How the School Lottery Works


Every student in DC has the right to attend their in-boundary (aka “neighborhood”) school for grades K-12, which is assigned based on their home address. You can determine your in-boundary school at If a family wants to attend a District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) school outside of their in-boundary school, they must apply via the My School DC lottery at The My School DC lottery application is an online application that families must use to apply to attend schools in the following categories:

  1. A DCPS school outside a family’s boundary or feeder pattern for any grade (PK3-12);
  2. PK3 or PK4 programs at any DCPS school, including a family’s in-boundary school;
  3. DCPS citywide schools;
  4. DCPS selective high schools/programs (9-12);
  5. Participating public charter schools (PK3-12).

If a family is re-enrolling in their current school or enrolling in their feeder school, they do not need to use the lottery. Families are not guaranteed a seat via the lottery and the only seat a family is ever guaranteed is at their in-boundary school for grades K-12.

Charter School vs. Public School
DCPS is the local, traditional public school system of Washington, DC. All DCPS schools are free to DC residents and every K-12 student who lives in Washington, DC has at least one right-to-attend DCPS school — a school where the student can enroll at any time. If a family wants to attend a DCPS school outside of their in-boundary school, they must apply via the My School DC lottery.

DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, open to all students, and they do not have selective entrance requirements. Public charter schools are independent from the traditional public school system. Students must complete a My School DC lottery application to request space at a participating public charter school.

If You Have Just Moved To DC
When a family is contemplating a move to the District, they should take the following steps:

Step 1: Determine your in-boundary school ( Once determined, families are encouraged to connect with the school and meet the principal and teachers or attend an Open House (

Step 2: If you want to explore your DCPS options beyond your in-boundary school, you can check out school profiles online, and download other resources at

Step 3: When a family is ready to enroll, they need to complete the DCPS enrollment packet, provide proof of DC residency, and then submit the enrollment packet to the school (

Key Events for the 2022-2023 Enrollment Season
In December, the 2021 DC EdFEST took place online and representatives from DCPS and public charter schools showcased their programs for families looking to know more about the city’s public school options for grades PK3-12. Immediately following EdFEST, the My School DC lottery for school year 2022-2023 opened.

The application deadline for Grades 9-12 is February 1, 2022 and the deadline for Grades PK3-8 is March 1, 2022. The lottery results will be announced on Friday, April 1, and enrollment opens for school year 2022-2023 that same day. For the deadline for lottery enrollment and other School Year 2022-2023 key dates, see the website at

If families have any questions, they can contact the DCPS Enrollment Team at, call us at 202-478-5738, or submit a question via and we will respond within two business days. (Above information supplied by DCPS.)