• Magnet/Special Transfer Option (STO) Application Process

  • New Students
  • Returning Students
  • School Choice
  • Application Process
  • Controlled Open Enrollment
  • Contact Information
  • Begin the school selection journey! 

     

    • Who should apply for magnet/special transfer option (STO) schools: This is for families who want their child to attend a school outside their attendance zone. There is no need to complete an application if you want your child to continue in their neighborhood school or remain in their current school of enrollment.  

    • When to apply:

      • Application Window: There is an application window that opens Jan. 1 and runs through the last day of February. During this time, families can submit applications for magnet and Special Transfer Option (STO) schools for the upcoming school year. When parents submit an application during this time, they are actually entering into a lottery process with other parents. That means there is no guaranteed placement of students in a school or program. Placement is based on seat availability as well as possible academic or other special criteria.

      • Controlled Open Enrollment: Controlled Open Enrollment runs mid-April through August and at the end of each quarter.  "Controlled Open Enrollment" allows families to apply to schools as long as that school has an available seat. Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with a School Choice specialist for more information.

    • Where to apply: Magnet and STO applications are available in Focus. Parents and caregivers will need to create a Parent Account and link it to your child in order to have access to Focus. If you do not have a Parent Account, visit www.duvalschools.org/parentaccount to create one. During Controlled Open Enrollment, applications are available on our webpage, not in FOCUS.    

     

    Steps 1-4 below are regarding the Application Window process. Apply between Dec. 1 - Jan. 31. 

     

      Step 1 - Choose a school/program

      • Rather than focusing on a particular school to attend, concentrate on selecting the type of program that interests your child and aligns to their future goals. Then try to match them to the programs offered at individual schools.  

        • Read through program information provided in the School Choice Reference Guide.
        • Visit this website to Explore Your Choices.
        • Visit individual school websites
        • Reach out to schools to plan a visit
        • Learn more about individual schools when you visit our schools on School Showcase Saturdays!
          • Bookmark this site for 2025 - 2026 School Choice Saturday updates!

        Remember, you may find that your neighborhood school is the best school for your child. To find your neighborhood school, go to www.duvalschools.org/finder.

      Step 2 - Learn the details - priorities and transportation

      • Before applying to a school, there are many topics you’ll need to know about.  We’ll cover them in sections specifically designed for magnet schools/programs and special transfer option schools. 

        • Children entering kindergarten must be five years old as of September 1st
        • First grade students must have successfully completed kindergarten and be six years old on or before September 1st

         

        PRIORITY FOR ADMISSION 

        At most schools, there are not enough seats to accommodate every student who applies.  For this reason, each selection that you make on the application is assigned a certain “priority” ranking which is considered in the lottery.  Those priorities for both magnet and special transfer option schools are available in our 2024 - 2025 School Choice Reference Guide

         

        ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE STANDARDS – MIDDLE SCHOOL MAGNET PROGRAMS

        Acceptance into most middle school magnet programs is not based on academic performance or other competitive criteria. 

        However, nine magnet middle schools (Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, Fort Caroline MS of the Arts, James Weldon Johnson, Joseph Stilwell, Julia Landon, Springfield MS, LaVilla School of the Arts, Young Men and Young Woman's Leadership Academy) have academic performance standards which must be met for a student to remain the following year. Other schools may have a school-student contract that must be honored for students to remain in good standing. Each magnet school is responsible for making this information available to the parents of students who attend that school. These standards are: 

        • Grades 6-7 - Pass all courses 
        • Grades 7-8 - Maintain an overall unweighted 2.0 grade point average, and pass all courses 

        Note: Students at Fort Caroline MS of the Arts and LaVilla School of the Arts must earn a “C” or higher in each arts area.

         

        Middle schools with special admission procedures: Students with advanced training in the arts may be considered for admission to LaVilla and Fort Caroline Middle through an audition. LaVilla and Fort Caroline will hold open auditions in January. Please contact the schools for specific dates and times. All students who audition MUST also submit an online application through the Parent/Guardian Account by the February 28 deadline in order to be considered for admission. All applicants for LaVilla and Fort Caroline MS, including successful auditions, are processed through the lottery. 

         

        ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE STANDARDS – HIGH SCHOOL MAGNET PROGRAMS

        Acceptance into a high school magnet program is not based on academic performance or other competitive criteria, except for Stanton College Preparatory, Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, Riverside High School (Engineering program), and Samuel W. Wolfson. 

        High schools with academic performance standards: Five magnet high schools (A. Philip Randolph Career Academies, Andrew Jackson High School of Advanced Technology, Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts, Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology, Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Samuel Wolfson and Stanton College Preparatory) have academic performance standards which must be met in order for a student to remain the following year. Other schools may have a school-student contract that must be honored for students to remain in good standing. Each magnet school is responsible for making this information available to the parents of students who attend that school. These standards are:  

        • Grades 9-10 - Maintain an overall unweighted 2.0 grade point average, and pass all courses 
        • Grades 10-11 - Maintain an overall unweighted 2.0 grade point average, and pass all courses 

         

        TRANSPORTATION

        Elementary Schools

        • Your neighborhood school provides transportation if you live more than 1½ miles from the school. Find your neighborhood schools by going to www.duvalschools.org/finder. 
        • Transportation is provided for magnet elementary students who live within the transportation zone of the school. 
        • Transportation to special transfer option schools is provided by the parent or guardian 

         

        Middle Schools 

        Middle schools are not divided into zones. District-wide transportation is provided with a combination of neighborhood routes, shuttles and Express Routes.* There are some differences in the transportation system that apply to specific schools. 

        In the morning, transportation is currently provided to students attending Darnell-Cookman, Landon, LaVilla, James W. Johnson, Joseph Stilwell, Springfield MS, Young Men’s Leadership Academy and Young Women’s Leadership Academy on neighborhood buses to an area high school followed by shuttle service to the magnet school. Express Route* service is provided in the afternoon. 

        Fort Caroline and Highlands middle schools follow the magnet transportation model both morning and afternoon using Express Routes.* 

        John E. Ford K-8 middle school students are transported according to the elementary zones for this school. 

        Baldwin Middle/High currently has limited transportation. A shuttle bus is provided to and from Baldwin Middle/ High from Riverside High only. Parents are responsible for getting their students to and from Riverside High. 

        Alfred duPont Middle currently has limited transportation from the Mandarin, Twin Lakes, Southside, and Matthew Gilbert middle school attendance areas only. 

        Southside Middle has limited transportation from the Matthew Gilbert attendance area only. 

        Jean Ribault Middle has limited transportation from Arlington, Fletcher, Kernan, Landmark and Twin Lakes middle school attendance areas only. 

        Mayport Middle utilizes the Coastal Transportation Plan to provide limited service via shuttle buses from Fletcher, Sandalwood and Terry Parker high schools. Parents are responsible for getting their students to and from Fletcher, Sandalwood and Terry Parker. 

        Bus stop locations and times are subject to change for the 2024 - 2025 school year. To be eligible for transportation, students must apply to a magnet school by the February 28th/29th application deadline. Families should reach out to our Transportation Department to discuss current bus stops.

         

        Families should follow the directions in their acceptance letter to register for a bus stop through the parent/guardian Focus account.  Stops will be added according to state and district guidelines. Parents/guardians will be able to log into their Focus account two weeks before school opens to find their bus stop information. 

         

        For more information regarding transportation, please visit www.duvalschools.org/bus or call (904) 858-6200. 

        *Express Routes have limited bus stops and are located at or near a Duval County public school or other public location selected by the Transportation Department. The District distance-to-stop policy does not apply to Express Routes.  Parents or guardians are responsible for transporting and supervising their children at the bus stop. 

         

        High Schools

        High schools are not divided into zones. District-wide transportation is provided with a combination of neighborhood routes, shuttles and Express Routes.* There are some differences in the transportation system that apply to specific schools. 

        In the morning, transportation is currently provided to students attending Douglas Anderson, Darnell-Cookman, Andrew Jackson, Paxon, Frank H. Peterson, A Philip Randolph, Stanton and Samuel Wolfson on neighborhood buses to an area high school followed by shuttle service to the magnet school. 

        *Express Route service is provided in the afternoon. 

        Riverside, Mandarin, Jean Ribault, William Raines and Edward H. White high schools follow the magnet transportation model both morning and afternoon using Express Routes.* 

        Baldwin Middle/High currently has limited transportation. A shuttle bus is provided to and from Baldwin Middle/High from Riverside High only. Parents are responsible for getting their students to and from Riverside High. 

        Bus stops and times are subject to change for the 2024 - 2025 school year. To be eligible for transportation, students must apply to a magnet school by the February 28th/29th application deadline. Families should reach out to our Transportation Department to discuss current bus stops.

        Families should follow the directions in their acceptance letter to register for a bus stop through the parent/guardian Focus account. Stops will be added according to state and district guidelines. Parents/guardians will be able to log into their Focus account two weeks before school opens to find their bus stop information. For more information regarding transportation, please visit www.duvalschools.org/bus or call (904) 858-6200. 

        *Express Routes have limited bus stops and are located at or near a Duval County Public School or other public location selected by the Transportation Department. The District distance-to-stop policy does not apply to Express Routes.  Parents or guardians are responsible for transporting their children at the bus stop.

      Step 3 - Apply to the school/program

      • Congratulations! You have selected a school for your child. You are ready to apply. Magnet and STO applications are available in the Parent FOCUS Account. There is an application for magnet schools and an application for STO schools. 

        The deadline to apply is the last day of February. 

         

         

         

      Step 4 - Receive notification (the lottery and waitlist)

      • After the application window closes, applications will be processed and prepared for the lottery.  The lottery is a computer program that randomly selects students based on the priority of each chosen school/program and projected grade level.   

        There is a predetermined number of “open” seats available for each school/program at each grade level.  The computerized program selects students based on the order of choice and priority of the chosen school/program.  This is why it is so important to carefully make your choices.  Many popular programs are filled with students who have made that program their first choice.  Often, there are no seats remaining by the time the computer program begins the lottery for second choices.  This applies even if you have program continuity (magnet) or sibling preference (magnet and special transfer option). 

        The lottery will process magnet choices first.  If a student is placed into one of his/her/their magnet choices, the lottery will not process the special transfer option choice, if one was made.  Should a student not be placed in any of his/her/their magnet choices, the student will be placed on a magnet wait list for those choices.  The lottery will then process the special transfer option choice, if one was made.  If accepted into his/her/their special transfer option, the student will remain on the magnet wait list(s).  If the student is not placed in his/her/their special transfer option choice, he/she/they will be placed on a special transfer option wait list while keeping his/her/their place on any magnet wait list. 

        There are no guarantees.  Admission is determined by a lottery that is based on the number of seats available and the number of applications received for a school or program. 

         

        NOTIFICATION 

        Results of the lottery will be sent electronically as soon as they are available, usually in the middle of April.  Your notification will include whether the student has been placed and, if so, into which school and program or whether the student has been placed on a wait list. 

        Parents/guardians will electronically receive notification of the magnet lottery results.  Only parents/guardians who made a special transfer option choice AND who child was not placed into one of their magnet choices will receive an additional electronic notification regarding their special transfer option choice.  Parents/guardians who only made a special transfer option choice will electronically receive notification of the special transfer option lottery results. 

        Parents may cancel a magnet or special transfer option assignment during the summer by sending an email to school_choice@duvalschools.org or in person at the Office of School Choice.  You will be asked to provide a reason for the cancellation. 

        WAIT LIST 

        Students who are not placed as a result of the lottery are on a wait list.  For those students, there is still a good chance of being placed in their school of choice, if an opening becomes available during the summer.   

        Wait List and student assignment information can be found by logging into your parent/guardian account.   

        Students who are placed into one of their choice magnet schools do NOT appear on the wait list for any other school/program. 

         

        Have questions? Visit our website at www.duvalschools.org/schoolchoice or contact us at 904-390-2082 or school_choice@duvalschools.org.