UPDATED FOR 2017
Believe it or not, it's school choice season again for New Orleans families. To help you through the process, we've compiled a list of some of the most common questions we hear about it.
1. What is OneApp, anyway?
OneApp is New Orleans’ centralized school enrollment system. Unlike most cities around the country, where your home address determines where your children go to school, New Orleans allows families to choose their schools. If you want your child to attend a public school in Orleans Parish, it’s the system you need to use to select your school preferences and submit your application. OneApp is operated by EnrollNOLA, which is part of the Recovery School District.
- EnrollNOLA’s website
- OneApp Basics for Parents via NOLA.com
- OneApp 101 via EnrollNOLA
- Spanish Version of OneApp's Informational Video
2. So can I apply to any school in New Orleans through OneApp?
No. Almost every public school in New Orleans utilizes OneApp, but there are some exceptions. Ben Franklin High, Lake Forest Charter, Lusher Charter, and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) are not in OneApp. If you’re interested in these schools, you’ll need to apply to them separately. Since they are selective enrollment schools that draw lots of applications every year, we’d recommend that you apply to a few public schools via OneApp as well. Private schools, including most of New Orleans’ many Catholic schools, are not in OneApp either (the exception here: Catholic schools that accept Louisiana Scholarship Program vouchers).
3. When do I need to worry about all this?
Sooner than you think! The OneApp process starts early – about nine months before the start of the school year. Here are the big dates for 2017-18:
- Application Opens: November 1, 2017
- Early Application Deadline: January 12, 2018
- Main Round Application Deadline: February 23, 2018
- Main Round Results Available: April 2018
Another application round takes place later in the year, for families who were not able to participate in the main round or were not assigned a school (more on that below). You have the best chances of getting into one of your preferred schools if you apply by the main round application deadline, though, so don’t miss it.
4. How many schools can I apply for in OneApp?
OneApp allows families to apply to up to eight participating schools. Keep in mind that your child will only be accepted to ONE school from your list, and there are no re-dos. Don’t include any school you wouldn’t be comfortable having your child attend. Be realistic though; if you’re applying for one of New Orleans’ most popular schools, consider including a backup school that would still be a good fit for your child, but sees less demand.
5. How do I figure out which schools might be the right fit?
The downside of having so many choices is that sorting through them isn’t always easy. EnrollNOLA’s school finder tool is a good place to start. It allows you to narrow down your options based on things like locations and state letter grades. The Louisiana Department of Education also recently introduced its own School Finder tool, which contains additional information on factors like student absenteeism and teacher diversity. Once you have a short list of possibilities, we’d recommend visiting the schools (many offer open houses) and talking to other families to get a better feel for them.
6. My child’s already in a school that we like. Do I still need to participate in OneApp?
No. If your child is happy at their current school, you should NOT submit a OneApp. If you do submit a OneApp and they are assigned to a school on that application, your child WILL lose the guarantee on the spot at their current school assignment.
7. Am I guaranteed to get one of the schools I list?
Unfortunately, no. It’s possible that you may not get any of your choices (which could happen if you only indicate one or two very in-demand schools, for instance), in which case you would repeat the process again in the next round. For this reason, it’s a good idea to include a mix of schools – but only schools that you would be comfortable with your child attending.
8. How do I submit an application?
You can do it online. If you prefer, you can also visit one of EnrollNOLA’s three Family Resource Centers to do it in person. In addition to providing free access to computers for families who would like to fill out the application online, the Resource Centers are staffed with school choice advisors who can help answer basic questions. You can also get help with general questions by contacting EnrollNOLA at 877-343-4773.
9. What if I don’t speak English?
There are Spanish and Vietnamese versions of OneApp online for families. The Family Resource Centers also have access to translators.
10. I got started and now I’m totally overwhelmed. What do I do?
Before you start checking out real estate listings in other parishes, take a deep breath. OneApp is designed to be easy to use, but it’s also easy to get confused. Choosing the right school for your child is a huge responsibility! Feel free to reach out to us via email at email@example.com if you’d like to talk to one of our Navigators about your options.