Frequently Asked Questions

When can I apply to the CMS Lottery?
Lottery applications are accepted during the Lottery Application Period. Dates: February 4 through March 12, 2021

How do I get a Lottery Application?
Lottery Applications are only made available during one of our scheduled Virtual Information Meetings. It is mandatory that parents/guardians attend in order to determine if Columbus Magnet School is the "right" choice for your child. If you attended an evening session or tour last year, please call the Columbus School Office at (203) 899-2840 to request an application. Applications may not be reproduced.

How do I know if my child is eligible to attend Columbus Magnet School?
All children who are of school age, 5 years of age by December 31, 2016 and reside in Norwalk are eligible to apply to Columbus Magnet School. Proof of Residency is required. Information on the lottery application will be checked for accuracy. False information will disqualify the applicant.

Is there Priority Status?
Priority Status is granted to siblings of current Columbus students. Both the current Columbus student and the incoming sibling must both attend Columbus in the upcoming school year in order to qualify for priority status. In addition, a percentage of students within 1/4 mile walking distance to CMS K-8 receive priority status.

What happens once I submit my application?
Once your application is received and information is verified, your application will be assigned a lottery number. You will receive notification confirming receipt of your application, informing you of your child’s Lottery Number and date of the Lottery Drawing.

What happens if I submit my application after the deadline?
If your application is received after the Application Deadline March 12, 2021 it will be held until after the Lottery drawing and the applicant will be placed on the appropriate grade Waiting List.

How does the Lottery work?

Kindergarten: After the application deadline, Kindergarten applicants are sorted by their home school districts. Once it is determined how many seats we need to reserve for priority students, we equally distribute the remaining available seats among the home school districts. If there are more applicants than seats available in a particular home school district, we will fill the available seats and then continue drawing to form a waiting list for that district. If a spot is refused, we will go to the waiting list for that home district.

Grades 1-8: Applicants applying for Grades 1-8 will be pooled together by grade and drawn to form waiting lists for each grade level. Once vacancies for the coming school year are determined, we will fill those vacancies from our waiting lists.

How do I find out Lottery results?
Parents of applicants selected in the lottery will receive email notification on March 26, 2021. Parents of applicants placed on our waiting list will receive written notification.

Frequently Asked Questions

Columbus Middle Grades


Q: What are the extras/electives that are offered?

A: This year, all students received instruction in music, art, gym, and Japanese (every other day).  Students are allowed choice of band or strings (and in some instances, both).  We have a student enrichment model that is based around student choice projects every other day for a 40 minute period.  Additionally, we have a mini Digital Communication Media Academy (DCMA).  This is now a well established program at Norwalk High School for students interested in graphic design and communications.


Q: What is the language offered?  

A: Our language structure aligns with traditional middle schools, and Japanese as a language was chosen to open a pathway into Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon.  Students get Japanese instruction every other day, for a 40 minute period.  They get graded on this as well.

Q: What is the curriculum like? 

A:  Unlike the other middle schools, our curriculum integrates Reading, Writing, Arts, and Science into a Social Studies and Project Based Learning Approach.  The units are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the CT State Standards.  Additionally, our teachers receive all the professional development that the other teachers in the district receive. 

Q: Will they learn the same stuff? 

A: They learn all the same standards, but they may learn different things.  The depth of learning allows them better understanding due to our unique ability to integrate our subjects. 


Q: Will they be ready academically? 

A:  Our curriculum goes deep into studies of the world regions (6-7) as well as US History (8).  Due to our integrated design, we are able to dive deep into content, including analysis, perspectives and debate.  As our grade spectrum grows, so does our program.  We have many ideas and plans in the works to build on our excellent education model.  As with all middle schools, work ethic and perseverance shape their success.  We are constantly pushing our students, cheering them on, and cajoling them forward to meet their academic goals.  We teach the same academic standards for science and math, adhering to the district curriculum for both. 


Q: What is the focus socially in a small group of middle grades?

A:. We shape our model to create strong individuals who are in touch with their identity and spend most of their day collaborating: with peers, multi-age peers, and adults.  We believe this will strengthen their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  We spend time community building, and build awareness of social justice issues in the United States and world


Q: How can they be prepared for an adjustment to a larger environment? 

A: As students move through the grades, there are gradual shifts teachers implement to ensure they are ready for the shift into high school.  This includes assignments and grade tracking, student led conferences, and communication with students and parents together.   Last year, we visited high schools through the year and have established a relationship with the DMCA at Norwalk High.  This year, we will be virtually matching our 8th graders with our last year's graduates to aid in their transition.  Last, the transition into high school is made by many schools across the district.  We want our students to have the social and academic skills that make that transition easier. 


We continually look for ways for students to add their voice to their learning environment and to ignite arts related passions.  While constrained at times, we believe that students in middle grades here will have an exceptional learning experience.



We rely on trust and cooperation.