High School Specialty Program Application FAQs

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General Questions
High School Specialty Program Application

What is the High School Specialty Program Application?

The High School Specialty Program Application is an opportunity for each student who resides permanently within the boundaries of the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) to apply for enrollment in a SCUSD high school specialty program, based on space availability. SCUSD offers specialty programs at both our neighborhood and small specialized high schools.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students entering the 9th through 12th grades for the 2021-2022 school year that live within our district boundaries can apply through an online application. If you live within our district boundaries, but do not go to a SCUSD school, you must pre-register to apply online. 

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those currently on an inter-district permit) are not eligible to participate in the online application.  A paper application will be available for download starting on January 11, 2021 for students who wish to apply during our inter and intra permit window April 1, 2021 - May 3, 2021. Please contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

Out-of-district applicants who meet the program requirements will be accepted or go on the waiting list after qualified in-district applicants per California Education Code.

How do I learn about the programs?

You can learn about all the programs listed below and their specific requirements at https://www.scusd.edu/high-school-specialty-programs.

Watch videos from our 8th grade principals about our high school specialty programs and the application process here

Which programs have criteria for admission?

  • C.K. McClatchy HISP
  • C.K. McClatchy VAPA
  • Kit Carson International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
  • John F. Kennedy PACE
  • West Campus

Which programs require me to attend a virtual essay or test session?

  • C.K. McClatchy HISP
  • John F. Kennedy PACE
  • West Campus

Is transportation provided by the school district to the specialty program I am accepted to?

No, transportation is not provided for students accepted into specialty programs. Parents are responsible for transporting their students.

Can I use my work address for my student to apply to a High School Specialty Program?

The Sacramento City Unified School District interprets the Allen Bill in the following ways:

  1. A parent/guardian is required to provide on letterhead a statement from the employer verifying employment and the work address.
  2. Since our district utilizes addresses for placement, in order to establish residency the student must enroll in the neighborhood school associated with the work address. So for example if the work address is associated with California Middle School the student must enroll in California Middle School (IF) the school has space for the student. If the school does not have the space, the student cannot enroll.
  3. Once this is complete and the student is attending, the student can then apply for any programs through the High School Specialty Program (HSSP) or Open Enrollment (OE).
  4. Families cannot use their work address to apply for the HSSP or OE if they are not attending our school(s) through the Allen Bill currently.
  5. Residency is established by enrolling.

Students who live outside the district boundaries may apply during our Permit Window, April 1, 2021 – May 3, 2021, to High School Specialty Programs that still have openings.

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Application Questions
High School Specialty Program Application

How do I log into the online application?

Students login with their SCUSD Student Email and Date of Birth (format: mm/dd/yyyy – include slashes) to access the High School Specialty Program Application. If you have issues logging in or do not know what your student email is please contact your school.

If you live within our district boundaries, but do not go to a SCUSD school, you must preregister first to be able to login and apply online.

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those currently on an inter-district permit) are not eligible to participate in the online application.  A paper application will be available for download starting on January 11, 2021 for students who wish to apply during our inter and intra-district permit window April 1, 2021 - May 3, 2021. Please contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

How do I preregister?

If you currently reside within the boundaries of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and are currently not attending one of our schools and you wish to apply for a High School Specialty Program, you will need to preregister with our district within the dates of November 3, 2020 through December 4, 2020.  This process registers you as a future student that will then allow you to apply online for a High School Specialty Program.

How many specialty programs can I apply to?

You may apply up to two specialty programs.

Is there a separate Open Enrollment process?

No, the Open Enrollment process has been combined with the specialty program application so applicants only have one application to fill out.  

When eligibility requirements are met, applications will either be accepted or moved on to a lottery system (previously called Open Enrollment). A lottery will be implemented when eligible applications exceed the grade capacity at the requested specialty program.

Do I have to turn in a transcript and standardized test scores?

If you are a current SCUSD student, the transcript and test scores will be automatically sent to the program through the online application.

Students who live within our district boundaries but do not go to a SCUSD school, are required to provide transcripts and standardized test scores to the Enrollment Center lobby dropbox marked “K-12 applications” by December 18, 2020 at 11:00am. The lobby is open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 1PM. 

How do I submit teacher recommendations to the programs?

Teacher recommendations are no longer required for any of our specialty programs.

Where do I take the essay or test component for the programs that require it?

Three specialty programs – C.K. McClatchy HISP, John F. Kennedy PACE and West Campus – require students to take additional assessments as part of their application. This year, those assessments will be taken virtually.  

Sac City Students, assessment registration was November 9-18. To sign up for the make-up session on Monday, December 7, 2020, please register by December 1, 2020 at 5:00pm. 

Students who live within our district boundaries but do not go to a SCUSD school, will receive information on how to register for assessments after they finish pre-registration

How will I know you received my online application?

Once you successfully submit an online application, you will receive a confirmation screen that you can print for your records. Confirmation emails will also be sent to the student’s parents/guardians using the email on record in Infinite Campus.

If your parent/guardian would like to add or change their email in Infinite Campus have them 1) login to the parent portal and 2) go to the Account Management page. If your parent/guardian has any questions about accessing their Infinite Campus account, please have them contact your school.

I missed the assessment session for the specialty program I applied for. What do I do?

Sac City Students, to sign up for the make-up session on Monday, December 7, 2020, please register by December 1, 2020 at 5:00pm. 

If you cannot make an assessment or have additional questions, please contact Lisa Lewis at lewisl@scusd.edu.

Can I turn in a late application?

No late applications will be accepted.

Are my chances of getting into my first choice program increased if I apply early?

No. It doesn’t matter when you apply, as long as you apply within the application timeline. The application process is not on a first-come, first-served basis. The District utilizes a computerized, third-party lottery system to ensure fairness.

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Process Questions
High School Specialty Program Application

When do I find out if I got into a specialty program I applied for?

Notification letters will be sent out on Friday, January 29, 2021. 

If accepted into a specialty program, applicants needed to complete the process by registering at the Enrollment Center.  Dates for registration are listed in the notification letters.

Are translation services available during the application process?

Video tutorials are available to walk families how to use fill out the application in Chinese, Hmong, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

If my student is already enrolled in his/her specialty program does he/she need to reapply?

No. You do not need to reapply to your specialty program. The school the specialty program resides at becomes your neighborhood school.

Does my student have the right to return to his/her original neighborhood school after being accepted into a specialty program?

The high school that the specialty program resides at becomes your neighborhood school. In order to return to your original neighborhood school, you must apply for an intra-district permit through the Enrollment Center between April 1, 2021 through May 3, 2021. Intra-district permits are requests and not a guarantee for placement.

I live within the Sacramento City Unified School District boundary, but my child is attending a private school. Can my child apply to a High School Specialty Program?

If you currently reside within the boundaries of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and are currently not attending one of our schools and you wish to apply for a High School Specialty Program, you will need to pre-register with our district within the dates of November 3, 2020 through December 4, 2020.  This process registers you as a future student that will then allow you to apply online for a High School Specialty Program.

If my child is attending a SCUSD School on an inter-district permit (i.e., you live outside the district boundaries) can I apply for a High School Specialty Program?

No, inter-district permitted students are not eligible. 

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those currently on an inter-district permit) are not eligible to participate in the online application.  A paper application will be available for download starting on January 11, 2021 for students who wish to apply during our inter and intra permit window April 1, 2021 – May 3, 2021. Please contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

Where can I get an inter-district permit?

You can get an inter-district permit from your own school district. Your current district must approve the inter-district permit first, and then you must submit it to the SCUSD Enrollment Center for processing.  Inter-district permits must have attendance, behavior, and grade reports attached.

I live outside of the Sacramento City Unified School District boundary. Can my student apply to a High School Specialty Program?

No, students who live outside the district boundaries are not eligible. 

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those currently on an inter-district permit) are not eligible to participate in the online application.  A paper application will be available for download starting on January 11, 2021 for students who wish to apply during our inter and intra permit window April 1, 2021 – May 3, 2021. Please contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

I live outside of the Sacramento City Unified School District boundary and one of my students already attends a High School Specialty Program. Do my other students have sibling preference? 

No, out-of-district students with a current sibling in a High School Specialty Program do not have sibling preference.  Students who live outside the district boundaries may apply during our Permit Window, April 1, 2021 – May 3, 2021, to High School Specialty Programs that still have openings. 

I am a Sacramento City Unified School District employee and live outside of the Sacramento City Unified School District boundary. Does my student have preference to attend a High School Specialty Program at my school?

No, students who live outside the district boundaries are not eligible. Students who live outside the district boundaries may apply during our Permit Window, April 1, 2021 – May 3, 2021, to High School Specialty Programs that still have openings. 

However, students who live within our district boundaries whose parent/guardian’s primary place of employment is at the selected school are given lottery priority. 

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Lottery Questions
High School Specialty Program Application

How does the lottery work?

The High School Specialty Program Application is not a first-come, first-serve basis. You may apply anytime during the application window to be considered.

SCUSD uses a computerized, third-party lottery system to place students at their specialty program of choice. A lottery must be implemented if applications exceed the grade capacity at the requested program.

One of the following lottery scenarios will occur:

  1. Your student is selected for his/her first specialty program choice and receive a notification letter to register. 
  2. If your student applied to only one specialty program and was not selected, he/she will be placed on a waiting list.
  3. If your student applied for two specialty programs and was not selected for his/her first choice, the computer will look for his/her second choice. Note: Second choice selections are placed behind all first choice selections.
  • Your student is selected for his/her second specialty program choice and receives a notification letter to register.
  • Your student is not selected for his/her first or second specialty program choice. He/she will be placed on a waiting list for his/her first choice only.

What happens if my student doesn’t get accepted to the first or second school of choice?

Your student will only be placed on the waiting list for their first choice. Placement from the waiting list occurs only if space becomes available.

The specialty program coordinator working with the Enrollment Center Director will contact the parent/guardian when and if space becomes available.

Students who apply to a specialty program and have not met the school’s admissions requirements will not be included in the lottery. If the student hasn’t applied to another program, the student must attend his/her neighborhood or current school.

If I am accepted to my 2nd choice, will I be put on the 1st choice waiting list?

No. 

Who has priority in the lottery selection process?

Lottery Selection Priorities:

First priority

  • Siblings of students already in attendance at the specialty program and will continue to be enrolled in the upcoming school year.

Second priority

  • Students whose parent/guardian’s primary place of employment is the selected school.

Third priority (administrative priority)

  • When unique circumstances occur at a school, such as a school closure, program changes, and/or over-crowding occurs; district administrators may institute a specific priority to meet staffing and housing needs.

Schools without Attendance Boundaries:

First priority

  • Siblings of students already in attendance at the specialty program and will continue to be enrolled in the upcoming school year.

Second priority

  • Students whose parent/guardian’s primary place of employment is the selected school.
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Registration Questions

What is the timeline for registration into the program I am accepted to?

Once accepted into a specialty program, you must complete the process by registering at the Enrollment Center.

Due to unexpected delays in the High School Specialty Program lottery, notifications letters will begin to be mailed on Friday, January 29, 2021. 

If accepted into a specialty program, applicants need to complete the process by registering at the Enrollment Center.  Dates for registration will be listed in the notification letters. 

If you fail to complete the registration within this timeline, your student will be automatically dropped from the specialty program acceptance list.

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Technical Questions

Student Information on the Confirmation Email/Screen is Incorrect

Please call the Enrollment Center at (916) 643-9075 who can submit a change request if necessary.

Are you having technical issues with the application?

If you are experiencing a technical issue with the application, please call the Enrollment Center at (916) 643-9075 or summit a support ticket here.