Secondary Options and Transfers FAQ

What is an option school or program?

Arlington Public Schools (APS) provides families the opportunity to attend an option school/program as an alternative to attending their designated neighborhood school. Option schools/programs offer specialized educational instruction to pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school students.

Registering for a Neighborhood 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.

Applying for an Option School

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

All students interested in applying to an option school/program should also register for their neighborhood school as early as possible.

  • If a student is offered a space in an option school, the registration and required documents will be transferred to the option school.
  • If a student is a put on a waitlist for an option school, registering at his/her neighborhood school ensures the student will have a space for the upcoming school year.

Option Middle Schools/Programs: H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, Montessori at Gunston*, and Dual Language Spanish Immersion at Gunston*.

  • *Only students who are new to APS or APS students not enrolled in Montessori and Immersion elementary programs need to apply.
  • APS students currently enrolled in the Immersion or Montessori elementary programs will automatically roll over to the middle school program unless the family makes a different choice.

Option High Schools/Programs: H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, AP Network at Wakefield, Arlington Tech at the Career Center, Immersion Program at Wakefield*, and International Baccalaureate (IB) at Washington-Liberty. 

  • *Only students who are new to APS or APS students not enrolled in the Immersion middle school program need to apply.
  • APS students currently enrolled in the Immersion program at Gunston will automatically roll over to the high school program unless the family makes a different choice.

What is a neighborhood transfer?

Neighborhood schools accept transfers to the extent possible given financial constraints and capacity limits based on the Superintendent’s annual update to the School Board on enrollment. For fall 2023, the schools and number of available seats will be determined in January 2023 after projections are completed. Some schools might not have any seats, some very few seats, and others a large number of seats.

How do I complete an application for an option school and/or a neighborhood transfer?

Families should visit the Options and Transfers Online Application Portal at to complete an application. Families must create an account using an email address or phone number.

Are paper applications available for the options and transfers process?

No. Families who need assistance with the online portal may contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 (option 3) or email

In what languages are the applications available?

English and Spanish.

Do students currently attending Montessori or Immersion still need to complete an application?

No. The secondary Montessori and Immersion applications are for New students to APS ONLY. All students currently attending the Montessori Public School of Arlington, Key and/or Claremont will be accepted if they want to continue in the Montessori and/or Immersion program. They will confirm their intent to continue in Immersion or in the Montessori Middle Years Program through the school by filling out the intent to return form and when completing their course selection later in the spring.

Will there be transportation for my child?

Transportation is available for students attending option schools/programs. However, to address the ongoing challenges with the length of bus routes, as well as on-time performance, students may be assigned to the closest bus stop, but some stops may be a longer distance from the student’s residence. Parents must provide their own transportation when they accept a neighborhood transfer seat.

Will I find out on the day of the online lottery if my child was offered a seat at an option school or program?

No. Families will be notified in writing through email and/or text on the date specified in each timeline.

If my child does not get a seat in the lottery, will I find out their waitlist number?

Yes. Families will receive information about their waitlist number on the date specified in each timeline. APS will offer spaces to families on the waitlist, if available, after the deadline date for accepted families to accept or decline their seat. Families can log in to their account to check on their waitlist status and monitor any movement.

What happens if I get accepted at multiple option schools?

If students have been accepted to more than one option school/program, once a commitment is made for the upcoming school year, the student’s name will be removed from any other admission and/or waitlist(s).

How many seats are available at HB-Woodlawn? How is the lottery at HB-Woodlawn different than the lottery for other option schools?

Under the APS options and transfers procedures, slots in the sixth-grade class at H-B Woodlawn will be assigned based on the size of fifth-grade cohorts in each elementary school, including options schools, and based on the number of students who were not previously enrolled in APS who applied to the program. Students in grades 6-12 interested in attending H-B Woodlawn for the upcoming school are required to complete the Secondary School Options Application.

For additional information or questions, please contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 (option 3) or