Planning for EdFEST and the DC School Lottery


Do the words “school lottery” send you into a panic? You are not alone! Thankfully, My School DC has incredible resources to help prepare you for EdFEST 2023 and to help you navigate the 2024-25 school year public school lottery!

2024-25 School Year Lottery Dates

First thing’s first, the important dates…

  • EdFEST for Pre-K 3 – Grade 8 is Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at DC Armory. Register here (free admission and free on-site parking)
  • EdFEST for Grades 9-12 is Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Eastern High School  Register Here (free admission and limited street and on-site parking)
  • My School DC Lottery opens on Monday, December 11, 2023 for the 2024-25 school year
  • The Application Deadline for Grades 9-12 is February 1, 2024 
  • The Application Deadline for Pre-K 3 – Grade 8 is March 1, 2024
  • Lottery Results are released on March 29, 2024
  • The Enrollment Deadline for matched students is May 1, 2024

It’s important to remember that the lottery is random so if you submit your lottery picks on December 11 OR March 1, it doesn’t matter…just be sure you submit by the deadline!

School Lottery 101

Did you know there are videos that walk you through how the lottery process works? My School DC has a basic overview as well as a deep dive into how the lottery algorithm works. Key Takeaway: rank your schools in the order you like them (first choice #1, second choice #2, etc…)

A newbie to the process? My School DC has an entire page dedicated to Pre-K applicants.  

My School DC also has comprehensive FAQs and Key Terms. Not seeing your question/answer on the list of FAQs? Not to worry! My School DC also has an amazing hotline team. Give them a call at 202-888-6336 (Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or send them an email at [email protected] 

School Research

My School DC offers a wide array of information on all public (DCPS and charter) schools to help you find the best fit(s) for your family.

Visit the School Finder to confirm your In-Boundary School(s) – the schools to which you have a right to directly enroll for grades K-12 based on your DC address – and Filter Findings based on your family’s school priorities (proximity, Ward, school offerings, etc…) Once you click on a specific school you can find even more information, including information re: Lottery Preferences, School Report Card, Historic Waitlist Data, open house schedules and more!

Interested in an even deeper dive? My School DC has an entire page dedicated to data where you can find information about everything from waitlist data, research, and more!

School Visits

Data is wonderful but nothing beats experiencing prospective schools first-hand!

Open Houses: Find information about School Open Houses on individual school pages AND in the MySchoolDC Calendar of Events.

EdFEST: Can’t make it to dozens of individual open houses? You’re in luck! EdFEST is My School DC’s Citywide Public School Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Pre-K 3 – grade 8 at DC Armory OR Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for grades 9-12.

Make the most of EdFEST by taking some time BEFORE December 2nd or 9th to consider your family’s school priorities, research prospective schools, and decide what schools you’d like to visit with, including your DCPS in-boundary school.

Here are some great questions to ask  schools at EdFEST and/or at individual School Open Houses!

Seasoned Lottery Parent or Caretaker: What tips/tricks do you have for making the most of EdFEST and preparing for the lottery?

New Lottery Parent or Caretaker: What other questions do you have as lottery season approaches? 

I hope to see many of you at EdFEST!

Want to stay in the know? Sign up for MySchoolDC Alerts!

About the Guest Author:

Chelsey Christensen serves as the Director of Partnerships and Engagement at My School DC, the common application and public school lottery for over 200 public schools in Washington, DC. She is a connector with a passion for community, equity, and education. Before joining the My School DC team, Chelsey worked in the non-profit arts sector for 15 years. She is the mother of two children and proud DC resident.


  1. Great post and very informative. Keep watching this space for lottery info.

    I’ve recently heard one useful tidbit- leave the small ones at home for Edfest since it is supposedly a mad house.

    • Ooo…that’s good to know! I do know they’re making sure the aisles are wider to allow for strollers/the itty bitties. I was planning to bring my LO and husband and just send them to the Stadium Armory playground if/when needed (weather permitting).
      Can’t wait to see the other great posts from DC Area Moms Blog this lottery season. See you at EdFEST?

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