How to sign your child up for the CMS School Choice Lottery for 2018-19.

group elementary school students in computer class

This content is brought to you in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. All opinions are our own.

This year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are offering choices for students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade via their magnet programs.

If your child has an interest or talent in STEM, arts, languages, computer science, environmental sustainability (or if you want to explore Montessori, or the other learning and education options provided by CMS) you’ll want to know more about the different options and choices within CMS School Choice.

We asked the principal of Dorothy J. Vaughan Academy of Technology, Toyia Matthews, about magnet schools and how to get in.

CharlotteFive: What does Computer Science look like at Dorothy J. Vaughan?

Toyia Matthews: It’s the first full computer science immersion magnet school in CMS. We are partnering with Code to the Future, a nationally recognized provider of computer science immersion curriculum to bring this experience to CMS families. Our collaboration with Code to the Future provides comprehensive training for our staff and an all-inclusive curriculum.

This partnership will prepare students to meet the growing demand for jobs of the future utilizing computer science skills. Students will program with Scratch, work with amazing materials including Legos, and work with additional languages like Java to program in the Minecraft platform. At DJV, we offer a one-to-one technology ratio so every child has access and opportunities to learn computer programming.

C5: What would students be learning on a daily basis?

TM: Our students learn critical thinking skills during their computer science block.  During this block, the teachers facilitate lessons outlined by Code to the Future. Their day is comprised of a literacy block, math workshop, science, Connect classes (Media, Music, Physical Education, and Art). Before school and after school clubs include Chess, Math Olympiad, Drama Kids, and Mad Science.

C5: How can they apply these skills to college and a meaningful career?

TM: Students will apply the skills learned at DJV to have a growth mindset. We instill a positive approach to handling difficult/ challenging projects. This will be a skill they can apply in college. The computer science skills they acquire will be beneficial in a variety of careers such as robotic engineers, reprogram diseased cells to cure Cancer, game designers, and content coding. The possibilities for these students are endless.

C5: When is the lottery and how does it work/benefit kids in school?

TM: First, view a list of NEW 2018-19 School Choice options here.Then, submit your application before Dec. 18 by following these steps:

  • Enroll children new to CMS by Dec. 1. Families new to CMS who wish to participate in Round I of the 2018-2019 lottery must enroll their children with the CMS Student Placement Office by Dec. 1.
  • Research School Choice options. Learn about School Choice themes, schools, programs, transportation, and more by visiting
  • Visit School Choice open houses. Find out more by visiting schools and attending information sessions to experience all that these schools have to offer. Meet and talk with teachers, principals, and other parents and students. View our Open House schedule here.
  • Select your top three preferences. Select up to three schools that best match your child’s interests and talents. Have your student id and PIN numbers readily available. CMS sent individual assignment notifications home with all current students in late October with their student ID and pin number. Students who are new to CMS will receive the information in the mail.
  • Submit lottery application. Choose up to three preferences. Families can submit applications between Nov. 13 and Dec. 18 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The application is available online in English and Spanish. Families can contact Student Placement for assistance from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 980-343-5335. Spanish-speaking representatives are available. Key dates for the 2018-2019 school year are available here.

For more information on new themes, schools, options and the application can be accessed by going to


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