Admissions and Enrollment Policy
Purpose: This policy is in place to address the process for handling admissions at Mallard Creek STEM Academy. The goal of this admissions policy is to declare the process and methods that will be used to admit students in a fair and consistent way that does not offer priority to any student except those specifically noted in North Carolina law.
Mallard Creek STEM Academy is a nonprofit, tuition-free charter school authorized by the state of North Carolina. As a charter school, Mallard Creek STEM Academy will be open to all students who would otherwise qualify for enrollment in North Carolina Public Schools. The school will not discriminate against any student on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability. School will open enrollment on November 15th. The open enrollment period will end on January 31st. The lottery will occur on the first Monday of February at 12:00 on the school campus. You do not need to be present in order to be selected the school will notify all parents who applied via SMS and Email within the next 24 hour period.
No criteria for admission will be used except the completed application. The application may be completed online through our website www.mcstemacademy.org unless a family is unable to access the site. In that case, we will provide a paper application to parents when requested. The application will include the student’s name, parent/guardian names, current address of student, phone number of parent/guardian, email of parent/guardian, county of residence, current grade level, student’s date of birth, the name of any siblings already enrolled at the school, and a declaration of the student’s residence in the state of North Carolina.
Grade Level for the Lottery Application
Parents may not choose which grade they would like their child enrolled in for the coming year, they must enter the actual current grade and student will be entered into the lottery for the next grade level. Parents wishing to have their child considered for retention must still submit their student for the subsequent grade level. If the student’s current school recommends a student for retention and has it documented in the student’s file, the student will be moved to the appropriate grade if they have been admitted to school and will retain enrollment status with School. If the student is on the wait list at the time the retention decision is made, they will be moved to the correct grade level and placed on the wait list of their new grade based on the number they were pulled during the lottery.
Following the first year of operation, current students at School will not be required to re-enroll. They will be asked to sign a non-binding letter of intent for the coming year during January to allow the school to plan appropriately for the lottery.
Enrollment Priority and Weighted Lottery
Mallard Creek STEM Academy will follow all rules and regulations regarding enrollment priority as required by applicable North Carolina law.
The following groups will have enrollment priority at Mallard Creek STEM Academy in the order that follows as space permits in each grade:
- Children of full-time employees and board members (may not exceed 15% of total school population)
- Siblings of currently enrolled students who were admitted to the charter school in a previous year (as determined by Charter School law G.S. 115C-218.45(f)(1))
- Applicants who are currently enrolled in a NC charter School
Bundled Policy for Siblings
All children in a family are “bundled” together under one unique lottery registration number, but will only be registered to run in the lottery under the name and grade of the oldest child (“Primary Registrant”). If the “Primary Registrant” child is admitted, all siblings bundled on the registration form will be eligible for placement in their respective grade level immediately, as long as there is an opening. If there are no openings, they will be placed on the preferred waitlist for the respective grade level. If the “Primary Registrant” is placed on the waitlist, the other siblings will also be placed on the waitlist for respective grade levels. It is our intent to provide Lottery Procedures that benefit families but are fair and consistent for all of our applicants.
Multiple Birth Siblings
If multiple birth siblings apply to the school, they will be “bundled” together under one unique lottery registration number. If the multiple birth siblings are pulled in the lottery when there is still at least one spot remaining in their grade level, all multiple birth siblings shall be admitted. If their application is pulled after the spots are all filled, they will be added to the wait list under a bundled registration.
After the initial year, prior to the general enrollment lottery, the school will conduct a sibling lottery of the students admitted in the prior year if more siblings have applied than there are available spots. If there are more siblings that have applied than there are spots available, a grade level waitlist will be started and students not receiving spots will be added to the waitlist in the order in which they are pulled. Once the sibling lottery has been completed (if needed) the general lottery will begin.
Mallard Creek STEM will place all applications received during the open enrollment period into a lottery. The lottery will be run based on grade level. It will fill the oldest grade level first, and move down one grade at a time, ending with kindergarten.
If the “Primary Registrant” child is admitted, all siblings bundled on the registration form will be eligible for placement in their respective grade level immediately, as long as there is an opening. If there are no openings, they will be placed on the general waitlist for the respective grade level. If the “Primary Registrant” is placed on the waitlist, the other siblings will also be placed on the waitlist for respective grade levels.
The school will add remaining applicants to the waitlist in the order they are pulled from the lottery. This waitlist will be used in the event that a spot opens and the school chooses to fill the vacant position.
The School will post the results of the lottery on the website within 3 business days of the lottery. If a student has been admitted to the school, the parent/guardian of the student will be contacted via email unless they indicated on their application that they did not have access to email. If the parent is unable to receive an email, an acceptance letter will be mailed to the child’s residence.
The results and the wait list will be updated monthly to allow parents to determine their current place on the waitlist. Parents of students placed on the waitlist will not receive communication via email or mail as to their student’s place on the waitlist. They will be asked to look at the wait list information placed online to determine their spot on the waitlist
Students Applying after the Open Enrollment Period
Any students applying after the open enrollment period will be placed in their respective grade if there is still space available. Otherwise, they will be placed directly after any wait-listed students from the lottery in the order the application was received.
Students admitted on or before May 15 will have 10 calendar days from the date their acceptance email was sent to accept or decline enrollment and 30 days from the time of the acceptance email to turn in enrollment paperwork. If a student is admitted after May 15, they will have 7 days to accept or decline enrollment at the school and 10 days to return the enrollment paperwork. If a student is admitted after July 15, they will have 48 hours to accept or decline enrollment at the school and 5 days to return the enrollment paperwork. If the school does not receive enrollment confirmation and the paperwork back in the specified time period, the Head of School may decline enrollment to the student and offer the spot to the next student on the waitlist. If enrollment is declined and then a parent later decides they would like to send their student, after all, they will be asked to submit a new application and they will be placed on the waitlist in the next available spot.
As spots at the school become available, the parent/guardian of the student will be contacted via email. If the parent does not have access to email and has specified that on their application, the school will mail a letter of acceptance to the child’s residence. A phone call will also be made to the parent notifying the parent of the student’s acceptance and applicable deadlines for return of enrollment paperwork. Every effort will be made to communicate promptly with all accepted families.
School’s Right to Refuse Enrollment
School reserves the right to refuse to enroll any student currently under a term of expulsion or suspension by his or her school until that term is over.
School reserves the right to refuse to enroll a student if a parent willingly and knowingly provided incorrect information on the enrollment application.
If a student has accepted enrollment at the school but does not appear at the school in the first 2 days of school, the school will make reasonable attempts to contact the parents. If there is no response from the parent by the 3rd day of school, the school reserves the right to remove the student from their enrollment roster and offer the next student on the waitlist the spot.
Enrollment forms will include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) Proof of North Carolina Residency
(2) Permission to request current school records
(3) Immunization Records
Handling of Errors
If any mistake is made by School in administering the lottery (or if any discrepancy occurs in the lottery process as a result of the actions of School that is not corrected during the lottery), such mistake or discrepancy will not invalidate the lottery and the lottery results will stand with respect to all applicants who were admitted at the appropriate grade level through the lottery. The mistake or discrepancy will be corrected at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors (after recognition of the mistake). If a mistake is made by an applicant resulting in the applicant not being placed at the appropriate grade level in the lottery, the applicant will not be admitted and may submit a corrected application, which will be subject to the process followed for students applying after the enrollment period.
If too many students were included in the lottery at a grade level or if a student name was duplicated in the lottery at a grade level, the student or students who should not have been included (or the duplicate with the lower priority placement number, as applicable) will be removed, and any applicants with placement numbers behind the applicants who were removed will be advanced in order on the list.
If an applicant is left out of the lottery by mistake, the number of students who were included in the lottery will be determined. For each applicant not included by mistake, a random application number from the full pool of applicants received will be assigned, and the applicant will be assigned that number as his or her lottery placement number and appropriately placed as if they were pulled at the same time as the randomly assigned placement number. Any applicants with placement numbers on the waitlist behind the applicants who were left off by mistake will be moved down in order on the list. As noted above, lottery results will stand with respect to all applicants who were admitted at the appropriate grade level through the lottery.
If a student’s name is duplicated in the lottery and the School administration determines that the student was intentionally registered more than one time, the student will be assigned the lowest priority placement number assigned to the student in the lottery.
If an applicant has been incorrectly placed in a grade because a parent wishes to have their student retained, the applicant will not be admitted and may submit a corrected application, which will be subject to the process followed for students applying after the enrollment period.