Full Menu

Option Schools and Programs

offer specialized instruction as an alternative to the designated neighborhood school. Interested students must complete an online application during a specific time period. Lotteries are held if more applications are received than there are seats available.

We’re here to help! For assistance or questions, contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 (option 3) or schooloptions@apsva.us.

Application timelines for the 2024-25 school year will be posted soon.

Application Timelines for School Year 2024-25

Middle and High Schools

Open – Monday, Nov. 6, 2023

Close – Friday, Jan. 12, 2024 at 4 p.m.

Lottery (online) – Jan. 22, 1 p.m.

Families receive lottery results by 8 p.m. – Jan. 29

Accept/Decline Deadline  – Feb. 5, 11:59 p.m.

PreK and Elementary Schools

Feb –  March, 2024

Elementary Lottery – TBD

Pre-K Lottery – TBD

Families receive lottery results – TBD

Accept/Decline Deadline  – TBD

In order to be considered for an option school or preschool, families must submit an application online. 


High School Information

Middle School Information

General Information

For New APS Families

New APS families interested in applying to an option school are also encouraged to register for their neighborhood school.

  • If a space in an option school is offered to a family, the registration documentation provided will be transferred to the option school.
  • If a student is placed on a waitlist for an option school, registering at their neighborhood school guarantees the student will have a space for the upcoming school year.
  • Early neighborhood school registrations support APS with staffing projections and resource allocation.

Use the School Boundary (Attendance Zone) Locator to find your neighborhood school.

Registration can be completed online, at the neighborhood school or at the APS Welcome Center.

Lottery Process

If more applications are received than there are seats available, APS will conduct a random, double-blind lottery to determine admission.

Families DO NOT receive lottery results on the day of the automated lottery.

  • Families will be notified of their acceptance or placement on the waitlist by email and/or text on the date specified in the Application Timeline.
  • Families must confirm or decline attendance to the school or program by a specific date and time.
  • If families do not accept or decline their seat by the deadline, their seat will be given to the next student on the waitlist.
  • If families apply to more than one school/program, their application will go into all lotteries simultaneously. 


Waitlists: Students who applied, but were not selected through the lottery process, will be placed in numerical order on a waitlist.

  • Applications received after the deadline are placed at the bottom of the existing waitlist for the upcoming school year.
  • When students on the waitlist are offered a seat, they have a one-week window to accept the slot. If the slot is not accepted within the one-week window, the offer will be rescinded and offered to the next student on the waitlist.
  • Option seats are continuously filled throughout the school year as seats become available.

Sibling Preference


Siblings who will be concurrently enrolled at the same elementary school will receive priority in admission.

Middle and High School:

Sibling preference is not currently offered at the middle and high school levels.

Early Childhood:

This information will be updated on July 1, 2023.


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 schools 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. Learn more.

Tuition and Fees

K-12 neighborhood schools and option schools are free for all students to attend.

Early Childhood option schools/programs may have fees based on a sliding scale. Learn more.

Family Information Sessions

All APS schools offer information sessions for families.  View the schedule for:

School Options Policies, Procedures and Application Data

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.

View application data for option schools and programs.

PreK - Required Supporting Documents

Community Peer Prek (CPP) and Primary Montessori

Learn about CPP. Learn about Primary Montessori.

Submit the following documents when applying online:

  • Copy of original birth certificate
  • Copy of Identification card of either parents/ guardian

View a short video to help you create an online account (English) (Spanish) (Mongolian) (Amharic)

Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI)

Learn about VPI.

The funds that support VPI have various criteria that must be taken into consideration before offering acceptance to any child.

In order to be considered for VPI, families must submit required documents. View a complete checklist (English) (Spanish)

  • Proof of the child’s age and legal name
  • Proof of Arlington County residency
  • Proof of parent identity and relationship to student
  • Proof of income

Learn More About Our Option Schools and Programs