-October 4, 2016 

The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners recently approved a series of changes to our district’s choice lottery process – so what do these updates mean for our families?


Smaller Priority Zones create additional opportunities for new families to join our most popular choice programs. In the choice lottery process, additional weight is given to applications for students who fit certain criteria, such as having a sibling already in a program or living within a priority zone.Following a clear directive from the Board to draft narrow and uniform proximity priority zones, the IPS Central Services team presented half-mile zones surrounding 12 of our K-8 Choice elementary schools: Center for Inquiry 22770 and 84Edison School of the Arts School 47; Ernie Pyle School 90Francis W. Parker School 56SUPER School 19George Washington Carver School 87Rousseau McClellan School 91Theodore Potter School 74; and IPS/Butler Lab School 60.

Proximity Zone Comparison

The previous wider proximity boundaries allowed for families in some locations to receive priority status at more than one choice school. The new boundaries are narrower; half-mile circles were drawn around each of the schools, and the federally defined census blocks of each home falling in that circle were incorporated into the proximity boundary.  Reducing the size of these boundaries increases equity by opening seats to students who previously would have landed on a waitlist because they do not live near their preferred choice school. Our Board commissioners clearly outlined their hopes for the future of IPS in their Core Commitments and Beliefs, which states our schools should be “diverse, vibrant and welcoming communities,” and that “providing many school choice options helps families find the school best matched to their child’s talents, needs, interests and unique learning styles.”


Another strategy to enhance our service to families is a multi-round lottery selection process. In previous years, you had one chance at the choice lottery – your student received one seat offer or waitlist notification, and that was it. Now, all families will receive an initial seat offering at the completion of the first round. You may then accept the seat or put your student’s application back in the pool for the next selection with no risk of losing your first seat offering. The final round of choice lottery selection continues in the same manner. This process ensures our families receive firm offers from our choice programs as quickly as possible, avoiding waitlists until after the third selection round. 


We’re excited about the new revisions to our choice lottery process and we look forward to serving you in the important process of choosing your student’s next school! Our choice application window opens on November 19 – the same day as our 3rd annual Showcase of Schools. Join us at the Indiana State Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – you can learn about all of our fantastic choice, traditional and Innovation Network schools directly from our friendly and knowledgeable staff members. Our Enrollment and Options team will be there as well to assist you in the enrollment and choice lottery application process right there at the museum. Don’t miss this once-a-year chance to learn about all of our options and services onsite to help you make important decisions about your student’s education!


Interested in ensuring members of your neighborhood organization or community group are fully informed about our Choice lottery and new boundaries? IPS administrators are available to speak at your fall meetings and answer any questions you may have on these exciting changes! To schedule a speaker at your next meeting, please contact ipspublicrelationsdivision@myips.org or call 317.226.4000.