Background

On May 21, 2018, the Salem School Committee voted to participate in the state’s Inter-District School Choice Program (see MGL Chapter 76, Section 12B). The program allows parents/guardians to enroll their child in a school district that is not the child’s home district. Through an annual vote, local school districts determine which grade levels and how many seats will be available.

The Inter-District Choice program is as follow:

Incoming Grades 9-12, Salem High School 

• Allow up to 15 students to enter at each grade level (up to 15 at the 9th grade, 15 at the 10th grade, 15 at  11th grade, and 15 at 12th grade). Note: This does not include Salem Prep High School unless a student who choice into another high school is placed there based on his/her IEP. 

Incoming Grades 9-12, New Liberty Innovation School 

• Allow up to 5 students to enter at any grade level 

Incoming Grades Kindergarten-8 

• Allow up to 10 students to enter at each grade level (up to 10 at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th,  and 8th grades). 

Conditions for Participation: 

1. A school choice application is required for each student applying and must be received by the deadline in order to be considered in the priority round lottery. Applications must be received by June 15th, to qualify for the priority round lottery. Notification of acceptance, rejection or waitlist status will be sent to priority round lottery applicants by July 1, 2024. Those applying after the priority round deadline will be considered on a first come, first serves basis, based on availability, or placed accordingly at the end of the grade’s waitlist. Applications for school choice will close for the school year on November 1st, 2024. School choice applications received after November 1, 2024, will not be considered for the 2024/2025 school year school choice program.  

2. The number of available spaces per grade level does not guarantee placement within a specific school.  Once accepted in a specific grade level, the district’s student assignment policy criteria will be used to assign students to specific schools. 

3. Resident students shall be given priority for all placements based on the district’s choice-based student assignment policy. 

4. Applications from siblings of non-resident choice students already enrolled in Salem Public Schools (via the Inter-District school choice program) and who will remain in the school choice program during that school year will, by law, receive priority in placement. Such students will be accepted first IF space is available in their desired grade. 

5. Should the number of applications exceeds the number of vacancies after the placement of siblings, the remaining vacancies will be filled by a random drawing. All applicants not accepted through the random drawing will be randomly selected and placed, in the order of their selection, on a waitlist. 

6. Students currently receiving special education services will be required to provide a current proposed and last-accepted IEP prior to the enrollment process for IEP planning and implementation purposes.  However, an applicant is not required to provide an IEP or disclose disability status to Salem Schools during the applicant process. Salem Schools do not consider whether students have a disability or the nature of their disabilities in determining whether to admit them under school choice and similarly do not rescind any offers of admission based on a student’s disability or disability-related needs. 

7. The District may not deny an application for School Choice based on a record of a serious discipline problem within the non-resident district (see April 2019 DESE Advisory). If an application indicates the student has been suspended or expelled, the District may proceed with its own disciplinary process once the student begins attending the Salem Public Schools.  

8. Transportation is unavailable for School Choice students through the Salem Public Schools. Therefore,  it is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to provide daily roundtrip transportation and to ensure students arrive at school every day on time and are promptly picked up after school. In special circumstances, the district may opt to provide transportation in cases where student attendance is a  serious concern. 

Please note that bus transportation is not provided to students who choice-in from other districts unless otherwise required by law or via a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). 

9. School Choice students may fully participate in all school activities, including after-school programming, and are subject to the same rules and guidelines as resident students.

10. Former residents of the Salem Public Schools who move out of the District but wish to have their children remain as students in Salem Schools do not have a unique claim to the seats their children vacated and must apply for School Choice as any other non-resident, except as provided in School Committee Policy 5102.01, which allows a student to continue attendance in Salem Public Schools under two circumstances outside of school choice:

  1. with principal permission in consultation with the superintendent, to continue attendance for purposes of completing the school year, provided that the period of time since the relinquishment of residence and the end of the school year does not exceed three (3) calendar months (note: in situations of hardship, a family may appeal to the superintendent to waive this condition);
  2. or a student who has continuously attended a Salem elementary or K-8 school for three (3)continuous school years or a middle or high school for two (2) continuous years may complete his or her schooling to the highest grade level offered at the respective elementary, middle, or high school, regardless of the residence of his or her parents.  Students who do not qualify for the above exceptions may seek to remain in the district via the inter-district school choice program, should Salem participate in the program in the relevant year. 

Instructions to Apply 

There are two steps to apply to attend SPS as a non-resident student:  

1. School Choice Application and Lottery – The deadline is June 15. To apply, interested non-resident students/families must complete a form by June 15th English or Spanish. Applications received after this date will be processed on a rolling basis and space-available basis. If more students apply than spaces available within any grade level as outlined above, an admissions lottery will be held at Collins Middle  School. 

2. Student Registration and Enrollment. Once accepted into the School Choice Program, parents/guardians must complete all required student registration and enrollment forms and submit all required documentation. Students will not be enrolled until all required documentation has been submitted.

Questions and More Information 

For questions regarding the school choice program in Salem, please contact the Parent Information Center (PIC) at  978-740-1225 or email pic@salemk12.org.

Questions and More Information

For questions regarding the school choice program in Salem, please contact the Parent Information Center (PIC)