Limited Open Choice spots now available to Norwalk students

Photo of Emily Morgan
The Open Choice program allows Norwalk students to transfer to nearby suburban schools for their entire educational career.

The Open Choice program allows Norwalk students to transfer to nearby suburban schools for their entire educational career.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK — Up to 50 local students could be on the move this fall if picked to attend a nearby suburban school district.

School-aged children living in the Norwalk Public School district are now eligible for the Open Choice program, which will give them the opportunities to attend a neighboring school district for their entire academic careers starting in the fall.

Due to limited space, interested students will be chosen through a lottery system. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 15 to March 15. Once available seats in the program are finalized, the lottery will take place and families accepted for enrollment will be notified on or around June 1.

The goal of the Open Choice program is to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation for students and improve academic achievement. It also aims to prevent overcrowding at city schools and provide a choice of education programs for students and families.

Cooperative Education Services, which provides educational support and services to school districts in Fairfield County, is coordinating the program and working with Norwalk Public Schools, neighboring districts, students and their families from the application process through the transition to a new school.

Norwalk students won’t have a choice which participating district they are placed in. The Open Choice program will provide transportation. The state allotted up to 50 spots for the first year, but fewer seats may be offered based on what’s available in participating districts.

Discussions with neighboring districts are ongoing about their ability to participate and the number of seats they could offer, according to Jacquelyn Owens, the Open Choice Family & Community Outreach Coordinator with CES.

Information sessions about the program will be held at the Norwalk Public Library on Belden Avenue on Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., and at the South Norwalk Public Library on Washington Street on Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Seating at the sessions will be limited.

To reserve a spot, contact Owens via email at Interested families should include which session and location they wish to attend as well as the best number to be reached.