Frequently Asked Questions
What is my student's school assignment?
Each student in Seattle Public Schools is initially assigned to a designated attendance area school based on where that student lives. To view designated school assignments for elementary, middle, and high schools using your current address, use the Address Lookup Tool. As a general rule, your student is assigned to the same school he or she is attending now. In the case of students moving up to middle or high school, students will be automatically assigned to their neighborhood school. To use the Assignment Lookup Tool, you will need your student's identification number and birth date.
I've just moved into the Seattle school district. How do I enroll my child to start school immediately?
Welcome to Seattle Public Schools! We require some basic information and proof of address for all new students. Click here to visit our registration webpage to get started.
What documents do I need to provide to enroll my students?
All SPS students are required to submit an admission form which includes basic information such as name, date of birth, address, emergency contacts, etc.
A Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) is also required for all students. The parent or legal guardian’s photo I.D., as well as two additional address verification documents must be provided for proof of residency.
More information is available on the Registration page.
I have a child who will enter kindergarten in September 2017. What should I do?
Early enrollment provides families an opportunity to get their school assignment and avoid the crowds of busy spring and summer enrollment periods.
All students who participate in early enrollment receive an initial assignment to their designated school.
If you wish to choose a different school for your students, you may do so through School Choice.
What are the age requirements for kindergarteners?
Kindergarteners must be 5 years old on August 31 of the year they wish to enroll in school. Proof of birth date and other standard enrollment must be provided when enrolling in school. Families who wish to assess their children for possible early admission into kindergarten can contact the Admissions Office.
I have a child who is already enrolled in SPS. How do I change her/his school assignment for next year?
Our Student Assignment Plan provides opportunities for families to request which school they would like their student to attend.
A School Choice period occurs each spring for students to submit choice applications for the following school year. If there are more applicants than seats available for a particular school and grade, then certain tiebreakers are used to determine which students are selected. If there is not a seat available for an applicant, then that student is placed on a waitlist and contacted if space becomes available.
Students who do not apply on-time (during Open Enrollment) may still submit a choice application through May 31. However, after Open Enrollment fewer seats are available for school choice. After August 15, all waitlists dissolve and school transfers are not permitted with few exceptions. (Exceptions may include a change of address, or if a student requires ELL or Special Education services that are not available at their current school.)
I've recently moved. How do I notify SPS about my student's new address?
Our Student Assignment Plan and transportation service are based in part on the student’s legal residence, so it is important to notify the school district when your address changes.
Two address verification documents must be provided to process a change. Follow-up address verification will be required in the case of a new lease and no other address verification documentation. All address changes must be made through the Service Center; individual schools are not able to process your move.
My child is homeless or living in temporary/transitional housing. How do I enroll him/her in school?
Seattle Public Schools welcomes all of our families. Assistance is available to student who qualify under the federal McKinney/Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
Visit our Students Experiencing Homelessness webpage for more information. If you are homeless, living in temporary or transitional housing, or are an unaccompanied youth, please let our staff know so can help you through the enrollment process.
If you are affiliated with an agency or case worker, please feel free to have them email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I enroll in the HCC (Highly Capable Cohort) or Spectrum program?
Newly eligible HCC or Spectrum students (or student who have moved and do not have a continuing assignment) are not automatically assigned to an HCC or Spectrum program.
Families wishing to enroll their child in one of these programs must submit a school choice application (elementary, middle, or high school) indicating their preference for school location and program. School choice applications for the following school year are accepted beginning with Open Enrollment every spring.
HCC students are guaranteed a seat placement in their HCC pathway (based on their residential address); however, HCC students are not guaranteed a seat placement to another HCC school outside of their pathway. Spectrum students are not guaranteed placement in a Spectrum program and seat placement is subject to availability; however, middle school Spectrum students will automatically be placed in the Spectrum program at their attendance area middle school.
How do I qualify for the HCC or Spectrum program?
For more information about assessment timelines and eligibility requirements, please visit our Advanced Learning pages.
School Types and Terminology Frequently Asked Questions
What is an attendance area school?
Elementary, middle, and high school students are assigned to a designated attendance area school based on where the student lives, as long as the school offers the services the student needs.
Each attendance area school has a defined geographic boundary and is intended to serve the students who live within that geographic boundary.
What is a service area?
Elementary school attendance areas are combined to create middle school attendance areas, resulting in geographically based feeder patterns as students move from elementary to middle school. The middle school attendance area is also a service area within which various services are provided for students who live within the service area.
What is a feeder pattern?
Multiple elementary school attendance areas “feed” into one middle school attendance area. That is, students from those elementary schools are assigned to the feeder pattern middle school upon transition to the 6th grade.
There are no feeder patterns from middle to high school. Each attendance area high school has its own geographic attendance area.
What is an option school, and how can I enroll my child in an option school?
Option schools provide a variety of programmatic opportunities, different curriculum and educational styles for families looking for alternatives to their attendance area schools. Assignment is by application only, based on set tiebreakers. The application period for option schools begins every spring during Open Enrollment, and continues through May 31. Students new to the district after May 31, may enroll in their attendance area (or designated) school or an option school with space available.
What is a GeoZone?
The geographic zone, or GeoZone, tiebreaker is for applicants to an option school who live within a defined area in proximity to the school. Living within the GeoZone does not guarantee assignment to the requested option school, but rather gives a preference to students who live within a defined area in proximity to the school. GeoZone maps are available on the School Directory page.
What is a riser?
A student rises to a new school when they have completed the highest grade available at their current school. Students in the 5th grade in elementary school rise to 6th grade in a middle school, and 8th graders in middle school rise to 9th grade in high school.
For questions about Advanced Learning, Early Learning, English Language Learners and Bilingual Education, Enrollment Planning, Family Support, Head Start, Health Services, Nutrition, Skills Center, Special Education, and Transportation, please visit our Other Resources.
Last updated: 5/3/2016