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School of Choice Program




School of Choice Window Notification


Beginning Wednesday, February 1, 2017, parents of students in Capistrano Unified School District can apply online for School of Choice. You may apply for School of Choice to all schools in Capistrano Unified School District regardless of its status.  The greatest probability for acceptance is to apply to an open school.  Limited space schools may close when a grade level is at capacity or if the total school capacity exceeds the facilities capabilities.  Although you may apply for a closed school there is a low probability of acceptance since the site is near, at, or above capacity.


The School of Choice (SOC) window will close March 3, 2017. Applications will not be accepted after March 3, 2017. The School of Choice process provides parents with the ability to apply to a school outside of their child’s attendance area on a space-available basis. 


Click Here for the list of schools open to School of Choice for the 2017-18 academic year. Openings are based on the initial number of seats available for the fall based on projected enrollment and facility capacity. Once a site capacity is reached SOC will be closed.

For kindergarten and new students School of Choice transfers, parents will need to enroll their child at their homeschool in order to get a 7 digit student identification number. This number is required to complete the school of choice application. Parents should also attend the home school’s kindergarten round-up. The information given will be standard throughout the District, so there is no need to attend the requested school’s round-up. Registration will start February 1, 2017.


Parents of high school student athletes are urged to learn more about California Interscholastic Federation sports eligibility requirements ( to pursuing the School of Choice process. Transportation to any school other than the home school is the responsibility of parents.


The District’s online programs, which include California Preparatory Academy, Capistrano Virtual School, and Capistrano Home School are not part of the School of Choice process and are accepting applications. Applications for the District online programs are accepted at the individual sites.


For updated information, please keep checking this location of the District website. The School of Choice Hotline at (949) 234-9335 is for information purposes only.

The School of Choice Process FAQ's


When can I submit the SOC application for my child?

The online application for the 2017-2018 school year will be open on the website from February 1 through March 3, 2017. The system will not accept your application if you enrolled your student today; you can apply for School of Choice tomorrow after our nightly update.


What information do I need to fill out the SOC application?

The application will ask for your student’s 7 digit ID number. This information can be located on your School Loop or Parent Portal account.  If you need further assistance, you can contact your child’s School of Residence. 


Once you have submitted your application, there will be a message displayed stating: Thank you for submitting your School of Choice application.

If you need to make a change to a submitted application, please call Kym Lobo at 234-9234 and we will facilitate this change.


Is a sibling guaranteed SOC placement?

No. Guarantee of placement depends on school capacity.


If my child is attending TK at a school which is not my School Of Residence can they stay at the school for kindergarten or do I apply for SOC?

You need to apply for SOC.  You have to register at your School of Residence first, then apply for SOC.


When will we receive notification of approval or denial?

You will hear by Monday, May 1, 2017.


What do I do after I find out that my application was accepted or denied?

There is no appeal process for SOC. While we would like to accommodate every family at their first school of choice, some of our schools have limited space available for growth of students outside of their immediate attendance areas.

If your application is accepted, you will be required to bring proof of address to the school of choice when you enroll. The address must match the address of record that was listed on your SOC application.

Priority Criteria for School Placement

District students residing in any Board approved school attendance area shall first be provided the option of attending their school of residence. After all school of residence students have been placed, all children of employees (EMP) will be given priority placement for the 2017-2018 school year at the employees’ work site, if it is a non-impacted school.  After a determination of the number of open seats in each school, requests for School of Choice placement will be honored according to the following priority criteria until all openings in a given school are filled:


Except for the Priority Criteria listed below and in the order provided, the District shall use a random, unbiased selection process to determine who shall be admitted whenever a school campus receives admission requests that are in excess of the capacity of the school campus. 


Priority placement will be given to students from a Community Facilities District (CFD) which contributes Mello-Roos funds to that school, as described in Board Policy 5116.


If a student has continuously attended their School of Residence and moves anytime during the academic year, the student may apply for School of Choice upon moving.  The student may remain at that school until he/she matriculates to the next level.


Any student enrolled in a District school that has been identified on the State’s Open Enrollment List.


Any student enrolled in a District school designated by the California Department of Education as “persistently dangerous.”


Any K-11 student whose sibling is already enrolled in a non-impacted school and desires to be co-enrolled during the coming school year.  Sibling means brother/sister, step-brother/step-sister, or foster brother/sister residing in the same household.  Co-enrolled means both siblings will be at the same school for the year.  This applies to Kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. (SIB) Students who are transferred through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process will have priority to co-enroll their siblings.

The District will fill openings in the order of the above-listed placement Priority Criteria, until all open seats in that priority area are filled or all requests have been met, whichever occurs first.  If the number of remaining available spaces at that school does not accommodate all students within a single Priority Criteria, then the District shall conduct a lottery among the students within that Priority Criteria and grant applications in the order of the names drawn within that category.


What information do I need to fill out the SOC application?

The Parent or Guardian must have the Student’s 7-digit Permanent Student ID to submit an application for School of Choice. This information can be located on your School Loop or Parent Portal account.  If your child will be new to CUSD in 2017-2018, you must first enroll and submit the supporting documentation to your School of Residency, and complete the enrollment process. Once the enrollment process is complete, the school will provide the Parent or Guardian with the Student’s 7-digit ID upon completion. The School of Choice approval process IS NOT based on when the application was received, but rather the category in which the student’s priority falls under. The application window is open February 1 – March 3 so any application no matter when it was submitted as long as it is submitted by the due date, will be considered for placement in the priority category order listed above.


Board Policy: Revised 1/2017

School of Choice History


Capistrano Unified School District's School of Choice program offers parents the opportunity to apply to the school that they would like their child to attend.


Since the program began 19 years ago, more than 90 percent of our parents annually choose to have their child remain at their home school, which is the local school serving their child’s attendance area. For a variety of personal or educational reasons, however, some parents prefer to have their child attend another school within the District. Our program provides parents with this option on a space-available basis. Detailed information describing each school and its academic offerings is available on their websites.


Parents of high-school student athletes are urged to learn more about CIF sports eligibility requirements prior to pursuing the School Of Choice process, so that there will be no misunderstanding regarding sports participation rules. Transportation to any school other than the home school is the responsibility of parents.


Non-Discrimination Statement

The Capistrano Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: AR 1312.3, BP 1312.3 and BP 5183.

Rich Montgomery, Executive Director, Human Resource Services/Compliance
33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-9200

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