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Enrollment and Transfer of Students in the Chicago Public Schools

Section 702.1 | Board Report 21-0728-PO1 | Date Adopted July 28, 2021

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That the Chicago Board of Education (“Board”) amend Board Report 17-0426-PO1 Policy on the Enrollment and Transfer of Students in the Chicago Public Schools. The policy was amended to reflect the district’s current enrollment and transfer practices and updated organization structure. The policy was posted for public comment from May 19, 2021 to June 18, 2021.


I. Enrollment

Enrollment decisions should be made in the best educational interest of the child and to promote equitable and fair enrollment across the district. All children between the ages of five and twenty-one who live in the City of Chicago who seek admission must be enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. Decisions concerning enrollment will be consistent with the Section 34-18(7) of the Illinois School Code.

A. Students Enrolling In Chicago Public Schools

B. Enrollment of Students Identified as Homeless

  1. Schools must immediately enroll homeless students and unaccompanied homeless youth.
    • Schools must immediately enroll the homeless student even if the child is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, in compliance with the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Policy.
    • Schools may require parents or guardians of a homeless child to submit an address or other contact information as the school may require from parents or guardians of permanently housed children, in compliance with the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Policy.
  2. The enrolling school must immediately contact the school last attended by the child to obtain relevant academic and other records.

C. Required Information for Enrollment

D. Original Certified Copy of Student Birth Certificate

A parent or guardian must present an original certified copy of the student’s birth certificate at the time of enrollment to fulfill the enrollment requirements in the Missing Children’s Act 1 . The school must make a copy of the original certified copy of the birth certificate and retain the copy as a Permanent Student Record in accordance with the guidelines established by the Chief Executive Officer or designee.

  1. If an original certified copy of the birth certificate is not presented at the time of enrollment, the school must provide written notice to the parent or guardian that the parent or guardian must provide a certified copy of the student’s birth certificate within thirty (30) days.
  2. If the school does not receive the original certified copy of the birth certificate within thirty (30) days, the school must notify the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police. In addition, the school must provide written notice to the parent or guardian that the parent or guardian has an additional ten (10) days to provide the original birth certificate.

If a parent or guardian has failed to provide an original certified copy of the student’s birth certificate, the school must still enroll the student.

E. Proof of Guardianship or Custodianship

Adults acting in the role of guardian or custodian may enroll a child upon providing proof of guardianship or custodianship which may include the following:

  1. A valid court order;
  2. The most recent tax return naming the child as a dependent;
  3. Health insurance coverage for the child;
  4. Any public aid documents covering the child; or
  5. Appropriate documents authorizing or establishing custodianship.

Any other form of proof must be presented to the appropriate Network Chief or other designated oversight office for review. For adults caring for unaccompanied youth there is no requirement for proof of guardianship.

F. Proof of Temporary Custodianship

Adults acting in the role of temporary custodian to a child due to circumstances involving the parents, legal guardians or child, may enroll a student with applicable documentation of residency and status as temporary custodian, which may include a notarized letter from the parent authorizing the temporary custody and the reason. Enrollment by a temporary guardian is subject to the limitations provided in Section I.H. of this Policy.

G. Enrollment of Students Who Transfer from a Private School, Foreign School, Charter School or Other School District

H. Exemption from Providing Documentation

Homeless children, unaccompanied youth, or children in the care of the state (Department of Children and Family Services) must be enrolled if they cannot produce their birth certificates, educational records, medical records, and/or proof of immunizations. Specific requirements regarding documentation waivers for homeless students are found in the CPS Policy and Procedures on Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

I. Students Living with Adults Who Are Not Parents or Legal Guardians

Students may not, for the sole purpose of enrolling in a particular school, live with adults who are not their parents or legal guardians. If there is a finding that a child is living with an adult who is not the parent or legal guardian solely for the purpose of attending school in that attendance area, then:

  1. If the parent or legal guardian lives within the City of Chicago, that child will be enrolled in the school of the attendance area in which the parent or legal guardian lives, absent extenuating circumstances. If there is a dispute as to what constitutes extenuating circumstances, the parent may seek a review by the appropriate Network Office.
  2. If the parent or legal guardian of a CPS student lives outside the City of Chicago in violation of the residency requirement, that child’s parent will be charged tuition as calculated by the Board’s Department of Revenue, in compliance with Board Rule 5-12 Non-Resident Pupils – Tuition.

J. Enrollment Options for High Schools That Have a Disproportionately Large Number of Students with Disabilities

Where a school has a 9th grade membership of 25% or more students with disabilities, the ODLSS must offer other enrollment options to incoming 9th graders with disabilities. The special education enrollment options must comply with the Guidelines issued by the ODLSS.

K. Enrollment of Eighth Graders Into Ninth Grade

  1. Elementary or middle school principals must ensure that all eighth graders in their schools have submitted an application for 9th grade to the Office of Access and Enrollment by the annual deadline.
  2. Students will be projected to their assigned school in the student information system by the end of May or other date as determined by the Office of Access and Enrollment.
  3. Eighth graders who have not been accepted into a high school by the end of May or other date as determined by the Office of Access and Enrollment must be projected to their attendance area high school.

L. Application and Admission to Open Enrollment, Magnet and Selective Enrollment Schools and Programs

Students seeking to enroll in an Open Enrollment, Magnet, or Selective Enrollment school or program outside of their attendance area must apply following the Board’s Admission Policy for Magnet, Selective Enrollment and Other Options for Knowledge Schools and Programs, and the annual Elementary and High School Guide issued by the Office of Access and Enrollment and the OAE Guidelines to Address Potential Barriers for STLS Students in Navigating the Application Process (for homeless students and unaccompanied youth only).

II. Transfer of Students

As a general rule, children become students of the school in which they are enrolled (“home school”), and should not be unilaterally transferred or withdrawn by the school principal. Where the school principal does transfer or withdraw a student, they must comply with the procedures of this Policy and all other relevant CPS policies, in particular the withdrawal/removal from enrollment requirements in the Board’s Absenteeism and Truancy Policy, Section 703.1(VII). In the interest of continuity of educational programming, it is the Board’s policy to limit transfers of students in the Chicago Public Schools to times in which both the students’ and schools’ disruptions will be minimized. The following procedures apply to student transfers.

A. Student Transfer Following a Change in Residence

B. Transfers Into An Attendance Area School

Students attending a school outside their attendance area who wish to transfer to their attendance area school must be enrolled as provided in section I.A. of this policy. If the school is a controlled enrollment school, transfer applicants must be placed on the waiting list and offered enrollment as seats become available as described in the Board’s Controlled Enrollment of Elementary and High Schools Policy.

C. Other Transfers

Policy References

Amends/Rescinds Amends 17-0426-PO1
Cross References 10-0623-PO1; 08-0827-PO2; 05-0824-PO3; 04-0526-PO2; 03-0122-PO01; 02-0828-PO03; 96-0327-PO3; 96-0327-PO2; 95-0524-PO2
Legal References Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, P.L. 108-446, as amended; Corey H. v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 92 C 3409; Salazar v. Board of Education 92 CH 5703; McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act P.L. 100-77, as amended; and Sections 5/2-3.13a(a)-(b), 10-20.12, 10-20.12a, 10-22.6(g), 14-1 et seq., 14C-1 et seq., 26-1 et seq., 34-18, 34-18.2, 34-18(7) 34-18.24 and 45-1 et seq. of the Illinois School Code; 325 ILCS 50/5 and 325 ILCS 55/5. Illinois Missing Children’s Records Act (325 ILCS 50 et seq.); Department of State Police, Missing Person Birth Records and School Registration, School Enrollment Identification and Reports (20 Ill. Admin. Code 1290.60)
Public Comment Pursuant to Board Rule 2-6 this Policy was subject to Public Comment from 5/19/21 to 6/18/21.

  1. Requirement became effective for students with an enrollment date of February 2, 2015 or later. ISBE has identified the certified copy of the enrolling student’s birth certificate as the only document a school shall accept to fulfill the Missing Children’s Act student school enrollment requirement.

Policy Managed By Department of Policy, Ethics, and Records


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Chicago, IL 60602