Sturgis Lottery: Luck Of The Draw

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By: John Paradise
Published: 07/20/12

When it comes to getting into Sturgis Charter Public School, there is no essay to write, no interview to endure, no minimum academic standards to meet.

There is just the lottery.

This random lottery is held in early June each year in public in one of the school's classrooms.

The names of all the students who have applied for a slot are placed in a large basket, with the exception of applicants who have a brother or sister currently attending Sturgis (they are automatically given the first slots). One by one, names are drawn, and read aloud to the roomful of student hopefuls and their parents who gather to witness the spectacle rather than waiting for a confirmation letter.

Sometimes there are cheers, hugs, and high-fives when names are called.

Even after both the East and West campuses are filled, names continue to be drawn and are added, in order, to a wait list.

To get their name into the basket on "lottery day," a student must complete a two-page application.

The application asks for the student's name, address, what school they currently attend, if they would prefer the East or West campus, if they have a sibling enrolled at Sturgis, and what athletic or performing arts experience they have.

There are also two optional questions that a student may elect to answer. The first asks for the student's race and the other asks if the applicant is a special needs student.

Attached to the application are two pages explaining the educational rights of children with disabilities to attend public charter schools. The document states that both federal and state law requires that admission to a charter school be conducted without regard to or consideration of whether the child has a disability.

One last page is attached to the application, which answers a dozen frequently asked questions about Sturgis, from the average class size at Sturgis (16) to details about the school's International Baccalaureate program.

Every student who completes the application becomes part of the lottery.

Sturgis serves all of the school districts on Cape Cod (not the islands) and the districts of Carver, Plymouth, and Wareham.

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