School Choice Setup

When using the School Choice module in Focus for controlled open enrollment, the first step is to use the School Choice Setup screen to set up the programs, transportation zones, and priority charts. The Magnet application, the Special Placement Application (SPA), and the Choice application can also be customized.

The Program Categories, Programs, Program Continuity, Transportation Zones, Former Zones, Customize Application - Magnet, Customize Application - SPA, and Customize Application - Choice tabs should be set up in the current school year for choice applications for the next school year. The Priority Charts and Priority Chart Rankings tabs should be set up in the next school year (the same year as the choice application).

Setting Up Program Categories

Program categories, such as IB, AVID, and Dual Language, are used to organize the programs offered by the district.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Program Categories tab.

3. In the blank row, enter the category Title.

4. Enter the Code. The code can be up to four alpha-numeric characters and must be unique.

5. Select the Type, Choice, Magnet, or SPA.  

6. Press Enter or click Add Category to add the category to the list.

7. To edit an existing program category, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

8. To delete a program category, click the Delete icon next to the program category.

9. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Transportation Zones

Transportation zones are used to establish which programs have transportation available to students. Transportation zones are not used to determine priority. The zone will change the application display for the parent, informing them which programs would provide transportation for their student.

The district must have the Address Catalog loaded in order to use transportation zones. The Address Catalog must be parsed correctly (use the scheduled job "Parse Addresses.") If a student does not have a zoned school, the application cannot determine which programs to display as providing transportation. The "Set Zoned School" scheduled job can be run to populate students' zoned schools.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Transportation Zones tab.

3. In the blank row, enter the Title and Zone.

4. In the Schools pull-down, select the feeder schools that belong in that transportation zone.

5. Press Enter or click Add Zone to add the transportation zone to the list.

6. To edit an existing transportation zone, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

7. To delete a transportation zone, click the Delete icon next to the transportation zone.

8. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Former Zones

Former zones are used to establish location-based eligibility or preference for district residents whose neighborhood schools are no longer associated with their transportation zone.

The district must have the Address Catalog loaded in order to use transportation zones. The Address Catalog must be populated with geocodes and the geocodes entered when setting up former zones must match the Address Catalog exactly.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Former Zones tab.

3. In the blank row, enter the Geocode that was previously assigned to the referenced location.

4. Select the Elementary, Middle, and High schools that previously belonged to the geocode.

5. Press Enter or click Add Zone to add the former zone to the list.

6. To edit an existing former zone, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

7. To delete a former zone, click the Delete icon next to the former zone.

8. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Programs

Once program categories and transportation zones have been set up, the district can begin setting up programs. The programs are associated with a specific school. When filling out the application, students and parents will select the desired programs.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Programs tab.

3. In the blank row, define the following:

Column
Description
Title Enter the program title, as it will display on the application.
School Select the facility where the program takes place. 
School Level This will auto-populate based on the School Level designated in Setup > School Information for the selected school.
Category Select the program category from the list set up in the Program Categories tab. This must be selected for each program; the program category determines whether the program is available on the Choice, Magnet, or Special Placement Application. 
Type The Type will auto-populate based on the Category is selected.
Zone Group The Zone Group is used to limit the programs that are available to the applicant based on their primary address zone, as defined in the zone_group column of the address_to_district table in the database.

To limit the program to a specific zone, enter a Zone Group. Only one value can be entered for the program. If a value is present in the Zone Group field on the program, then the parent/student will only see the program on the application if their address ID has the same value in the zone_group column of the address_to_district table (case sensitive).

Note: When filling out the zone_group column in the address_to_district table, the zone groups must be formatted as follows:

Single entry example: ,EAST,
Multiple entry example: ,EAST,CENTRAL,
Zones Select the zones that will have transportation provided from the list set up in the Transportation Zones tab. 
Allow Applications Select the check box to allow parents/students to apply to the program via School Choice Application. 
Eligible Grades Select the grade levels that are eligible for the program.  
Highest Grade Level Select the highest grade level that is allowed in the program. The highest grade level is used in determining program continuity and duration.
Required Tours/Auditions If applicable, select the tours, auditions, or tests that are required for the application process. Completion is tracked in Setup > Tours and Auditions.   If the student does not complete these requirements, the student’s application status will not update to “Eligible” and the student will not be placed in the lottery. 
Requires Course If applicable, select the applicable courses that are required for the application process. Focus will look in the student’s Course History for the completed course where credit was obtained. 
FSA Select the check box if an FSA score of 3 or above is required in Math and Reading for students to be eligible for the program.
Include Gifted Select the check box if only students marked as Gifted in Focus are eligible for the program. 
Exclude Gifted Select the check box if students marked as Gifted in the database are not eligible for the program. 
Include ESE This pull-down displays the select options set up for the ESE Model Choice (alias ese_model_choice) field in Setup > Student Fields. If a program has values selected in Include ESE, the program will only appear on the School Choice Application as available for the student to apply to if they have an equal value in the student system field with the alias “ese_model_choice” in their student record. 
Exclude ESE This pull-down displays the select options set up for the ESE Model Choice (alias ese_model_choice) field in Setup > Student Fields. If a program has values selected in Exclude ESE, the program will not appear to the student on the School Choice Application if they have an equal value in the student system field with the alias “ese_model_choice” in their student record.
Required Select the check box if ranking the program is required on the application. In the application, the Choice pull-down will be highlighted in red for required programs that were not ranked by the applicant. The application will not save if a required program is not ranked. A message will display to the applicant, “You must rank all required program options.” 
Additional Requirements Enter additional information to display next to the program name in the application. This can be used as an additional description of the program. 
(PK-12) Capacity In each grade level column, enter the total seat count for the grade level for the program. This is important for the lottery process; the numbers defined here tell Focus the amount of students that can be placed versus waitlisted when the lottery is run. The default number is 0.
(PK-12) Available For each grade level, the column displays the grade level capacity minus the number of students in that grade level that are accepted into the program. A negative number indicates the program is overenrolled for that grade level. The calculation of the values are handled by the lottery or by manual editing. 
All Grades Capacity Instead of listing the seat count by grade level, enter the total number of seats for all grades in the program. This cannot be used in conjunction with the individual grade level capacity columns. In the lottery, the number of seats will be equally divided amongst the eligible grade levels. If the number of seats cannot be equally divided, then the lowest eligible grade level will be favored. For example, if there are 9 seats available in the program and the eligible grades are 9-12, grade 9 will get 3 seats while grades 10, 11, and 12 will each get 2 seats. 
All Grades Available The column displays the all grades capacity minus the number of students that are accepted into the program. A negative number indicates the program is overenrolled. The calculation of the value is handled by the lottery or by manual editing.

4. Press Enter or click Add Program to add the program to the list.

5. To edit an existing program, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

7. To delete a program, click the Delete icon next to the program.

8. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Program Continuity

The Program Continuity tab is used to establish which programs feed in to subsequent programs, such as a middle school Fine Arts program that feeds into a high school Fine Arts program. Priority is given to students meeting program continuity during the lottery.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Program Continuity tab.

3. In the blank row, click the Parent Statement field.

4. In the Edit Parent Statement pop-up window, enter the desired text and click OK.

This text will display on the application for those students who qualify as eligible (those students leaving the program listed in the From field and intend to enter the program in the To field).

5. Select the Gifted check box to indicate that the programs are offered to students marked as Gifted in Focus.

6. Select the program the students are exiting in the From pull-down and the program the students are entering in the To pull-down.

7. Select the Grade Levels that are eligible in the subsequent program.

8. Press Enter or click Add Continuity to add the program continuity record to the list.

9. To edit an existing program continuity record, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

10. To delete a program continuity record, click the Delete icon next to the record.

11. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Priority Charts

Priority charts should be set up in the next school year (the same year as the choice application).

Priority charts contain a list of weighted variables that are used to establish applicant priority for district programs when running the lottery. Before these variables can be ranked for any given program, their corresponding charts must be created.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Priority Charts tab.

3. In the blank row, enter the Title of the priority chart.

4. Select the applicant Grade Levels.

5. Select the applicable Programs.

6. Press Enter or click Add Chart to add the priority chart.

7. To edit an existing program continuity record, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

8. To delete a program continuity record, click the Delete icon next to the record.

9. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Up Priority Chart Rankings

Priority chart rankings should be set up in the next school year (the same year as the choice application).

Once priority charts have been created, the list of variables that will be used to determine applicant precedence can be arranged in order of importance.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Priority Chart Rankings tab.

3. Select a priority chart from the pull-down.

4. In the blank row, select a Priority from the pull-down. The options are pre-defined in Focus.

5. Enter a numerical Ranking. 1 is the highest priority.

6. If applicable, enter a Preference Code short name.

Up to 4 alphanumeric characters can be entered. When the "Display preferences on parent/student application?" preference is enabled for the application, the short name entered here will display to the parent/student in the Preferences column in the Programs table on the application if the student is eligible for that priority.

7. Press Enter or click Add Ranking to add the priority ranking.

8. Add any additional rankings as needed.

9. To edit an existing priority ranking, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

10. To delete a priority ranking, click the Delete icon next to the record.

11. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Customizing the Magnet, Special Placement (SPA), and Choice Applications

The School Choice module supports three separate choice applications and lotteries, one for Magnet, one for Special Placement (SPA), and one for Choice. The Customize Application - Magnet tab is used to set up the Magnet application, the Customize Application - SPA tab is used to set up the Special Placement application, and the Customize Application - Choice tab is used to set up the Choice application. The options contained in each tab are the same.

Setting Up Custom Fields

Custom fields, including check box, date, pull-down, and text fields, can be added to the application for applicants to enter information.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Customize Application - Magnet tab, the Customize Application - SPA tab, or the Customize Application - Choice tab.

3. In the blank row in the Custom Fields section, enter the Title of the field.

4. Select the field Type.

5. To enter a note that will display beneath the field on the application, click the Note field.

6. In the Edit Notes pop-up window, enter the note and click OK.

7. Enter a number for the Sort Order to define the order in which the fields will display on the application.

8. If the field is a pull-down, enter the Pulldown Options, each option on its own line.

9. To include the custom field as a traceable category in the School Choice Reports, select Show on Report.

10. To require the district to verify the information in this field, select Require Verification.

For custom fields used in priority charts, such as Active Military, you must select "Show on Report" and "Require Verification." If the verification is not obtained, the student will not be granted the priority.

11. If Verify All is selected along with "Require Verification" on a field, when a student applies to two or more programs in the same category, and the field is verified for one program, it is automatically verified for the other programs.

12. Press Enter or click Add Field to add the custom field to the list.

13. To edit an existing custom field, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

14. To delete a custom field, click the Delete icon next to the field.

15. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Adding Application Notes

The display text entered in an application note will display on the application for a specific program and grade level.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Customize Application - Magnet tab, the Customize Application - SPA tab, or the Customize Application - Choice tab.

3. In the blank row in the Application Notes section, click the Display Text field.

4. In the Edit Application Note pop-up window, enter the display text. Use the text editor tools to format the text and add images, tables, and hyperlinks.

5. Click OK when finished.

6. To only display the note for specific programs, select the Programs.

7. To only display the note for specific grade levels for the program, select the Grade Levels.

If no programs are selected, the note will display at the bottom of the application for every applicant. If programs and grade levels are selected, the note will display as footnote at the bottom of the application.  

8. Press Enter or click Add Note to add the note to the list.

9. To edit an existing note, edit the desired field as needed.

The changes will auto-save once you Tab or click out of the field.

10. To delete a note, click the Delete icon next to the note.

11. In the confirmation message, click OK.

Setting Preferences

The Preferences section contains several application options.

1. In the Setup menu, click School Choice Setup.

2. Click the Customize Application - Magnet tab, the Customize Application - SPA tab, or the Customize Application - Choice tab.

3. In the Preferences section, select an option for the following preferences:

Preference Description
Use Registration Validation (only available for the Choice application)
Select the check box to prevent parents from accessing the Choice application until their student’s registration information is validated.

The system student fields “Registration Validated - this year” and “Registration Validated - next year” are used to determine whether registration has been validated for the student. The “Registration Validated - this year” field defaults to No, and the “Registration Validated - next year” field defaults to Yes, unless the student is actively enrolled in the Applicant school, in which case the field is defaulted to No via Edit Rules & Workflow > Execute SQL.

If “Registration Validated - this year” is set to No or Null, the Choice application for the current year will not be available to the parent. If “Registration Validated - this year” is set to Yes, the Choice application for the current school year will be available to the parent. If “Registration Validated - next year” is set to No or Null, the Choice application for the next year will not be available to the parent. If “Registration Validated - next year” is set to Yes, the Choice application for the next school year will be available to the parent.
How many program choices can the user choose? Select the number of programs the user can choose when applying.
Use Pending Acceptance Status Type Select the check box to add the status "Pending Acceptance." When this option is set on an application type, instead of being accepted students are set to Pending Acceptance (db status = 4). When the student has been set to Pending Acceptance, they will have to accept the application, which will change their status from Pending Acceptance to Accepted and all other statuses to Canceled. If this preference is enabled and the portal alerts preference is also enabled, the alert is now altered to let the parent know that they need to finalize their choice acceptance. If the preference to “Allow parents to approve Pending Acceptance choice assignments?” is enabled on the application, then parents can accept the assignment.
Remove Parent Signature Line from Print & Save Letter Select the check box to remove the parent signature line when printing the application. 
Display tours or auditions completed by student? Select the check box to display the tours and auditions section of the application, where the applicant will enter the tours and auditions completed by the student. 
Display program titles on application to parents/students?
This preference is enabled by default. Deselect the check box to hide the program titles in the Programs table from parents and students on the application. Administrators are still able to see the title of the programs.
Display preferences on parent/student application?  Select the check box to replace the column “Priorities” with “Preferences” on the Programs table in the application. In the Priority Chart Rankings tab, enter preference short names in the Preference Code column. The Preference Code short names that fit the priority the student is eligible for will display for each program in the Preferences column on the application.
Display sibling section on application? 

This preference is enabled by default. When this preference is disabled, the “List Siblings at Applying Schools” logging field is removed from the application.

Display accepted/waitlisted alerts on the parent and student portals? Select the check box to display an alert on the Parent/Student Portal when the student has been accepted to or waitlisted for a program. The alert links to the View School Choice Applications screen.
Display program continuity statement on (Magnet/SPA/Choice) applications? Select the check box to display a program continuity statement on Magnet, SPA, or Choice applications. The continuity statement is set up by clicking Edit Continuity Statement below.
Allow parents to cancel school choice assignments? Select the check box to allow parents to cancel a school choice assignment when the student has been accepted. When this preference is enabled, a Cancel Application button is available on the View School Choice Applications screen in the Parent Portal until the first day of school for the school associated with the program. Define the legal verbiage that will display when the parent confirms cancellation in the “Application cancellation legal verbiage” preference below.

When the preferences “Use Pending Acceptance Status Type,” “Allow parents to cancel school choice assignments?” and “Allow parents to approve Pending Acceptance choice assignments?” are enabled for the application, the Cancel Application button is also available.
Allow parents to approve Pending Acceptance choice assignments? Select the check box to display an Accept button on the View Choice Application screen in the Parent Portal, allowing the parent to confirm their child’s choice assignment.
Ignore Projected Grade Levels when Lotterizing using "All Grades" seats When this preference is disabled and the "All Grades" seat count is used, the accepted students are split evenly among the eligible grades set on the program. When this preference is enabled, the "All Grades" seats will instead be a single pool and all eligible students regardless of grade level will be sat according to their priority. Grade level is still considered for eligibility, but not in the order in which the eligible students are placed. 
Zone Group: Restrict Programs when Address not in Address Catalog Select the check box to restrict students from completing an application if their address is not in the district's Address Catalog. 
Edit Zone Group Restrict Programs Statement If the Zone Group preference is enabled, click Edit Zone Group Restrict Programs Statement to enter the message that will display when the student's address is not in the district's Address Catalog.
Enable Late Applications
Select the check box to allow late applications to be submitted. When this preference is selected and a late application hits the database, any existing school_choice_application_status entries for that student in the same {SYEAR} (which is always {DEFAULT_SYEAR} + 1) will be updated to have a status = ‘2'. The new entries into the table will have a status = ‘0' and deadline_met = 'N'. When “Enable Late Applications” is not selected, the default value for deadline_met = 'Y'.
Edit Late Applications Statement
If the Enable Late Applications preference is enabled, click Edit Late Applications Statement to enter the message that will display in a confirmation message when the parent submits a late application. If the parent clicks OK, the process will complete and their late application will save. If they click Cancel, they will be returned to the application and their changes will not have been saved.
Send e-mail confirmation? Select the check box to send a confirmation email to the parent or student who completed the application. The email is sent to the email on record when the application is completed in the Parent/Student Portal (users.custom_100000001 or students.custom_200000012).
Custom application title Enter a custom application title. The title defined here will then display in the various menu options, the application itself, and profile/permissions. 
Program continuity statement If the preference to display the program continuity statement is selected, click Edit Continuity Statement. In the pop-up window, enter the statement and click OK.
Application cancellation legal verbiage If parents are allowed to cancel school choice assignments, click Edit Legal Verbiage to enter the text that will display in the confirmation message when the parent cancels the assignment. In the pop-up window, enter the legal verbiage and click OK.
Application acceptance legal verbiage If parents are allowed to accept pending applications, the accept confirmation message can be customized. Click Edit Acceptance Legal Verbiage to enter the text that will display in the confirmation message. Click OK. 
E-mail Subject If sending confirmation emails, enter the subject of the email. 
E-mail Template Select the template to use for the confirmation email. Email templates are set up in Students >  Print Letters & Send Email. Only saved letters assigned with the School Choice category are available for selection. 

4. Click Save Preferences when finished.