Questions and Answers
What is Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment is Pasadena Unified School District's (PUSD) school of choice program that offers Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre families the opportunity to attend schools outside of their neighborhood school's attendance boundaries. Families who reside out of PUSD may also participate (see interdistrict permit request to enter PUSD).
Should I participate in Open Enrollment?
Before deciding to participate in Open Enrollment, families are encouraged to tour their neighborhood school and any other schools of interest. All campuses offer rigorous academic programs aligned to the Common Core Standards, highly qualified teachers, and an array of enrichment opportunities. An Open Enrollment (lottery) application is not required to attend your neighborhood school (with the exception of dual language immersion programs).
School tours are a great way to learn which school is the best fit for your student. While on tour, be sure to ask about school hours and before-and-after-school care options to plan ahead for transportation and childcare needs.
If your family prefers a dual language immersion program or a school other than your child's neighborhood school, then you should participate in Open Enrollment.
What is my neighborhood school?
What should I do to register my child at our neighborhood school?
Visit pusd.us/registration for more information, including required documentation. Registration processes will be updated for the 2024-25 school year, so please check for updates on our website after December 4, 2024.
What is the Open Enrollment lottery?
Each winter, the Open Enrollment process offers families the opportunity to apply online for a school other than their neighborhood school. After reserving seats for families who live within a school's attendance boundaries, any additional seats are made available to Open Enrollment applicants. When the number of applications for a school or program exceeds the number of available seats, a random lottery process is used to offer available seats to interested students. Open Enrollment includes two random lotteries, the first general lottery and a later second lottery for families who missed the first.
Who may apply for Open Enrollment?
All incoming Transitional Kindergarten-12th grade students currently residing in the Pasadena Unified School District are eligible to apply. Families do not apply if they plan to attend their neighborhood school (except for dual immersion programs). Out-of-district families may participate after the 2nd lottery (see Important Dates at pusd.us/enrollment and requirements for interdistrict permits).
How do I apply for Open Enrollment?
- Complete an online application during the lottery window dates. Families that miss the application for the first lottery may participate in the second lottery. Applications remain available for families who missed both lotteries until one week before school starts. New-to-PUSD families may continue to enroll at any time at schools with available space by contacting the Office of Enrollment.
- Indicate each school that you prefer more than your neighborhood school. Schools should be listed in order of preference, and there is no limit on the number of schools that may be listed.
- Submit the application from any computer, tablet, or cell phone with internet access.
- Applications submitted earlier during the lottery window (first to apply) do not gain any additional priority or preference over other eligible applications submitted during the same lottery window.
- Revisions to the list of preferred schools (adding schools or changing the rank order) may only be made by contacting the Office of Enrollment.
Is transportation provided to PUSD schools?
At this time, transportation is only offered to certain students based on special education services included in their individualized education plans (IEPs).
At what age is my child eligible to enroll in Kindergarten? Transitional Kindergarten?
Children must be five years old on or before September 1 to enroll in kindergarten. Children turning 5 years old between September 2 and April 2 may enroll in Transitional Kindergarten (for 2023-2024). For the 2024-2025 school year, children turning 5 years old between September 2 and June 2 may enroll in Transitional Kindergarten. For the 2025-2026 school year and beyond, children may enter Transitional Kindergarten if they turn five between September 2 of the current school year and September 2 of the next school year.
If my child is currently attending a PUSD preschool, should we apply for Open Enrollment?
Yes, if the current preschool the child attends is not the student’s neighborhood school, then you should apply. Enrollment at a PUSD preschool does not guarantee a student will be enrolled at that same school for Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten. Families must go through the Open Enrollment process to enroll in a dual language program or school other than their neighborhood school.
If I am interested in having my child attend a magnet school or dual language immersion program, do I apply?
Yes, to attend a magnet school that is not the student's neighborhood school or any dual language immersion program, families must apply.
Is there an assessment prior to attending a Dual Language Immersion Program?
There are no pre-requirements to apply for PUSD's French, Spanish, and Mandarin dual language programs in the kindergarten or transitional kindergarten grades. However, students must apply for one of two choices based on the child's dominant language- as a non-native speaker or a native speaker of the program's target language. If the student is bilingual or trilingual, they should make this determination based on the language the student is most comfortable speaking. A student who applies and is accepted as a native speaker (French-, Spanish- or Mandarin-dominant speaker) may need to pass a language assessment verifying native-language knowledge and skills before final registration. This language assessment is done at the school site. If it is determined the child is not a French, Spanish, or Mandarin-dominant speaker, the child may be added to the waitlist for non-native speaker applicants.
Do I submit an Open Enrollment application to enroll my child in Marshall Fundamental?
Marshall Fundamental is not a school of residence with attendance boundaries; therefore, an Open Enrollment application must be submitted to attend Marshall Fundamental. This school offers "neighborhood preference." See below.
What is "Neighborhood Preference"?
Lottery-only schools and programs, including Marshall Fundamental and the dual language campuses, are subject to "neighborhood preference," which means 50 percent of the total number of open seats is set aside for students who live within defined zones around these schools. However, preference only applies when seats are available for the requested grade level, and applicants who live in the "neighborhood preference" zones list the school or program as their first choice on the application.
Applicants are selected through a random lottery. If not selected via "neighborhood preference," a student's application is included into the general lottery.
If I have more than one child in my household, do I need to submit a separate application for each child?
Yes. Each student must submit a separate online application. All efforts will be made to ensure that families with twins or same-grade siblings are accepted into the same school, provided the school/program choices are identical and in the same rank order on both applications.
Will my child be considered for admission if we submit an application after the application deadline?
Yes. You may submit an application during the late application-second lottery phase or the late post-lottery phase if your child has not yet submitted an eligible lottery application. The second lottery and post-lottery phases allocate unfilled seats from the first lottery. The late, post-lottery application period ends one week before school starts.
Do I need to submit an application if my child already attends their requested school?
No. You need to submit an application only if:
- You wish to apply for a different PUSD school for the next school year.
- You are enrolling your child in PUSD for the first time and wish to enroll in a school other than your neighborhood school.
What if my child is not accepted at any of the schools I have selected?
Applicants may remain on the waitlist for each of their preferred schools until one week before school starts, in case a seat becomes available. Children who are waitlisted at all of their preferred schools should complete registration for their neighborhood school. If a space becomes available for one of the student's waitlisted schools, staff may transfer the student's existing registration to the newly offered lottery school.
If my student is offered a placement, how do I confirm and secure a seat at the school?
The child's parent/guardian must log in to pusd.schoolmint.com to accept any offer by the published deadline. Families who need assistance may call (626)396-3639. Parents/guardians must also complete the school registration process as communicated in any offer/acceptance notifications. PUSD considers email not returned to the District as a notification delivered. If a child is not registered by the deadline, the spot may be forfeited.
May I change schools during the school year?
No. PUSD does not grant mid-year transfers. If your child is currently attending a PUSD school other than your neighborhood school and you wish to change enrollment to the neighborhood school for the next school year, you will need to submit a relinquish permit form online to the Office of Enrollment, Permits, and Student Records the summer before the next school year. No transfers will be permitted after a week before the start of the school year.
I am new to PUSD but missed Open Enrollment. How may I participate?
New resident families who missed the first round of Open Enrollment may participate in the second round and post-lottery application periods. New-to-PUSD families who miss Open Enrollment completely may request a placement at schools with remaining availability by contacting the Office of Enrollment.
What are the enrollment opportunities for students who reside out of PUSD boundaries?
Non-resident families are welcome to explore PUSD signature programs: College & Career Academies in our high schools, Dual Language Immersion Programs in French, Spanish, Armenian, and Mandarin Chinese, the STEAM Magnet at Octavia E. Butler Magnet, Visual & Performing Arts at Eliot, the International Baccalaureate Programme at Willard Elementary School and Blair Middle and High School, and more. Non-residents are invited to submit an interdistrict permit request (see Important Dates at pusd.us/enroll and interdistrict permit request to enter PUSD).
Is any preference given to a student whose parent/guardian is employed by the Pasadena Unified School District?
Yes, District employees’ children are offered preference in the 1st Lottery phase. To qualify for this preference, the employee must work 30 hours or more per week for the Pasadena Unified School District, and the student must be a child of the employee and reside with the employee. Employees of the City of Pasadena also qualify for this preference.
Space is limited to no more than 10% of the projected openings by grade at any school, and placement is through a random lottery. Therefore, employee preference is not a guarantee of placement. If more employees apply than preferred seats available, a student who qualifies for employee preference may be included in the general random lottery.
Is there a waitlist following the lotteries?
Applicants not offered their first preference will be placed on a waitlist for all of their preferred schools as selected on the student's lottery application. Waitlists will be maintained until one week before school starts, and families will receive a notification if they are offered placement from the waitlist. Historically, many families have been successfully placed off of the waiting lists during the summer months. Families who are satisfied with another offer may decline waitlist placement by withdrawing their application.
How can I get more information?
Contact the Office of Enrollment, Permits & Student Records at (626)396-3639 or 351 S. Hudson Avenue, Room 123, Pasadena, CA 91109. Or visit www.pusd.us/openenrollment