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.
Should I participate in Open Enrollment?
Before deciding to participate in Open Enrollment, families are encouraged to tour their school of residence and any other schools of interest. Every child living within PUSD boundaries is guaranteed placement at their school of residence. 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 school of residence (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 school of residence, then you should participate in Open Enrollment.
What is my school of residence?
Your school of residence is your assigned neighborhood school. To find your school of residence, visit the School Locator. If you need assistance, please call the Office of Enrollment, Permits & Student Records: (626)396-3639.
What should I do to register my child at our school of residence (neighborhood school)?
Visit pusd.us/registration for more information, including required documentation.
What is the Open Enrollment lottery?
Each winter, the Open Enrollment process offers District families the opportunity to apply online for a school other than their school of residence. 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 utilized to assign applicants to schools. 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 do not participate in the lotteries; however, they may submit an application of interest during the interdistrict permit window (see Important Dates at pusd.us/enrollment).
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.
- Indicate each school that you prefer more than your school of residence. 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 with internet service.
- 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 may only be made up until the closing deadline for the lottery window.
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 five years old between September 2 and April 2 may enroll in Transitional Kindergarten (for 2023-2024). For the 2024-2025 school year, children turning five years old between September 2, 2023 and June 2 may enroll in Transitional Kindergarten.
If my child is currently attending a PUSD pre-school, should we apply for Open Enrollment?
Yes, if the current preschool the child attends is not the student’s school of residence, then you should apply. Enrollment at a PUSD Pre-School does not guarantee a student will be enrolled at that same school for Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten. Families must go through the District's Open Enrollment process to have their students attend a school other than their school of residence.
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 school of residence or any dual language immersion program, families must apply. Note: If applying for any Dual Language Immersion Program you will need to select that specific language program when making your selections on the application.
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 Chinese 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 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) will need to pass a language assessment verifying native-language knowledge and skills prior to 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 will not be able to register.
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 in the requested grade levels 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 re-entered 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 priority 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 you did not yet submit a 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 a school other than our school of residence?
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 school of residence.
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 a week before school starts in case a seat becomes available. Children who are waitlisted at all of their preferred schools should complete online registration for their school of residence. If a space becomes available, staff may transfer the student's registration to the new lottery-offered school.
If my application is accepted, how do I secure my child's seat at the school?
The child's parent/guardian must complete the online registration process to secure a seat at the school. Once parents receive notice of an offer, the parent/guardian must accept placement and register the child online by the deadline included in the notification. PUSD considers email not returned to the District as notification delivered. Documentation will be required at this time, including proof of residency that corresponds to the address entered on the application. If a child is not registered by the deadline, the spot will be forfeited.
Can I change schools during the year?
No. PUSD does not grant mid-year transfers. If your child is currently attending a PUSD school other than your school of residence and you wish to change enrollment to the school of residence for the next school year, you will need to submit a relinquish 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 prior to the start of the school year.
I am new to PUSD but missed Open Enrollment.
New resident families who missed the first round of Open Enrollment may participate in the second round. If you missed both rounds of Open Enrollment you may request enrollment in a school that did not fill all projected seats at the close of Open Enrollment and you main join the waiting lists for schools where all slots have been filled. Note that the available seats can vary by grade level within a school.
What are the enrollment opportunities for students who do not reside within 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).
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 General-First Lottery phase. Current, full-time monthly employees may apply online with some restrictions. Unless the student is new to PUSD, the applicant must be entering a transition grade: TK, K, 1st, 6th, or 9th. 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.
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.
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