2021-2022 School Choice - Frequently Asked Questions
Parents: Please note that this document will be updated as questions are continuously received and deemed useful to this process. Content within this FAQ is subject to change.
1. What is School Choice?
Each school-aged child in Charleston County is assigned to a neighborhood school based on grade level and home address. In addition, CCSD offers specialized programs, magnets, and charter schools to which students can apply.
2. Which schools in Charleston County are choice schools?
Visit our Choice Schools page for a list of CCSD’s choice schools.
3. Who can apply for a choice school?
All students residing in Charleston County are eligible to apply. Out-of-county residents can apply also, but if accepted, pursuant to Policy JFAB, they are required to meet student property ownership requirements in Charleston County and pay tuition if the families will not relocate to the county. Residency verification is due by June 30, 2021.
4. How do I apply for a charter school that is not currently using the CCSD online application?
Please visit the website of the charter school in which you are interested o learn more about their individual application processes. Note that the application timeline for these charter schools may not be the same as the CCSD application timeline.
5. Can I apply to a Choice school if I do not currently live in Charleston County?
Yes, students may apply for magnet/choice school opportunities; however, it is required that property within Charleston County is owned in the student’s name with a tax assessed value of $300.00 or more and a tuition is charged.The tuition is paid each year the student attends the school.
Families not currently living in Charleston County but with intent to move to Charleston County may apply during the application window (January 26, 2021 - February 26, 2021). Once accepted students must provide proof of Charleston County residency by June 30, 2021.
6. How do I know if a choice school is a good fit for my student?
It is important that parents explore the options offered by their neighborhood schools as a first step, before submitting an application to one or more choice schools. Likewise, it is critical that parents understand the focus or theme of the choice school and how it is implemented in the school. Parents must consider information such as the limitations of transportation provided to choice schools and the grade levels served by choice schools.
7. How do I apply to a choice school for my student?
The online application is easy to complete and can be accessed from the CCSD website. For assistance, call the CCSD School Choice Office (843) 937-6582, call the school for which you are applying, or attend/participate in one of the Application Assistance nights that will be available. If a paper application is preferred, the paper application may be printed from the district website or can be picked up at one of seven designated schools. Please refer to the CCSD School Choice website for the list of designated application receiving schools. All applications submitted during the designated application window will receive equal consideration regardltess of the date they are submitted or the method of application.
8. How do I find my student's CCSD ID number?
If you have a student already attending a CCSD school, you can access your student's ID number by signing onto Parent Portal. This also provides you access to your student's grades, attendance and discipline. You will be asked for the student ID number at the beginning of the application process.
9. How do I know if my online application is completed and submitted?
Online applications are not completed, submitted and eligible for acceptance until all the required fields (marked with a red * in your online application) have been completed and you click on the “Submit My Application” button on the final step of the application. You will receive an email confirming that your application was submitted as well as a message on the screen. The receipt of this confirmation email is the final step in the CCSD School Choice application process.
10. When a paper application is submitted, how will it be processed in the School Choice Lottery ?
All applicants (online and paper applications) will receive a follow-up confirmation communication in one of two ways: an immediate confirmation email after an online application is submitted OR a delayed confirmation email (up to a 7-Day delay) after the paper application is submitted. These additional days for processing the paper application are needed for the applicant’s information to be manually transferred into the online system by a trained CCSD employee. Entering all applications in the same system will ensure students have equitable opportunity for consideration in the general lottery process. Once the application is entered, applicants should receive an automatic email. Please note: The CCSD School Choice application process does not give “first come, first served” priority.
11. Where do I go for help completing an application?
CCSD will work with applicants to submit an application for the choice school/s for which they wish to be considered for up to five choices. Interested students and parents/guardians should consider attending the virtual Choice Fair for the school/s of interest or the general School Choice virtual event. See this School Choice website for virtual fair information or Parent Assistance nights information. If you are unable to attend one of these events, please call the CCSD School Choice Office at (843) 937-6582, or contact your current school counselor for additional assistance. Incomplete applications will not be able to be processed until all information is received before the application window closes.
12. What if I do not have access to a computer, mobile device or the internet, and cannot attend the virtual Choice Fair or one of the Application Assistance nights? Is there a paper application available?
The preferred application method is using the online option because the application is immediately processed; however, using either an online or a paper application does not provide an advantage for consideration for admission. Paper applications will be available upon request by contacting the CCSD School Choice Office at (843) 937-6582.
Please note that the school choice application process (online or paper submission) does not give first come, first served priority to applicants. All online applications and paper applications must be received by the deadline of February 28, 2020. Paper applications must be turned in to one of eight designated receiving sites.
13. Does the order in which I list the school's impact my applications? (Rank Ordering)
The order in which you choose the schools in the application indicates your first to last preference.
Please Note that the ranking of schools does not apply to the following schools: Academic Magnet HS, Buist Academy, Burke AP Academy, Early College HS, Charleston County School of the Arts, or Orange Grove Charter. If you are applying to any of these, it is suggested that they are listed last in your choice order.
14. Can I change the order of my schools selected after I started or submitted my application?
Yes, the simplest place to do that is from your dashboard by using the green arrows shown to move a school to a higher or lower position in your list. This is possible while applications are open.
15. How does the lottery work?
Applications completed and submitted are first reviewed by school administrators and determined if eligible for lottery.
There are different lottery categories depending on the choice school. Lottery implementation may include any of the following formats, depending upon the specific choice school:
- Fully randomized,
- Used for placement based on audition or rubric results, or
- Randomized based on priorities.
The results of a lottery run is an Accepted List and a Waiting List per grade for the particular choice school and based on the number of seats available per grade. All lotteries are run at the district office level using the Smart Choice system and results are disbursed to parents through that system by way of email and the parent dashboard.
16. What is the process for accepting or declining a seat at a choice school?
Notifications of acceptance will be sent to the email address used when submitting the application.
Applicants are only able to accept one (1) seat offer. Students cannot accept seat offers from multiple schools. In accepting a seat, applicants are confirming their decision regarding school choice for the 2021-2022 school year and relinquishing all other seat offers from magnet schools included in their application. Your position on the waiting list of any other schools that you applied for will be released upon accepting a seat.
17. What should I know about waiting lists?
If your student was NOT offered a seat but received a number in the lottery that is 150 or less and is on a waiting list at a school, your student will remain on the waiting list unless another CCSD magnet school seat is accepted. The online application system’s dashboard allows families to see their placement on waiting lists.
Waiting lists for all magnet schools will be capped at 150 students each. All waiting lists will remain in effect for the 2021-2022 school year (with the exception of Academic Magnet High School where the waiting list will be considered only until 10 days after the school year starts) They do not roll over from year-to-year, and a new application must be submitted.
18. What is the application period for the 2021-2022 school year?
Please refer to the Important Dates section on our Choice page for the complete schedule of important dates.
Remember that all applications will be given the same consideration regardless of when they are submitted during the application period, however applications cannot be submitted once the window closes.
Parents are allowed to choose up to five (5) school choice options in the application.
19. Will there be an opportunity to visit with the principals of CCSD magnet/charter schools? Is CCSD holding a Choice Fair this year?
Yes, on January 30, 2021 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm , CCSD will hold a virtual Choice Fair. All choice schools will be presenting to share information about their schools and provide parents an opportunity to virtually meet the principal and ask questions they may have.
Registration to attend the virtual choice fair will be required. Please see our CCSD School Choice website for the registration form or other choice fair information.
Spanish assistance will be available upon request at the Choice Fair sites.
20. Do choice schools offer school tours?
Yes, many schools are currently offering virtual tours and virtual open house opportunities. Please visit the websites of the schools that interest you to access information, dates and times, and to learn how to schedule tours.
21. If my student is already in a magnet/choice school, do I need to re-apply for the coming school year?
Once approved, a student no longer needs to re-apply each year for that school and program. The student may remain enrolled until completing the grades offered at that school.
Please Note: If a Constituent District rezoning causes a student to be assigned to another “home school”, he/she must then apply to remain at the partial magnet school he/she had been attending.
22. Is transportation provided to magnet/choice schools?
Transportation to a CCSD magnet/choice school is provided from centralized bus stops. This is not the same pick up process as for students attending their "home" attendance zone school.
- CCSD does not transport students younger than 4 years old.
- Centralized locations are used for magnet/choice school bus stops and could be as far as five miles from your home in commercial or unsupervised areas within the designated constituent district. (See chart below.)
- These are parent assisted bus stops and are not intended to be stops to which most students can walk or be left unattended.
- For most efficient routing, riders may be pooled with a wide range of age groups on the same bus.
This should be considered when submitting an application for a magnet school. Detailed information regarding specific routes will be available near the beginning of school when routes are developed. Also please note, charter schools handle their own transportation and you should contact them directly if you are applying for a charter school and have questions related to transportation.
Countywide Transportation Provided
Charleston Progressive Academy
Memminger IB World School
Mitchell Math & Science
Academic Magnet High
Early College High
Military Magnet Academy
Burke AP Academy
Constituent District 1
Constituent District 2
James B. Edwards
Constituent District 3
James Island, Charleston
Constituent District 4 North Charleston, Ladson
North Charleston Creative Arts
Malcolm C. Hursey
Malcolm C. Hursey
Constituent District 9
John’s Island, Wadmalaw Island
Murray LaSaine Montessori
Constituent District 10
Montessori Community School
Ashley River Creative Arts
St. Andrew's Math & Science
Constituent District 20
Charleston Progressive Academy
Memminger IB World School
James Simons Montessori
Burke Advanced Placement Academy
Constituent District 23
Hollywood, Ravenel, Edisto Island
E.B. Ellington Advanced Studies
Montessori Community School
Transportation for Charter Schools
Transportation provided as the charter directs. Please visit each charter school’s website for additional information.
Transportation for James Island Charter High School:
Per South Carolina Code of Laws and the James Island Charter High School By-Laws, James Island Charter High School is only required to transport students who are assigned to Attendance Zone 3, which is James Island and Folly Beach. Transportation for open enrollment students is the responsibility of the parents or guardians. However, as seating and funding are available, open enrollment students may have access to Magnet Bus Transportation based on a first come first served basis giving preference to students’ grade level. There is a fee for this service. Please complete the Choice Bus Application Form via the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/VWWIuFyaJldZJteB2
Transportation for Orange Grove Charter:
Transportation is provided for students who live in the school's original attendance zone. A map of the original zone and the current bus stops are listed on the school website at www.orangegrovecharter.com.
Transportation for East Cooper Montessori Charter:
Transportation is not provided for students attending East Cooper Montessori Charter School.
Transportation for Carolina Voyager Charter:
Transportation to and from Carolina Voyager is the responsibility of our parents. We regret that we are not able to provide bus transportation.
Transportation for Allegro Charter:
Transportation is not provided for students attending Allegro Charter School.
Transportation for Greg Mathis Charter HS:
Transportation to Greg Mathis Charter HS is arranged by the school. Please contact the school for more information.
24. Is there any consideration for siblings of students who already attend a choice school?
The School Choice application will collect information regarding siblings of currently attending students at choice schools. This information will be verified by the school and, when applicable, be prioritized within the lottery process.
Countywide admissions criteria magnets do not have sibling priorities. (However, Buist Academy does maintain a sibling waiting list that does not roll over from year to year and is capped at 150 students like other magnet schools.) All other Choice schools give priority to siblings as space is available. Families must submit applications for all siblings wishing to attend the Choice school.
25. If I am an active member of the military, can I apply to choice schools?
Yes, you may apply during the designated application window. If you arrive in Charleston and/or receive orders for Charleston after the application window closes you may still apply by using the Military Family application posted on the CCSD website. After the application window has closed, your application will be subject to choice school seat availability. Admissions criteria are applicable for Academic Magnet HS, Burke AP Academy, Buist Academy and Charleston County School of the Arts.
26. How do I upload or replace an uploaded document?
In the “Choose File” Click to open. This will give you the option to choose your file from the documents in your computer. If you are using your phone device, you can also UPLOAD documents from your download feature on your phone.
After you locate your document, click on “Open”.
After you have uploaded your document you can Click “Continue” or “Save and Exit” button if you have already submitted your Application and you are simply uploading the required documents. Your documents will automatically be saved to your “Application.”
NOTE: If you are “UPLOADING” documents while completing your “Application”
they will not be submitted and eligible for acceptance until you return to the
“Submit My Application” button on the final step.
School Choice Office