Palo Alto Unified School District generally places students in neighborhood schools closest to their residence based on the pre-assigned District boundary lines. If a neighborhood school is full, the neighborhood school will assign students to the nearest school (that has space) within the District. The following year, overflow students may return to their neighborhood school (on a space available basis) or remain in their current school. Find your neighborhood school with our School Finder.

Open Enrollment

PAUSD recognizes that a school's environment can influence a student's success. Our open enrollment policy allows students to attend Choice or Alternative Programs (chosen by lottery) or transfer to another PAUSD school on a space-available basis. If you would like your child to enroll in a choice or alternative program, you must still register your child with the Welcome Center for your neighborhood school.

We place as many students as possible in their neighborhood schools. Requests for intra-district transfers are granted on a space-available basis. Board of Education Open Enrollment Policy [PDF]

Grade Placement

When a student enrolls in the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Welcome Center assigns the student to a grade level based on the students date of birth. Beginning the 2012 - 2013 school year the District will implement Transitional Kindergarten classes for incoming Kindergartners based on the students birth month.

Elementary Student Grade Placement (Kindergarten to 5th Grade)

The assigned Palo Alto school will then review the child's levels of achievement and the student's school documents, as provided, to make the appropriate grade level placement. Students born between September 2 and December 1, 2011 will be placed in Transitional Kindergarten classes.

Secondary Student Grade Placement (6th Grade to 12th Grade)

The assigned Palo Alto school will match course work with the student's appropriate level of achievement as documented by transcripts, course descriptions, and the student's file, sent by the student's previous school.

Transferring Within PAUSD

Students who wish to attend a school other than their neighborhood school may do so if space permits. Transfers are approved by education level: elementary school (K - 5), middle school (6 - 8), and high school (9 - 12). When students graduate from a school level, their placement assignments for the next level will revert back to their neighborhood schools.

If you would like to apply for an intra-district transfer, submit the appropriate form to the Welcome Center.

Round 1 transfer requests will be accepted January 12 - February 15, 2017. Parents will be notified of transfer decisions no later than five days before the school begins in the fall.

Please note that PAUSD does not guarantee transfers for siblings. Each student must apply for an intra-district transfer. Mid-year intra-district transfers are not recommended by the Administration.

Transferring Outside PAUSD

Transferring Out

Students who live within the boundaries of PAUSD and would like to attend school in another district may apply for an inter-district transfer. Submit an Inter-district Transfer Request Form to the PAUSD Welcome Center. Transfers must be approved by PAUSD before submission to the district requested.

Transferring In

Students who wish to transfer to PAUSD should contact their district of residence and file an inter-district transfer. Inter-district transfers are limited to hardship (limited to medical or safety issues) and senior privilege (12th grade only). If you have questions, contact the Welcome Center at (650)329-3707 or

Gardner Bullis Elementary School

It is possible under joint arrangements with LASD for PAUSD families living in Los Altos Hills to request up to 7-year transfers to Gardner Bullis Elementary School. The school is located at 25890 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills, CA. If you have a K-6 student and wish to consider this alternative, the IDT form is available at the PAUSD Welcome Center at 25 Churchill Avenue. For questions regarding the IDT process, please contact  Joe Nakamura.

Inter-district Transfer Request Form