Jackpot!

Written By: Sydney Brown and Tiffany Ngari
Photography By: Tiffany Ngari
9th Grade

April 3, 2019

As Imagine students, each one of us has a highly coveted spot that people can pursue for years. With more applicants (over 1900 this year) and less people leaving, how do we choose who gets the open spots? We delved into the details of the lottery with the IIA-NT registrar, Mrs. Hinnant.

How does the lottery work? All students zoned for McKinney ISD, Frisco ISD, Allen ISD, Melissa ISD, Celina ISD, Prosper ISD, Princeton ISD, and Lovejoy ISD may apply on the Imagine website from November 1st to March 1st. It doesn’t matter when you apply, everyone who applies within the dates has an equal chance for any spot on the waiting list. All the names are randomly chosen. The random list is used to fill any open spots in the grade.

What do you say to those who claim the lottery is unfair or rigged? What data or information do you have to backup your assumption? It is a random lottery to establish a waiting list for each grade. It is an auditable process and the data is scrubbed. Anyone who participates in the lottery can attend the drawing and see their names in the computer program. We use random.org, a true random number generator (TRNG). According to random.org, A TRNG “extracts randomness from physical phenomena and introduce it into a computer.” while pseudo-random number generators use mathematical formulas which only appear to be random.

How do you get priority in the lottery? No one gets priority in the lottery. It’s completely random. However, we do have priority waiting lists. Those on the priority waiting list are:

  1. If your parents are one of the founding families of our school
  2. If your parent(s) are full time faculty members of our school
  3. If you have currently enrolled siblings at Imagine.

If there is an opening in a grade and we do not have a student on any of the above waiting lists, we go to the general waiting list established as the result of the admissions lottery. We then go to the first person on the list and extend an offer. If that person accepts, we’re done. If that person declines, we go to #2 on the list and extend an offer. We work our way down the lottery waiting list for each grade.

How do you determine the number of students per grade? Imagine International Academy of North Texas is a public, charter school. Thus, we are governed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and our charter. Our maximum enrollment is 1,500 students. We use a number of different factors such as, but not limited to: our business plan, currently enrolled students and retention, staffing, staffing, student to teacher ratio, and the capacity of our building.

Our 2019-2020 plan is:

  • Kindergarten: 120 students
  • 1st Grade – 5th Grade: 125 students in each grade
  • 6th and 7th grade: 150 students in each grade
  • 8th grade: 125 students
  • 9th grade: 100 students (4 sections)
  • 10th grade: 75 students (3 sections)
  • 11th grade: 50 students (2 sections)
  • 12th grade: 50 students (2 sections)

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.