Terrance Mathews, 9, Teresa Matthews, 13 along with their mother Terie Chamberlain Matthews, 35, check out educational options during the 2015 DC EdFEST at the D.C. Armory. /WI File Photo
Terrance Mathews, 9, Teresa Matthews, 13 along with their mother Terie Chamberlain Matthews, 35, check out educational options during the 2015 DC EdFEST at the D.C. Armory. /WI File Photo

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One of the most important decisions parents can make remains choosing the best school for their children.

And as been the case for close to eight consecutive years, My School DC will bring together thousands of families from all eight wards at the DC Armory [2001 E. Capitol Street] in Southeast for EdFEST 2016, kicking off the “My School DC Common Lottery.”

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10.

My School DC Executive Director Cat Peretti says it’s a tremendous opportunity for parents, guardians and even children to begin their research on the District’s schools in a “one-stop” environment.

“EdFEST is the District’s only citywide school fair and the event is free,” Peretti said.

“We have staff from over 200 public schools who will be there to showcase their programs and speak with families. And there’ll be live interpretation available in Spanish, Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, French and sign language throughout the day. EdFEST also features free services and fun activities for the whole family.”

She added that the online process for applying to District schools remains relatively simple.

“My School DC is the city’s common application and lottery for over 200 D.C. Public Schools [DCPS] and public charter schools for grades PK3-12,” she said.

“It’s an online application where an applicant can select and rank up to 12 schools to be entered into a random lottery [www.myschooldc.org],” she added.

Who should use My School DC?

Anyone seeking to be a new student at a public charter school, a DCPS school outside of your boundary or feeder pattern, a prekindergarten program at any charter or DCPS school, including your in-boundary DCPS school or a DCPS selective citywide high school.

Applications can be submitted beginning Monday, Dec. 12.

Deadlines for Grades 9-12: February 1, 2017

Deadlines for Grades Pk3-8: March 1, 2017

Peretti said parents should pay close attention to all relevant deadlines.

“There’s no advantage to applying on the first day as children and schools are not matched on a first-come, first-serve basis,” she said. “But there is a disadvantage to missing the deadline. Everyone should make sure to mark their calendars.”

Team members from My School DC will be on hand throughout the day to answer questions about the lottery.

And while the focus for the day remains public school options, once again there will be all kinds of activities and services available. In recent years they have included: free flu shots for adults, sports-related games for youth and story time for children.

Parents who have attended EdFEST in the past say it’s one of the best ways to learn about the District’s schools and has been beneficial in their making more informed decisions about the school or school that best fit their child’s or children’s needs.

It should be noted that the My School DC common lottery serves as a single, random lottery that determines placement for new students at all participating schools. Student-school matches are based on the number of spaces at each school, siblings, proximity and other lottery preferences. And again, because only one application must be completed, the process for families remains fairly simply.

For more information, go to www.myschooldc.org.

Follow them on social media my visiting Facebook.com/myschooldc and Twitter @myschooldc

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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