The Optional Lineup Begins

Parents set up tents and pieces of furniture to hold their spots in the Optional Schools lineup.

Parents set up tents and pieces of furniture to hold their spots in the Optional Schools lineup.

In spite of the rain and near-freezing temps, about 50 parents have already secured their places in a line in front of the Shelby County Schools district office in hopes of getting a seat in their desired Optional School in the fall. Parents in line will get the first numbered applications when they’re handed out on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 a.m. At this point, most parents are in line for Maxine Smith STEAM Academy, an all-Optional middle school located in Midtown.

The Rules: The parent line leaders have established check-in times of 6 am, noon, 6 pm and 10 pm so that parents don’t have to stay there the whole time. You must hold your spot with a physical item labeled with your name. A single representative for each family must be present for each check-in time, but it does not have to be a family member.

In this interview on WREG, SCS Optional Schools Director Linda Sklar reminds parents that the vast majority of parents will get a school of their choice without camping out. (Applicants are allowed to list up to two school choices.) But that hasn’t deterred parents who have their heart set on a single school and are willing to brave the cold temps to have assurance that they’ll get that first choice. Students still have to qualify academically for most Optional programs (eligibility requirements are available at the end of the Optional Schools Handbook).

What do you think about first-come, first-served school enrollment systems? Let us know in this quick survey.

As a reminder, SCS will not officially begin handing out the bar-coded applications until 6:30 am on Monday, January 25 — learn more in our Optional Schools Guide. Open enrollment windows for non-Optional SCS schools and other districts begin soon. Check the Memphis School Guide Calendar for details.