GLA Lottery Policy & Process



Under charter school agreement with Chicago Public Schools and under mandate by Illinois Charter School law, Great Lakes Academy (“GLA”) will be enrolling new students via public lottery. Our lottery is open to the public, but is designed to be an administrative event (versus a public celebration event). Parents / Guardians will be notified of results via phone, email and mail following the lottery. The authorizer or its designee may be present in person if he/she so chooses.


 The application deadline for the 2019-20 school year is Monday, April 8, 2019 at 11:59 PM. In 2019-2020, Great Lakes Academy will hold lotteries for Kindergarten through 6th Grade students. Applications can be submitted via our website ( or via paper application distributed to GLA directly. Paper applications are manually inputted into our google application form, resulting in one master list of applicants.

Before the lottery takes place, GLA staff will check all applications to make sure:

·         All Kindergarten applicants will be 5 years old by 9/1/19.

·         All sibling (non-twin) applicants are flagged.

·         All twin applicants are flagged.


Applications can be submitted after the lottery deadline, however these applicants will not be eligible for the lottery and will be added to the bottom of our waitlist in the order the applications were submitted.



GLA’s preference is to keep families together; therefore, per Illinois charter law, we allow for a sibling preference policy in our lottery.

Siblings of existing (current) Great Lakes Academy scholars will be given priority in the lottery the following year. Any siblings of current students will be put in a “sibling lottery” to be drawn from before the broader lottery pool. If there are more siblings applying than there are open seats, then any siblings not drawn in the sibling lottery will be given first priority on the waitlist.

In an effort to keep families together that have students in more than one grade that are applying to Great Lakes Academy for the first time, applicant siblings will be given wait list priority if not drawn for open seats in respective grade level lotteries. For siblings in different grades applying together where a lottery is not required for one or more of the grades to which the siblings are applying, the siblings of students in the grades where a lottery is held will be moved to the top of their wait list if they are not drawn for an open seat in their grade. Preference will be given starting with the lowest grade first.

For example, if a lottery is only required for First Grade, but not for Kindergarten or Second Grade, the First Grade siblings of the Kindergarten applicants will be given priority first, then the First Grade siblings of the Second Grade applicants, and so on. In this example, if there are more Kindergarten applicants with First Grade siblings than there are open First Grade seats, a separate “applicant sibling lottery” will be conducted before the broader lottery drawing to determine which students will receive the open First Grade seats as well as the top First Grade waitlist spots.

For siblings in different grades applying together where a lottery is required for all of the grades to which the siblings are applying, if a sibling in an older grade is drawn and receives an open seat in their grade after their younger sibling has already been waitlisted, the younger sibling will be moved to the top of the waitlist in his/her respective grade level (they do not automatically get a seat).

For example, if a lottery is required for both Kindergarten and First Grade and there is a family with students applying to each of the grades, if the Kindergartener receives a spot on the waitlist during the Kindergarten lottery and the First Grader receives an open seat during the First Grade lottery, the Kindergarten sibling will move up to the top of the Kindergarten waitlist. If this same family also has a student applying to the Second Grade, the Second Grader will automatically receive an open Second Grade seat or be placed at the top of the Second Grade waitlist if no open seats are available.


The lottery will take place on Thursday, April 10 at 8:30 am in the Great Lakes Academy office. All applicants will be entered into the lottery with their first and last names on a slip of paper. If they have a sibling (including a twin) in the lottery, a blue dot will be added next to their name (for waitlist purposes). Each grade-level lottery will be randomized via manual draw from lottery drum. To ensure compliance, our lotteries will be documented for public record via video recording. The video recording will be made available to the authorizer for public record upon request. All lottery-related compliance paperwork will be submitted within 10 business days following the execution of the lottery.

Lotteries will be conducted by grade level, lowest grade level first. Each lottery will require two positions, each manned by a staff member:

·         POSITION 1 – Front Office Manager – Spin drum, draw name, announce name aloud (Lottery Seat ##, name)

·         POSITION 2 – Operations Coordinator – Input spreadsheet with name, read back name when finished inputting

Spreadsheet used by Position 2 will be set up before the lottery for specific number of seats that GLA is enrolling for that grade in that school year. When the specified number of seats has been pulled from the drum, the lottery will transition to pulling students for the wait list. The process will be the same, substituting announcement of “Lottery Seat #” with “Wait List #”. The lottery will be complete when all names have been drawn.


For more details, see the video from last year: Dropbox (Great Lakes Academy)\GLA Community Engagement\Lottery & Enrollment\2018-19\Lottery\GLA 2018-19 Lottery Video

My name is (name/title); this is (name/title). We are doing the Lottery for Great Lakes Academy for the 2018-19 school year. It is (date), at (time). We will be running the lottery for grades K-6.

If no lottery is needed..

In grade (level), we had (number) applications for (number) of seats, so all (number) are officially accepted. We will submit that list to CPS.

(repeat for other grades that will not require a lottery).

We will now run the lottery for grades (grades with lottery, smallest grade to largest grade), in that order.

For (grade), we have (number) of students that are a sibling of a current Great Lakes Academy student. Seats 1 through (number) will go to applicant number (number), (student name).

              Repeat for any additional siblings.

OpsC Repeats: Applicant number (number), (name).

FOM: The remaining applicants will go in the lottery drum.

              Place remaining slips of paper in the drum and rotate for 10 seconds.

Seat number (number) goes to applicant (number), (name).

OpsC Repeats: Seat number (number) goes to applicant (number), (name)

              Repeat until all seats are filled.

FOM: We have (number) of seats available, so the remaining (number) of students will go on our waitlist. Waitlist seat number (number) goes to applicant (number), (student name).

OpsC Repeats: Waitlist seat number (number) goes to applicant (number), (student name).

That concludes the (grade level) lottery. There were (number) seats available and (number) of applications, so (number) were accepted and (number) placed on the waitlist.

Repeat for grades that follow.


All parents / guardians will be notified of lottery via phone, email and US mail.


By Thursday, April 11, 2019, an email and a paper letter will go out to parents/guardians of all students (both accepted and waitlisted).

GLA Staff will follow up with up to three personal phone calls.

·       For parents/guardians of accepted students, this is an opportunity to respond directly to let us know if they are accepting their child’s seat and which Enrollment Day they will be attending. 

·       For parents/guardians of waitlisted students, this will be an opportunity to have a more personal touch point and let parents/guardians know that we will call down our waitlist as soon as seats become available.

·       If the phone call goes to voicemail, GLA will leave a voicemail with congratulations on acceptance (or notification of waitlist) and let that family know GLA will call back.


GLA will begin enrolling students for the 2019-20 school year on Wednesday, April 24.  Families who are accepting their seat must fully enroll their child by April 29, 2019.  Starting April 30, 2019, GLA will release the seats from any families who have not yet enrolled their child who were contacted after the original lottery.  

In addition, if we are unable to reach families and do not get an affirmative response that the family is accepting the seat by April 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm (after three phone calls, one email, and one paper letter), we will consider that seat released.


As seats become available, we will offer open seats to waitlisted students in the order they are available. Parents / Guardians of waitlisted students who are offered an open seat will have a five business day window to both accept and enroll their child at GLA. GLA staff will make three phone calls to families of students being offered a seat off of the waitlist, as well as an email. If a family does not accept and fully enroll their child within the five business day window, that seat will be released to the next person on the waitlist. The waitlist will be updated and submitted to the authorizer quarterly. If a student’s name is removed from the waitlist for any reason, the reason will be documented on the waitlist that is sent to the authorizer.



·       Recommitment Form Deadline:                              April 2, 2019 (Tuesday)

·       Application Deadline:                                                April 8, 2019 (Monday) @ 11:59 PM

·       Lottery:                                                                        April 10, 2019 (Wednesday) @ 8:30 AM

·       First Notification Window:                                       April 10 – 18, 2019

·       Rolling Enrollment Begins                                       April 24, 2019 (Wednesday)

·       Deadline to accept seat from lottery                       April 22, 2019 (Thursday) @ 4:00 PM

·       Enrollment Day and Parent Orientation #1:          April 24, 2019 (Tuesday) @ 4:30 – 6:30 PM

·       Enrollment Day and Parent Orientation #2:         April 27, 2019 (Saturday) @ 9:00 – 11:30 AM

·       Start Waitlist Calls for Open Seats:                         April 29, 2019 (Monday)

·       Rolling Enrollment until fully enrolled:                  April 29, 2019 (Monday)


Click here to download the GLA Lottery Policy and Process.

The GLA 2019-2020 GLA Lottery can be viewed upon request.