February in Wisconsin education means the start of Open Enrollment. Over the next few
months the period for applying for Open Enrollment is available. If you miss this Open
Enrollment period your child has few options for school other than the resident district,
local private school, or home schooling. This year the Open Enrollment period is February
1 to April 29, 2016.
Under Open Enrollment a parent, on behalf of their child, may apply to a school district
other than the one in which they live (called the non-resident district). This includes
schools students attend in person, and virtual schools where students do a significant
amount of their learning at home.
Families make the decision to apply for Open Enrollment for a variety of reasons. Some
choose it so their children attend school close to where the parent works. There are any
number of other reasons why families choose Open Enrollment. For gifted children a
chance to find a new environment where their needs may be met in different ways is a
hope that many parents pursue during Open Enrollment. The decision to apply for Open
Enrollment is a difficult one for many families. By doing so one is acknowledging in a
concrete way that there might be something better for a student than what is currently
being offered. That is an emotional decision for some families.
There are a number of significant changes to the WI Open Enrollment regulations this year
so I recommend reviewing the website and all of the tabs on the left of the DPI website.
The application is online and there are many resources available to give families
information about Open Enrollment. Explore all the resources on the DPI website. Talk to
other parents in the district you wish to apply to. If the other school has informational
meetings, open house, or other public events go to them. Ask questions. Go to another
meeting and ask more questions. Read websites. Talk to parents whose students attend
the school. All of these will help you gather information to learn about the non-resident
One of the good things about WI Open Enrollment is that parents may apply to multiple
school districts and, if accepted, they do not have to select their choice until the summer. If
a student is accepted via Open Enrollment parents have until later in the summer to decide
if they will accept the placement.
Last year in this Blog I also wrote about Open Enrollment. There is more information about
the decision-making process in the blog-post from 2/15/15. Just be sure to ignore the
dates in that post. The due dates you need to follow right now are listed at the top of this
blog post and on the DPI website.
Whatever your family decides to do Open Enrollment often greatly benefits gifted students.
Check it out for yourself and decide as a family if it is right for you and your gifted student.
WI DPI Public School Open Enrollment
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