School choice enrollment now open in Clay County

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – National School Choice Week is underway across the United States. For the Clay County school district, that time frame coincides with the start of its controlled open enrollment period.

If parents are looking to send their kids to one of the 11 open schools in Clay County, that window of opportunity is now open.

Terri Dennis with the district said even when open enrollment is closed, parents reach out throughout the year.

“We are No. 8 in the state as a school district. We have 26 A-rated schools in our district. Every school that is on our list is either an 'A' or 'B' school," she said.

Numbers show open enrollment has grown each year. Last year, there were around 600 applicants. This time, there are 1,091 seats open across 11 schools.

The application for Controlled Open Enrollment can be completed online under the Controlled Open Enrollment page. A paper-based copy of the application can be obtained upon request from the District Office.

Applying for Controlled Open Enrollment does not guarantee that the student will be approved to transfer to the requested school. Applications will not be received by the school(s).

Instead, applications must be submitted online or sent in the mail to the School District central office in the following format:

Clay County School Board

Attn: Open Enrollment

900 Walnut Street

Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043

Students subject to a current expulsion or suspension will not be permitted to take advantage of the Controlled Open Enrollment choice.

A student who enrolls or transfers under Controlled Open Enrollment may remain at the Controlled Open Enrollment school until the student completes the highest grade level at the school. Once the student has completed the highest grade level of that school, the student must return to their zoned school or apply for another lottery selection through Controlled Open Enrollment.

Once the application window has closed, all student applications will be randomly numbered using a lottery system. Applications will be drawn randomly and available seats will then be assigned to the applicants for that school.

Per Florida law, some students will have preference. This includes:

  • Dependent children of active-duty military personnel whose move resulted from military orders;
  • Children who have been relocated due to a foster care placement in a different school zone;
  • Children who move due to a court-ordered change in custody due to separation or divorce, or the serious illness or death of a custodial parent;
  • Students residing in the school district.

Dennis said she is expecting parents of out-of-county students to apply. If parents want to learn more about the schools that have openings, an open enrollment showcase will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Orange Park Mall. Each of the open schools will have representatives with booths set up to answer questions.

"Students can come to meet the administrators, meet the student ambassadors," Dennis. "They can learn about the schools, what programs they offer academically, and extra-curriculars."

The showcase lasts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a chance for on-site application registration.

School choice open enrollment lasts through Feb. 28.

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