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Oakland Unified School District

How it Works: Placement Priorities, Special Programs, Resources

Students who apply on-time are assigned to schools through a lottery, based on the school choices indicated on their enrollment application and taking into account OUSD enrollment priorities. The process is designed to provide each student equitable access to the range of opportunities available throughout the District. Students are placed in their highest ranked school if there are openings at that school.  

If there are more requests for a school than openings, the student placement process uses a series of priorities to determine the assignment the student will receive. These enrollment priorities are governed by OUSD Board Policy 5116.1 (available online here).

Learn More in our FAQs

Enrollment Priorities

Priority Definition General size of this priority group relative to available seats
Continuing students Includes students moving from TK to K at a given school, or 5th graders moving to 6th grade at a K-8 school, or 8th graders moving to 9th grade at a given school. Medium, but for transitions at K-8 or 6-12 schools, can be large
Foster youth Students in an official foster youth placement. Very small
Siblings Students with a sibling at the applying school in the next year. A graduating senior or a 5th grader moving to 6th grade would not count as a sibling. Small
Children of staff (applying to the school where the guardian works) Students whose official guardian is an OUSD employee assigned full-time to the school they are applying to receive this priority. Very Small
Children of staff (general) Students whose official guardian is an OUSD employee receive this priority, and do not need to apply to the school where their guardian works. Small
Neighbors Students whose official, permanent residence is within the neighborhood boundaries as defined by the School Board receive this priority.  Medium to large
Continuing pre-school students Students who attended a preschool or CDC program that is physically located at an elementary school receive a priority to attend that elementary school.  Very Small
Oakland residents Students who official, permanent residence is within the city of Oakland receive this priority. Medium to large
Non-Oakland residents Students who reside outside of Oakland receive this priority. Medium to large


Parents are encouraged to select six schools they wish their child to attend to help ensure that their child receives one of their selections.


Sibling priority refers to sisters and/or brothers who live at the same address and have the same parent/guardian. Applicants will receive priority to be assigned to their brother's or sister’s school if 

  • That sibling will be attending the school for the following school year,
  • The applicant lives in Oakland, and
  • There is space in the school at the required grade level.

Siblings who are applying for school at the same time for different grades cannot be guaranteed placement into the same school and are not granted sibling priority in the lottery.


Neighborhood priority refers to the geographic boundaries drawn around the school. Geographic boundaries for each school in OUSD are approved by the Board of Education. Your permanent residence falls within the geographic boundaries of an elementary, middle, and high school within your residential area. Those are considered your neighborhood schools. Families applying to their neighborhood school are given priority in the assignment process behind those students that have siblings in the specific school. 

You can view your neighborhood school(s) on Just choose the type of school (elementary, middle or high school) and enter your address. You can also contact the Student Welcome Center at (510) 879-4600.

Pre-K Priority for TK/K

Current OUSD Pre-K students receive a priority for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten on the same or nearby campus as the Pre-K program. This priority comes after the OUSD Staff Priority. Click here to view a list of OUSD Pre-K programs (CDCs) and the elementary schools those students have priority to