K-12 New Orleans Public School Applications
The NOLA-PS Common Application Process (NCAP), formerly known as OneApp, is currently open for grades K-12 and due on January 20, 2023. If you’ve been putting off completing your application, I’m here to tell you it’s not so bad. In fact, we have some amazing public school options in New Orleans, and the NCAP ensures that every family has an opportunity to enroll at their top picks.
As much as I personally appreciate school choice, I also know it’s stressful to leave this huge school decision in the “hands” of a computer algorithm. Here are some notes and tips to get you through.
Do I Need to Fill It Out?
If you live in Orleans parish and you have a child who will be entering kindergarten through grade 12 in the upcoming school year (2023-2024), then the NCAP may be for you. Your kid is eligible for kindergarten if they are 5 years old by the end of September.
Complete the NCAP if:
- Your child is not currently attending a New Orleans public school, and you want them to attend one next year.
- Your child currently attends a New Orleans public school, but you want them to attend a different public school next year.
You may need to complete NCAP if:
- Your child is in a transitional grade level (e.g., pre-k, 4th or 5th grade, 8th grade) and you want your child to attend the “same” school next year. Please check with your school to check if your child automatically has a placement for 2023-2024. For example, almost all pre-k students are guaranteed a placement in the same school in kindergarten, but there is at least one exception. Some 8th graders matriculate into a specific high school, but not all.
As an additional note, there are several charter schools in New Orleans that operate under Type 2 charters. These schools are open to any Louisiana residents.
Due Dates and Timeline
- Applications are due January 20, 2023. Once you have decided on your school preferences (see the section below) the actual application does not require much time.
- You may need to submit additional forms after submitting the NCAP. For example, if you are expecting sibling priority, you may need to submit proof of sibling status. (As usual, how to do so varies by school.)
- You can expect results by the end of March 2023.
- New Orleans has many great options for public schools. You can search for schools on this site. Click on the name of any school and use the tabs on the left to find out more info.
- Expand your school search beyond the most popular options. School ratings provide some valid information, but are not the best predictor of your child’s experience in any school.
- Schedule school visits. Many schools are offering in person as well as virtual tours this year. Take this list of questions with you to help you learn more about each school.
As you consider your school options, keep in mind that NCAP uses an advanced algorithm to match students to schools. Adding a higher number of schools to your list does not hurt your child’s chance of getting into their first choice. In fact, adding more schools can only help you get a school placement in the first round for 2023-2024.
Eligibility and Admissions Criteria
Although we use a common application in New Orleans, some schools maintain specific eligibility and admissions criteria. For example, you may need to attend a parent meeting, or your child may need to take a test, in order to match with certain schools. Once you know what schools you’re interested in, be sure to visit their specific websites and see if they have additional admissions criteria. K-8 schools that I know fall into this category include The Willow School, Lake Forest, Audubon, Hynes pre-k, and most language immersion programs in G1 and above.
What about Early Childhood?
This year, the early childhood application follows a different timeline from K-12. You can expect to see early childhood applications open in February. The early childhood application is for any publicly-funded programs serving infants through age 4. Check back at enrollnolaps.com for updates if you have a child who will be 4 or younger on September 30, 2023.
Questions and Support
Unfortunately, there is no centralized site to find answers to all your NCAP questions, at least not that I’ve found. However, there are staff members who are quick to respond and generally very helpful. You can ask questions directly from the school enrollment portal, or you can email [email protected]. If you prefer in-person support, you can visit a Family Resource Center on weekdays from 8:30 am-3:00 pm.
I know the school application process has a complicated reputation in New Orleans (and you probably know too if you follow any of our New Orleans Mom neighborhood groups). Although you may not love this process, the actual data is very encouraging. In fact, last year over 80% of K-12 applicants matched with one of their top three choices, a trend that has been very consistent in the past few years. In my personal experience, my daughter initially matched with our fourth-choice school. The week after school started, she moved off the waitlist and was able to enroll in our top choice. I would have been happy to send her to any of the seven schools we included on our school choice list.