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Posted on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor Huron, Pioneer to accept applications for in-district transfers; Skyline, Community have open seats again

By Danielle Arndt

Freshman students living in Ann Arbor will have more options for attending high school next fall.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools officially opened enrollment to out-of-boundary freshmen at Huron and Pioneer high schools. Any incoming freshmen residing within the district but in another school’s attendance boundary can apply.


Freshmen at Community High School take notes during a science class in this file photo. Community traditionally has enrolled freshmen (via a lottery) from throughout the Ann Arbor school district. But now, all of Ann Arbor's high schools will have some open seats for 2013-14.

Lon Horwedel |

AAPS announced it would accept a minimum of 25 in-district transfer students at both Huron and Pioneer.

The number of open seats was determined after assessing current class sizes, capacity data and projected enrollment numbers for the 2013-14 academic year, officials said.

Members of the class of 2017 can apply for one of the 25 seats at either comprehensive high school starting Jan. 7. The application window will end Feb. 7.

District officials said parents will be notified of the status of their transfer applications by the end of February 2013.

Freshmen accepted through the application process officially are assigned to their requested school, rather than their original school. Families of students who receive these transfers are responsible for providing their own transportation.

Application forms for Huron and Pioneer are available in Ann Arbor middle school offices or may be downloaded here. These forms can be submitted in person or mailed or faxed to the Balas Administration Building, 2555 S. State St., Ann Arbor.

Board of Education policy allows for the permanent reassignment of in-district students from one school to another, if space is available. Every year during second semester, the district announces which schools have space available and will be open to in-district transfers.

In the past, officials only opened the district’s elementary and middle schools to in-district transfers. Community and Skyline high schools also traditionally have been open to in-district transfers and are again for 2013-14.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said AAPS intends to make decisions on which other grades and schools will be open for in-district transfers after the holiday break. School resumes for AAPS on Jan. 7.

Skyline, AAPS’ third comprehensive high school, has an attendance boundary with a residency requirement. However, it also has an open enrollment process in which students who, based on residency, should attend a different comprehensive high school but want to be part of one of Skyline’s magnet programs.

Skyline annually accepts up to 100 freshmen residing outside of the school’s attendance area. If more than 100 students apply, a lottery is held for the available seats.

The application window for Skyline’s open enrollment is Jan. 7 through Feb. 8. Students will need to confirm their acceptance by March 1, 2013 and attend a registration meeting on March 26 or March 28.

Skyline High School will host an information night Jan. 23. It will include a school tour at 5 p.m., followed by a curriculum presentation at 6:30 p.m.

Community High School is purely a choice program. Its enrollment is determined entirely by the lottery system. For fall, Community has 114 freshman seats available. This is the same number of open spots as the past two school years.

The school always has more applicants than open seats and ends up turning away 250 to 300 students annually.

Visit Community’s website after Jan. 7 to download an application or pick one up at the middle schools.

To apply to Community, eligible applicants must be current eighth-graders, meet the district’s residency requirements, attend an orientation meeting and submit a completed application to the school’s main office by 4 p.m. on Feb. 8.

The orientation meeting dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 8 from 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 13 from 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 31 from 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 4 from 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 7 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Community’s random lottery drawing will take place Feb. 12.

Freelance reporter Erica Hobbs contributed to this report.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I am not a fan of requiring that parents attend an orientation in order to be in the lottery system for Community. I think this system creates an elitist philosophy around the school (in other words most students end up coming from middle to upper middle income families because they can take the time to attend and learn about these orientations). Some lower income parents, single parents/guardians cannot easily attend (or may lack the technical resources to even know about it). I think any child that lives in the district should be allowed to be in the lottery (orientation or no orientation). This goes for Ann Arbor Open too. I think this is one reason why we have such low diversity (especially when it comes to lower income students) in these two schools.


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

welcome to A2


Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

Klayton I am also a former teacher and a parent in the district. I realize lots of people have challenges in their lives which make getting places difficult. Nine times out of ten though, when they REALLY want to do something, they can figure out how to get it done for one meeting. The whole point of the orientation is to educate prospective parents about the philosophy of the school so that only the people who subscribe to that philosophy will apply. It's not just about entering a lottery and trying to "win" something. The long bus rides affect people of all socioeconomic levels. I know several middle/upper income people who send their kids to open on the bus and they complain about the bus rides as well. I think that is one of the prices you pay to choose not to attend your neighborhood school. And really it is not so horrible. My kids attend our neighborhood school (which isn't anywhere close to our neighborhood, BTW) and they are on the bus for 50 minutes to an hour. I don't mean to make it sound as if I am insensitive to the challenges people face, but I still contend that if you can't even make the time for ONE meeting out the year (or send a friend or relative for you), it doesn't bode well for your child on any front. If they were asking for you to come monthly or something, I could be more understanding, but once a year isn't asking too much. I agree with you that they could advertise Open more to the community. CHS comes and talks to each middle school so no one can claim they don't know about that choice.


Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

aamom I am a teacher and know some parents/guardians who physically cannot be there for the meetings (some have handicaps, others are working evening shifts, some lack daycare for their kids...etc). I have experienced this first hand when I mention AAOpen as an option---many tell me they were not aware of it. Others cannot make the orientations (work, babysitting, transportation...etc). Others are worried about transportation for their child (while there is transportation it is terrible---being on the bus route for an hour or more for some). The fact is neither of these schools have many low income students in portportion to the other elementary/high schools in the district. Why must parents attend an orientation?


Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

If you can't get yourself to one meeting concerning the education of your child, then your child's outcome won't change no matter which school they attend. It all starts at home...... I'm sure next you will be telling us how conferences are elitist because they require parents to show up at the school once a year.


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

What exactly is the BOE trying to accomplish with the intra-district transfer policy? Doesn't change funding? Just opens up to recruiting by both of the other two schools, as Skyline was already able to recruit into the lottery process.

Jim Mulchay

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Well this makes it look like the Plymouth-Canton school district was way in front of the curve when they built the PCEP complex. All transportation to single general location - classes available at alternate schools without leaving the campus. And a "lottery" to determine the high school. It would seem that Plymouth Canton built their campus about the same time Ann Arbor built Huron (late 1960s).


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

@Dog Guy Community High School has always been the star school. Not only is the demand high for such a quality education facility, its national ranking should lend pause to the frowning theoreticians at UM and AAPS as to how to do more with less. Musical chairs in reverse. The family population in Ann Arbor is shrinking and the Governor has de-gapped too many kids down to Lincoln Con. Community might just be the last High School standing in town.


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Yet more evidence that we should never have built Skyline High School. Nor has central administration kept their promises about not needing more than 16 additional teachers to staff Skyline, assuming the then-available pupil population estimates. Those estimates are now shown to be a fair bit too high, both because of the Pfizer closing and the availability of additonal charter HS options like the WISD IB school and the EMU Early College Alliance in Ypslanti. We have ~ 30 more HS teachers and administrators than before Skyline was built, to teach several hundred fewer HS students. At the same time, parents and students alike are reporting many HS classrooms with 30 or more students. What gives, AAPS?


Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

Combine the special education into one building instead of three for starters..............

Dog Guy

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

With over three times as many students applying as it can accept, Community must be doing something right. I am puzzled that it has not been shut down for embarrassing other AAPS high schools.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Does this mean that closing Community or merging the program into Skyline are now off the table? I don't think they were ever on it, even though the administration told the board it could save millions toward their "shortfall" that way. The next few school years should be interesting because neither the school board nor Dr. Green can plan ahead or make swift decisions. And the state economy is unlikely to improve as quickly as they can approve 2am raises. By 2016 we will need a world class superintendent.


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Just like the federal government, the schools won't admit what the real problem is and make the unpopular and tough cuts. And also like the federal government the day of reckoning is almost here. Whta's the largest budget item in the public schools? Answer that question and deal with it and you can have a comprehensive school system with a balanced budget.


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

They'll use this to get the best athletes back over to Pioneer.


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

That's a may gut a few sports programs at Huron and Skyline if people feel Pionner is the best sports option. Cheaper that transferring to Catholic Central I guess............