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Selection Criteria for Applications

The Orange County Schools uses the following priorities to process discretionary transfer requests

In processing discretionary transfer requests and/or requests for discretionary admission to an open or limited  capacity school, the administration shall fill seats in the following order of priority.  All applicants in each order of  priority will be seated before any applicants in the next order of priority.  If there are​ ​not enough seats at the school and/or grade level to accommodate all of the applicants in the same order of priority, seats for that order of priority will be assigned by random lottery, and a wait list will be generated for the remaining applicants.   

Order of Priorities: Open & Limited Capacity Schools*

Space available at each level will be filled prior  to moving to the next level of priority:

  1. Current Orange County Schools students already in attendance at the school requested who are requesting that they be allowed to remain at that school under Policy 4125.3. 
  2. Current Orange County Schools students requesting reassignment to a school attended by a sibling. 
  3. Current Orange County Schools students who have requested and been admitted to a district­approved calendar choice or specialized academic program as designated by the superintendent or designee. (Admission is conditioned upon the student’s actual participation in the program request). 
  4. Students whose parents or legal guardians are “full­time” employees of the Board as defined in section I of Policy 4120.3 and are requesting a transfer to the school where the parent­employee works.  (If the parent­employee works at multiple schools, priority shall be afforded only for the primary work site). 
  5. Other current Orange County Schools students requesting reassignment. 
  6. Out­of­district students requesting discretionary admission.  (Note:  out­of­district students seeking initial enrollment are eligible only for schools designated “open” under this policy.) 

Requests that do not meet any of these criteria, including capacity restrictions, will be denied by the administration 
but may be appealed to the Board of Education pursuant to section 4125.5 of this policy. 

*Hillsborough Elementary Year-Round Program 

Hillsborough Elementary School does not have a base attendance zone and the first priority for students to be assigned at HES for 2017-2018 will be those students already attending Hillsborough Elementary during the 2016-2017 school year.  Incoming Kindergarten siblings of students already attending Hillsborough Elementary School will be accepted into the school prior to other families requesting re-assignment at Hillsborough.   Students moving into the Orange County Schools after the school year has started may request admission into Hillsborough Elementary School only if space is available and the student has already been in attendance for the 2017-2018 school year at another year-round program.  Students requesting admission to Hillsborough Elementary School must meet all other enrollment and eligibility criteria.

Random Lottery for Seating Discretionary Transfer Applicants

Requests for discretionary transfers will be filled by priority level in accordance with Policy 4125.B.3.  If there are more applicants than seats available at any particular school or grade level for any particular priority level, Policy 4125.B.3 provides that applicants will be seated by random lottery.  The following procedures will be used to ensure that the lottery process is random and fair:

  • Each student will be considered individually and assigned to his or her appropriate priority level before the selection process begins.
  • Students who qualify for more than one priority level will be assigned to the highest priority level that applies.
  • Each student will be assigned a randomly generated number, which will be entered into the random drawing.  Names, addresses, and other personal or identifying information will not be used or consulted during the random drawing.
  • Random selections will be made electronically (e.g., random number generation) or by physical process (e.g., drawing paper slips that list the randomly assigned student identifiers).  The specific process used each year must be pre-approved by the superintendent or designee.
  • No application will be given any added weight as compared with other applications in the same priority level. All valid applications at the same priority level will have an equal chance of being selected during any draw.
  • At least three employees will be present to oversee the selection process and ensure that these procedures are followed.
  • A record will be maintained of all numbers entered and selected in the random drawing.
  • A separate record will be maintained with a key matching each randomly generated number entered into the lottery with the identity of the students entered.  The key will not be used or consulted during the random drawing itself.

Wait Lists

As required by Policy 4125.B.3, a wait list will be maintained for any valid requests for discretionary transfer that cannot be filled because of capacity limitations.  All applicants will automatically be assigned a place on the wait list unless they notify that administration that they wish to withdraw their applications.  Should additional seats become available after the conclusion of the lottery process, applicants will be contacted in the order appearing on the wait list to be offered the available seats.  If offers are declined or the parents or guardians do not respond within three (3) business days, each available seat will be offered to the next applicant listed on the wait list until all available seats are filled or declined.

The wait list for applicants to Hillsborough Elementary School will be maintained until the fifth day of the upcoming school year, at which time it will be dissolved.  The wait list for applicants to all other schools will be maintained until the first day of the upcoming school year, at which time it will be dissolved.  A high placement on the wait list will not result in any preference for future transfer requests.

For more information, please contact your child's school or:

Michelle Dodson, Student Assignment Specialist

Student Assignment Office
919-732-8126 ext: 12512
Email: michelle.dodson@orange.k12.nc.us