Group portrait of elementary school kids in school corridor

Time is running out enter the CMS School Choice lottery, which closes Feb. 14.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education unanimously approved Phase I of a new CMS student assignment plan that ensures more students have access to school options and magnet schools for elementary-, middle- and high-school students and their families.

Seats in CMS School Choice magnet and options schools are assigned through a lottery open to all families who have students enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Key facts about the new CMS School Choice Plan

More options and better access. CMS will offer more school options and magnet seats in the upcoming year, along with reconfigured transportation zones that create access for more families across the community.

Focused curriculums. To match students’ talents, interests and learning styles, CMS has developed new magnet programs that focus on health, entrepreneurship, the arts, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, languages, Montessori, global studies, leadership, public safety and more.

Assignment guarantees remain. Home-school, sibling and continuation guarantees remain in place. Students currently enrolled in a magnet program are automatically assigned to the next school level within the magnet program.

CMS school choice 300p

New lottery priorities. Open seats for school options and magnet schools will be assigned through a lottery process that is open to all school-age families. Two new lottery priorities increase equitable access. The socioeconomic status (SES) priority assigns available seats in school options and magnets to achieve the greatest socioeconomic diversity possible. The school performance priority provides increased access for students attending schools designated by the state as low-performing for three consecutive years.

Next Steps and Key Dates

Step 1 – Research CMS School Choice options
Learn more about the many offerings and focus areas within CMS options and magnets. Discuss these options with your student(s) to find the best match for your family.

Step 2 – Visit schools
Find out more about your options by visiting schools and attending information sessions. Ask questions and become familiar with your options.

Step 3 – Decide your top three options
Choose up to three schools that best match your child’s interests and talents.

Step 4 – Submit lottery application by Feb. 14, 2017
CMS encourages all families interested in participating to submit a lottery application beginning Jan. 6, 2017. Phase 1 of the CMS options lottery closes Feb. 14, 2017.

Go to for more information and links to help you with each step.