Area school districts offer multiple pathways to success through programs such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). (Photo courtesy: Adams 12 Five Star Schools).

With so many choices, students and parents are able to determine what school fits best for them. (Photos courtesy: St. Vrain Valley School District).

School choice season is a season of hope, a time to ask where your child will thrive next year. Via school choice, or open enrollment, Colorado law gives parents “an opportunity to request that your student attends a school of choice outside of their attendance area,” explained Anna Gerber, communications manager for St. Vrain Valley Schools. “In-district students applying to a school outside their attendance area, as well as students who do not live within district boundaries but want to attend a school in (the district), need to complete the online open enrollment application.”

Most district schools are available for open enrollment, excepting some charter schools and specific programs.

The first round of school choice begins this month. Keep in mind that transportation for students attending a school outside their attendance area must be arranged by a guardian “unless space is available in district buses without disruption of regular routes and loading areas,” Gerber said, excepting “homeless students, students in foster care and students with disabilities” in accordance with state and federal law. To apply for school choice, parents need proof of residency.

Importantly, students desiring to attend their assigned neighborhood school do not need to apply for school choice, and in most cases, students attending through open enrollment do not need to reapply.

Here’s the breakdown of how open enrollment works at St. Vrain Valley School District, Adams 12 Five Star Schools and Boulder Valley School District (BVSD).

Adams 12 Five Star Schools
School choice at Adams 12 also begins Dec. 1 and includes three windows:

• Dec. 1 to Jan. 31: First-round applications should be submitted online.
• Feb. 1 to March 30: The second round features schools with remaining space.
• April 1 to mid-September: Third-round applications will be processed weekly beginning in May.

Mark Poshak, of Culture and Engagement at Adams 12, said, “In Adams 12 Five Star Schools, we believe in the more than 50 school options we have to offer. Whether you choose your boundary school or a magnet school, a charter school or a specific programming, our promise is to provide an educational experience where students innovate, achieve and succeed by ensuring high-quality instruction in every classroom every day.”

Poshak urged families to contact school leaders to ask questions and “determine what school is the best fit for you.” He said, “We offer multiple pathways to success through programs such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), gifted and talented and fine and performing arts, International Baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) and more.”

To apply, visit

Boulder Valley School District
At BVSD, open enrollment launches in November:

• Nov. 2 to Jan. 6: Open Enrollment Window. Submit an application online.
• After Jan. 6: Students submitting late open enrollment applications may be added to school waitlists.

Randy Barber, chief communications officer at BVSD, noted, “In Boulder Valley School District, we have long been a leader in choice, building outstanding partnerships with our charter schools and an open enrollment policy that truly allows students to choose the school that best fits them, assuming, of course, that space is available.” He encouraged families to “make your first-choice school your first choice in open enrollment.”

Echoing Gerber and Poshak, Barber continued, “We believe that it is very important for students and families to choose a school that best meets their needs and their child’s interests. All 56 of our schools are outstanding options, but we know that by finding a great fit, they are more likely to be happy and successful.”

As parents navigate the challenges of 2020, Gerber, Poschak and Barber emphasized that their districts are laboring to help students learn and grow wherever they fit best, this year and beyond. Barber acknowledged, “This year is extremely difficult for everyone involved. We recognize that many families are making decisions for the moment and the current needs of their students and their families.” That said, “The current situation and the movement of students does open outstanding opportunities for those that have always wanted to attend BVSD schools.”

To apply, visit

St. Vrain Valley School District
All St. Vrain Valley schools offer open enrollment on a space-available basis. This year’s open enrollment dates are:

• Dec. 1 to 15: Open Enrollment Window. Submit an application online.
• January 18: Deadline to receive application status from school.
• February 1: Deadline to confirm open enrollment.

After the open enrollment timeline, St. Vrain will accept open enrollment applications on a rolling basis.

St. Vrain Valley superintendent Don Haddad said, “Every school in St. Vrain has outstanding teachers and staff, rigorous curriculum options, robust technology resources and high-quality instructional and co-curricular programs to support the well-being and academic growth of our students. In addition to that strong foundation of academic excellence across all of our schools, we have implemented over 70 focus program options so that students and families can choose a specific program that best aligns with their interests and educational goals.” High school options include focus academies in aerospace and engineering, biomedical sciences, leadership, visual and performing arts and CU Succeed Gold and Silver Dual Enrollment Programs.

To apply, visit

By Sarah Huber, Raised in the Rockies