NOLA Public Schools' West Bank headquarters. (Marta Jewson/The Lens) Credit: Marta Jewson / The Lens

NOLA Public Schools’ centralized school enrollment lottery, until recently called OneApp, is scheduled to launch on Monday and for the first time it will include three of the city’s most highly  regarded schools. NOLA Public Schools, the board’s administrative arm, is renaming the centralized enrollment process, known now as OneApp, to the NOLA-PS Common Application or NCAP.

Though the three new schools, which are selective admission, are joining the centralized lottery, their admissions process is still different from most other schools in the district. They will continue to have some unique application requirements, including exams and required parent meetings, spokeswoman Heather Harper told The Lens.

The three A-rated schools — Benjamin Franklin Charter High School, Lusher Charter School and Lake Forest Elementary Charter School — previously ran their own admissions. They are joining the enrollment system as a requirement of their new 10-year charter contracts with the Orleans Parish School Board. 

“Families interested in these schools will still need to meet each school’s additional admissions criteria, including an eligibility assessment,” Harper wrote in an email. “NOLA-PS aligned the main round enrollment application cycle to families’ needs to ensure every child and every school can receive school match results no later than March 31, 2022.”

For example, at Lusher, parents will still need to attend a curriculum meeting. In the past, the in-person requirement could be complicated for working parents — but this year it will be offered online. 

“There is a required virtual curriculum meeting for K-1 students,” Harper said. “It lasts approximately one hour and will be available online to view for one week. (Jan 31 – Feb 6).”

“When completing the OneAPP, families must list Lusher as a choice for their child,” Lusher’s admissions directions state.

Lake Forest’s directions also state the applicant must choose Lake Forest as a choice.

Lake Forest will also offer a virtual orientation. Kindergarten and first grade students applying to the school will still need to take an admissions test, but that can only be scheduled after applying through NCAP. 

At Franklin, Admissions Director Lynn Jenkins said her team is meeting weekly with NOLA Public Schools staff to ensure the new partnership goes smoothly.

“We still maintain our transparent and accessible admissions process and timeline,” Jenkins wrote in an email. “We still offer a retest opportunity to all timely applicants and communicate directly with families about the process. Every student who meets our admissions criteria will still be eligible to attend Franklin.” 

Franklin has seen record-breaking enrollment in recent years. In 2018, the district raised the school’s enrollment cap and the next year the school recorded the largest class in school history.

District Chief Operations Officer Tiffany Delcour told board members last week the district is also planning a soft launch of a new “School Finder” tool, aimed at improving access to information about the district’s schools. 

“They are in the beginning phase of a comprehensive application redesign to support the increasing number of families using mobile devices to complete the application,” she said. 

Enrollment for the 2022-23 school year opens Nov. 1 and closes Jan. 21. Any students who need a seat for the current school year can enroll immediately.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...