FAQ’s & The Lottery Process

FAQ’s Regarding NPA’s Enrollment and Lottery Process

Who goes into the lottery?

There are seven grades and seven separate wait lists that are developed through the lottery process. At each grade level, in accordance with A.R.S. 15-184 and NPA policy, priority is given to siblings of currently enrolled students, children of full-time NPA staff, and children of NPA board members, in that order. At 6th grade, where we will have 100 spaces, there will certainly be fewer students with preferences than there are openings, so all of the students with preferences will end up getting spots. The non-siblings at 6th grade are randomly assigned priorities for the remaining openings. (Example #1: If there are 100 spots, and 42 siblings/staff children/board children, there will be 58 other spots available. If there are 128 non-sibling applicants, those assigned random #’s 1-58 will get spots, and #’s 59-128 will be in positions 1- 70 on the wait list for 6th grade.)
Due to the uncertainty of the number of vacancies there will be in grades 7-12, most applicants will be placed on a wait list. The wait lists will be generated by two lotteries at each grade level – one for siblings, etc. and one for non-siblings. The lowest-place sibling is just above the highest-place non-sibling. (Example #2: 7 siblings and 62 non-siblings apply for 9th grade. Positions 1-7 on the wait list are assigned to the siblings by lottery and positions 8-69 are assigned to the non-siblings.)

Does it matter when I submit my application?

It does not matter relative to the other preview sessions, but it absolutely matters relative to the deadline of January 12th at 4pm sharp. All applications submitted during the enrollment window are on equal footing when the lottery happens.

How does NPA conduct the lottery?

As completed applications are submitted, they are logged into a spreadsheet and sorted by grade and whether there is a sibling preference involved. Within each pool of applications on equal footing, a series of random numbers are generated and assigned down the list as in Example #1 above. For those really curious to know, we use the random number generator at www.random.org. NPA’s lottery is true and fair and fully compliant with A.R.S. 15-184.

How does it work when two or more children in the same family apply?

In establishing the rules for charter admission, A.R.S. 15-184 states that the sibling preference applies to students who are siblings of current students or siblings of students admitted by the lottery process. In practice, while this does not mean that the sibling of an admitted student automatically gets admitted, it does mean that after the lotteries establish the wait list order for each grade, students whose siblings were admitted at another grade level are moved up on the wait list above non-siblings who still do not have an admitted sibling. (Example #3: Ana applies for 6th grade and her brother Marc applied for 9th grade. Ana gets a good non-sibling number at 6th grade and is admitted to 6th grade, while Marc is at #26 on the wait list for 9th grade. Using the same numbers of applicants in 9th grade as in Example #2 above, and because his sister now gets admitted, he is moved up above the non-siblings on the 9th grade wait list to position #8, below the seven 9th grade applicants who were already siblings but above the non-siblings.)

NOTES: If multiple students at another grade level have siblings who make it into 6th grade and thereby move up, they will all move up in the same order they had relative to each other before their siblings were admitted. If students # 26, 38, and 51 from the 9th grade lottery all have siblings who get admitted to 6th grade, they would move up to positions #8, 9, and 10 on the 9th grade wait list, respectively. This process also applies to siblings at the same grade level, i.e., the worst spot that a twin whose sibling gets into 6th grade could get would be at the top of the 6th grade wait list above all non-siblings on that wait list.

How many spaces will there be in 2018-19?

NPA’s 2017-18 enrollment is 640 students.  Likewise for 2018-19, we are planning for 100 students each at 6th-8th grade, ~90 students at 9th, ~86 students at 10th, ~84 students at 11th, and ~80 students at 12th grade.

We do not yet know how many of our current students may vacate their spots due to moving away from Flagstaff, changing schools, etc., and thus do not know how many spots will be available for students seeking enrollment in Grades 7-12. The number of vacancies at these grade levels is typically very small – usually fewer than five spots opening up at 7th or 8th grade. We usually have about 10-15 vacancies each year for 9th Grade, and a small number of vacancies in the upper grades.   At all grade levels other than 6th Grade, most or all applicants will initially be placed on waiting lists until we know of vacancies opening up.

So, what are my child’s odds of getting in?

It will depend on the number of vacancies, applications, and the exact number of students with preferences (siblings and children of staff & board). The typical % of sibling applicants at each grade level is ~30-35%. We can only speculate in putting out the numbers above. Typically in the lottery for 6th Grade, with 100 spots available, the odds of a non-sibling gaining a spot are about 50/50, but each year’s odds vary.  When you include not just the students who gain a space immediately in the lottery as well as the students who eventually have a spot come available by the time August comes, the percentage is better.

When will I know the results of the lottery?

After the application deadline, it will take us about two weeks or more to finish logging the final burst of application submissions, pull the lottery, and then send out notices by mail at the beginning of February. GOOD LUCK!

What happens after the lottery?

First, we recommend patience. Each spring and summer, the process is frustratingly slow, as those with the chance to enroll finalize their decisions. For those on the wait list, do know that some spots still come open well into summer, even up into the start of school in August. People move and people change their minds. We have found that the later in the summer that spots open, the more likely people are to turn down vacancies, so our movement down the wait list to fill vacancies accelerates as we get closer to August. If NPA is your first choice, and your wait list position is not terribly far from the top, you can continue to hope for a spot to come open.

For those who win a spot through the lottery, please do all you can to make your enrollment decision from among the options open to you as soon as possible. The families and children on wait lists will greatly appreciate that. All schools involved will benefit from having a firm sense of which admitted students will truly be enrolling in the fall.

We will run a 6th Grade Welcome Session in the spring (it’s usually in late March). All students eligible to enroll as well as students near the top of the wait lists will be invited to the session. These same students will also have the opportunity to shadow at NPA for a day to become more familiar with the school.