Options and Transfers

Options and Transfers

Arlington Public Schools provides families the opportunity to enroll in an option school/program or request a neighborhood transfer as an alternative to attending their neighborhood school. Option schools/programs have specialized instructional programs that provide pre-K, elementary, middle and high school students the opportunity to thrive in a specialized educational setting. Students may apply for an option school/program or a transfer to a neighborhood school that is accepting transfers based on the Superintendent’s annual update to the School Board.

In order to be considered for an option school/program or neighborhood transfer, families must submit an application through the online application portal. If more applications are received than the seats available, APS will conduct a random, double-blind lottery to determine admission to these programs and schools.

Below is a brief overview of the options and transfers application, policy, and process for elementary and secondary schools and programs. Information includes key dates and deadlines, along with information about lotteries and waitlists, transportation, sibling preference and more. Option schools and programs are free for all students to attend and transportation is provided.

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) outlines 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.

Pre-Kindergarten

(Option School Application/Transfer Request dates for the school year 2022-23 will be provided soon)
<!–

Primary Montessori Application Timeline
Application Window: OPEN Feb. 1 – April 15, 2021
Application Deadline April 15, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 23, 2021
Lottery Notification April 30, 2021
Accept/Decline May 14, 2021
VPI & CPP Application Timeline
Application Window: OPEN Feb. 1 – April 15, 2021
Application Deadline April 15, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 23, 2021
Lottery Notification April 30, 2021
Accept/Decline May 14, 2021

–>
General Pre-Kindergarten Application Information for School Year 2021-22

  • 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 student’s needs. The fees for this program are based on the same sliding scale as the Montessori program and is contingent on family income.
  • Information Nights: View the Pre-K and Montessori Information Night videos online.
  • ADMISSION: Students are admitted to these programs throughout the year as seats become available.
  • Lottery Information: The lotteries for all pre-K programs will be held virtually on Friday, April 23, 2021. View the live lottery online. The recording of the lotteries will be available online following the lottery.
  • TO APPLY: The application for all pre-K programs is available on the online application portal.

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

Elementary School

(Option School Application/Transfer Request dates for the school year 2022-2023 will be provided soon)
<!–

Elementary School Options & Transfers Application Timeline
Application Window: OPEN Feb. 1 – April 15, 2021
Application Deadline April 15, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Lottery April 22, 2021
Lottery Notification April 30, 2021
Accept/Decline May 14, 2021

–>
 General Elementary School Options & Transfers Application Information for School Year 2021-22

  • Student Registration: Families are able to register new elementary school students by using the Conditional Online Registration Process. Once a student has been registered to attend APS, families do not need to complete the registration process unless a student is withdrawn from APS.
  • Option Schools: Arlington Traditional, Campbell, Claremont, Montessori Public School of Arlington, and Key.
  • Neighborhood Transfers: APS is unable to offer elementary neighborhood transfers for the 2021-22 school year; however, targeted transfers will be available for students who attend Abingdon Elementary School to transfer to Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School. Additional detail will be shared soon.
  • Information Night: Each elementary school offers a school-based information session for families.
  • Lottery Information: The lotteries for all elementary option schools will be held virtually on Thursday, April 22, 2021. View the live lottery online. The recording of the lotteries will be available online following the lottery.
  • 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. Select here to learn more about transportation for option schools.
  • TO APPLY: Submit an Elementary Option School Application through the online application portal.

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

Middle School

Option Middle Schools & Programs Application Timeline
Application Window: 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: 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

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

  • Option Schools/Programs: Spanish Immersion Program at Gunston, Montessori Middle Years Program at Gunston, and H-B Woodlawn (Grades 6-8).
  • Neighborhood Transfers: The application period to apply for a neighborhood middle school transfer will open on Feb. 21, 2022. Information about middle school transfers for the 2022-23 school year is available on the Middle School Requesting a Transfer webpage.
  • Information Night: Virtual Middle School Information Night is on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 at 7 p.m. Families will be able to join and participate via livestream (Select here to join). In addition, each middle school offers 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.
  • TO APPLY: Submit an Elementary Option School Application through the online application portal.
  • 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 will be on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 from 12 – 4 p.m.
  • 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. 

High School

Option High Schools & Programs Application Timeline
Application Window: 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: 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

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

  • 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: The application period to apply for a neighborhood high school transfer will open on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Information about high school transfers for the 2022-23 school year is available on the High School Requesting a Transfer webpage.
  • Information Night: Virtual High School Information Night is on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 at 7 p.m. Families will be able to join and participate via livestream (Select here to join). In addition, each middle school offers 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.
  • TO APPLY: Submit an Elementary Option School Application through the online application portal.
  • 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 will be on Friday, Jan. 31, 2022 from 12 – 4 p.m.
  • 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.