SCS General Choice Transfers Guide
If you’re not happy with your zoned (neighborhood) Shelby County School, you’re not stuck with it! In 2016, over 9,100 applications were made through the General Choice Transfer process (an almost 50% increase over the prior year!), and 73% of applicants received their first or second choice school.
Let’s start with the basics…
What: The General Choice Transfer process is for those families who want their student(s) to attend an SCS school that they’re not zoned for. Here’s Shelby County Schools’ official page about the process. This can include schools that have Traditional programs alongside Optional programs, but the General Choice Transfer process only allows you to apply for a spot in the school’s Traditional program. (If you’re interested in a spot in an Optional program, you need to use the Optional enrollment process.)
When: In 2017, the first-come, first-served application process will begin at 10 am on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 . The priority period will end March 24, 2017. SCS intends to send notifications via email in time for early registration in May. SCS will continue taking transfer applications up through the first week of the new school year. However, any applications received after March 24 may or may not be processed before school is out in May.
Who: General Choice Transfers are open to all residents of Shelby County and surrounding areas, with priorities in place to accommodate school-based employees, siblings of students already in the school, and students assigned to other SCS schools (full details on priorities). If your child is already in a school on a General Choice Transfer, you do not have to participate in the application process again. However, please note that siblings of students who are already in a school via General Choice Transfers do not automatically get a spot in that school – they do get priority over many other applicants, but you still have to submit a General Choice Transfer application. Also, if you have already applied for a transfer into an Optional School you’re not zoned for, but are not sure your child will get in for reasons of space or eligibility, you can (and should) submit a General Choice Transfer application as a backup, if you still want them in that school, even if they don’t qualify for an Optional classroom.
How: The application process will be completely online – there is no longer an in-person lineup at the school board office for General Choice Transfers, as there is for Optional transfers. However, applications are still considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so you will want to be online right when the process opens if you’re hoping for a spot in a coveted school. In past years, the following schools have fallen into that hard-to-get category: Belle Forest Community School, Bellevue Middle, Central High, Colonial Middle, Germanshire Elementary, Germantown High, Grahamwood Elementary, Richland Elementary, Whitehaven High, White Station Middle School, and White Station High School.
The week before the application process opens, SCS will post a list of schools that have spaces available (though not a number of open seats). If there are two schools that you would be happy with, you can list that many choices. But be aware that if your first choice is full, and your second choice is not, you will be given your second choice school, and NOT be put on a waiting list for your first choice. If you do not indicate a second choice, you’ll be put on a waiting list for your first choice school, and in some cases, a spot may open up at that school over the summer (or even in the first week of school).
Because this is a first-come, first-served online process, you’ll want to make plans to have a reliable internet connection when you apply. While it might be easier (and faster) to type in all the info at a computer, plenty of parents use mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets to apply, and it works just the same. SCS will have computers available at several locations that parents can use, and in-person assistance at some of those locations on opening day of the enrollment window.
What You Need
The only info you may not know off the top of your head is your child’s Social Security number or state ID number, so make sure to round that up ahead of time. If your child doesn’t have a Social Security number, contact your child’s current school to get a PIN number. If you’re an SCS employee trying to transfer your child to your school, you’ll also need your employee ID number. If you’re having someone else fill out the form for you, make sure they also have all your contact info, your child’s birth date and grade level, and of course, your school choices.
After You Hit Submit
You’ll be required to provide an email address in order to submit your application. After you submit, you’ll get an email confirmation, but you will not receive a number showing where you are in line at that school.
When You’ll Hear
The SCS Student Services office is reporting that anyone who submits an application during the priority period (2/14/17-3/24/17) will receive notification before the end of the school year. All communications will come via email, so keep an eye on your inbox. You can call the Attendance and Discipline department at 901-416-6007 if you have questions, but no answers on transfer decision will be given until all applications have been processed.
If You Don’t Get In
If you are unsuccessful in the initial round of student assignments, you will want to contact the Student Services office immediately to work with them on an appeal or getting assigned to another school. Your best bet is to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (901-416-8476) them a letter explaining your situation and requesting assistance. While a school’s principal might be able to give you an idea of whether they have space or not, they cannot grant admission – that must happen through the Student Services office. Their staff works throughout the summer to contact families and place students, but if you reach out first, you’re more likely to get dealt with first and get a spot you’re happy with. Wait-listed parents have been known to be contacted as late as the first week of school (as spots opened up because of students who decided to enroll elsewhere), so if you’re really dying for a spot in a certain school and are willing to be make a last-minute switch, you could end up getting your preferred school.
Did we miss anything? Let us know!