Newsroom

'12 Days of School Choice': How does the 'wait list' work?

posted Dec 26, 2019, 4:09 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 11:11 AM by Bruce Richards ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the second of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 

The school choice "lottery period" from Jan. 13 to Feb. 9 seems like pretty anxious stuff. You fill out a school choice application, and you have to wait a month or longer to find out if your child would get offered a spot at their chosen school. On Feb. 27, parents will be notified if their child won a spot at their chosen school, and if they didn't, they'll be added to a "wait list."

Though it seems stressful to consider that your child will not get selected, we want to assure you, it's not the end of the world

Why would I get put on a wait list?
School choice applications are accepted from January to August, and as part of that process is the "lottery period" from Jan. 13 to Feb. 9. That "lottery period" provides parents the best chance for their child to win enrollment at their chosen school. View our previous post about the lottery process to learn more about how the school choice lottery works.

However, it’s an unfortunate reality that not every child will win a spot at their school of choice. Some schools are more popular than others, and as a result, only limited space is available. When there are more applicants than open spots in a certain grade at a particular school, children not selected during the lottery process are put on to a wait list for that school.

Can my child still win enrollment at their chosen school despite being on the wait list?
YES! While your child does not have a 100% chance of winning enrollment at his/her chosen school after being placed on a wait list, the odds are pretty close.

Last year, 90% of school choice applicants that were placed on wait lists were offered spots at their chosen school before the start of the new school year in August. So, if your child doesn't win a spot during the lottery period, you can exhale, as your child's chances at being offered a spot at their chosen school are still pretty high.

If you applied during the Jan. 13 to Feb. 9 lottery period, 96% of those applicants were offered spots at their chosen school, meaning just four percent were placed on wait lists.

Those are high odds, so try not to panic as that Feb. 27 notification date comes close. Chances are, your child will be offered a spot, and furthermore, even if they're placed on a wait list, there's still a very high chance they will win a spot before the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Wait lists do not operate chronologically by date
Let's say you're reading this and it's past the Feb. 9 "lottery period" deadline. If you missed that deadline, you didn't miss your window by any means.

Any school choice application turned in after Feb. 9 results in your child being put on a wait list. Even then, 90% of those are still offered spots at their chosen school.

The way names are selected from wait lists are by random, with preference given to students that meet certain criteria, such as living inside of District 60 boundaries, or applying to join the same the school as a sibling (See our previous blog post about which students receive preference and why). The wait list is not chronological, and does not operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

What this all means is that if you have a pretty good reason as to why your child should attend a certain school, chances are, you'll get selected for a spot at that school. Again, it's not a 100% chance, but it's close.

Great, I like my chances! How can I apply?
The process to apply to the school of your choice is actually quite easy. Find out more by reading our previous post about the application process.

Once the lottery window opens (after 8:00 a.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020, the school choice application will be available at  http://www.pueblocityschools.us/administration/departments/student-records-and-reporting/school-choice-info/apply-for-school-choice

If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us.

'12 Days of School Choice': Do I need to fill out a school choice request to keep my child in the same school?

posted Dec 26, 2019, 3:05 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 8:57 AM by Renee Hahn ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the 11th of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


The other parents are talking, and they seem frustrated.


“I can’t believe that I have to fill out a stupid school choice application just to keep my daughter in the same school!” 


The good thing is, that unless you are the parent of a 5th-grade child at Goodnight School (see below for more information) or a four-year-old in preschool, you do not have to re-apply for your child to stay at their current school. This parent you overheard was misinformed.


In fact, since the school choice process can be complicated, we advise that if you overhear other parents saying something fishy or seemingly unfair about the school choice process, call the District 60 School Choice Help Line at (719) 253-6014 for clarification or send email schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us. We have people here to help!


What about staying at Goodnight School for middle school?
Goodnight School is a neighborhood elementary school for many families in southwest Pueblo, but it also offers a middle school program for a limited number of students. Students living in Pueblo and currently attending Goodnight in fifth grade will be expected at their neighborhood middle school for sixth grade in the next school year. (See this boundary map to identify your neighborhood middle school).  Goodnight is not a neighborhood middle school.

Parents who wish to have their child continue at Goodnight for middle school must submit a school choice application to be considered for a spot.  Students currently attending Goodnight will receive preferential consideration over those who are attending elsewhere.  If a child wins a spot in sixth grade, they may continue to grades 7 and 8 without participating in the school choice process in subsequent years.

If you have further questions about the school choice process, check out our blog posts below, email schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us  or call the District 60 School Choice Help Line at (719) 253-6014.

12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': Which applicants are given 'preference' in the school choice lottery?

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:58 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 11:04 AM by Bruce Richards ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the 10th of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


The 1994 Public Schools of Choice law in Colorado allows students to enroll in the school of their choice, provided that the student had transportation and that there’s room in their newly-chosen school


The law provided options to parents to enroll their child in the school of their choice, but that also created a situation in which some schools had more applicants than there were open spots at the school. As a result, a “lottery” must be held, in which names are randomly chosen to win enrollment at their choice school.


But what about people that logically have a greater claim to selected for enrollment at a school?


What if students want to enroll in the same school as their sibling, or is a pre-schooler that wants to remain at their school for Kindergarten, just to name a few?


They need to be given preference, and that’s why District 60 gives people in certain situations priority over others when it comes to being selected in lotteries.


In a show of transparency, here is the list of “weights” that show which individuals receive preference over others, in order of the highest preference. Please note: turning in a school application early DOES NOT give one child preference over another in terms of being selected in a lottery. 


Weights apply if a student:

  • Resides within the District boundary

  • Is continuing at their same school (especially for Goodnight School students)

  • Is returning to their “neighborhood school”

  • Has a sibling enrolled in the same school or same program

  • Is going from one STEM school to another

  • Is a Kindergartener who attended the same school as a preschooler

  • Travels less than 1.5 miles to and from school (for those choosing an IB school)

  • Pueblo residents returning to D60 after attending an out-of-district school

  • Siblings that are applying to the same school or program


If one of the above items describe you and your situation, you’ll automatically get an added extra nudge as it comes to being a lottery selection at your chosen school. 


Great, I like my chances! How can I apply?
The process to apply to the school of your choice is actually quite easy. Find out more by reading our previous post about the application process or by contacting the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us.

12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': Out-of-district transfers to District 60 schools

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:46 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 11:03 AM by Bruce Richards ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the ninth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


Pueblo School District 60 welcomes students from all over Pueblo County and beyond to transfer into District schools. Thanks to the school choice process, prospective out-of-district students have a pathway toward attending the District 60 school of their choice. 


Choosing your future school

Pueblo School District 60 has a variety of schools that cater to every student’s strengths. As long as you can make sure your child has transportation to school every day, you are more than welcome to submit an application for your child to attend a District 60 school.


We encourage you to take time in choosing a school to enroll your child. Don’t make a selection sight-unseen. For a thumbnail description, see our previous post about District 60's specialty schools, or simply contact a school and ask to visit. The school secretary will be more than happy to tell you about the school, or even provide a tour. 


What if I live in Pueblo, but previously attended an out-of-district school and want to come back?

We welcome Pueblo residents that want to “come home” and re-enroll at a District 60 school. As part of the school choice process, District 60 is allowed to give students and families in your situation an easier pathway to return by giving you preference. All students that apply into a school are entered into a lottery and names will be selected for any open spots at the school. If you live in Pueblo and want to come back, you have a bit of a better chance of having your name drawn than others. Learn more about the lottery process in one of our previous posts.


What’s the process to apply for my school of choice?

The process to apply to the school of your choice is actually quite easy. Find out more by reading our previous post about the application process or contacting the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us 


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': Your 5th or 8th grader at Parent Nights

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:38 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 11:01 AM by Bruce Richards ]


In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the eighth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


Are you a parent of a 5th or 8th-grader, and you were invited to a “Parent Night” for a different school?


Those events may seem like “orientations” and it seems implied that by being at a "Parent Night," your child is already enrolled in that school. However, that’s not the case. Parent Nights are intended to be for your information only, and no actual enrollment takes place.


If you’re a parent of a 5th or 8th grader about to move up to a new middle or high school, the only school in which you’re guaranteed a spot is in your neighborhood school. 


So, what is my ‘neighborhood school’?

In 2019, boundary maps were re-drawn so it’s important for all incoming students entering the 6th or 9th grades to know what their neighborhood school is. If you’re unsure of your neighborhood school, consult these maps:


For example, pretend your child is a student at Risley Academy. Risley students don’t all get fed into the same high school. Some are supposed to go to East High School, while others are supposed to go to Centennial or Central.


So for example, if you’re a parent of a Risley student and was invited to a parent night for East High School, if you live somewhere on the north side of the city, you’re probably supposed to go to Centennial. Your presence at the East parent night means nothing about your child’s enrollment, but you will have the opportunity to fill out your family’s school choice application there if you haven’t already done so.


So, that’s why finding out where your child is supposed to go is the first step.


What if I was impressed during a school’s ‘parent night’ and don’t want to go to my neighborhood school?

Then the school choice process is for you.


The process to apply to the school of your choice is actually quite easy. Find out more by reading our previous post about the application process or contacting the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us 


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': Can I use school choice for my incoming Kindergartener?

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:35 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 10:59 AM by Bruce Richards ]


In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the seventh of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


What school is my incoming Kindergartener supposed to attend?


It’s a question that many parents ask every year. The short answer: You are assigned a school based on your child’s primary home address. This school is your “neighborhood” school, and based on that home address, your child is assigned an elementary school, as well as a middle and high school.  


Most of the time, the elementary school that your child is supposed to attend is the one closest to your home, but that’s not always the case. To find out your child’s “neighborhood” elementary school, find your home on the Elementary school boundary map, or call the School Choice Help Line at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us.


Because of the school choice law, every parent has the option to enroll their child in the school of their choice, provided that there is enough room at that school.


As parents of an incoming Kindergartener, you also have the right, thanks to the school choice law, to enroll your child in the elementary school of your choice. 


Want to attend your neighborhood school?

If you’re pleased with your neighborhood school, you don’t have to do anything extra. A spot will be available for your child at their new school.


What if my child attends Pre-K at one school, but my ‘neighborhood school’ is a different school?

If you like your current Pre-K school, but your neighborhood school is different, then you will have to apply through the school choice process to continue at your current Pre-K school. That may be frustrating, but you can rest assured that your child will be given preference to win enrollment at your chosen school. 


While it’s not a 100 percent guarantee that you’ll be able to remain at child’s Pre-K school, the scale is at least tipped in your favor.


Need to apply for the school choice process?

The process to apply to the school of your choice is actually quite easy. If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us 


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': The rules behind high school athletic transfers

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:28 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Dec 26, 2019, 4:47 PM ]


In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the sixth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


By design, the school choice process is designed to be as simple and pain-free as possible. In a nutshell, school choice allows you to pick your child’s school, apply for enrollment, and essentially ride off into your educational sunset.


But if your child is currently a District 60 high school student that wishes to play sports at another District 60 school, there are transfer rules governed by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) that you need to be aware of. It’s easy to overlook a detail or two, only to find that your child isn’t eligible to play sports at their new school. Knowing the facts are key.


Ponder your high school transfer carefully, or you can’t play

CHSAA classifies high school transfers in one of three categories:

  • School choice: A student simply chooses to change schools, without changing his/her home address

  • “Bona fide” transfer: A family that moves into another school’s boundaries

  • “Hardship” transfer: A student doesn’t move and wishes to change schools, but presents a valid reason to transfer that doesn’t have anything to do with athletics. Fill out a hardship waiver and CHSAA will decide if your child will retain their eligibility.


Here’s the easy rule of thumb: If you are a “bona fide” or “hardship” transfer, you can immediately play at your new school. If you simply change schools because of school choice, you will be ineligible for 365 days. 


So if your son played varsity football at one school his sophomore year, then simply wanted to attend another school through the school choice process, he will not be eligible to play football for his junior season.


Why so many rules?

High school sports is a big moneymaker for school budgets, and winning a state championship sometimes elevates entire communities and brings in fundraising dollars. As a result, some bad actors might game the system to build their team into a champion. Schools cannot “recruit” from other schools for the purpose of athletics, and if guilty schools are caught, their entire program could lose eligibility for a state championship. The transfer rules help eliminate any loopholes. 


Did we mention that there are ‘many rules’?

The simple breakdown above about the types of high school transfers don’t tell the whole story. The CHSAA bylaws (a 147-page document) spends 11 pages of “legalese” explaining the details of the transfer system. It’s not 147 pages, but it’s still heavy reading to understand. 


If you are going to transfer, contact your school’s activities director, and they will help. Or, look at the latest CHSAA bylaws yourself (https://www.scribd.com/document/439411003/2019-20-CHSAA-Bylaws#fullscreen&from_embed) and go to Article 18, starting on page 53. And get a cup of coffee and a notebook to parse through it.


If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': School choice for incoming middle and high school students

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:22 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 6, 2020, 10:57 AM by Bruce Richards ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the fifth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


One of the most confusing aspects of the school choice process is what to do if your child is set to enter the 6th or 9th grade in 2020-21. 


For most of District 60’s incoming 6th-graders or 9th-graders, you don’t have to do anything. Your child is automatically fed into their neighborhood school. You do not have to fill out a school choice application if you wish for your student to attend their neighborhood school. 


So, what is my ‘neighborhood school’?

In 2019, boundary maps were re-drawn so it’s important for all incoming students entering the 6th or 9th grades to know what their neighborhood school is. If you’re unsure of your neighborhood school, consult these maps:


If you have questions about your child’s neighborhood school and are thinking about trying to use the school choice process to go elsewhere, it is advised that you evaluate your child’s new school first. Take part in schools’ parent nights for incoming students to get to know the school better. 


If you still wish to attend a school outside of your neighborhood, you can enroll elsewhere through the school choice process. The process is easy and if you’re already a District 60 student, it should only take about five minutes. 


If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us.


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': D60's IB, STEM, Innovation and specialty schools

posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:20 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Jan 7, 2020, 11:34 AM ]



In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the fourth of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


One of the strengths of Pueblo School District 60 is that there is a school that caters to the strengths, interests, and needs of nearly every child. That is what school choice is all about - finding the school that best fits your child and best prepares them for the future.


It’s important to know as much as possible about the school you choose for your child, as each District 60 school has unparalleled strengths that set it apart. Some schools offer specialized  curricula and focus that may be the perfect fit for your child.


Of District 60’s 29 schools, six are classified as “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)” magnet schools, “Innovation” schools, or International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. There are also “speciality schools” that provide a more specific curriculum. 


Let’s learn about the strengths of each of these specialty schools, or for detailed descriptions, visit the School Options summary.


STEM Magnet schools

Elementary schools: Highland Park Elementary, Bessemer Academy

Middle schools: Roncalli STEM Academy

High Schools: Central High School


STEM is not simply an acronym, meaning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; rather a way of teaching and learning that yields critical 21st century skills such as critical thinking, inquiry, problem solving, creativity, innovation, and collaborative team work. From elementary school all the way up to high school, students at these schools are tasked to solve real-world problems in a hands-on, open-ended way.


Innovation schools

Elementary Schools: Irving Elementary, Minnequa Elementary, Franklin School of Innovation

Middle schools: Pueblo Academy of the Arts, Risley International Academy of Innovation, Roncalli STEM Academy.


Innovation schools are unique because they are allowed to implement unique and innovative strategies that best meet the needs of their students. 


International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools

K-3: Fountain International Magnet School

4th-8th: Corwin International Magnet School

High school: East International Baccalaureate Magnet School


International Baccalaureate (IB) programs provide a rigorous, high quality education that improves academic achievement. The most rigorous path of study offered in District 60, the IB program helps students improve their intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world, following a curriculum that is recognized worldwide. There are more than 573,000 IB students at 2,145 schools in 125 countries.


The IB curriculum is tailored from Kindergarten upward, culminating in an IB diploma that signals to colleges and employers that the student is a superior scholar. 


Other specialty schools

Eva Baca Elementary (PreK-5): A “No Excuses University,” the first in Colorado, which commits to college-readiness for its students. Each classroom is adopted by a major university.

Belmont Elementary (PreK-5): Demands high academic achievement for all students in a caring, nurturing and welcoming learning environment

Bradford Elementary (PreK-5): A technology-focused school, each student is issued a Chromebook. The school has a strong focus on positive behavior and school culture. 

Haaff Elementary (PreK-5): WIth a rigorous learning environment designed to challenge all students academically, Haaff has a specific focus on literacy and mathematics.

Goodnight School (PreK-8): District 60’s only K-8 school, Goodnight is a high-performance school with high expectations. As it pertains to school choice, please note all Goodnight 5th graders must fill out a school choice application in order to remain at the school in 6th grade. 

Heaton Middle School: With a focus on academics, arts and athletics, Heaton focuses on producing well-rounded students. 

Sunset Park Elementary (PreK-5): A Leader in Me school focused on empowering students with the leadership and life skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. Recognized as a Lighthouse School, Sunset Park is one of only ten schools in Colorado and less than 500 worldwide to earn this distinction. 


To learn more about each school in District 60, visit http://www.pueblocityschools.us/schools.

If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us.


12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

'12 Days of School Choice': About the 'School Choice Lottery'

posted Dec 24, 2019, 2:02 PM by Anthony Sandstrom   [ updated Dec 26, 2019, 4:26 PM ]


In an effort to inform District 60 parents and others about the school choice process, this is the third of 12 blog posts explaining the process and helping guide parents with helpful tips along the way. Open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year begins Jan. 13, 2020. 


When The Rolling Stones wrote their classic rock song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” it’s possible that it was about the realities of the school choice process.


Okay, probably not. 


However, it’s an unfortunate reality that not every child will win a spot at their school of choice. Some schools are more popular than others, and as a result, only limited space is available. 


Let’s pretend that 50 students want to enroll into “The Greatest School in Pueblo,” but because of building size and teacher availability, only 31 spots exist at that school. The only truly fair way to determine who gets one of those 31 spots is to have a “lottery.” 


During the school choice “open enrollment” process, many students get into their chosen school with no problem at all. If there’s any room at the school in which you applied, you’ll get in. It only gets complicated if there are more applicants than there are open spots. That’s when the “lottery” comes in.


How the lottery works


Once the School Choice lottery period ends on Feb. 9, 2020, each school that has more applicants than available spots will hold a lottery. 


However, it’s not as simple as throwing everybody’s name into a proverbial hat, and drawing a name at random. To foster educational continuity and convenience for families, preference is given to some applicants over others at each school.


Some examples of individuals that get preference over others include:


  • Individuals that reside within the District 60 boundaries (This is Colorado law)

  • Students returning to their neighborhood school after attending elsewhere

  • Children living near IB schools (less than 1.5 miles to and from that school)

  • Students with a sibling already expected at the selected school

  • For a complete list, check out our blog post about these preferences


It’s important to note that the lottery is not “first-come, first-served.” Whether you filled out your application on the first day of the School Choice lottery period or the final day, there is no difference in the chances of winning a seat in a preferred school..


Names will be drawn on Feb. 27, and you will be notified if your child has won a spot at your chosen school, or if he will be added to a waitlist.  Please be sure to monitor your email at the address you provided in the application at the end of February..


If you have more questions, read one of the blog posts below or contact the District 60 School Choice team at (719) 253-6014 or schoolchoice@pueblocityschools.us

12 Days of School Choice
#2: How do I apply? (Dec. 26, 2019)
#12: How does the wait list work? (Jan. 5, 2020)

1-10 of 16