***UPDATE FOR 2021-22*** The Opal Charter School lottery will be available on March 1 here as an online form (preferred) and here as a paper form. Please do not submit both forms. 


Opal Charter School students are selected through an open lottery process.  For the 2021-22 school year, lottery applications will be available March 1, 2021. The lottery will open on March 1, 2021 and will close on April 22, 2021. Applications must be received at Opal School by 5 pm on April 22, 2021.

To be eligible for Opal Charter School in 2021-22, children must be 5 years old by September 1, 2021 to enter kindergarten (Opal School does not admit early-entry kindergarten students). Families must reside within the Portland Public School District boundaries by July 15, 2021. Proof of age and proof of residency are required per PPS policy.

Lottery applicants will be notified of their placement status after the lottery results are available in late April.

Students will be offered placement, by grade, in the order they were selected by the lottery. When a grade is full, the remaining applicants are placed on a wait list in the order their application was selected by lottery.

Parents/guardians of children who are selected by lottery are invited to attend an information session and to visit the classrooms. If a family declines an offer of enrollment for their child, we offer placement to the next student on the waitlist, as selected by lottery. This process continues until all spaces are filled for the 2021-22 school year.

We do not hold information sessions due to the large number of lottery applications each year, and we are not able to provide tours to applicants. We encourage you to explore resources on our website opalschool.org.

Thank you for your interest in the Opal Charter School.

Opal School is an equal opportunity organization that does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital status, national origin, or mental or physical disability.


Do you offer information sessions or tours to prospective families?
No. We do not offer information sessions prior to lottery selection. We simply do not have the staff to provide information sessions or tours to all of the families who consider applying to the lottery for Opal Charter School. After students have been selected by lottery, their parents/guardians are invited to Opal School for an information session and a tour of the classrooms.

Is the Opal School lottery part of the PPS transfer lottery?
No. Oregon charter schools are each responsible for their own lottery process, and are not part of the PPS transfer lottery.

Does a student who attends Opal School need to enter the lottery every year?
No. Continuing students do not re-enter the lottery, and instead simply re-enroll each year.

Is there tuition to attend Opal Charter School?
No. Opal Charter School is a publicly-funded elementary school and families do not pay tuition.

Do you follow the Portland Public Schools calendar?
Not precisely. Opal School schedules Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks to coordinate with the PPS calendar, and federally-recognized holidays. Opal School schedules teacher in-service (planning) days to best support our programs for educators who visit Opal School. These planning days may differ from the PPS calendar.

What are your school hours?
We open the front doors at 8:30 am (first "bell"), and students are tardy if they are not signed into the classroom by 8:45 am (second "bell").
Students are dismissed at 2:45 pm every day except Wednesday, when they are dismissed at 12 noon (before lunch).

Do you offer after-school care?
Opal School does not have an onsite after-school program for school-age children—we have made many attempts over the years, and we are too small for that program to be cost-effective. In some years, Opal School students have enrolled directly in the after-school program at MLC (KCLC), and Opal School staff have transported students to that program by public transportation (MAX) for a monthly fee. Some families arrange a carpool that includes transporting their child to an after-school program at their neighborhood school. Opal School is not affiliated with KCLC or any other after-school program.

Do you provide transportation?
Opal School works with families to determine transportation needs and to develop a transportation plan. Families use a variety of transportation options, including car pools, public transport, and self-transportation.

Do you provide lunch or snacks?
Opal School families provide lunch and snack for their children. When Portland Children's Museum is open to the public, some families purchase a meal from the Cafe at the Portland Children's Museum, which we deliver to the classroom before lunchtime. Opal School does not participate in the Federal Nutrition Program. We provide a "school" lunch to any child who does not have a lunch (for any reason). There is a fee for the "school" lunch, and this fee is waived for families who qualify through the Household Income Survey.

Do you have a back-to-school supplies list?
No. Opal School provides all of the high-quality materials that enhance the students' learning environment: the beauty of the classrooms and the abundance of materials contribute to the complexity of children’s ideas. In lieu of a back-to-school supply list and periodic requests to fund field trips, Opal School families contribute to the Materials Fund (see later question).

How many students attend Opal School, and how many new students do you enroll each year?
90 students attend Opal School in grades K-5, in four classrooms. Each year, we enroll new Kindergarten students. From time-to-time, we enroll a new student in grades 1-5 from the lottery waitlist. We give preference to siblings for available openings.

What are my chances in the lottery?
The odds are better than the Oregon Lottery. Every year, we enroll a small number of new students. Your student could be selected, but only if you submit a lottery application form by April 22 at 5 pm! We generally have a shorter lottery list for fourth and fifth grade. It is not possible to predict when a family may withdraw, resulting in an opening.

How can I get on the waitlist?
Every student who submits a lottery application is placed on the waitlist after lottery results are available. The waitlist is for the current school year only, and does not carry over to the next year. You must submit a lottery application each year that you are interested in attending Opal Charter School.

Can I get on the waitlist after the lottery is closed?
Yes, you can submit a lottery application after the lottery deadline, and your student will be added to the end of the waitlist based on the date the lottery application is received. Please note that the lottery deadline is 5 pm on April 22, and there are no exceptions and no appeal process.

Do you give preference for twins?
We give preference to twins the same as preference for siblings. If one student (twin) is offered enrollment, the sibling (twin) has preference after the first day that the student attends Opal Charter School. Lottery preference for twins would give them each double weight in the lottery.

Can I apply for Kindergarten if my child will not be 5 years old on September 1?
No, Opal School does not enroll early entry Kindergarten students.

Can I apply for Kindergarten if my child has already attended Kindergarten?
Generally no, with rare exceptions. If your child's current school would enroll your child in Kindergarten for a second year (and provide documentation of this decision), you may submit an application for Kindergarten.

Can I apply for First Grade if my child has not attended Kindergarten?
Yes, if your child will be 6 years old on September 1.

Do you provide special education services?
Under our charter with PPS, special education services are provided by special education specialists who are employed by PPS, and who provide support and coordination to Opal School's general education classroom teachers.

Do you accelerate students to a higher grade?
No, we do not accelerate students to a higher grade. Opal School teachers engage all students in their classroom individually. Each of the classrooms at Opal School generally include students from more than one grade, and one grade may be split between two classrooms. The placement decision is made administratively (generally randomly), and is not influenced by family requests or preference.

Can I apply if we are moving into the Portland Public School District?
Yes. If you declare that you will live within the PPS boundary by July 15, your lottery application is considered for in-district lottery preference. If you are offered enrollment, and are not able to prove in-district residency (per PPS policy) by July 15, the offer of enrollment is withdrawn.

Can I apply if I live outside the Portland Public Schools boundary?
Yes, you can apply. We give preference to students who live within the Portland Public Schools boundary (Oregon law). If there is an opening in a grade after all lottery applicants who live within the boundary have been offered enrollment, we will offer enrollment to a student who lives out of district. This is not common.

Do you offer enrollment to a student who is on the waitlist?
Yes, if there is an opening in the student's grade we offer enrollment to the next student on the waitlist.

Do you offer enrollment to a new student in the middle of the year?
From time-to-time, we offer enrollment in the middle of a school year. We offer enrollment to the next student on the waitlist. If there is no waitlist for the grade with an opening, we may consider adding a student in a different grade. It is not common to have a mid-year opening without a waitlist (generally only fourth- or fifth-grade).

Do you require families of enrolled students to participate in fundraising for Opal School?
Similar to other schools, Opal School families are invited to support the school financially - with the understanding that families who qualify through the Household Income Survey will support Opal School in many other ways and not with financial contributions. We encourage/expect that families will contribute to the yearly Materials Fund, which provides essential, high-quality learning materials that enhance the students' learning environment. And we invite and rely on families to contribute as they are able to the Annual Fund, to boost our annual budget to provide professional development opportunities for our teachers.

What else should I know?
Opal School shares its work regularly with visiting educators, and through print, online, and multimedia publications. Opal School’s mission is to strengthen education through provoking fresh ideas concerning environments where curiosity, creativity, and the wonder of learning thrive. Opal School is a living laboratory for adults and children to research environments and learning conditions that promote critical thinking, counter bias, and strengthen democracy. We hope you enroll your child at Opal School, because you value other people's children and are eager to support our work with educators from around the world.