Title I Schools In Need of Improvement Intradistrict Choice Options
Some districts offer open enrollment across all of the schools of the district that serve the same grades. This is the optimum choice design, allowing parents to select the school that they would like their child to attend. Magnet schools exemplify this open enrollment option. Such a policy meets full choice requirements.
Some districts may be only able to offer choice on a limited basis. The schools first enroll children from the local surrounding neighborhood, and then have a limited number of class spaces available for other children from other neighborhoods. When choices are limited, procedures for offering choice in a fair, non-discriminatory fashion must be laid out. Under Title I, it is suggested that low-performing students from low-performing schools be offered the first opportunity to fill these limited spaces. In some instances, lotteries provide an impartial process for responding to transfer or choice requests.
In some instances, a district may not have an option for choice. A clear example is a district with only one school or one school serving a grade level. Other factors that demonstrate lack of capacity includes districts that cannot offer the option to transfer to a higher performing school because all schools within the district serving a grade level have performed the same, e.g. they are all identified as in need of improvement. In this instance there too is no viable choice option.
When restrictions such as these exist inhibiting intradistrict choices, the districts should advise parents of state interdistrict choice options, including:
- Charter schools or
- Choice schools, including vocational schools; and
- Interdistrict agreements to afford other choice options.
Remedies for Lack of Choice
If a school district has limited choice options and all of the above options have been explored without success, then districts must offer supplemental services to parent through state-approved providers
(Please see the New Jersey Department of Education website and click on School Choice for more information.)