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 2022-2023 school year are eligible to apply. Directions can be found at https://www.scusd.edu/hssp-application-process

Students who live outside our district boundaries (including those that are currently on a district permit) can apply to specialty programs in April 2022. 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.

Families can fill out our high school specialty program interest form to receive updates and additional information about the spring application process.

How many specialty programs can my student apply to?

Students may apply to up to two specialty programs. 

Which programs have criteria for admission?

How does my student sign up for an assessment?

If your student applied to a specialty program requiring an additional assessment, parent/guardians will receive an email notification for their student to attend an essay or test session. Notifications will be sent out on December 1, 2021 for all applicants that require an additional assessment. 

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 our criteria programs. 

  • If you are a current SCUSD student, the transcripts will be automatically sent to the program(s) requiring it through the online application.
  • Other students will upload a copy of their transcripts as part of their application. 

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

Once your student successfully submits an online application, there will be a confirmation screen that can be printed for your records. 

Confirmation emails will also be sent to the parent/guardian email on file. Learn how to update parent/guardian emails in Infinite Campus.

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. Fill out our high school specialty program interest form to receive updates and additional information about the spring application process.

Can I turn in a late application?

All applications must be turned in by 5:00 p.m on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. No late applications will be accepted.

When do I find out if my student is accepted? 

Notification letters will be mailed via U.S. mail in late January 2022. 

If accepted into a specialty program, applicants needed to complete the process by registering online. Instructions will be included in the notification letters. 

Are translation services available during the application process?

Video tutorials will be 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 in April 2022. 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 2022. Fill out our high school specialty program interest form to receive updates and additional information about the spring application process.

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 his/her first specialty program choice and receives 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 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.