|Lottery Enrollment Information & Application|
Lawrence Family Development Charter School
Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) is a public school operating under a charter/license granted by the Commonwelath of Massachusetts. Admission to the school is open to all eligible applicants who are residents of the City of Lawrence in grades K-1 through Grade 3.LFDCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, proficiency in the English language or a foreign language or prior academic achievement when recruiting or admitting students 603 M.G.L. Chapter. 71, 89(1); 603 CMR 1.06(1). LFDCS accepts applications throughout the year in anticipation of a public lottery to be held on the second Wednesday of March each year. LFDCS has an approved Recruitment and Retention Plan that targets traditionally underserved students.
Eligibility for Admittance
Every student, regardless of sibling preference, residence preference or non-residence preference must complete an Enrollment Application (includes attached Enrollment Policy Form) prior to the deadline to be entered into the lottery. LFDCS will announce and hold a subsequent lottery each year for those families submitting applications the last week of August prior to the commencement of the school year. Applicants for. enrollment must be a resident of Massachusetts at the time of their application. Available lottery seats will be offered first to siblings, then residents of the City of Lawrence.
Non-residents of the community will participate in the lottery only if more seats are available at the time of the lottery than resident applicants; otherwise, a separate lottery will be conducted for non-residents. Proof of residency (except in the case of homeless students) is required in the form of a gas bill, electric bill or a signed lease. LFDCS does not require applicants to attend interviews or informational meetings as a condition of enrollment. LFDCS does ask parents and students to meet with the Parent Liaison to finalize paperwork, review the Parent/Student Handbook, meet the Principal and Head of School and tour the building. Applicants for enrollment are not administered any tests of ability or achievement. Applications for enrollment do not require dual parent/guardian signatures. Student applicants for the K-1 must be four years old by September 1st of the enrollment year.
LFDCS accepts applications throughout the year in anticipation of a public lottery held on the second Wednesday of March each year. LFDCS has an approved Recruitment and Retention Policy Plan that specifically targets traditionally underserved students. The school specifically publicizes its application process, application deadline and date of lottery by January 15th of each year. The lottery is publicized beginning in January—including the date, time and location—on its website (www.lfdcs.org), in local newspapers, on local radio programs, in a notice to all current families, and in a flyer or poster posted in local businesses and organizations.
All announcements disclose that LFDCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, proficiency in the English language or a foreign language or prior academic achievement 603 M.G.L. Chapter 71, 89(1); 603 CMR 1.06(1). LFDCS’ lottery is open to the public.
Student names, by grade level, are entered based on completed applications signed by a parent or legal guardian. LFDCS draws the lottery using student names unless a parent chooses to opt out of having their child(ren)’s name(s) publicly used at which time a number will be assigned and the parent will be notified in advance. Once a student is accepted, that student must finalize acceptance. Parents are notified by phone, followed by a first class letter of Congratulations and Welcome sent within three school days of the lottery. Parents must notify the school of their acceptance within 10 school days of LFDCS’ notification of their child’s selection.
Release of Student Names and Addresses
Parents of student applicants need to be informed that the Lawrence Family Development Charter School in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89(g) shall release the names and addresses of students to a third party mail house upon request unless the parent or guardian of said student objects to disclosure of information. The school will release this information at the request of the Lawrence public school district. If a parent of a charter school student and or applicant wishes not to have their student’s information released to a third party mail house, the parent needs to complete the form that is attached as part of the application.
LFDCS must hold a lottery to determine which applicants will receive an offer of admission 603 CMR 1.06(3)(a). A public chart lists each grade level at the school—K-1 - Grade 3—indicating the number of slots available at each grade level. If an applicant is the sibling of a student currently attending LFDCS, a card with the student’s name, address, and sibling name and grade is placed in the lottery and drawn and posted for available slots. Each year the Lottery is conducted the school identifies an individual that has no affiliation with the school to publicly draw the names from the applicant pool. The lottery is held in the school gymnasium located at 400 Haverhill Street, Lawrence, MA. Once all siblings of current students are drawn and posted, the names of resident children are drawn and posted, in the order drawn. If there are more siblings drawn than available slots, those students are placed on the sibling waitlist for that grade in the order drawn; then non- resident students are drawn and posted until all current openings for that grade are filled. Once all openings for a grade are filled, all remaining names are drawn, and posted in order, creating a waitlist for that grade level while taking into consideration of a sibling preference waitlist, a resident waitlist and a non-resident waitlist. If the lottery process in a given year fails to adequately draw the sufficient number of students for enrollment, the school will hold a subsequent lottery after public notice has been advertised for a month and the required lottery process is followed.
LFDCS will keep a rolling waitlist from one year to the next and draw students from the waitlist in each school year if any openings occur prior to accepting new applicants. Applications received after the deadline for the annual March lottery are placed in the August lottery and upon being drawn will be added to the existing waitlist for grades K-2 – Grade 3.
The order of the student’s placement on the waitlist may change depending on the preferences that exist at the time an offer of admission is extended—such as, a student moving up on a waitlist due to a sibling or residential status.
Any new applicant would be placed at the bottom of the waitlist once a public lottery is held. LFDCS maintains accurate waitlist records including student names, home addresses, telephone numbers and grade levels of students who were part of the lottery but did not gain admission. Students accepted from the waitlist are notified by telephone and in writing. If a letter is returned by the post office without sufficient forwarding information, the school will make every effort, in compliance with the child-find law, to go to the last known physical address to ensure that the family is not homeless. If a student declines an offer of admission, the school will immediately contact the family of the student first on the waitlist that meets all eligibility requirements as mentioned before. No student will be admitted ahead of other eligible students on the waitlist unless said student is either a sibling of a currently enrolled student or a resident of Lawrence should the other student be a choice student. LFDCS attempts to fill vacancies in K-1 – grade 3 as they occur during the school year. Vacancies which occur in grades 4 – 8 are excluded statutorily. Vacancies not filled after February 15th will move into the subsequent grade to be filled the following September if such grade is not in the last half of the grades offered. Students for whom enrollment in the charter school would cause the sending district to exceed their tuition cap will not be offered admission but will remain on the waiting list. If those students are siblings of students currently in attendance at the school, the state may pay the child’s tuition, subject to appropriation (M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89(i); 603 CMR 1.06(4)(e)).
Siblings are potential students who currently have a sibling attending the charter school at the time of the lottery. Siblings are children that share a common biological or legal parent as opposed to children who may live in the same house but do not share a common parent. If a student moves out of the city but remains enrolled, that student’s sibling has preference in the admission even though they are non-residents at the time of the application.
Residents are students that live in the city in which the charter school is located. Residents enrolled in district, charter, private or parochial schools get equal preference. Students must be residents of the city at the time of application.
Non-Residents are students who live in Massachusetts but outside the city in which the charter school is located. LFDCS acknowledges that non-resident applicant names are kept separate from Lawrence residents. A lottery may be held if non-resident names are submitted. Non-resident students will be offered a place at the school only if there are no resident student names on the waitlist.
Students Who Move from Lawrence: LFDCS acknowledges that once a student enters the charter school, that student may continue to attend even if the family moves to a new community within the State of Massachusetts; however, transportation of the student will be the responsibility of the parent.