About Open Choice

The Area Cooperative Educational Services Choice Program is part of the statewide Open Choice program that allows urban students to attend public schools in nearby suburban towns and suburban students to attend public schools in the urban center (New Haven).

The Open Choice program is intended to improve academic achievement; reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation; and provide a choice of educational programs for public school students.

Enrollments are offered by school districts on a space available basis by grade. A lottery is used to place students when applications exceed spaces.

To assist in the transition, ACES - Open Choice provides a Family/School Liaison to support participating students, parents, and schools. School visits, home visits, parent meetings, principal meetings, student forums, and student profiles are all available to help students achieve in the program.

Apply now |  Download brochure (English)

Please click here for details about Open Choice seats into and out of New Haven.

Educational Programs

The educational program is set by participating districts. Parents are encouraged to become acquainted with the participating districts’ educational offerings in order to select the best program for their children. To help with the selection process, strategic school profiles are available on district websites as well as the Connecticut State Department of Education.


Transportation is coordinated by ACES and paid for by the State of Connecticut. Bus travel of one to two hours each way may be required. Pickups and drop-offs are at nearby corners to the home. Limited transportation is provided for high school students participating in supervised after school activities.


To be eligible for the ACES Open Choice program, students must be residents of New Haven to apply to schools in the suburbs or residents of suburban districts to apply for a New Haven school. Students enrolled in private or other non-public schools are eligible for this program.

Please note that suburban residents cannot apply for other suburban districts. Eligible siblings are given priority when applying for the same district 1st choice as a sibling currently in the program. If you do not have a child currently in the program and you apply for more than one child in the same district for the 1st choice, sibling preference will apply.


Key Dates


  • February 3, 2020: Districts report available seats
  • March 2, 2020: Applications available online
  • March 6, 2020: Flyers sent to school districts via email (families will be informed via district parent portal, district website, and ACES website)
  • March 7, 2020: Open Choice Information Session at 11:00, at Mitchell Library, New Haven
  • April 1, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.: Application Deadline
  • April 3, 2020: Blind lottery of all qualified applicants
  • April 6, 2020: Initial placements made
  • April 8, 2020: Notifications mailed to families
  • April 22, 2020: Parent deadline to accept/reject placement
  • April 30, 2020: Request records (academic/medical/special ed) from home districts (for student placement by April 19)
  • April 30, 2020: District lists sent to superintendents and principals
  • Approx. June 19: Deliver records to receiving schools (for new students that accepted placement by April 19)
  • April 20–September 30: Place additional students (in available slots)
  • April 20–September 30: Request and deliver records (for additional students)

Participating Districts

From New Haven to the Suburbs

  • Ansonia
  • Bethany
  • Branford
  • Cheshire
  • East Haven
  • Milford
  • New Haven
  • North Branford
  • North Haven
  • Orange
  • Reg. Dist. #5
  • Wallingford
  • Woodbridge

Additional Information

  • Participating districts currently have Open Choice students attending
  • All districts, other than New Haven, can participate to attend New Haven Schools
  • Specific schools will be designated by the districts during the application process
  • Not all of the above districts provide NEW Open Choice seats. For information about districts with current offerings, see below or refer to the online application.

Districts Providing Free Transportation

Suburban parents from any Connecticut district may apply to send students to available seats in New Haven schools. However, transportation is provided only from the following districts for grades K-12. Pre-K students have to be transported by parents/guardians. Transportation to New Haven Public Schools is available free of charge for students who live in the following towns:

  • Amity Regional
  • Ansonia
  • Beacon Falls
  • Bethany
  • Branford
  • Cheshire
  • Clinton
  • Derby
  • East Haven
  • Guilford
  • Hamden
  • Madison
  • Naugatuck
  • North Branford
  • North Haven
  • Orange
  • Oxford
  • Seymour
  • Shelton
  • Stratford
  • Wallingford
  • West Haven
  • Wolcott
  • Woodbridge