The power to choose
If you are not selected in the MOST lottery, that doesn't mean you can't choose a school for your child. Many private schools offer financial aid of their own, and there are actually a lot of options within Shelby County Schools, including the following:
Students must test into optional-school programs, but cutoff scores vary by school. Check the Optional Schools website for the latest handbook and other details. Beginning in 2018, Shelby County Schools combined the processes for applying to an Optional Program to the "general choice transfer" application, the process for applying to any school other than where a student is zoned. The online-only application typically opens in late January and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
General Choice Transfers
To transfer to a non-optional school that you are not zoned for, you will need to participate in the General Choice Transfer process, which as of 2018, is combined with the Optional Schools application process. While there is no lineup, it's still first-come, first-served, so be online right at the announced start time if you're hoping for a spot in a popular school.
Application to charter schools, which are publicly financed, tuition-free schools run by operators other than the school district, is separate from the optional or open-enrollment process. You must apply individually to charter schools. For an updated list of local charter schools, visit the Tennessee Charter School Center. You might also want to check out the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website.