Who Can Attend?
The Expedition School (TES) is a tuition-FREE public charter school located in Hillsborough (Orange County), NC. Any child who qualifies to attend a NC public school under the laws of NC is also eligible to be accepted into The Expedition School (TES), or any charter school (regardless of your NC county of residence or school attendance zones). A student must be legally domiciled in NC at the time of application in order to apply and gain consideration in the lottery. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.
How to Apply to The Expedition School (TES)
Parents must submit an application to The Expedition School (TES) by the stated application deadline. Applications are usually accepted between October and February for the following school year. The application for entry is very simple, and only requires basic information, such as a name, address, grade level of student, etc. Once you apply, your child will be entered into the randomized lottery. The lottery takes place in February of each year.
Applications for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year are now open! Apply until Sunday, February 11th, 2024. Visit the Apply page to submit an application.
Lottery Date for 2024-25 Year: Monday, February 26th, 2024 9am via Zoom
TES welcomes all applicants for K-8. (Children entering kindergarten must be at least five years old on or before August 31 of the year they start school.) TES does not limit admission to students on the basis of intellectual ability, measures of academic achievement or aptitude, athletic ability, disability, race, creed, gender, national origin, religion or ancestry. (Please visit our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion page to learn more about TES’s commitment to inclusion and culturally responsive teaching.) Admission is entirely random and lottery-based.
Tours of TES are typically held throughout the fall and winter each year so that applicants and interested parties can see and learn about the school in action and in person. See the Tour Page to see current tour information.
Children Are Selected via Random Lottery
Since TES receives hundreds of applications beyond the number of seats available, a randomized lottery is used to determine who is accepted. All applications received by the annual deadline are placed into a lottery system, in which a computer randomly selects students for admittance. This means that any student can be accepted, but also that acceptance is not guaranteed for all applicants.
You will be notified via e-mail on the lottery date (typically in February) as to whether your child received a spot, or if you are on the waiting list (and what number on the wait list you are.) If selected, you have a period of time to determine whether to accept or decline your spot.
If you do not receive an e-mail from the school within 1-2 days after the posted lottery date, check your spam folder and/or contact the school to inquire.
In a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the TES Board of Directors instated a “weighted lottery” to help diversify our student body and ensure we are serving and reflecting our local community. Our “weighted” lottery uses an algorithm to increase (or “weight”) the odds of students from “economically disadvantaged” families for getting in.
Siblings* of currently enrolled students receive preference in the lottery for the following year. Siblings do not fill out the regular application; rather, TES sends a Sibling Notification Form in December to current TES families, in which families notify TES of siblings in need of placement the following year. Siblings are placed prior to opening the lottery to the public. If there are more siblings than spaces open in the school, a lottery will be held for siblings only prior to the public lottery. If a seat in a particular grade is not available, then siblings are listed first on the waitlist ahead of general lottery applicants.
*The definition of a sibling according to current law includes: half-siblings, step-siblings and children residing in a family foster care home.” As stated in the Enrollment and Lottery Policy, “Siblings of currently enrolled students receive preference in the lottery for the following year. Siblings will be placed prior to opening the lottery to the public so long as the sibling application is received by the published deadline for sibling applications. If there are more siblings than spaces open in the school, a lottery will be held for the siblings prior to the public lottery.
In order to qualify for a sibling seat, parents must
- Apply for the sibling seat by the sibling lottery deadline set by the school
- Provide documentation that the student meets the legal definition of sibling according to NCGS § 115C-218.45. (1):
- Siblings of currently enrolled students who were admitted to the charter school in a previous year. For the purposes of this section, the term "siblings" includes any of the following who reside in the same household: half siblings, stepsiblings, and children residing in a family foster home.
Documentation includes one of the following:
- Full Sibling: Birth Certificate or adoption certificate showing two parents the same as a currently enrolled student
- Half Sibling: Birth certificate or adoption certificate showing one parent the same as a currently enrolled student
- Step Siblings: Marriage license of sibling’s parents
- Family Foster Home: Foster documentation from social services showing the child is being foster parented by a parent who is the same as a currently enrolled student.
Reminder: Sibling seats are not guaranteed. If there are more applicants than seats, a sibling lottery will be held. Providing incorrect information on a student's lottery application jeopardizes the student's seat
Enrollment and Lottery Policies
The following policies outline the lottery process and should be reviewed before applying in order for applicants to complete the Lottery Application correctly as well as to understand the process.
If Your Child Receives a Seat
Students who receive a seat at The Expedition School via the lottery (or because your child is a sibling of a current TES student) will need to complete the necessary forms below (within 5 days of receipt of the enrollment notification email) in order to enroll. Siblings of current TES students will automatically receive a seat IF space is open in the necessary grade.Enrollment forms can be found HERE.