What To Do After Your Child Has Been Waitlisted for a Public Charter School

Nearly all Baltimore City Public Charter Schools enroll students through an application system, not a school “zone.” Each school has its own application, lottery, and therefore their own waitlists.

When the number of students applying to a school is greater than the number of seats available, enrollment is determined by lottery. Learn more about charter schools and the steps of enrolling your child in a charter school.

Schools will notify families of their selection status soon after the district-wide lottery drawing date in mid-February. All notifications should be complete by early March.

Due to the high demand for charter seats in Baltimore City, some students will not be immediately offered a space in their preferred school’s charter lottery. These children will be placed on a waitlist at each individual school to which they have applied. Parents may then wait (and hope to be awarded a seat at a later date), explore public-zoned options, and/or apply to private schools.

What happens if my child is not offered a placement in the charter of our choice?

Waitlisted families continue to have options: explore and enroll at a traditional Baltimore City Public School, explore and enroll at an Independent School, and/ or wait for a placement offer from a preferred Public Charter School. 

  • Explore and enroll in a Traditional Baltimore Public School: Baltimore City Public Charter Schools are not the only quality public schools in the city. Families should look into their zoned public school, public schools near their workplace, and schools that other families in their neighborhood or community attend. If moving into the zone of a preferred public school is important to your family, explore Five Star Family Neighborhoods. Baltimore City Public Schools prefers that families attend the school they are zoned for; however, families are able to enroll at Baltimore City public schools outside of their zone as well. Live Baltimore will be collecting information on public schools that have available placements for the 2-23/2024 school year. Sign up here to receive these notifications here.
  • Explore and enroll in an Independent School: Private and Parochial schools are still accepting admission applications. Attend open houses for schools of interest. While applications have often closed for financial aid at this point, a private school may be more affordable than families realize. 
  • Wait & See: After families who have been offered placement at a Charter School accept or deny their offered placement, significant movement happens on the waitlist. Families have been known to receive a placement offer as late as September 30th for a school they were originally waitlisted. 

If you have been waitlisted in the charter lottery and need information on ways to remain in Baltimore City, please view the presentation below for more information or contact Live Baltimore at info@livebaltimore.com or 410-637-3750 x114. 

Waitlisted Frequently Asked Questions

All Public Charter Schools have a deadline to communicate application status with applicant families. If your family has not heard back by mid-March, reach out to the school to confirm the status of your child’s application. 

Yes, have hope! It’s important to explore Plan B Options like we’ve listed in our presentation even as you wait. And, be prepared with a plan if you get that first or even second choice school. Remember, you could get a placement offer as late as September so be ready with what you want to do.

Yes, you can accept a school enrollment offer even after you’ve already accepted at a different school. It is important to then also decline your previously accepted offer so that another waitlisted family can accept your place. Because of these kinds of changes, waitlists across schools can have movement and enrollment opportunities for waitlisted families as late as September 30th.

For families with students entering 6th or 9th grades, Baltimore City Public Schools has what’s called the Choice Process for Middle and High Schools.

Families looking at middle schools can still explore traditional public neighborhood schools with middle school grade levels. You’ll want to see what’s convenient for your family, explore schools with programs you’re interested in, and connect with the schools to understand registration next steps. You can also explore specialized or independent schools as well.

Families looking for high schools will want to connect with City Schools’ enrollment to understand your application opportunities. For a list of all the public City High Schools, visit City Schools’ High School Choice page. Private and Parochial Schools are an option to consider as well – admission may not be as out of reach as you might think.

Yes, you do need to select one school by the acceptance deadline. We strongly recommend against accepting multiple offers as they come in. You can wait to respond to placements closer to the acceptance deadline to see what additional placements you receive before making a final decision. Remember, too, that waitlist movement happens so you can always accept a placement at your first-choice school should it come after you’ve already accepted elsewhere.

A requirement for response within 24 hours of notice is unusual and goes against what the City Schools’ district office has shared both with schools and the public. Follow up with the school to find out more information and, if you need more time, you can connect with City Schools’ Enrollment Office to confirm what’s available to you.

Every Baltimore City school provides data for what their school demographics look like. For Baltimore City Public Schools (including Public Charter Schools), you can find the information about a school’s ethnic and racial demographic breakdown on each school’s page on BaltimoreCitySchools.org. Scroll to the bottom of the school page and select the “Data Profile” button.

Private and Parochial schools will present their school’s information in different ways on their individual websites as well. Lastly, we strongly recommend visiting a school to best understand what your unique child’s experience might be.

Public Charter Schools will accept an application after their lotteries have taken place. Placement opportunities, however, will be different at every school after lotteries so be prepared to automatically be waitlisted. 

No. Families can apply to as many Public Charter Schools as they’d like. Baltimore City Schools strongly prefers and recommends that families with elementary-aged children enroll in their zoned neighborhood elementary school. Families with elementary-aged children can also explore enrollment at an out-of-zone Traditional Public School.

Have more questions about schools in Baltimore City?

Contact Live Baltimore at info@livebaltimore.com or call 410-637-3750 x118 for help!

Learn About Other Baltimore City School Types