School of Choice and Open Enrollment Info for Oakland County Schools
Many of the questions I’m asked about frequently are in regards to School of Choice and Open Enrollment options and policies for schools in Oakland County. Most of the questions are in regards to open enrollment dates of specific school districts, placement and why local parents seek School of Choice.
School of Choice in Oakland County is for parents who want to select a school outside of their district. The school of choice provisions are designed to allow local school districts to enroll non-resident students. In most cases, School of Choice applications are accepted after students in their home district are enrolled or taken care of. Some school districts in Oakland County do not allow for outside districts to participate in School of Choice for their district.
Open Enrollment in Oakland County is for parents who want to stay in their current school district but not necessarily their “home” or neighborhood school.
I have some experience with Open Enrollment for Oakland County Schools as both of my children are enrolled at an elementary school that is not their “home” school but within our home district (Rochester Community Schools).
Parents have many reasons for selecting a particular school over their home school. In my case, my choice for my son’s school being outside of my neighborhood was due to finding the best possible fit for him after he was diagnosed with Aspberger’s Syndrome. I did some thorough research to find what I felt was a correct fit for him in regards to a specialized program. I found the school we chose to be excellent and was able to enroll my daughter for the same school. Of course, attending an outside school in our district meant that bussing was not available to us and I have to provide transportation. Transportation is a large issue to consider if you are seeking Open Enrollment or School of Choice.
The enrollment rules for School of Choice in Oakland County vary widely from district to district. School districts that participate in School of Choice often have limits and also vary what grades are first allowed to enroll. Dates for enrollment also vary greatly from district to district and it is extremely important to get the application process at the appropriate time in the calendar year. Some applications are only accepted over a 2 week period while some have a window of 6 months or more.
Rules for Open Enrollment for schools in Oakland County vary greatly as well. For example, in the Rochester Community Schools District, priority for available space is determined by the number of new applicants and whether or not siblings of students are currently enrolled at the requested school. In most cases, students currently on open enrollment who wish to remain at their open enrollment school do not need to re-apply annually. The student will remain at the open enrollment school unless the office of Student Enrollment is notified, by the parent, to move the student back to the home school. Parents will need to apply for open enrollment again when their child changes levels (i.e. elementary to middle school, or middle school to high school). As is the case with School of Choice, the dates for Open Enrollment widely vary and are at different months of the year depending on the Oakland County School District. In some cases, parents seeking Open Enrollment may feel like they are waiting in line outside of a store moments before a big sale. Knowing the dates and the process is extremely important.
If you are considering either School of Choice or Open Enrollment, I highly suggest thorough research. Find contacts at schools you’re interested in and ask away! I set up a directory of Oakland County School Districts to help. Also, Oakland County Schools has an excellent resource page for the School of Choice process including contact persons and enrollment deadline dates.