VOL. 133 | NO. 21 | Monday, January 29, 2018
Online SCS Optional/Open Enrollment Marks End of Campouts
By Bill Dries
When the Shelby County Schools system begins taking applications for optional schools and open enrollment at any school with space Monday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m., it will be without a row of tents outside its headquarters on Hollywood Street.
The enrollment process is all online this year on the SCS School Choice page.
As long as there was a paper application for optional schools handed out by the school system – even ones with bar codes on them – the overnight vigils and line-tending by some parents persisted. SCS leaders tried various measures to stop the campouts and said 99.9 percent of those who applied got into their first choice of schools in the process.
A year ago, the optional school applications were handed out starting at 6:30 a.m. in deference to the campouts in what was usually cold weather. The application process for optional schools was separate from the applications for open enrollment in any school with available space for students who don’t live in a school’s attendance zone. The open enrollment, or “general choice transfers,” went online in 2015.
For parents who don’t have internet access, they can apply at their child’s school, the Parent Welcome Center at SCS headquarters or Memphis Public Libraries.
A student can apply for two general choice options and/or two optional schools. An email confirms the date and time of applications. The deadline to apply is March 9.
The general choice openings are filled on a first-come basis. The optional schools have entrance requirements.
There are 52 SCS optional school programs including the second academic year of East High School’s transition to a T-STEM high school – a transportation-focused science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum.
At the outset of the application process, the school system showed 7,092 transfer spaces in optional programs. Most were in the first year of elementary, middle and high school with 1,795 spaces for ninth-graders, 1,261 for sixth-graders and 729 for first-graders.
A total of 139 schools had open enrollment space, with 29 having a limited availability of places.