Step 1: Understand the Process

Adopted in 1998, the Schools of Choice process gives parents and guardians of all students the opportunity to apply to a variety of elementary schools. Champaign Unit 4 School District uses this process to maintain diversity in our schools. Schools of Choice is for students who are entering kindergarten, students who are new to the district entering grades 1 through 8, and current students in elementary school who are requesting transfers. See the full Schools of Choice Board policy.

Student Assignment Timeline

Kindergarten registration runs from January through March. During this time, kindergarten parents will complete an application to rank school choices. Registration forms are available at the Center for Family and Community Engagement, 703 S. New Street, Champaign, and online. All registrations received during the registration period, regardless of date submitted, will be processed equally. Students will be notified by mail of their school assignment in late April or early May.

To request a transfer, students who are already in the district or those who are new to the district and can show current or impending residency may submit your application in May at the Center for Family and Community Engagement. Students will be notified of their school assignment in June. Students who are new to the district may complete an application upon arriving to the community, and assignments are made during the summer prior to the school year.

How Students are Assigned

The district uses a computer system to process applications. Factors that affect student assignments include:

  • parent choice
  • presence of siblings in the school
  • proximity priority (elementary only)
  • building capacity
  • socioeconomic status
  • availability of special programs


In January through March, the district will host open house events at the elementary schools. You may spend this time getting to know our schools to help you determine which would be the best fit for your child.


Preference is given to siblings or extended family members living in the same household with the same address. There is no legacy or inheritance from a sibling moving on to sixth grade. Children residing at the same address will receive sibling preference. Each child must be listed on the student registration form. Assignments for siblings will be based on seat availability and Schools of Choice guidelines.

A student registration form must be completed for each child who is new to the District and students requesting a voluntary transfer. Every effort will be made to allow siblings of a child participating in a special program to attend the same school based on available seats and Schools of Choice guidelines.


Your “Proximity Priority School” is any school that is within 1.5 miles of your home or, if you do not live within 1.5 miles of any school, it is the school closest to your home as determined by the District’s transportation system. This system bases mileage on the shortest driving distance from the door of your residence to the door of the school. Though multiple schools may be in proximity to your home, you can only select one as your proximity priority school. Find your proximity school using our map tool.


Our elementary schools vary in size. This may affect your choice of school. It also impacts the selection process since the smaller schools have fewer seats.


In an effort to maintain balanced, diverse schools, the District considers socioeconomic status when assigning children to schools.


Your child may have a special need that is only offered at a specific school. Starting on page 14 of the 2019-20 Schools of Choice Registration Guide, you will find some of the special services offered at each school to consider when registering your child.

Other Considerations When Ranking Your Schools


If you live more than 1.5 miles from you school assignment, you are eligible for bus transportation to and from school. In addition, the District provides transportation for students living closer than 1.5 miles if the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) confirmed hazardous walking conditions exist between home and school. We work to provide safe and timely transportation for all students who utilize our transportation system. Please note that selecting a non-proximity school could result in an extended bus ride for your child. Also, if you’re joining us during the transition period or after the start of school, there may be up to a two-week delay in receiving transportation while we work to update our bus routes. During this transition, we appreciate your patience as we work to create a plan that will best serve your family for the rest of the school year.


Three of our elementary schools offer specialized learning themes that provide an innovative, problem-solving approach to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. Garden Hills Academy: Math and Engineering Leadership and Stratton Academy of the Arts recently received federal magnet funding in 2017;  Booker T. Washington STEM Academy has been a magnet school since 2015. Franklin STEAM Academy is a magnet middle school. To learn more about the benefits of our magnet schools, visit


In addition to choosing a school, you also have the option to enroll your child in half- or full-day kindergarten. To respond to these requests, coordinate transportation, and provide consistency, the District follows the following parameters:

  • There are no classes available solely for half-day kindergarten students. All half-day kindergarten students will be part of the full-day program but leave after 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  • At the end of the first, second, and third quarters, parents may request a teacher conference to discuss admittance to the full-day program or transferring from full-day to half-day. The Response to Intervention Team should be used as a resource, if needed, to support the parent and teacher in the decision-making process.
  • Parents will have a two-week review period once they enroll their child to determine whether a half-day or full-day program would best meet their child’s needs.

All full-day kindergarten students participate in art, music, library, and physical education, in addition to the academic curriculum.


You can review Schools of Choice Historical Data here. Each of the charts displays notable attributes of both the kindergarten applicant pools for each school and admitted students to each campus from previous school years. Parents are welcome to reference this information as they consider their school rankings. While results may vary from year to year, depending on the applicant pool, this data is helpful in identifying past trends.


The middle school a child attends is based on the elementary school they attend in fifth grade. You are not able to select the middle school your child attends. If you have a specific middle school you’d like your child to attend, please consider the elementary feeder pattern now. Students currently attending Stratton and Washington who are already in fifth grade will rank their middle school preference based on the School of Choice guidelines.


Carrie Busey
International Prep Academy
South SIde

Booker T. Washington
Dr. Howard
Garden Hills


NEXT: Step 2. Visit our Schools (Tours and Info Session Dates) >>