in April 2022 and continue through the end of September 2022. If you do not get a placement offer, your child’s application will be put on a waitlist for the schools and programs you selected. If a seat becomes available, you will be notified over the spring and summer. Families who do not receive a placement offer after the initial rounds of placements also have the option to add their child’s application to waitlists for additional schools.

For help, check the website ChoiceEducation.org, or call the Regional School Choice Office at 860-713-6990 or email at rsco.sde@ct.gov.

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