Enrollment Policies and Procedures

Open Enrollment

Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter adheres to open enrollment requirements established under the State of Georgia law (O.C.G.A 20-2-2083(e) (1)) to ensure all age-eligible applicants residing in its statewide attendance zone have an equal chance of being admitted. Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter may not deny enrollment to any student who resides in its statewide attendance zone and who also meets age-eligibility requirements. The open enrollment period for Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will begin on the fourth Monday of January and close on the second Friday of February of the current school year.

All age-eligible students residing in the State of Georgia are eligible to apply for admission to Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter. Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter is a PUBLIC, tuition-free school system with a statewide attendance zone. Board Policy prohibits representatives/agents of Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex/gender, disability/handicap, or age in admissions procedures, educational programs, services, activities, employment practices as required by Title VI, Title IX and Section 504, or any other applicable federal statute.  

To be eligible for admission/enrollment to Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter, age-eligible students must submit an admissions application in a timely manner in accordance with the deadline established by the Board of Directors. The school will not use admissions criteria or applications that are not otherwise used at a traditional public school, including requests for letters of recommendation, essays, resumes, or information regarding a student's school or community activities, grades, test scores, attendance records, or disciplinary history. Students may be required to submit documentation as verification of residency. Once students are formally admitted and enrolled, formal and informal assessments may be administered to determine the most appropriate instructional plan and grade placement for each student.

Enrollment Eligibility Exception         

Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter may deny enrollment or deem any student to be ineligible for admission who currently is subject to suspension or an expulsion disciplinary order from another school system for the time remaining in the disciplinary order and for which the offense the student was suspended or expelled is an offense for which suspension or expulsion could be imposed according to Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter's Board Policies or Student Code of Conduct (§ 20-2-751.2).

  Admissions/Priority Enrollment

Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter's admissions application can be found on the school's website: www.swgeorgiastemcharter.com or obtained in the main office. All completed applications should be submitted to personnel in the main office, mailed to the school to the attention of Candace McBride, or emailed to enrollment@sowegastemcharter.org by the deadline posted for the current school year.  Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will grant admission/enrollment to the school based on the following enrollment priorities/preferences and in the following order:

1. Currently enrolled students

2. A student whose parent or guardian is a member of the governing board of Southwest Georgia Charter S.T.E.M. or is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee at Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter

3. A sibling of a student enrolled in Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter. The definition of a qualified sibling includes:

    Biological siblings that share parents;
    "Half" siblings that share a single parent;
    "Step" siblings that share a parent or parents through marriage; and
    Children who share a parent or parents through adoption or guardianship.

4. Others; all other eligible students

Admissions Lottery

If there are more applications than available openings, a random admissions lottery will be held on the 2nd or 3rd Saturday following the closing date for open enrollment. Students/parents or guardians do not have to be present during the admissions lottery in order for an applicant to secure seating/enrollment offers. The admissions lottery will be held at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium. Any seating availability after the admissions lottery has been held will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

Wait List

Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will continue the admissions lottery drawing process after all available seating has been filled to determine the order of the remaining applicants to be included on the waiting list. The waiting list is separate from the list of students admitted through the lottery. Each family will be aware of the position of its student (s) on the waiting list at the conclusion of the admissions lottery drawing process. Those offered the opportunity during the school year to enroll from the waiting list will have three days to complete the registration process before the opening will be offered to the next student on the waiting list. The waiting list will be updated each time students on the waiting list are admitted, and parents/guardians may contact the administrative office at any time to determine the position of their child/children on the waiting list.

It is the responsibility of the wait listed parent or guardian to provide contact information including a phone number, address, and an email if possible.

The office will contact the next person on the wait list if a seat becomes available according to the policies set forth by the Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Governing Board.  The office will contact wait listed parents by phone, and if available, by email.  Every effort will be made to reach the individual in person; however, if this is not possible, a message will be left on the phone and/or email.

The parents/guardians will be given 72 hours to contact the administrative office and make a decision to accept the opening.  If contact or a decision is not made within this time frame, the next child on the wait list will be extended the offer.

All admissions/lottery applications must be complete.  Regardless of reason, failure to have a completed admissions/lottery application by the deadline (last day of established open enrollment) will constitute a waiver of exclusion in the lottery for the current school year.

Post Enrollment Offer

Parents/Guardians of students who are selected in the lottery will be expected to complete an enrollment packet and register during the established registration period. Enrollment packets may be obtained from the administrative office or through a request to receive one via email.  Completed enrollment packets and requested information should be submitted during registration.  Please refer to our website for a list of all documentation needed for enrollment.

Students selected in the lottery will be required to complete any test or measure in order to be appropriately placed in a grade level.  Prior to enrollment, formal and informal assessments will be administered to determine the most appropriate instructional plan and grade placement for each student.

Error Resolution

To reduce the likelihood of errors during the application lottery process, the process will be videotaped. Pursuant to SCSC Rule 691- 2-.05 that addresses errors that may occur during the lottery and remedies the school will utilize to resolve the error. Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will take immediate action to correct the error. The Board of Directors will have the final decision of which remedy will be used to correct all lottery application errors. If the school is at fault for any errors during the lottery remedies will include but are not limited to the following. Some schools have made errors such as:

    1. If the error involves one student, the remedy may involve adding a student to the top of the waitlist or admitting a student even though the school is oversubscribed.
    2. If the error involves multiple students, depending on the severity of the error, the school may need to redo the grade-level lottery to ensure fairness for all stakeholders involved. If the school needs to redo one or more lotteries, it will make a concerted effort to provide all stakeholders clear and consistent information.

Summary of Lottery Procedures

    1. Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will begin open enrollment and accepting applications for admission/enrollment on the Fourth Monday of January and end open enrollment at 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday in February.
    2. If there are more applicants than openings, an application lottery will be held in the auditorium at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday following the closing day of open enrollment.
    3. Currently enrolled students will fill all seats first.
    4. In the event there are more returning students than seats, a lottery will be conducted for currently enrolled students.
    5. Once all currently enrolled students have been placed, children of current board members and teachers and staff will fill any open allotments.
    6. In the event there are more children of board members, teachers, and professional staff than open seats, the applicants will be placed on a waiting list based on the order in which their name was drawn in the lottery.
    7. Children of Board members and teachers/staff hired after the application deadline will be placed at the top of the waiting list in their respective grades.
    8. Siblings of current students will have priority on the wait list above all other students remaining on the list.
    9. Siblings of a student enrolled in Southwest Georgia S.T.E.M. Charter will have priority after children of board members and faculty/staff.
    10. Siblings of students who secure a seat during the lottery process will be granted priority on the waiting list after children of board members and faculty and staff if there are no grade-level vacancies for the siblings.