The RSCO School Choice Application for the 2024-25 School Year is Open! Apply Now!

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Important Information

This section on our website provides the most critical information families should know for applying to school choice and includes, the placement process steps, strategies for applying, the placement rules, priority definitions, and other key information. Be sure to review these pages to make the most of your application. Application Assistance is always available through the RSCO Parent Resource Center, which you can reach Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm by phone at 860-713-6990 or by email at rsco.sde@ct.gov. Visit the Application Assistance or Contact pages for more information about contacting RSCO.

Application Timeline & Placement Process

We’ve developed a handy visual of the application and placement process for your reference to ensure you meet deadlines for the RSCO application and placements and understand what to expect through the application and placement process.

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* Hartford residents can decline their first Open Choice offer and remain eligible for a second Open Choice offer.

Strategies to Make the Most of
Your RSCO School Choice Application

There are certain tips and strategies to keep in mind to help ensure you submit your application with the best chance of a placement you want. Here are some tips to think about as you explore your options.

Pay Attention to Deadlines

  • Apply early for CTECS (by February 1, 2024) to take advantage of early CTECS placements.
  • Apply on-time for magnet schools and Open Choice (by March 15, 2024).
  • Respond by the deadline dates in placement notifications, including for student registration.

Make an Informed Decision

  • Before selecting a school or program, make sure it is a good fit for your family and consider the location and hours. For example, some schools charge tuition for preschool on a sliding scale based on family income, and some schools offer only half-day programming for PK3.
  • Take advantage of the special feature in the RSCO School Choice application that allows you to view the previous year’s number of applications compared to seat availability to assist you in your school and/or district selections. In general, the most seats available are at the entry grade of a school, but applicants can apply to non-entry grades as well based on eligibility.

Maximize Your Priorities

  • The information in your RSCO account is used to identify priorities, including enrolled sibling, staff, pathways, and other priorities. Check the priorities on each Student Profile to ensure that all your priorities are listed.
  • Most priorities apply only to the first-choice school. Make the school with a placement priority your first choice for the best chance of a placement.
  • If you are applying for twins or siblings in the same grade range, select the same schools in the same choice order on every application to increase the chance that they will be placed together in the same school.
  • CTECS Only: Apply to CTECS only to receive a CTECS Only priority if you are most interested in a CTECS placement. Families can add the other programs (magnets and/or Open Choice) to their application if they don’t receive a CTECS placement.
  • Open Choice Only: Apply to Open Choice only to receive an Open Choice Only priority if you are most interested in an Open Choice placement. Families can add the other programs (CTECS and/or magnets) to their application if they don’t receive an Open Choice placement.

To learn more about placement priorities and how they are applied to a school or district, go to the Placement Priorities web page.

Know the Placement Rules

  • Most applicants are eligible for only one placement offer. Be sure to select only schools or districts your child would like to attend.
  • Generally, your best chance of a placement offer is to the school or district you select as your first choice, but your child could receive placement at any school or district on your child’s application.
  • Keep in mind that if you apply to CTECS, magnet schools, and/or Open Choice, you are not able to indicate which program you prefer.
  • If you receive a magnet offer, your child is no longer eligible for another offer, including a magnet, Open Choice, or CTECS placement.
  • If you receive an Open Choice offer, your child is no longer eligible for a magnet or CTECS placement. Hartford residents who decline the first placement are eligible for a second Open Choice offer.
  • New for 2024–25: If you receive a CTECS offer, your child is no longer eligible for another offer, including a magnet, Open Choice, or CTECS placement.
  • You have the option to apply to one or all school choice programs that best fit the interest of your child and needs of your family. You should apply only to schools and programs you would like your child to attend.
  • You do not have to apply to all programs available to you.
  • You do not have to apply to the maximum number of schools/districts.
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Monitor Your Waitlists

  • If you do not receive a placement offer in the first round, you will have the chance to add more schools to your application and reorder your original selections to increase your chance of a placement.
  • For original selections and newly added schools, a waitlist indicator will update in real time to show your chance of receiving an offer.
  • Be sure to check back often to monitor the waitlist size.

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Questions? We are here to help!

Contact the RSCO Parent Resource Center at 860-713-6990 for
application assistance to be sure you are maximizing your options!

Placement Priorities

The placement process involves a complex protocol that considers a variety of factors that can vary by school, program, and operator. Key factors in assigning placements are the number of seats available, the grade level, and the applicants’ choice order, along with socioeconomic factors and priorities (such as sibling, staff pathways, and neighborhood). To maximize opportunities for students, the placement process also prioritizes students who are not currently enrolled in a choice program and applicants who have applied for multiple years without an offer. Read on for important information about placement priorities...

Placement Priorities

Many of the schools and programs have “priorities” that are used in the placement process, based upon an applicant’s connection to a school or program. It is important for families to know their priorities and check that they are included in the Family Profile on the application because they can increase the likelihood of a placement.

Below are few important facts to keep in mind to maximize the impact of your priorities:

  • Make the school/district with your priority, your first-choice selection. Placement priorities vary by school and seat availability. Most placement priorities apply only to the first-choice school or district. Even if you are eligible for a priority at more than one school or district, you will generally receive priority only for the school or district you rank as your first choice.
  • Be sure to double-check the priority information for each child on the family profile of your application to ensure that it is correct and all expected priorities are listed.
  • Check the ordering of priorities for each program to be sure you use any priorities you have at schools/districts to your advantage. The table below indicates the order the priorities are applied in the placement process for each program.

Placement Priorities by Program

These priorities listed below do not guarantee placement at a school or program, but they may increase your chance of a placement offer for your child. Not all programs/schools offer the same priorities. Applicants without priorities are ordered after priority applicants. Priorities are ordered as follows.

Magnet School Applicant

  1. 1. Direct Pathway
  2. 2. Enrolled Siblings
  3. 3. Placed Siblings
  4. 4. Employee/Staff
  5. 5. Partner College/University Staff
  6. 6. Partner College/University Student
  7. 7. Pathway School
  8. 8. Residential Neighborhood
  9. 9. Residential Zone

CTECS Technical
High School Applicant

  1. 1. Enrolled Siblings
  2. 2. Placed Siblings
  3. 3. Employee/Staff
  4. 4. CTECS Only + Alumni
  5. 5. CTECS Only
  6. 6. Alumni/Graduate

Open Choice Applicant

  1. 1. Former Resident
  2. 2. Enrolled Siblings
  3. 3. Placed Siblings
  4. 4. Open Choice Only
  5. 5. Pathway School

Go to the online school directory to review the school program descriptions to determine which priorities may apply to your child’s application.

Placement Priority Definitions

CTECS Alumni/Graduate

Priority is given to 9th grade applicants applying to a technical high school (A.I. Prince, E.C. Goodwin or Howell Cheney Technical High School from which a parent/legal guardian, sibling, or grandparent has graduated.

CTECS Only

Applicants applying to the three Hartford Region Technical High Schools (A.I. Prince, E.C. Goodwin and Howell Cheney) as their only school choice option may receive priority based on available seats.

Direct Pathway

Some magnet schools offer a prekindergarten (PK) to grade 12 continuum experience through a shared theme and curriculum. Students attending an elementary or middle school with a direct pathway will receive the highest priority for placement at the direct pathway school’s entry grade. To be considered for this direct pathway placement, you must submit an on-time RSCO online application with your direct pathway school as your first choice.

Employee/Staff or Partner College/University

Employees of a CTECS or magnet school may receive priority for their children when applying to the school where they work. Employees of Goodwin University, University of Hartford, CT State Community College Manchester, CT State Community College Capital, and Trinity College as well as students of Goodwin University may receive priority for their children when applying to their partner magnet school.

Former Resident Priority (Open Choice Program Only)

Priority may be given to applicants who move in or out of Hartford and apply to continue attending their Open Choice school district or school.

Open Choice Only

Applicants who only apply to the Open Choice program may receive priority based on available seats.

Neighborhood

Priority may be given to an applicant based on how close the applicant lives to a nearby magnet school that uses a neighborhood priority.

Pathway School

For a limited number of seats, priority may be given to students coming from one magnet school at the end grade to another magnet school at the entry grade. This increases a family’s chance of remaining in the magnet system as students transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school. For example, a student in 5th grade of a PK–5th grade school may have multiple pathway school options for 6th grade. In addition, Hartford resident students enrolled in PK4 at Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet may receive a pathway priority to the Open Choice districts associated with their zone.

Partner District

Some schools have partnership agreements with specific towns. In these cases, a set number of seats are reserved for residents from the partner town at specific grades. Once these seats are filled, there is no advantage to residing in the partner town.

Sibling(s)

RSCO has a policy of trying to keep families together in school and district placements. These priorities apply to siblings to accomplish that policy:

  • Enrolled siblings: RSCO tries to place siblings in the same school as a sibling who is already enrolled in the school or district. Therefore, priority may be given to a child who is applying to the same school that their sibling currently attends. The siblings must share at least one biological parent or legal guardian. The sibling that is already enrolled in the school must continue to attend the school or district in the following school year or be in the final grade of that school or district. You must select the enrolled sibling’s school as your first choice to take advantage of this priority
  • Placed siblings: RSCO tries to place siblings together who share at least one biological parent or legal guardian and are in the same grade range. The siblings must submit an application during the same application period (either on-time or extended) to the same schools/Open Choice districts in the exact same order of preference. If siblings in the same grade range are placed in separate schools or programs during the same offer round, parents may decline the offer for one child and request to keep that child on the waitlist for a placement in the sibling’s school. If only one sibling receives a placement, the sibling(s) on the waitlist will have placed sibling priority at that school. If a sibling is placed in a different school in a later round, they may decline that placement and stay on the waitlist for the school where they have placed sibling priority. You must contact RSCO to exercise this exception to the one offer rule for sibling placements.
  • Twins/multiples: Twins and multiples work just like placed siblings. Efforts are made to link applications where two or more children share the same date of birth and at least one biological parent or legal guardian. The siblings must submit an application during the same application period to the same schools/Open Choice districts in the exact same order of preference during the same application period.

Zone

Priority may be given to Hartford resident students living in specific residential zones and applying to certain schools located in Hartford:

  • Zone 1 and applying to Montessori Magnet at Fisher School, STEM Magnet at Annie Fisher School, Webster Micro Society Magnet School, or Breakthrough Magnet School North.
  • Zone 2 and applying to Capital Preparatory Magnet School (Grades PK3–Grade 8 only) or Hartford Prekindergarten Magnet School, North.
  • Zone 3 and applying to Breakthrough Magnet School South, Environmental Sciences Magnet at Hooker School, Hartford Prekindergarten Magnet School, South or Montessori Magnet at Batchelder School.
  • Zone 4 and applying to Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts: PK–8 Campus, Betances Learning Lab Magnet School, or Dwight-Bellizzi Dual Language Academy (Grades PK4, kindergarten, and first grade only).

Placement Rules

It is important to understand how the placement process affects your application and your chance of receiving a placement offer so that you can apply in a way that maximizes your chance of an offer.

Listed below are scenarios related to the Placement Process. Review them carefully, especially if you are applying for more than one program (e.g., magnets plus Open Choice, magnets plus CTECS, Open Choice plus CTECS, or magnets plus Open Choice plus CTECS), to help inform your application decisions.

I received a magnet offer

Impact on Magnet, Open Choice, and CTECS Selections: The application is removed from all other magnet, Open Choice, and CTECS waitlists. Receiving a magnet school placement makes the applicant ineligible for any other offers for magnet schools, the Open Choice program, or a CTECS Hartford Region technical high school (A.I. Prince, E.C. Goodwin, Howell Cheney).

I received a CTECS offer

Impact on CTECS, Magnet, and Open Choice Selections: The application is removed from all other CTECS, magnet, and Open Choice waitlists. Receiving an offer for a CTECS school makes an applicant ineligible for any other offers for CTECS, magnet, or Open Choice.

I received a Non-Hartford Resident Open Choice offer

Impact on Magnet and Open Choice Selections:
The application is removed from all other magnet and Open Choice waitlists. Receiving an Open Choice offer makes the applicant ineligible for any other offers for magnet schools or the Open Choice program.

I received a Hartford Resident Open Choice offer

  • Impact on Magnet and CTECS Selections:
    The application is removed from all magnet school and CTECS waitlists. Receiving an Open Choice placement makes the applicant ineligible for any other offers for a magnet school or a CTECS Hartford Region technical high school (A.I. Prince, E.C. Goodwin, Howell Cheney).
  • Impact on Open Choice Selections: If the Open Choice placement offer is accepted, the applicant is ineligible for any other placements and the application is removed from all waitlists.
    • If the first Open Choice placement offer is declined: The applicant is eligible for a second Open Choice placement and the application remains on the waitlist for other Open Choice selections.
    • If the second Open Choice placement offer is declined: The applicant is ineligible for any other Open Choice placements and the application is removed from all Open Choice waitlists.
Important Note: If siblings in the same grade range are placed in separate schools or programs during the same offer round, parents may decline the offer for one child and request to keep that child on the waitlist for a placement in the sibling’s school. If only one sibling receives a placement, the sibling(s) on the waitlist will have placed sibling priority at that school. If the other sibling is placed in a different school in a later round, they may decline that placement and stay on the waitlist for the school where they have placed sibling priority.
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