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Your most asked questions answered: school choice

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

Jan. 10, 2019 - Everyday, we get hundreds of questions from parents and community members about the magnet and special transfer option process. Below are answers to the top six most frequently asked questions.

We have done our best to answer in a clear and simple way. Additional resources are available by visiting our School Choice webpage. There you will find a Guide to Filling Out Magnet or Special Transfer Option Application and the 2019-20 School Choice Reference Guide.  

  • What is the difference between a magnet school and a special transfer option school? Both magnet and special transfer option schools offer a special theme, focus or program of study. The difference is mostly in why they were created. The district’s magnet program was created during the 1991-1992 school year as a way to promote diversity in our schools. On the other hand, special transfer option schools are neighborhood schools that have programs that were created in response to community or school interest in a special program. Every school in our district is either a magnet school or a neighborhood school that has a magnet program or a special transfer option.

  • My child is currently enrolled in an elementary or middle school magnet program. How can I ensure continuity in that magnet program next year or when they progress to the next grade band? The short answer is that you need to complete a magnet application. We get this question from parents whose children are NOT magnet students, but are zoned for and attend a neighborhood school with a magnet program. This means they never actually applied to the magnet program, but the student is able to participate in the magnet program because she is zoned for that neighborhood school. The problem with this is that the child is not actually a magnet student, so she is unable to continue in that magnet theme when she is ready to transition to the next grade band, such as middle or high school. So if you want to ensure your child continues her magnet program path, just complete a magnet application for that program at that existing school. If your child is then accepted into the magnet program at the existing school, they have program continuity, which  means they have the option of continuing in the magnet program when they are ready to promote to middle or high school. Please note that once you are “magnetized” you do not have to fill out a magnet application each time your child advances a grade within that school. However, you will need to fill out a magnet application when your child promotes to the next grade band if you want to keep them in that program continuity. In other words, you will fill out a magnet application when your child transitions from elementary to middle, and then from middle to high. Bottom-line…Get your child magnetized if you want magnet choices for middle and high school.

  • I have just created my Parent/Guardian Account online and my child is a current Duval County Public Schools student. Where do I go to verify my account? After creating your Parent/Guardian account online, you will need to go to the school where your child is currently enrolled. Once there, please notify the front office staff that you need to have your Parent/Guardian account verified.  

  • If the phone lines are busy, how do I get my questions answered? The School Choice office experiences a high volume of phone calls during the enrollment season. If the lines are busy, please email any questions you have to All emails will be answered within 48 hours.

  • I want to know if a school my child is interested in has a specific sport or elective. Where do I go to find out more information about that school? There are multiple ways to find out information about our schools. You can visit the school’s website for information on unique programs and extracurricular activities offered at the school. You can also contact the school to request to meet with school leaders and take a school tour. Many schools offer tours throughout the week. Additionally, the 2019-2020 School Choice Reference Guide provides the school location and available programs for every school in the district.

  • I see the application is open for magnet and special transfer option schools, but I don't see the application for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK). Where do I go to sign my child up for VPK? VPK is a program offered by the Early Learning Coalition, and does not open until later in the spring. Keep an eye out for the date the application does open, as it is first-come, first-serve. To see a list of schools that offer VPK, you can visit the district website here. VPK representatives will also be at the School Choice Expo on Saturday, Jan. 12.


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