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Open Enrollment Schools


Open Enrollment schools within Hamilton County Schools can vary from year to year. A minimum of two weeks prior to opening the School Choice Lottery Application, HCS will post the schools, grade levels, and the number of seats available for the upcoming school year. Families must fill out a School Choice Application within the application timeline to be in the lottery, be added to the waitlist, or to be considered for one of these Open Enrollment seats.

How do I apply for Open Enrollment?

Families interested in HCS Open Enrollment Schools must fill out an application through the PowerSchool Parent Portal. The application timeline is here.

Application, Selection, and Admissions Processes for Choice Lottery Schools

  • Admission to Choice Schools/programs is on a space-available basis through the application. The application period runs annually from mid-November through January 31. Seats will be first filled by those applications received during the official application period. Applications may be filled out online at

  • Open Enrollment seats are not available to Out of County or Out of State families unless there is no waitlist in the grade level desired. Families residing outside the district who choose to attend an HCS school are required to pay tuition (set by the school board annually). There could be additional expenses depending on each family's situation.

  • In the event there are more applicants than available seats, a lottery will be used to assign students a seat number according to their choice(s) indicated on their application. Any further openings are filled first from the waitlist. Waitlists expire on the first day of school of each school year and are not carried over to future years.

  • If there is space available, children of full-time staff members may attend the choice school where their parent/guardian works full-time, but a choice school application must be completed.

  • Incomplete applications will not be processed. Falsifying any information on the choice lottery application automatically disqualifies the application. Duplicate applications will be voided.

  • Placement to any choice school is not confirmed until the parents/guardians accept the offered seat within 7 business days of the offer.
  • Once enrolled at the desired choice school, the student must remain at the school for the entire school year unless a Zero Tolerance offense occurs. Any other requests for a transfer during the school year must be approved by the Chief of Opportunity & Access or their designee.

Sibling Preference at Open Enrollment Schools

  • Definition of sibling for preference at Open Enrollment Schools - brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, or stepsister of a student currently enrolled at applying magnet and resides at the same address of the currently enrolled student. This does NOT include aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. In cases involving joint custody, legal documentation is required.

  • Sibling Status: If space is available and a choice lottery application has been completed, siblings are accepted into the choice school in which their brother or sister currently attends.

  • Current families will be given a Sibling Identification Form to notify the school of incoming sibling student(s). All families must complete the choice application process by January 31 to be eligible for sibling priority.

  • The sibling preference is not considered until the currently enrolled student has been at Magnet or Open Enrollment school for one year and both the student and the parent(s) have successfully met the school’s requirements.

  • Multiple Births: If during the lottery, one twin or triple is drawn and receives a seat, then the other sibling(s) will have an automatic entrance for that year.



There are no deferrals in Open Enrollment. If you decline the seat offer your student will be removed from that school’s list.

Student Status for Open Enrollment

  • After enrolling at an Open Enrollment school, the Open Enrollment student is not eligible to transfer to his/her zone school until the following school year. They may apply to a choice school when the next application period opens for the following school year. The Office of School Choice may make exceptions to this policy. All students who attend the first day of school are expected to remain in the choice school for the entire school year.
  • Feeder Patterns

Upon reaching the last year in your Open Enrollment choice school, families who want to stay in the feeder pattern must apply for the next school.

  • Example: Magnet students at Normal Park will need to apply for Open Enrollment(if available) or a FRI to attend Red Bank HS.
  • Or- Open Enrollment - Students entering at East Hamilton MS via Open Enrollment would need to apply during their 8th-grade year for Open Enrollment(if available) or a FRI at East Hamilton HS if it is offered.
  • Or - Open Enrollment - Student enters Loftis MS via Open enrollment, that family would need to apply for either Hixson HS or Soddy Daisy HS Open Enrollment (if available) or a FRI to stay in that feeder pattern if it is offered.
  • If a zone student at a choice school moves out of the zone and wishes to continue at that choice school the following year, they must complete a choice lottery application to enter the lottery process.
  • Student athletes who transfer from a zone or any School Choice option to another zone, magnet school, Open Enrollment school, or Future Ready Institute will fall under the TSSAA and TMSSA transfer guidelines.
  • Hardships to a school that offers Open Enrollment seats are less likely to be considered. Families should always apply through School Choice Application if available.
  • If an Open Enrollment student fails a grade, they may return to the same choice school the following school year to repeat that grade on academic probation. The school and the family should meet to set up a plan for success for that student. If they fail for a second year, all stakeholders should meet to discuss a plan that is best for that student.

* Each of our school’s goals is to create a welcoming environment to all families and to work with them as a team. When it comes to individual struggles we encourage our schools and families to come together for a plan of action to support issues like academics, behavior, attendance or social emotional issues.

* Attendance is incredibly important to a student's success.  If they miss school, they miss learning.  We believe students gain the most from being in front of our instructors.  Attendance is a responsibility of both the parents and the student, and we understand that circumstances do come up in the game of life.  When it does, please know we are here to partner with you.  Eight unexcused absences or ten unexcused times of being late to school is considered excessive absences/tardiness.  This could jeopardize your child's Open Enrollment seat.  Early dismissals must be kept to a minimum.  Parents that bring their child to school should arrive no earlier or depart any later than your school's start and end times.  If the school determines that any child is being consistently dropped off early or picked up late, the parent must enroll their elementary child in a before/after school program such as Hamilton County School Age Child Care Program (SACC) at the parent's expense.   Failure to meet any of these expectations could result in loss of School Choice seat, Tiered Attendance meetings, calls/visits from social worker, or even court

Transportation for Open Enrollment Students

Transportation is not provided for students who accept an Open Enrollment seat. Transportation is the responsibility of the family.

TCA 49-2-128
Section 49-2-128 - Policy to provide for an open enrollment period for transfer to schools with available space

(a) Before the start of each school year, an LEA shall identify each school that, based on the school's capacities at the building, grade, class, and program levels, has space available to enroll and serve additional students. In determining available space at the class level, an LEA may use the class size averages specified in § 49-1-104.

(b)(1) An LEA shall post the number of spaces available for enrollment in each school by grade, class, and program levels on the LEA's website at least fourteen (14) days before the beginning of the open enrollment period under subsection (c). An LEA shall not include in the number of spaces available for enrollment under this subdivision (b)(1) the number of enrollment spaces that are reserved by the LEA pursuant to subdivision (b)(2).

(2) An LEA may reserve a reasonable number of enrollment spaces each school year from the number of spaces, if any, determined by the LEA to be available for enrollment for purposes of this section, to accommodate the potential enrollment of students who may relocate within the respective school zone, students who may have a sibling enrolled at the respective school, and students who may have a parent who teaches at the respective school.

(c) Before the start of each school year, each LEA shall conduct an open enrollment period of at least thirty (30) days during which a parent or guardian of a student residing within the LEA may apply for enrollment of the parent's or guardian's student in a school that the student is not zoned to attend. During the open enrollment period, a parent or guardian may submit an application for transfer to a school identified by the LEA as having space available to enroll and serve additional students.

(d) At the end of the open enrollment period, an LEA shall approve an application for transfer if space is available for the student at the requested school. If the number of applications for transfer to a school exceeds the number of spaces available for enrollment in the school at the building, grade, class, or program level, as identified by the LEA according to subsection (b), then the LEA shall conduct a lottery to select the students who may transfer to the school.

(e) If an LEA grants a transfer to a student, then the parent or guardian of the student is responsible for transportation to the new school. The student must maintain satisfactory attendance, behavior, and effort to remain in the new school.

(f)(1) An LEA shall not deny a student who is zoned to attend or who was enrolled in a school during the previous school year enrollment and attendance in the school.

(2)(A) An LEA shall not admit a nonresident student seeking to transfer into the LEA from outside the LEA under §§ 49-6-3104 and 49-6-3105 before all applications for transfer under subsection (c) have been acted upon according to subsection (d).

(B) Notwithstanding subdivision (f)(2)(A), an LEA may enroll a nonresident student pursuant to § 49-6-3113 before all applications for transfer under subsection (c) have been acted upon according to subsection (d).

T.C.A. § 49-2-128

Amended by 2021 Tenn. Acts, ch. 479,s 1, eff. 5/18/2021.Added by 2013 Tenn. Acts, ch. 411,s 1, eff. 7/1/2013.