Elementary Choice Programs Available (descriptions at bottom of page)

  • Hoover Elementary School
  • Ohlone Elementary School
  • Mandarin Immersion (located at Ohlone Elementary School)
  • Spanish Immersion (located at Escondido Elementary School)
  • Young Fives Kindergarten (located at Greendell School)

Application Process (except Young Fives)

Admission to Elementary Choice Programs is granted through a kindergarten lottery held in the spring prior to the new school year. The lottery for 2020-2021 school year was done on February 27, 2020; the statistics for the 2020-21 lottery are available in the Presentation: Elementary Choice Program Lottery 20-21 given at the February 27, 2020 lottery meeting. Contact the main office of the school at which the Choice Program is located to ask about an application for inclusion on the waitlist.

Applications for the 2021-2022 school year kindergarten lottery will be available starting on January 6, 2021. Application forms are given only to parents who attend a program's Information Night and a tour. Only ONE of the four Choice Programs may be applied to. (Young Fives process is at the bottom of this page.)

Starting in November 2020, Families interested in submitting an application for their kindergartner for the 2021-2022 school year must do the following:

  • Check this website in November to find the dates for all Choice School processes including tours, Information Nights, and application deadlines.
  • Complete the PAUSD registration process for your child at Registration Services (25 Churchill Ave) on or after January 6, 2021, but before the Choice Program application deadline (12:00 p.m. on February 11, 2021).
  • To receive an application to a Choice Program lottery, parent/guardian must first attend the Parent Information meeting and attend a tour, after which an application will be provided. (Dates for Information Night Events and Tours) Note: Incoming students who will have a sibling in the same program during the same school year of attendance - also known as concurrent siblings - will be granted priority placement, but an application for the incoming sibling MUST be submitted. After attending the Information Night and taking a tour, make your selection of ONE of the below four Choice Programs.
  • Complete that Choice School's application and submit it to the Choice School by 12:00 p.m. on February 17, 2021.

Lottery Process (except Young Fives)

When there are more applications than seats available, a lottery will be held to select incoming kindergartners, either to be offered enrollment or to be placed on a waitlist (except Young Fives). The lotteries for all programs will be held on February 25, 2021 at the Palo Alto Unified School District Office beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Parents are invited to observe the process. 

The lottery process selects kindergarten students until all known available seats are filled, followed by a lottery to place all remaining applicants on the wait list. The language immersion programs will each have two wait lists: one for students who test as being proficient in the program language, and one for English-speaking students.

Students who missed the lottery should contact the Choice Program school to inquire about applying to be placed on the waitlist.

Notification Process (except Young Fives)

Registration Services will notify families of kindergartners who are selected by the lottery process on the day of the lottery, via an email sent to the parent email addresses indicated on the Choice Program Application. Families are responsible for providing accurate information on that form.

Families must reply to the main office of the Choice Program with their decision no later than 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Monday March 1, 2021. For any questions or concerns, contact the Choice Program.

If the seat is accepted, the student’s seat at the neighborhood school is forfeited and the Choice Program school becomes the student’s “home/neighborhood” school. Any future school changes will require approval by both principals via an Intradistrict Transfer Request form.

If the Choice Program seat is refused, the student will be removed from the Choice Program list and the Choice Program application will be discarded. Students will be considered for enrollment for their neighborhood school based on the priority of their initial registration.

If the Choice Program does not hear back from a family by the deadline, the child’s name will be placed on the bottom of the waitlist.  The next family on the list will be offered the seat.

When vacancies arise in Choice Programs during the year, offers for admission are made first to applications submitted by siblings of attending students, and then to students on the waitlist. 

Hoover Elementary School

The Hoover approach to learning includes a balance of explicit direct instruction coupled with structured, student-centered activities that increase the depth of student learning and the complexity of their thinking. Student success is fostered through the clear articulation of academic expectations combined with differentiated support and the routine practice of effective communication skills and study habits. Staff and parents also collaborate to provide varied social and emotional learning experiences intended to support each child in realizing his/her full potential.

Ohlone Elementary School

Ohlone's open school philosophy focuses on developmental education. Classrooms emphasize open-ended activities, personalized instruction, and peer tutoring. Teachers facilitate academic, social, and emotional learning.

Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program

The Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program at Ohlone is designed to develop full bilingualism in both Mandarin and English. English-speaking students and native Mandarin speakers are taught together using Mandarin and English instruction to develop bilingual academic fluency. The program will begin in the fall of 2008 with two K-1 classes at Ohlone and will continue through fifth grade. The program aims to:

  • Develop bilingual proficiency and literacy in Mandarin and English
  • Promote academic achievement at or above grade level in both languages
Spanish Dual Immersion Program

The Spanish Dual Immersion Program at Escondido is designed to develop full bilingualism in both Spanish and English. English-speaking students and native Spanish speakers are taught together using Spanish and English instruction to develop bilingual academic fluency. The program begins in kindergarten and continues through fifth grade or middle school. The program aims to:

  • Develop bilingual proficiency and literacy in Spanish and English
  • Promote academic achievement at or above grade level in both languages
  • Foster positive cross-cultural attitudes
Young Fives

The Young Fives program at the Greendell School is offered to children who are eligible for kindergarten but are not ready to enter kindergarten. The program is designed for children who exhibit signs of immaturity or youngness that may prevent them from succeeding in kindergarten and future school years. Parents participate one day a week in the classroom and attend monthly discussion sessions in the evening.

Parents apply for the program directly to the Greendell School; students are selected based on an observational screening process and not through the Choice Program lottery. For more information, go to the Greendell School web site.