High School Specialty Program Application Frequently Asked Questions

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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 that live within our district boundaries that are entering 9th through 12th grades for the 2023-2024 school year are eligible to apply. 

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those that are currently on a district permit) can apply to specialty programs in April 2023. 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 many specialty programs can my student apply to?

Students may apply to up to two specialty programs. 

Which programs have additional assessments for admission?

Does my student have to turn in a transcript and standardized test scores for admission?

Transcripts for 7th Grade (all quarters) and 8th Grade (first quarter) are only necessary for West Campus. 

  • If you are a current SCUSD student, the transcripts will be automatically sent through the online application.
  • Other students will upload a copy of their transcripts as part of their application. 

Can I make a change to my student’s application?

Yes, changes can be made to a submitted application anytime between November 1 – November 30. Please be sure to resubmit edited applications by November 30, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. to be considered. 

How will we know you received my student’s application?

Once your student successfully submits an online application, there will be a confirmation screen and notification confirming the submission. Families will receive the notification based on what preferences (email, text message or both) were selected when registering. Families can log into their SchoolMint account at anytime to see status of their application(s).

Is transportation provided by the school district to the specialty program my student is 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 in April 2022 to high school specialty programs that still have openings. 

Can I turn in a late application?

All applications must be turned in by 5:00 p.m on Tuesday, November 30, 2022. No late applications will be accepted.

When do I find out if my student is accepted? 

Notification will be sent to families through our new enrollment tool in January 2023. Families will receive the notification based on what preferences (email, text message or both) were selected when registering.

If accepted into a specialty program, applicants will need to complete the process by registering with the Enrollment Center. Instructions will be included in the notification communication. Acceptance into a specialty program is considered a change in enrollment and requires additional verification. 

Applicants will be automatically dropped from the specialty program acceptance list, if they do not register by the deadline.

Are translation services available during the application process?

The application uses Google Translate and can be translated into over 100 languages. 

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 in April 2023. Intra-district permits are requests and not a guarantee for placement.

My family is moving outside of the SCUSD boundary. What will happen to my student’s acceptance?

If you move outside of the SCUSD boundary, it voids all open enrollment and you must register your student with the new school district. 

I live within the SCUSD boundary, but my student attends a private school. Can my student apply to a High School Specialty Program?

Yes. Learn more at https://www.scusd.edu/hssp-application-process

If my student 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. 

I live outside of the SCUSD 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 can apply to specialty programs in April 2023. 

I live outside of the SCUSD boundary and one of my students already attends a high school specialty program. Do my other students have sibling preference? 

No.

I am a SCUSD employee and live outside of the SCUSD boundary. Does my student have preference to attend a high school specialty program at my school?

No. 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. 

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 their first specialty program choice and receives a notification communication 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 their first choice, the computer will look for their second choice. Note: Second choice selections are placed behind all first choice selections.
  • Your student is selected for their second specialty program choice and receives a notification communication to register.
  • Your student is not selected for their first or second specialty program choice. He/she will be placed on a waiting list for their 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 their neighborhood or current school.

If my student is accepted to their 2nd choice, will they 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.