Skip To Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

District Five Choice and Magnet programs offer a variety of options to families who live in the District Five attendance zone. Students may apply to any school in the district that has space available to accommodate additional students or to apply to a Magnet school or Magnet program.

Glossary of Terms

MAGNET SCHOOLS

Magnet Schools in School District Five include schools/programs with a specialized focus or theme that offer unique curricula for students. These visionary and innovative programs are developed to produce graduates with world class knowledge, skills, and life and career characteristics while simultaneously helping schools attract students of diverse backgrounds and academic achievement levels. Most of our magnet schools are lottery-based but some have academic criteria. Acceptance to a magnet school or program allows the student to attend through the final grade level of that school. If the student returns to their zoned school and then wishes to return back to their magnet option, they must wait until the next school year and reapply during the application window.

SCHOOLS OPEN TO CHOICE

Schools Open to Choice include schools in the district that have available space. While the offerings may vary each year, many of the schools in School District Five are open to choice. Each year, an application process and lottery opens for families to apply. Once a student is enrolled in a school open to choice, they do not need to reapply yearly. Acceptance to a School open to Choice allows the student to attend through the final grade level of that school.  If the student returns to their zoned school and then wishes to return back to their choice option, they must wait until the next school year and reapply during the application window.

FIVE

School District Five’s Flexible Innovative Virtual Education (FIVE) is the virtual program for students, providing a comprehensive online educational program where they receive rigorous academic instruction and social/emotional guidance provided by our own School District Five educators. This option includes live classroom instruction with School District Five teachers, along with independent work and activities for students.

ZONED SCHOOLS

Zoned Schools are defined as the school that is aligned to your home address (also referred to as your school of residence).

LOTTERY

Applications to magnet programs/schools and schools open to choice are submitted and seats are offered via lottery for the following school year. Once an application is submitted and the lottery is run, a student may be offered a seat or may remain in the applicant pool. If a student is offered a seat, the parent/guardian must accept the seat for the process to be final. If a student remains in the applicant pool, the parent/guardian should monitor their account closely. As seats become available, their account will automatically reflect an offer.


General

What are the District Five Magnet Schools?

Dutch Fork Elementary School (DFES) Academy of Environmental Sciences

H. E. Corley Elementary School (HECES) Leadership Magnet

H. E. Corley Elementary School (HECES) Montessori Magnet

Harbison West Elementary School (HWES) Gifted and Talent Development Magnet

Harbison West Elementary School (HWES) Escolares Academy

Leaphart Elementary School (LES) STEAM Magnet

Nursery Road Elementary School (NRES) Arts Magnet

Seven Oaks Elementary School (SOES) Global Magnet 

Irmo Middle School (IMS) International Academic Magnet

Irmo Middle School (IMS) I AM Escolares 

Dutch Fork High School (DFHS) STEM Magnet Program

Irmo High School (IHS) International School for the Arts

Irmo High School (IHS) International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Irmo High School (IHS) International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme

Irmo High School (IHS) This Is Escolares

Spring Hill High School (SHHS) Career Pathways Magnet

What are the District Five Schools Open to Choice?

Irmo Elementary School (IES)

Oak Pointe Elementary School (OPES)

Piney Woods Elementary (PWES)

River Springs Elementary School (RSES)

CrossRoads Intermediate School (CRIS)

Dutch Fork High School (DFHS)

FIVE (Flexible Innovative Virtual Education) * available grades subject to change

What District Five schools do not have sufficient capacity to be open to choice?

Ballentine Elementary School (BES)

Chapin Elementary School (CES)

Lake Murray Elementary School (LMES)

Chapin Intermediate School (CIS)

Chapin Middle School (CMS)

Dutch Fork Middle School (DFMS)

Chapin High School (CHS)

Is transportation provided for students selecting Choice and Magnet options?

Students selecting to attend a choice or magnet option outside of their attendance zone must provide their own transportation. 

Transportation is provided to the all-choice magnet high school (SHHS) by way of the student’s zoned high school, since SHHS does not have an attendance zone.  

What options are available for 4K students?

There are several options available for 4K students. Montessori at H.E. Corley is available through the Choice and Magnet lottery. For all other 4K options you may visit the District Five 4K Education Programs page to learn more about our programs.

Program Specific

If we live in the Irmo cluster, can we choose between CRIS and 6th grade at IMS?

No, 6th grade at IMS is a non-zoned grade. All rising 6th grade students interested in attending either the I AM Escolares program or the International Academic Magnet at IMS must apply, regardless of their school zone.

If we live in the Irmo cluster, do we need to apply for This Is Escolares at Irmo High School?

If the student is currently in I Am Escolares at IMS, they do not need to apply to This Is Escolares.  All other students interested in This Is Escolares must apply. 

If we live in the Dutch Fork cluster, do we need to apply for the STEM program at DFHS?

All rising 9th grade students interested in attending the STEM program at DFHS must apply, regardless of their school zone.

Will I use the online Magnet and Choice application for the Criteria Based programs?

Yes, you will use the same Magnet and Choice application for the criteria based programs with the exception of the Escolares Academy rising 2nd grade and I AM Escolares 6th grade. Escolares Academy 2nd grade will apply through the Gifted and Talented Office Escolares Interest Form. Those students interested in I AM Escolares 6th grade will apply to Irmo Middle International Academic Magnet. All students that receive and accept placement at IMS will have their records reviewed by the Gifted and Talented Office and be offered placement in ranked order to fill any available spots in I AM Escolares at Irmo Middle School.

Application Process

How do I apply for Magnet and Choice for my student?

You must complete an online application for each student. The Magnet and Choice application link will be available on the District Five Magnet/Choice Page beginning Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 9:00am and closing on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 12:00 pm/noon.

Are the application dates the same for all Choice and Magnet programs and schools?

Yes. There is one application window for all Choice and Magnet programs and schools. The application opens on Thursday, November 9, 2023 and closes on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

How many Magnet & Choice program selections are allowed on the application?

Applicants have the option to select two choices and must rank order these choices. However, if the applicant is only interested in one selection, a second choice is not required. Applicants do not need to list their zoned school as a choice unless it is for a program within a school such as Montessori at HEC or STEM at DFHS.

Can I change my application selections?

Prior to the application closing*, you can log back in to your application if it has not been fully submitted and adjust your first and/or second choice. If you have already submitted your application, all changes must be directed through the Magnet Office - dhill@lexrich5.org

I have more than one student. Is a separate application necessary for each student?

Yes, an application must be completed for each student.

Can a student with a disability participate in District Five Magnet and Choice programs?

All students in District Five are eligible to apply and participate in the lottery selection for the district’s Magnet and Choice programs.  Students with disabilities will be provided with equitable access to the schools and programs that are consistent with the child’s IEP.

My student resides outside of District Five. How should I apply?

Please contact the Office of Planning and Administration at (803) 476-8000 for information regarding this possibility.

Do I need to apply for my zoned school?

No, you do not need to apply to your zoned school unless you are interested in a non-zoned magnet or a criteria-based magnet.

FIVE Choice Application 

How do I apply for FIVE for my student?

The FIVE application is available online through lexrich5.novuschoice.com.  

When can I apply for FIVE?

The application opens on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 9:00 am. The application closes on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 at 12:00 pm/noon. This is the same window as all other Choice and Magnet Programs.  Notifications will be sent after 4:00 pm on Friday, February 02, 2024. You must accept or decline your seat by Tuesday, February 06, 2024 by 12:00 pm/noon.

How are students selected for FIVE?

While our goal is to fulfill every choice request, that is not always possible, as programs are limited by space availability. Students applying for the FIVE virtual program will be selected by a lottery. District Five uses a third party online platform (Novus) to conduct a fair, equitable and efficient process.

What is the attendance zone for FIVE?

The FIVE virtual program does not have a zoned population, any student interested in this program MUST apply to be considered for admission.

My student is currently attending FIVE. Do I need to re-apply?

No, choice and magnet students may remain through the highest grade in the school in which they are currently enrolled, as long as they continue to live in the School District Five attendance zone. A letter of intent to remain will be sent to families in the Spring. If the student wishes to go back to their zoned school, they may do so.

Where can I find more information about FIVE?

Please click here to visit the District site for FIVE. Information is continuously updated so please check back frequently. 

If my high school student attends FIVE, can they still participate in classes at The Center?

Students enrolled in FIVE may utilize existing transportation routes if they are attending a class at The Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) if transportation routes are available during scheduled class times.  If not, students will need to provide their own transportation to participate in classes at The Center. Students in FIVE will also be required to report in person for mandated testing and personal transportation may be required for onsite assessments.

Can my student participate in after-school clubs and sports if they attend FIVE?

After-school clubs and sports will be connected to the student’s zoned school. Performing Arts programs, such as Band, Chorus, Orchestra, Dance, and Theatre that require a class during the school day as well as after school practices and performances, will not be available in FIVE.

Does this application forfeit my student’s spot at a Magnet or Choice program/school?

If you choose FIVE as your choice on this application, are selected through the lottery, and accept the offer, then you will lose your seat at any other Magnet or Choice program/school.

Selection Process

How are students selected for Magnet and Choice programs?

Students are selected through a lottery process. District Five uses a third party online platform (Novus) to conduct a fair, equitable and efficient process. 

Do legacies receive special consideration when applying for programs?

No, we are unable to offer special consideration for these students in order to keep the random lottery fair for all applicants.

Are siblings guaranteed placement when applying for programs?

Whenever possible, sibling placement will be considered.

Are children of employees applying to Magnet programs given special consideration?

No, children of employees are not given special consideration in the lottery process for magnet programs.  If the student is interested in a magnet program, they must apply through the online choice & magnet application and go through the lottery.

Are children of employees applying to a School Open to Choice given preferential treatment?

Provided there is space available and the employee qualifies under the district’s policy for transfers of their child(ren). District Policy JFBA (Intra-District Transfers and Withdrawal) states an employee must be a (.6 - 1.0) FTE; their children may enroll at the employee’s school, the appropriate grade level school in the high school attendance zone (cluster boundary) of the employee’s location or an appropriate grade level en route to the employee’s school.

When will I know if my student has been selected for a Magnet or Choice program/school?

Lottery and final selection notifications are sent to families after 4:00 PM on Friday February 2, 2024.

After Selection

How will I accept or decline the Magnet or Choice selection for my student?

In your selection notification email, there will be a link to accept or decline your placement. The deadline to accept your spot is February 6, 2024 by 12:00 pm/noon. For technical support, please contact Deborah Hill, dhill@lexrich5.org.

How will I know services consistent with my child’s IEP can be provided at the accepted school?

An IEP team meeting will need to be held to determine if appropriate services can be provided at the accepted school.

Is my student committed to attending their selected Magnet or Choice school for the entire year?

No, students may return to their zoned school, but not another Magnet  or Choice school. Parents should put their request to return to their zoned school in writing to the Chief Planning and Administration Officer, Dr. Michael Harris at MRHarris@lexrich5.org. If the student wishes to return back to their Magnet or Choice option, they must wait until the next school year and reapply during the application window.

If my child accepts placement at a Magnet or Choice school can they participate in athletics?

Students who accept placement to a Magnet or Choice school will need to contact the school's Athletic Director to determine eligibility.

If my child accepts placement at Spring Hill High School can they participate in Athletics?

Students who accept placement at Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet (a non-zoned magnet), are eligible to participate in athletics at their zoned school.

Must students reapply each school year for the program in which they are currently enrolled?

No, choice and magnet students may remain through the highest grade in the school in which they are currently enrolled, as long as they continue to live in the School District Five attendance zone. If the student wishes to go back to their zoned school, they may do so. If the student wishes then to return to their choice or magnet option, they must wait until the next school year and reapply during the application window.