Step 3 - RESEARCH: Page 4


Lottery & Transfer Options

This page covers:

  • Tips on getting the basic Lottery/Choice scoop for public school options in Portland, and getting your questions answered
  • How to find out what slots will be available at any particular school
  • How to find out what the lottery options will be for PPS
  • A note about immersion programs
  • How to find out what charter school options exist in Portland

Getting your head around the Portland public lottery system is no small feat. (See Lottery Basics.)  Perhaps the most challenging thing to determine is which schools are are open to lottery, and how many spots are available. And because the number of open slots at each school fluctuates from year to year, so do your options.  The links below should point you in the right direction to find the most up to date information:

Transfer Options in General

Not every PPS school is technically available to “apply” via lottery for a transfer. As of the 2015-16 school year, only Focus Option and Language Immersion are open for lottery applications.  If you are hoping to enroll your child in a standard neighborhood school other than your own, you will have to submit a Petition Request and state the reason/s you want to transfer. 

  • The School Choice Transfer Process page should be current by the time you start looking in earnest at your options.  And it should lead you to any crucial information needed to enter the School Choice Lottery.
  • The Prior Transfer Cycle Data page will tell you what slots were available in recent years at "Lottery" schools (including the Focus Options & Language Immersion, but not the Charter schools).  Open any year’s stats to see the opening:applicant ratio.  And keep in mind that some of these slots have gone to and will go to sibling or other type of preference, which effectively reduces the odds for regular transfers.

Focus Options, Immersion, and Alternative Programs

You’ll have to click around the PPS website to find a complete list of Focus Option programs with a full description of each.  Below, we’ve culled what we think are the most helpful starting pages:

Once you determine which options might be of interest, go back to the School Index page to check out the schools’ websites and/or PPS pages to gather more detailed info about the program.

A Note about Immersion Options

Since a large and growing portion of PPS Focus Options are Language Immersion programs, a special Dual Language section of the PPS website exists where you can find further information.

NOTE: PPS now has a policy of assigning a Spanish immersion school to a particular neighborhood quadrant. For example, if you live in NE, you won't be able lottery into the Ainsworth Spanish Immersion, as it is reserved for neighborhood kids and kids in the Wilson/Lincoln feeder district. To find out what your Spanish Immersion options are, consult this PPS Flyer.

And it bears repeating that Kindergarten is THE entry year for an immersion program UNLESS your child can pass a proficiency test in the target language and there is a slot available at his or her grade level.

Still have questions on the transfer or lottery process within PPS?

- or-

  • As their website suggests "Contact the Enrollment & Transfer Center @ 503-916-3205, with questions. " 

Charter Schools

While PPS does have a Charter School page on their site, oddly enough it doesn’t include all the Charter schools available to you.  It only includes the charters sponsored by the district, but omits the charters sponsored by the State of Oregon. Hopefully the suggestions below will help you sort out your Charter School Options:

Since Charter Schools aren’t listed clearly in any one place, and we don’t have faith that we can expect either of these lists to always be current, we suggest doing a simple Google search of “charter schools Portland” which might be all encompassing… 

Note: What does a school search look like? It might start out like this, even a year before kindergarten. You can follow one west side family's search here; as well as this example from an east side family.

If you want to see what diverse options are available to you within the public school system, expect to spend some time clicking around on these sites.  Start a list of anything of real interest so you can figure out what schools you need to tour.  If you continue onto the VISIT section/column you’ll learn more about getting the real scoop on these schools.

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