BRSSD Frequently Asked Questions
What is the policy for student enrollment and school assignment?
The Board of Trustees approved a new policy Board Policy 5116 governing student enrollment and school assignment in October 2011. In adopting a new policy, the Board’s priority was to preserve the community’s commitment to neighborhood schools while “providing flexibility for variations in enrollment over time.” The policy eliminates school attendance areas, the former geographic boundaries for each of the six elementary schools, and establishes a district-wide attendance area with the goal of assigning students to schools near their homes.
The policy directs the Superintendent to establish an “unbiased enrollment process” and an “objective assignment criteria.” The Superintendent created a forum for the community to discuss and assist the District in drafting new regulations establishing the enrollment process and assignment criteria Board Policy 5116. Parents from each of the six elementary schools, along with school administrators, two Board members, and District staff, met to develop the regulations.
The procedure for student enrollment and school assignment are discussed below.
What is the age-eligibility for enrollment in transitional kindergarten (TK), kindergarten and first grade?
A child is eligible for TK if he/she has his/her fifth birthday between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive), 2018, in the 2018-2019 school year. Currently, we have not created district policy to admit students to TK who turn five years old after December 2nd.
A child is eligible for kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year if the child will have his/her fifth birthday on or before September 1, 2018.
A child is eligible for 1st grade in the 2018-2019 school year if the child will have his/her sixth birthday on or before September 1, 2018.
My child does not meet the minimum age requirement for first grade, but attends a private kindergarten program. Can I enroll my child in first grade?
No, a child who was not age-eligible for kindergarten but attends a California private school kindergarten for a year is viewed by the California Department of Education as not legally enrolled in kindergarten. Therefore, this child, upon enrollment in public school, is enrolled in kindergarten.
What is the process for student enrollment?
Student enrollment process will start in February 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year. Under our process, a new Kindergarten enrollee with an older sibling in Kindergarten through fifth grade will be enrolled at their older siblings’ school (i.e., “grandfathered”). Students without currently enrolled older siblings will be centrally enrolled at the District Office on Hallmark Drive in Belmont or at another designated location. Information about the enrollment process, along with instructions and information about the necessary documents, will be posted on the District’s Web Site. Because new students are no longer enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis, waiting in line will not be necessary.
The District will have these enrollment periods: the first spanning the month of February 2018, the second from March 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018, the third from June 14, 2018 to three weeks before school begins, and the fourth from three weeks before school up to the day before school starts.
Students who enroll during each period will be assigned to one of the six elementary schools. For the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, new TK and kindergarten students (non-sibling priority) who enroll in the first enrollment period will be notified of their school assignment April 2, 2018, by U.S.P.S. mail. Students in grades 1st – 5th who enroll in the first enrollment period will be notified June 13, 2018, by U.S.P.S. mail. TK and Kindergarten students in the second period will be notified June 7, 2018, by USPS mail and students in 1st – 5th grade in the second period will be notified June 25, 2018, by USPS mail. Students in the third period will be notified one week before school starts, by email. Students enrolling in the 4th enrollment period will receive school assignment notification just prior to school starting via email.
Because students will be assigned to schools in each enrollment period, families are encouraged to enroll their children during the earliest period. Remember, however, that there is no advantage to enrolling earlier within the period. The first student to enroll in the February period has no priority in assignment over the last student to enroll in the February period. All students who enroll in the February period will be assigned to schools before students who enroll in the second enrollment period.
How do I enroll my student?
The student enrollment ‘form’ will be completed online in our District online enrollment system. The link to this online system is found on the District’s home page, www.brssd.org. The parent / guardian will need to complete the enrollment form online and then print the Enrollment Confirmation page at the end of the online process. When the enrollment period begins in February, bring the Enrollment Confirmation pages along with the following documents to the District Office or to the school (for sibling priority enrollment) to complete your enrollment:
- Parent/Guardian’s Driver’s License or passport
- Student’s ORIGINAL birth certificate or passport
- Proof of Residency Documents (Two parts):
- Current ORIGINAL utility documents from two different sources. Installation papers, confirmation of service letters, and online bills are acceptable. Make sure these documents have the parent’s name, address and date of service. AND
- One of the following: Residents who are home owners: ORIGINAL Grant Deed or current property tax bill
- Residents who are renters: Current rental / lease agreement
- Other living arrangements: Deed, property tax bill, current rental / lease agreement of person with whom you are living, AND
- Notarized Verification of Residency form and two utility bills or documents that show your name at this address.
- Immunization Record.
- Physical – Report of Health Examination For School Entry Form – 1st grade enrollment ONLY.
What is the new law (SB 277) that Governor Jerry Brown signed concerning immunization?
On June 30, 2015, Governor Brown signed SB 277 requiring school-aged children to be vaccinated. Effective January 1, 2016, the new law eliminates the personal and religious belief exemption for existing 3 specified immunization requirements. The law permits personal belief exemptions submitted before January 1, 2016 to remain valid until a student reaches transitional kindergarten/kindergarten or 7th grade.
The law removes immunization requirement for: 1) Students in home-based private schools; 2) Students enrolled in an independent study program who do not receive classroom-based instruction. The law also states that it does not prohibit a student with an individualized education program (IEP) from accessing any special education and related services required by his or her IEP. Students in these categories will still need to provide immunization records to their schools before entry, and schools will still need to report to the California Department of Public Health the immunization status of all students at the existing checkpoints of child care, kindergarten and 7th grade.
For exemption from required immunization for medical reasons, a parent must submit a written statement from a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O. – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) which states:
- That the physical condition or medical circumstances of the child are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated.
- Which vaccines are being exempted.
- The expiration date, if the exemption is temporary
What if the immunization record is in a language besides English?
Parents will need to have the immunization record translated to English so the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District staff can understand the documentation. Parents are advised to contact their physician or a local health department or clinic.
What if I don’t have a home computer to complete the online form?
You may use your smart phone to complete the online enrollment form. Also, there will be computers / laptops available at the schools and District Office to use to complete your Online Enrollment Form. Public libraries also have computers and printers. If computer access is a hardship, please contact the District Registrar at (650) 637-4800 ext. 1036.
What school will my child go to?
Students will be assigned to elementary schools based on the walking distance from their homes to each of the six elementary schools and space availability by grade at each school. The algorithm used in the school assignment minimizes the total walking distance of all the students given the capacity limits at each school. Due to the high student enrollment across the District, there is no guarantee a student will be assigned to his/her closest school. Each enrollment period is a self-contained cycle.
As for the walking distance calculation, the user may go to the distance calculator, which will allow the user to type in a home address. The user will receive the walking distances to each of the six elementary schools as well as a mapped out route to the schools. Note, two of the schools, Fox and Nesbit, have a second entrance which is built into the algorithm, and the distance used to assignment is the minimum distance to any of the school’s entrances.
What happens if one of the schools is over capacity?
In the event of an overage at any of the six elementary schools, your child’s school assignment may be subject to change in order to resolve the overage. If your child was asked to transfer to the third, fourth, or fifth closest school to your home, then your child will be placed on the Priority Reassignment list and will be given first consideration for new seats that become available at their first or second closest school.
For Families With Children Currently Attending a School in the District
Under the District policy, can my child stay at his/her current school?
Yes. The school assignment system affects only students new to the District and students returning to the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) after any prior disenrollment from the District. Children enrolled in an elementary school in the District will continue to attend their current school, even if their school is outside their former “home” boundary because of an intra-district transfer or for some other reason.
What about my child’s younger sibling—can he attend my child’s school?
Yes, if the older sibling of the incoming Kindergarten student is currently enrolled at one of the District’s six elementary schools. This is referred to as “Sibling Priority.” If so, your younger child must be enrolled in February at your older child’s school to ensure assignment to that school. If you miss the February enrollment period, or if your older child is in middle school or is older, your younger child will be assigned to an elementary school based on the new assignment criteria. This policy respects the District’s commitment to keeping siblings together at the same school, minimizes the stress on families by avoiding multiple drop-offs at different schools, and balances the desire of new incoming families to send their children to their neighborhood schools.
My family is planning to move to another residence within the District. Would my child continue her
education at the school that she currently attends? And what about her younger sibling—would he be assigned to my child’s current school? Yes. Your currently enrolled student may continue to attend the same school, even if you move to a new residence within the BRSSD. The incoming younger sibling would attend the older sibling’s school if the older child were currently enrolled at one of the District’s six elementary schools. If you chose, however, you could elect to have your currently enrolled student or the younger sibling assigned to a new school for the next school year based on the assignment process.
How do I enroll my “Sibling Priority” child?
“Sibling Priority” enrollment occurs in February at all of the elementary schools. Only incoming Kindergarten siblings who enroll during February will be guaranteed assignment to the school their Kindergarten – 5th grade siblings currently attend. Incoming 1st – 5th grade siblings enrolled during the “Sibling Priority” period will receive priority to the openings in their sibling’s school. The elementary schools will provide information on specific dates and times for enrollment at their sites. If you miss the February enrollment period, your child will be assigned to an elementary school based on the new assignment criteria during the next enrollment period. If the new assignment places the new student at a different school from the sibling, the new sibling will be placed on the Priority Reassignment list to receive a reassignment to the sibling’s current school. Please check the District’s Web site www.BRSSD.org for additional information.
If my child is currently attending Transitional Kindergarten (TK) within the District, will my child have
to re-enroll for Kindergarten? ## Yes. You will need to enroll for Kindergarten the following year. Your student will either be assigned to an elementary school based on the walking distance from your home to each of the six elementary schools and space availability by grade at each school, or you may enroll your child through “Sibling Priority” enrollment if your child has an older sibling already attending one of the six elementary schools.
Do I need to re-enroll my child each year?
Unless your child will be entering Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten, you do not need to re-enroll your child. Once they have started Kindergarten, they will automatically be enrolled each year at that school.
For Families Who Don’t Yet Have Children Attending School
Where will my child attend school?
It is likely that your child will attend one of the elementary schools closest to your home. The District will assign students to the closest schools that have available room. Students assigned to their 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th closest school are automatically put on the Priority Reassignment List. Students on this list are given first consideration for new openings at their 1st or 2nd closest school before the next enrollment period packets are processed.
Can I guarantee that my child would be assigned to a particular school?
No, the District cannot guarantee that a student will be assigned to a particular school. However; the District assignment process seeks to assign students to schools so that collectively, all students will travel the shortest distance to school within each school’s capacity. (Board Policy #5116)
Can I state a preference for my child to attend a particular school?
The Intradistrict Open Enrollment is available for parents to request a school. Intradistrict Open Enrollment occurs in August and requests will be considered at the beginning of the school year. See AR 5116.1.
When do I enroll my child?
January 5, 2018: 2018-2019 Online Enrollment Website opens (Prior online enrollments are all void.)
The First Enrollment Period is from January 22, 2018 – February 28, 2018. Dates and times are as follows:
- January 22 – February 28, 2018 Sibling Priority (Enrollment at sibling’s school)
- February 7-9 February 7: New Students, 1:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Ralston Middle School Library
- February 8-9: New Students, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at District Office
- February 12-16 February 12: New Students, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at Nesbit School
- February 13: New Students, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., at District Office
- February 14-16: New Students, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at District Office
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO REGISTERING FIRST
February 19 – 23 Midwinter Break (Schools and District Office closed)
- February 26-28 New Students, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at District Office
Because school assignment will be based on the distance from students’ residences to schools, there is no need to be first in line. All TK and Kindergarten students enrolled during the first enrollment period will be assigned to schools during the initial school assignment algorithm run and will be notified of school assignment April 2, 2018. All grades 1st – 5th students enrolled during the first enrollment period will be notified June 13, 2018.
Enrollment during the second period (March 1, 2018 – May 31, 2018), the third period (June 14, 2018 – three weeks before school starts), and the fourth period (three weeks before school begins up till the day before school starts) will take place at the District Office, 2960 Hallmark Drive, Belmont.
Please call 650-637-4800, extension 1036 if you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment. Additional information will be posted on the District’s Web site www.BRSSD.org.
What if there are openings at the school closest to my family when the school year begins but my child was assigned to a school farther away from our home?
It is possible that openings will occur at the start of the school year. The District recognizes that some families move away before school begins or choose to enroll their children in schools outside the District. If this occurs, there may be openings for students on the Priority Reassignment list, i.e., students who were assigned to their 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th closest school during the assignment process. The District plans to fill the openings during the first three weeks of school. Openings will be filled based solely on period enrolled and walking distance from the schools. After all possible reassignments are issued for the students on the Priority Reassignment list, students with an Intradistrict Open Enrollment request will be considered.
Can you provide more details about the assignment algorithm?
The school assignment algorithm developed by the District is based on a linear optimization (also known as linear programming) function known as “minimum-cost flow” formula. Companies use similar linear optimization functions to make important business decisions. For example, airlines use a linear optimization function to determine flight routes that are most direct and minimize fuel costs, and shipping companies use a similar method to move packages from warehouses to stores to customers most efficiently.
In this case, the District uses a linear optimization method to assign incoming students to schools close to their homes and within the limits of the enrollment capacity at each school. The assignment algorithm allows the District to find the “optimal” solution to minimize the total distance traveled by all students to their schools. One way to think about the District’s goal is to imagine a pedometer attached to every student for one morning’s walk to school; the optimal assignment would minimize the sum of the distances of all students’ walks to their schools. Instead of pedometers, however, the walking distance for all students is determined by querying the same Web-based mapping service, such as Bing Maps.
As enrollment approaches the total capacity at the District’s schools, the optimal assignment likely will not place every student at the closest school. In periods of high enrollment, some students will be assigned to schools that are slightly farther from their homes. An alternative assignment would not be “optimal” because it would require other students to travel a farther distance, increasing the total distance traveled by all students. In periods of low enrollment, however, an optimal assignment would place students at their closest schools.
At the beginning of the process, the District will determine the capacity at each of the six elementary schools by grade. For example, each school is expected to have enough classroom space to accommodate seventy-five kindergartners. As part of the capacity assessment, the District will determine the number of incoming siblings of older students, which will reduce each school’s capacity for new students. Sandpiper Elementary, for example, might have twenty-five incoming kindergartners who are the younger siblings of currently enrolled students. The twenty-five siblings would reduce Sandpiper’s kindergarten capacity from seventy-five to fifty. In this way, younger siblings of currently enrolled students are given priority for enrollment.
After each school’s capacity is determined, the District will assign all of the students who enroll in the month of February, the first enrollment period. Families of kindergartners will be notified of the assignment April 1st. Following the assignment from the first enrollment period, the District will assess each school’s capacity for assignment in the second enrollment period. A similar process occurs before assigning new students from the third enrollment period.