Thousands Apply For Metro's Optional Schools - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Thousands Apply For Metro's Optional Schools

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thousands of hopeful parents have applied for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools' Optional Schools.

For parents, picking the best school has always been an important decision.

"I think it's a good foundation," Stephanie Marcus said about the Pre-Kindergarten she was hoping to enroll her child in. "It's really important to get children started in an educational setting right away as quickly and early as possible."

That's why parents lined up all day, Tuesday, at Metro School's central office, trying to beat the clock.

"(Nashville School of the Arts) NSA is her choice.," father Don Morris said about his daughter while standing in line. "She's extremely talented. She sings, she dances, she plays (the) piano and she can act. So she's really excited about the opportunity there."

The goal was to get their children into a Metro school other than the one for which they're zoned.

"I want her to go to Meigs (Middle School) because she needs to be challenged more," mother Tracy Shinault explained. " And they go into Hume Fogg (High School). "

Families have 82 schools to choose from. For the first time, it includes some charter schools.

Parents were asked to prioritize and rank each of their choices to better their chances of getting a top pick.

"There are some other options but we're banking on NSA right now," Morris said.

Then it was left to chance, as each student was assigned a lottery number.

"We have a company that actually randomizes all of that information and they virtually pull out all of those names out of the hat that way," MNPS Customer Service Manager, Mark Chamberlain said.

"That's the part that's making me nervous because it's all about just randomly pulling a number out of a hat," Shinault said.

Last year, nearly 16,000 applications were submitted that represented half as many students.

"I need her to get to be the only one in the hat," Shinault somewhat jokingly about the lottery process, "so her name is the only one drawn."

As the clock winds down, the waiting game begins to see if the odds work in their favor.

"If she doesn't get it this year," Marcus said, "then I'll try again next year."

The optional school lottery will take place on January 11, 2014.

Last year, 80 percent of students of students who applied to three or more schools got into at least one of them.

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