School Options and Transfers

Arlington Public Schools provides families the opportunity to attend an option school/program or request a neighborhood transfer as an alternative to attending their neighborhood school. Option schools/programs offer specialized educational instruction to pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school students. Students must apply for an option school/program or a neighborhood school that is accepting transfers. APS assesses the ability to provide neighborhood transfers for the upcoming school year annually.

What is the Difference Between Registering for a Neighborhood School and Applying for an Option School?

Every student is guaranteed a space in the neighborhood school designated by their home address. Use the School Boundary (Attendance Zone) Locator to find out which school is designated as your neighborhood school. Registration is required and can be completed online, at your neighborhood school, or by appointment at the APS Welcome Center.

In order to be considered for an option school, families must submit an application online.  If more applications are received than there are seats available, APS will conduct a random, double-blind lottery to determine admission to these option schools.

School Options and TransfersK-12 neighborhood schools and option schools are free for all students to attend and transportation is provided. Early Childhood option schools may have fees based on a sliding scale.

Options and Transfers Policy and School Information Resources

Families are encouraged to review the Guidebook for Parents to learn more about neighborhood schools and option schools/programs.

The Options and Transfers Policy (J-5.3.31) and Policy Implementation Procedure (J-5.3.31 PIP-1) outline the process determined by the School Board that APS follows to ensure equitable access for all students to the available option school/programs and neighborhood transfers. Families are encouraged to review this policy and PIP for additional procedural information on the options and transfers process.

General Pre-Kindergarten Application Information for School Year 2022-23

Primary Montessori Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Feb. 1, 2022 at 4 p.m. – April 15, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Application Deadline April 15, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.
Lottery Notification May 5, 2022
Accept/Decline May 13, 2022
VPI & CPP Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Feb. 1 – April 15, 2022
Application Deadline April 15, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.
Lottery Notification May 5, 2022
Accept/Decline May 13, 2022
  • The Montessori program is an interdisciplinary, multi-age approach to learning where students work independently and cooperatively in a prepared environment that allows students ages 3-5 to work at their own pace. The fees for this program are based on sliding scale contingent on family income.
  • The Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) program is a FREE high-quality pre-K program for eligible four-year-old children. Children engage in enriching educational experiences, explore learning materials and new ideas, and build their skills as they prepare to enter kindergarten.
  • The Community Peer Pre-K Program is available at select APS elementary schools for preschoolers to participate in a high-quality pre-K program. Eligible students for the toddler program are 2 years 6 months through 3-years old (by September 30). Eligible students for the 3-5 year old program are 3 years 6 months through 4-years old (by September 30). This program provides play-based instruction to target all developmental areas with a focus on communication, interactions with peers and adults, as well as fostering growing independent skills. This program is aligned with the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) program and differentiated to meet students’ needs. The fees for this program are based on the same sliding scale as the Montessori program and are contingent on family income.
  • Information Nights: View a recording of our virtual Pre-K and Montessori information nights.  View a recording of each elementary school’s virtual information session for families.
  • TO APPLY: The application for all pre-K programs is available on the online application portalNote: The application portal will re-open on May 16 if spaces in PreK and elementary option schools are still available after the application timeline.
  • Lottery Information: The lotteries for all pre-K programs was held virtually on Friday, April 29, 2022 at 12pm.  View a recording of the automated lottery process. NOTE: Families will NOT receive lottery results on the day of the lottery (April 29). Families will be notified of their acceptance or placement on the waitlist by email and/or text by 4pm on May 5, 2022.

Additional information is available on the Preschool Options and Transfers page.


General Elementary School Options & Transfers Application Information for School Year 2022-23

Elementary School Options & Transfers Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Feb. 1, 2022 at 4 p.m. – April 15, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Application Deadline April 15, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 22, 2022 at 12 p.m.
Lottery Notification April 29, 2022
Accept/Decline May 13, 2022
  • Option Schools: Arlington Traditional, Campbell, Claremont, Montessori Public School of Arlington, and Escuela Key.
  • Neighborhood Transfers: Targeted neighborhood transfers for the 2022-23 school year were offered for the following schools: Abingdon to Drew, Glebe and Tuckahoe to Cardinal, and Arlington Science Focus to Innovation.
  • Information Night: Virtual Kindergarten Information Night was held on Monday, January 31, 2022. View the recording. Each elementary school also offered a virtual information session for families between February and March.
  • Lottery Information: The lotteries for all elementary option schools were held virtually on Friday, April 22, 2022, at 12 p.m. NOTE: Families will NOT receive lottery results on the day of the lottery (April 22). Families will be notified of their acceptance or placement on the waitlist by email and/or text on April 29, 2022.
  • Waitlists: The waitlist for elementary option schools is maintained year-round, and families will be notified if they are on the waitlist and a seat becomes available. All waitlists reset when the options and transfers period begins each year, so families must reapply if they are still interested in attending a school or program they applied to previously.
  • Sibling Preference: Siblings who will be concurrently enrolled at the same elementary school will receive priority in admission.
  • Transportation: Transportation is available for students attending option schools/programs who live outside their school’s walk zone (View school bus eligibility maps). All transportation for option school and programs is provided via hub stops. Hub stops are central locations—such as a community center or school—where students from several neighborhoods meet to catch the bus to their school and may be a longer distance from a student’s residence. Transportation is not provided for neighborhood transfers or administrative placements. Learn more about transportation for option schools.
  • TO APPLY: Submit an Elementary Option School Application through the online application portalNote: The application portal will re-open on May 16 if spaces in PreK and elementary option schools are still available.

Additional information is available on the Elementary School Options and Transfers page.


General Middle School Options & Transfers Application Information for School Year 2022-23

Option Middle Schools & Programs Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Nov. 1, 2021 at 10 p.m. – Jan. 21, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Lottery Jan. 31, 2022, 12 – 4 p.m.
Lottery Notification Feb. 7, 2022 after 4 p.m.
Accept/Decline Feb. 21, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.
Middle School Neighborhood Transfers Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Feb. 21, 2022 – March 11, 2022
Lottery March 18, 2022, 1 – 3 p.m.
Lottery Notification March 25, 2022 after 4 p.m.
Accept/Decline April 8, 2022
  • Option Schools/Programs: Spanish Immersion Program at Gunston, Montessori Middle Years Program at Gunston, and H-B Woodlawn (Grades 6-8).
  • Neighborhood Transfers: Neighborhood transfers for the 2022-23 school year were offered to the following middle schools: Dorothy Hamm, Jefferson, Kenmore, and Williamsburg. The 2022-23 school year lotteries for the middle schools accepting neighborhood transfers were held on Friday, March 18. View the recording.
  • Information Night: Virtual Middle School Information Night was held on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 at 7 p.m. View the recording. In addition, each middle school offered a school-based information session for families.
  • Waitlists: Middle school neighborhood transfer waitlists will be maintained by the APS Welcome Center until May 2, 2022. Options seats are continuously filled throughout the school year as seats become available. Families will be notified if they are on the waitlist and a seat becomes available. If families do not accept or decline a seat by the deadline, the available seat is given to the next student on the waitlist. All waitlists reset when the options and transfers period begins each year, so families must reapply if they are still interested in attending a school or program they applied to previously.
  • Sibling Preference: Sibling preference is not currently offered at the middle school level.
  • Transportation: Transportation is available for students attending option schools/programs who live outside their school’s walk zone (View school bus eligibility maps). All transportation for option school and programs is provided via hub stops. Hub stops are central locations—such as a community center or school—where students from several neighborhoods meet to catch the bus to their school and may be a longer distance from a student’s residence. Transportation is not provided for neighborhood transfers or administrative placements. Select here to learn more about transportation for option schools.
  • FAQs: Families should review the Secondary Options and Transfers FAQs for answers to questions frequently received about the options and transfers process.
  • Lottery Information: The 2022-23 school year lotteries for the middle and high school option programs were held on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, from 12 – 4 p.m. View the recording.
  • To Apply: Apply for an option middle school or program through the online application portal.

Additional information on middle school options and transfers is available on the Middle School Options and Transfers page.


General High School Options & Transfers Application Information for School Year 2022-23

Option High Schools & Programs Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Nov. 1, 2021 at 10 p.m. – Jan. 21, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Lottery Jan. 31, 2022, 12 – 4 p.m.
Lottery Notification Feb. 7, 2022 after 4 p.m.
Accept/Decline Feb. 21, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.
High School Neighborhood Transfers Application Timeline
Application Window: CLOSED Feb. 21, 2022 – March 11, 2022
Lottery March 18, 2022, 1 – 3 p.m.
Lottery Notification March 25, 2022 after 4 p.m.
Accept/Decline April 8, 2022
  • Option Schools/Programs: Advanced Placement (AP) Network at Wakefield, Arlington Tech at the Arlington Career Center, H-B Woodlawn (Grades 9-12), Spanish Immersion Program at Wakefield, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Washington-Liberty.
  • Neighborhood Transfers: Neighborhood transfers for the 2022-23 school year were offered to Washington-Liberty. The 2022-23 school year lottery for Washington-Liberty was held on Friday, March 18. View the recording.
  • Information Night: Virtual High School Information Night was held on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, at 7 p.m. View the recording. In addition, each high school offered a school-based information session for families.
  • Waitlists: High school neighborhood transfer waitlists will be maintained by the APS Welcome Center until May 2, 2022. Options seats are continuously filled throughout the school year as seats become available. Families will be notified if they are on the waitlist and a seat becomes available. If families do not accept or decline a seat by the deadline, the available seat is given to the next student on the waitlist. All waitlists reset when the options and transfers period begins each year, so families must reapply if they are still interested in attending a school or program they applied to previously.
  • Sibling Preference: Sibling preference is not currently offered at the high school level.
  • Transportation: Transportation is available for students attending option schools/programs who live outside their school’s walk zone (View school bus eligibility maps). All transportation for option school and programs is provided via hub stops. Hub stops are central locations—such as a community center or school—where students from several neighborhoods meet to catch the bus to their school and may be a longer distance from a student’s residence. Transportation is not provided for neighborhood transfers or administrative placements. Select here to learn more about transportation for option schools.
  • FAQs: Families should review the Secondary Options and Transfers FAQs for answers to questions frequently received about the options and transfers process.
  • Lottery Information: The 2022-23 school year lotteries for the middle and high school option programs were held on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 at 12pm. View the recording.
  • To Apply: Apply for an option high school or program through the online application portal.

Additional information on high school options and transfers is available on the High School Options and Transfers page. 


For additional information or questions, please contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 or schooloptions@apsva.us.