Non-Resident School Choice Application for 2021-22 School Year


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. Local school districts determine, via an annual vote, which grade levels and how many seats will be available. On April 26, 2021 the School Committee voted to expand Salem’s participation beginning with school year 2021-22 in the Inter-District School Choice program as follows:

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 choices into another high school is placed there based on his/her IEP.

Incoming Grades 9-12, New Liberty Innovation School

  • Allow up to 15 students to enter at any grade level 

Incoming Grades 1-8

  • Allow up to 10 students to enter at each grade level (up to 10 at the 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 6/15 in order to qualify for the priority round lottery for the following school year. Those applying after the deadline will be considered on a first come, first serve basis, based on space availability or placed accordingly at the end of that grade’s waitlist. 
  2. Choice Applications are available in English and Spanish
  3. The number of available spaces per grade level does not guarantee placement within a specific school. Once accepted in a specific grade level, the criteria of the district’s student assignment policy will be used to assign students to specific schools.
  4. Resident students shall be given priority for all placements based on the district’s choice-based student assignment policy.
  5. 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 the grade they are seeking.
  6. Should the number of applications exceed 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.
  7. Students currently receiving special education services will be required to provide a current IEP prior to the enrollment process.
  8. 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.   
  9. Transportation is not available 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. Should there be available spaces, they may remain in school under the School Choice program. If the spots are full, they will be placed on a waiting list should a spot become available and/or be eligible for the next lottery.

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).

Instructions to Apply

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

  1. School Choice Application and Lottery – Deadline is June 15. To apply, interested non-resident students/families must complete the enclosed school choice application and submit it to the Parent Information Center (PIC) by June 15. Completed applications may be submitted via fax to (978) 740-1176, scan and email to, mailed, or dropped off in person to the PIC at Collins Middle School, Room 121, 29 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA 01970. Applications received after this date will be processed on a rolling basis, on a space-available basis. If more students apply than there are spaces available within any grade level as outlined above, an admissions lottery will be held at Collins Middle School on or about June 18.
  2. Student Registration and Enrollment. Once accepted into the School Choice Program, parents/guardians must then complete all required student registration and enrollment forms, submitting all required documentation. Students will not be enrolled until all required documentation has been submitted. Copies of the registration forms, including packets translated into Spanish and Portuguese can be found at:

Questions and More Information

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