Wisconsin Open Enrollment
Each year in the month of February, I write about the Wisconsin Open Enrollment program. My purpose is to provide information for families, parents, and guardians of students who are gifted and who may be looking for options regarding the education of their children. Sometimes, families, parents, and guardians overlook or are uninformed about open enrollment options and how it may meet the needs of a student who is gifted.
Open enrollment is a program that allows parents/guardians to apply to enroll their K-12 (4K in some instances) students in a public school in another school district outside of their home district. Information is available on the
WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website
about open enrollment. A very important factor for parents/guardians to keep in mind is the strict deadline for applying and notification.
The open enrollment period in Wisconsin for next school year, 2023-2024, is:
February 6 - April 28, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.
There are several steps involved in applying for open enrollment, and parents/guardians must follow the steps closely.
Parents/guardians may select up to three non-resident school districts to apply to with others available with specific criteria. Some public charter schools and virtual charter schools may also accept applications. The home school district must approve the application for open enrollment, and the non-resident school district must approve the open enrollment of each applicant. If they do not agree, then the application is denied. There is an appeal process listed on the application website.
Why consider open enrollment? Many times students who are gifted need services and resources that one school district may be unable or unwilling to provide while a different school district may have the resources or services for these students. School districts differ from each other and the services, approaches to teaching and learning, and resources may differ, as well. Other reasons for considering open enrollment include the proximity of a school district to the workplace of the parent/guardian, or specific programming offered by a non-resident district. It must be noted, however, that transportation to the non-resident district is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. Open enrollment is available to all students, not just students who are gifted. In addition, applications may be made for siblings.
School districts often have visitation opportunities for families considering open enrollment. It is recommended that parents/guardians and the student attend the open house, virtual meeting, or other event to meet district employees, parents, and students. If possible, visit the school campus and classrooms to see the facilities and resources. For a virtual school, do so in a virtual meeting or other format.
Only you and your child can make this decision for your family.
Review the following websites for more information, links, and documents about Wisconsin’s open enrollment.
WI DPI Open Enrollment
WI DPI Open Enrollment Application Information
Dr. Wanda Routier, Former WATG Board Member
Ask the Doctor