Frequently Asked Questions & 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. While every child living within PUSD boundaries is guaranteed placement at their school of residence, one campus may have a special program or focus that best meets the needs or interest of an individual student.
Each winter, the Open Enrollment process offers District families the opportunity to apply online for a school other than their school of residence. Enrollment is based on demographic data about the number of school-age children residing within a campus' attendance boundaries. Any seats not occupied by neighborhood students are made available. Space is limited. You may view the range of available spaces at each grade level for schools and programs
For some schools, the number of applications exceeds the number of available seats; thus a random lottery process is utilized to assign families to schools. Open Enrollment includes two random lotteries after which families may choose to participate in waiting-lists for slots that open before the first day of school.
Once enrolled in a PUSD school, a student does not need to annually reapply.
Who may apply for Open Enrollment?
All incoming Kindergarten-12th grade students currently residing in the Pasadena Unified School District are eligible to apply.
Families do not apply if planning to attend their school of residence.
How do I apply for Open Enrollment?
- Complete a 2021-22 application online January 7-January 28. Families that miss this deadline may participate in
the second lottery by completing an application online March 15-19.
- Indicate an ordered list of schools that you prefer to your neighborhood school. There is no limit on the
number of schools that may be listed.
- Submit the application from any computer with internet service; there is no preference for being first to apply
and revisions to your list of preferred schools may be made up until the deadline.
What is my school of residence?
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?
To support the school's planning, families are encouraged to enroll by March 4, 2021. Simply go online: www.pusd.us/openenrollment to register your child for their school of residence. If you are registering for the first time at a PUSD school, you will need to present the following:
- Original birth certificate, passport, baptismal certificate, immigration certificate, bible record
- Most recent immunization and vaccination record
- Proof of residency in the form of a recent gas, electric or water bill in parent/guardian's name
- Second proof of residency in the form of either a deed of trust, mortgage payment receipt, rental/lease
agreement, property tax bill or closing escrow papers in parent/guardian's name
- Transcripts from previous school, if applicable
- Individualized Education Program (IEP), if applicable
- How should I determine the list of preferred schools I submit during round 1 of Open Enrollment?
First, begin by visiting your school of residence (virtual tours available), meet the staff and visit classrooms. Additionally, you may want to explore other PUSD schools and signature programs. All campuses offer rigorous academic programs aligned to the Common Core Standards, highly qualified teachers, and an array of enrichment opportunities. PUSD schools continue to demonstrate consistent academic achievement. Inquire about before and after-school care programs and also review school profiles online.
Once you have visited schools, the list of preferred schools that you submit to open enrollment should include all schools, in order of preference that you prefer to your school of residence. Your list may include as many schools as you would like.
If my child is accepted to a school outside of our neighborhood, will he or she receive transportation?
At this time, transportation is only offered to students based on their IEPs. Please contact the transportation department.
As of 2018, we have redesigned the Open Enrollment process so that the best strategy for all families is to list your true preferences over schools. There is no need to strategically consider the available capacity of a school when deciding on your list of preferred schools. Even if there are not many spots available at a school you prefer, it is in your interest to include that school on your list.
Is there a wait list following the lotteries?
Applicants not offered their first preference will be put on a wait list for all choice schools. Projected openings unfilled following the second lottery registration period will be offered to applicants based on wait list standing until all projected seats are filled. No wait lists will be maintained after Friday, August 6, 2021.
What happens after the first round of Open Enrollment?
The way the second round works was redesigned in 2018. After the first round of Open Enrollment all families will receive an assignment of a school, either their school of residence or a school they prefer to their school of residence. Families will then have a choice to either register at the assigned school (see below for details about the registration process), continue to the second round with the goal of being assigned a school higher on their submitted list of preferences, or to opt out of Open Enrollment. In the second round, the openings that remain in the first round and the openings created by families opting out of Open Enrollment will be reassigned through a second lottery. Additionally, families that missed the deadline for participation in round 1 may participate in round 2.
Families that participate in round 2 do not submit new preferences of schools, the same preferences are used. Further, families that participate in round 2 are guaranteed that they will be assigned to either the same school as round 1 or to a school they prefer over their round 1 assignment. Historically, around 1/3 of assigned slots re-open during round 2, so there is an opportunity for many families to improve their assignment by participating in round 2.
Is there a waiting list following the second round of Open Enrollment?
The operation of the waiting lists was also changed in 2018. Now, following the second round lottery, applicants will have the option of joining the waiting list for all schools they listed on their application as preferred to the school they were assigned in round 2.
Unfilled openings following the second round registration period will be offered to applicants based on their position on the waiting lists until all projected seats are filled. The waiting lists will be maintained until Friday, August 6, 2020. Historically, many families are successfully placed off of the waiting lists during the summer months.
At what age is my child eligible to enroll in Kindergarten? Transitional Kindergarten?
Children must be five years old on or before September 1, 2021 to enroll in Kindergarten for the school year beginning August 2021. Children turning five years old between September 2 and December 2, 2021 may enroll in Transitional Kindergarten. Students eligible for Transitional Kindergarten begin on the first day of school in August 2021.
If my child is currently attending a PUSD Pre-School or Transitional Kindergarten, should we apply for Open Enrollment?
Yes, if the current school the child attends is not the student’s school of residence, then you should apply. Enrollment at a PUSD Pre-School or Transitional Kindergarten class does not guarantee a student will be enrolled at that same school for Kindergarten. Families must go through the District's Open Enrollment process to have their student attend a school other than their school of residence for Kindergarten.
If I am interested in having my child attend a Magnet Grant school, do I apply?
Yes, to attend a Magnet Grant school that is not the school of residence, families apply. PUSD's three magnet elementary schools are Altadena Arts Magnet, Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy and Washington Elementary STEM Magnet. The two middle school magnets are Eliot Arts Magnet and Washington STEAM Magnet Academy; Muir is an Early-College Magnet.
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.
If my child is currently enrolled in a Magnet School will they get priority during the Sibling & Priority Registration period?
Yes, starting with the 2021-2022 school year, all students currently enrolled in a Magnet school and transitioning to the corresponding Magnet Middle School or High School can participate in the Sibling and Priority Registration period which is October 26, 2020 – November 13, 2021 and application period is online (refer to www.pusd.us/openenrollment for details)
What Magnet Schools will get priority and what are the corresponding Magnet schools that students can register at during Sibling & Priority Registration?
Jackson and Washington STEM Magnet ES Schools to Washington STEAM Middle School
Altadena Art Magnet ES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to Eliot Art Magnet MS
Washington STEAM MS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to Muir (Engineering Academy)
Eliot Art Magnet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to Muir (Arts Academy)
Willard IB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .to Blair IB
Do I submit an application to enroll in a College & Career Academy?
Yes, to attend a College & Career Academy not offered at your school of residence, you must apply. Fifty percent of the total number of open seats is available for students residing outside the attendance area of the requested Academy. APP Academy only accepts students entering 9th grade.
Should I submit an Open Enrollment application to enroll my child in a Dual Language Immersion Program?
Yes. Open Enrollment seats for Dual Language Immersion schools are only offered at Kindergarten. If your child will be starting Kindergarten, you will need to complete an application to attend one of PUSD's five Dual Language Immersion campuses: San Rafael Elementary-Spanish, Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy-Spanish, Longfellow Elementary-Spanish, Field Elementary-Mandarin Chinese, and Altadena-French. However, these schools offer "neighborhood preference" (see below) for students living within a defined area of the respective school.
Is there an assessment prior to attending a Dual Language Immersion Program?
There are no requirements to apply for PUSD's French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese dual language programs. Students may apply as English only or native speaker. A student who applies and is accepted as a French-, Spanish- or Mandarin-dominant speaker will need to pass a language assessment verifying native-language knowledge and skills prior to final registration. 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"?
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.
Note: For College & Career Academies, 50 percent of open seats are available for students residing outside the school attendance area of the requested Academy.
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 January 28, 2021 application deadline?
Yes. You may submit an application during the late application-second lottery phase, March 15-19, provided your child did not register either during the Sibling & Priority phase of Open Enrollment or following the first lottery. The second lottery allocates unfilled seats from the first lottery.
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 in the 2021-22 school year, or,
- 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?
Your neighborhood school will be included as the last school on your preference list and you are guaranteed to be assigned to your neighborhood school, or above, by the lottery process.
If my application is accepted, how do I secure my child's seat at the school?
You complete the online registration process to secure a seat at the school. See above for required registration documents. Once you receive notice your application has been selected, you must register your child online by the deadline included in the notification with proof of residency documents that correspond to the address entered on the application. If a child is not registered by the deadline, the spot will be forfeited. (PUSD considers US Mail not returned to the District as notification delivered.)
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 2021-2022 school year, you will need submit a relinquish form online to the Office of Enrollment, Permits and Student Records beginning October 26, 2020. For those who have applied online during Open Enrollment and would also like to relinquish their permit, please submit an online relinquish form t to the Office of Enrollment, Permits and Student Records starting June 7 to August 6, 2021. No transfers will be permitted after August 6, 2021. The school a student is registered at, on August 16, 2021 is the school of attendance for the academic 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. This option closes Friday, August 6, 2021.
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 and Mandarin Chinese at elementary sites, the STEAM Magnet at Washington Middle School, 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 application of interest for these signature programs March 15-19, 2021 (apply online: www.pusd.us/openenrollment. For all other campuses, non-resident families submit interdistrict permit requests online to attend a PUSD school beginning April 19, 2021.
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.
Space is limited to no more than 10% of the projected openings by grade at any school and placement is through a random lottery.
How can I get even 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
- Complete a 2021-22 application online January 7-January 28. Families that miss this deadline may participate in
Kindergarten & Transitional Kindergarten
Who can enroll in Kindergarten?
Children who turn five years old on or before September 1, 2020 are encouraged to enroll in Kindergarten. September 1st is the state and District's established cutoff date for Kindergarten.
Who can enroll in Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?
Transitional Kinder is for children with birthdates between 9/2/2015 and 12/2/2015.
Does PUSD make placement exceptions for children with birthdays close to the cutoff dates?
PUSD strongly supports the Kindergarten Readiness Act. State funding guidelines are based on adherence to prescribed birth dates.
What distinguishes Transitional Kindergarten from Kindergarten?
Transitional Kindergarten bridges the path between preschool and kindergarten and gives children an opportunity to learn and grow in an environment tailored to meet their academic and social needs. TK provides the gift of time that will help students build a strong foundation for success in elementary school.
After Transitional Kindergarten, do students advance to Kindergarten or First Grade?
Transitional Kindergarten means the student will be in a Kindergarten program for two years. Students attend the assigned school for one year; after that, they go to Kindergarten at their school of residence or the family applies via Open Enrollment for another PUSD campus or program.
What PUSD schools have Transitional Kindergarten?
Currently six PUSD schools host Transitional Kindergarten: Longfellow, Madison, McKinley, Norma Coombs, Webster and Willard. Children are assigned to one of the six schools based on their home address. These sites are subject to change based on needs of students.
How long is the class day for Transitional Kindergarten?
Transitional Kindergarten, like Kindergarten, is a full school day.
Is transportation provided for Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten?
PUSD does not provide general education transportation.
Are there afterschool options for Transitional Kindergarten children?
Pasadena LEARNs provides afterschool programming for PUSD students in all grades, including Transitional Kindergarten. Registration occurs at the school site.
How do families register for Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten?
Families with children entering Kindergarten are invited to register children beginning December 9, 2019 at their school of residence. To confirm the school of residence, see the School Locator. To register for Transitional Kindergarten, families check in at their school of residence prior to registering at their assigned campus.
What documents are needed to register in Pasadena Unified School District?
To register a child for the first time, the following documents need to be presented at the school office:
- Child's birth certificate
- Proof of current immunizations
- Proof of rent/ownership within PUSD boundaries (deed of trust, property tax bill, lease agreement, rental payment receipt) in the parent/guardian name
- Current utility bill in the parent/guardian name (the following are accepted: gas, electric or water)
For more information, please call the Office of Enrollment, Permits & Records (626) 396-3639 and visit the California Department of Education. If you are interested in Pre-Kindergarten programs, call or visit Early Childhood Education Department, 524 Palisade St, Pasadena 91103, CA (626) 396-5762.