Making the most of the OneApp, with some exceptions.
OneApp—the common, single application for most of New Orleans’ charter and traditional public schools—was created to reduce admissions’ hurdles faced by families, eliminating their need to participate in separate lotteries and submit multiple applications.
OneApp* is a complex algorithm that puts the school lottery online. But there have been some difficulties since its implementation and organizers continue to work through them. The first year, the system didn’t assign siblings to the same school; they’ve since added a family link. They’ve also added six catchment areas, giving families residing in the same area of a K-8 school a priority placement in that school, if they give it top ranking.
Organizers have addressed the logistics for making in-person summer registration easier next year, including larger facilities for in-person registrations and separate dates and times for those new to New Orleans, those who miss the spring application, and those dissatisfied with their child’s original placement. But some problems will remain until all schools become a part of OneApp, which won’t be until 2020-21, when the final three charters come up for renewal. (below)
For now, placements remain tricky because administrators just don’t know if a spot is open. Even a month before school started this fall, administrators were seeing kids accepted—and enrolled—at multiple schools, like Warren Easton, which isn’t in OneApp, and Edna Karr, which is.
Increasing your odds
There are steps that families can take now to make the process go more smoothly, and increase the chances of getting into the school of their choice. (Go to enrollnola.org for information, deadlines, and the OneApp.)
“If you are not satisfied with your school, or if you’re a family with a child in a transitional grade, you need to be looking at the schools, understanding what kinds of programs they are, what the right school is for your child,” says Kathleen.
Once you’ve selected your schools, fill out your OneApp and rank them in order. And be sure to research whether your particular schools have any admission criteria. For example, the International School of Louisiana and Lycée Français both require students to be proficient with a language after kindergarten, so testing is required for grades first and up. McDonough 35 has a separate STEM program that requires an admissions essay. Karr has a marching band audition for interested students.
Another thing to consider is a school still in a temporary facility, like Bricolage or Encore. Type I, brand-new charters are responsible for finding their own facilities. Kathleen understands families’ frustrations with the unknown, but parents should talk to the school leaders. “They might not have a specific building yet, but they should certainly be able to tell you, long-term, where they intend to be, i.e., Mid-City or 7th Ward,” she says.
*Created by the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, a nonprofit chaired by Al Roth, an economics professor at Stanford and a 2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science
Charters not participating in OneApp (as of August 2014)
Audubon Charter School
Ben Franklin High School
Einstein Elementary Charter School
Edward Hynes Charter School
Lake Forest Elementary Charter
Lusher Charter School
Moton Elementary School
New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School
Warren Easton Senior High School