Why do NH charter schools use a lottery?
By NH charter law, if the number of applicants exceeds capacity, a public lottery will be held, with a wait list developed from the lottery overflow.
When is the next lottery?
Our 2018 Lottery will be held in March 2018 at Mill Falls.
Where can I find the application?
Our Lottery Enrollment Application is available each year between early-January and mid-March, during the Lottery Enrollment Period only.
Can I visit the school?
Every year during the Lottery Enrollment Period, if you are interested in enrolling your child in our Lottery, we STRONGLY encourage you to attend one of our Lottery Information Sessions which are held at the school during the Lottery Enrollment Period. We publish the Lottery Information Session Schedule each year on our website during the Lottery Enrollment Period. Typically, we hold 4 sessions between January and March.
What grades does Mill Falls offer?
Mill Falls offers a full public Montessori Elementary School Program serving students in grades K-6. Please note that the majority of our open spots during our lotteries are generally in the Kindergarten classroom, and in our Upper Elementary Program, especially in grades 5 and 6.
How old does my child need to be to apply for Kindergarten?
A child may enter Kindergarten if she/he will be five (5) years of age on, or before, September 1st of each school year.
Does Mill Falls send a confirmation for each lottery enrollment application it receives?
Yes. Families should receive an acknowledgement postcard by US mail within approximately 7-10 days of our receipt of the application, indicating the School’s receipt of the completed lottery enrollment materials and noting the Family’s Lottery Number (no matter how many children apply from a family, only ONE Lottery number is assigned per year).
How does the lottery work?
Upon receipt of your completed application, an assigned Family Lottery Number will be sent to you by mail prior to the Lottery date. On Lottery Day ALL Family Lottery Numbers shall be selected at random. Students will be accepted by grade, as his/her Family Lottery Number is selected, up to the number of slots available in each grade level. After the maximum number of available slots are reached, the remaining applicants will be selected in the same random fashion, and then placed in order on the wait list, by grade. The Lottery is complete only once every applicant’s number has been pulled.
How many people apply to the Lottery?
It is hard to know how many participants we will have each year. We have had a great deal of interest in our Program since our first lottery in In 2012 which included 269 applicants for our 93 spots. In 2013 we had 166 families enroll their children in our lottery. In 2016 we had 219 applicants. In the 2017 Lottery we had over 250 applicants.
Who runs the Lottery?
The Lottery is officiated by a public figure who is not associated with the School leadership.
What happens if I have multiple children in the Lottery?
Please remember to fill out an individual application for EACH child you enter into Lottery. Your family will be assigned just ONE Family Lottery Number each year, regardless of how many children you enroll in the Lottery. On Lottery Day, when your Family Lottery Number is selected, all of your children in the Lottery are automatically drawn. The children are admitted by grade as long as there is space in his/her/their grade level. If there is not a space in the appropriate grade(s), he/she/they will be placed on the wait list for his/her/their grade. If you have already entered a child in a previous Mill Falls Lottery and that child is still on our wait list, please DO NOT re-enter that same child in this year’s Lottery.
What if I have a younger child who is not eligible this year?
When your younger sibling is of school age (to enroll in the Lottery, all children must be 5 years old by September 1st of that year to enter kindergarten), you will be required to fill out a Lottery Enrollment Application for the younger sibling. Once one child in a family is enrolled at Mill Falls, any of his/her siblings who are of school age AND has a Lottery Enrollment Application on file at school received before the close of the lottery enrollment period for that year, he/she/they will be added to the sibling wait list for their grade ahead of other wait listed children who do not have siblings at school. However, please note that this does not guarantee the sibling(s)’ admission. If there are multiple siblings for that grade and not enough openings, a sibling/grade specific lottery will be held on Lottery Day to determine the admission plan and related wait list.
How does the Lottery-generated wait list work?
Every Family Lottery Number assigned upon receipt of a completed application will be randomly drawn on Lottery Day, even after the available slots are allocated. As noted above, the Lottery will determine the order of the wait list. If there is a wait list for that grade from a previous year’s lottery, the newest wait list will be placed beneath the existing wait list. Should a spot become available in a particular grade, the first child on the wait list for that grade will be offered admission to the school. The wait list is rolled over from year to year, which means, for example, that this year’s kindergarten wait list, becomes next year’s 1st grade wait list.
What are my child’s chances of getting in?
Unfortunately, we cannot answer that question. All completed Lottery Enrollment Applications from new families are given an equal chance at admission in this lottery system. Additionally, individual circumstances may change and spots may become available for children on the wait list prior to the start of each school year, or at times during the school year.
Are there special considerations/restrictions in the lottery process?
There is one restriction that all NH charter schools face, although this is not something we have experienced to date: in accordance with state law, no more than 10% of the pupils in any grade from a single town shall be eligible to transfer to a charter school in any school year without the approval of the local school board. (For example, if a town has forty 3rd graders, no more than four 3rd graders from that town can be enrolled at Mill Falls.) In addition, as permitted by the state and noted above, there is a sibling preference as Mill Falls is committed to serving all children in a family if the family wishes to place multiple children at our school.
What happens after the Lottery?
All parents/guardians of students enrolled in that year’s Lottery will be notified, by phone or letter, of the outcome of the Lottery. This notification will indicate the child’s/children’s conditional admission to the school, or an assignment to the wait list.
What is a conditional admission?
All children will need to meet basic criteria to be admitted and meet the School’s stated deadlines for the following.
- Parents/Guardians must complete and return a signed Letter of Intent to Enroll, stating their child/children will attend Mill Falls by the form’s stated deadline. If that is not completed by the due date, that child’ spot will be forfeited.
- The student must be a resident of the state of NH; proof of residency required for admission.
- Parents/Guardians must complete and return the State mandated health forms.
- Copy of child’s birth certificate must be put on file at school.
- Parents/Guardians of students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are required to set up and attend a team meeting with the sending school district and Mill Falls as soon as can be scheduled, to be sure that Mill Falls Montessori model is the right placement for the child.
What happens to the wait list?
If/when openings occur, parents/guardians of children on the wait list will be contacted according to their order on the wait list. Students on the wait list who do not enroll after notification of available space surrender their spot on the list. Should they be interested in enrolling at a later date, they would need to enter the next scheduled lottery. Mill Falls carries over the wait list from one year to the next, so, for example, this year’s 1st grade wait list will become next year’s 2nd grade wait list.
If my child or children are already on the wait list do I have to enroll them in the next scheduled lottery?
No. If you want to confirm that your child or children are on the wait list, please send an email to Admissions@MillFalls.org.
Please send additional questions to:
Admissions@MillFalls.org or to Mill Falls, 100 William Loeb Drive, Unit 1, Manchester, NH 03109 or call the school at 603.232.5176.