skip to main content
BOARD POLICY: REVISED 1/2017
CIF SPORTS & SCHOOL OF CHOICE
Please be advised that school choice and possible placement does not determine CIF eligibility. Parents with questions should make sure they contact CIF or their school’s athletic director for clarification regarding changing schools and the impact of transfer to their student’s athletic eligibility under CIF rules.
 
By Laws and standards of eligibility/transfer and  can be found here in the CIF Blue Book
 
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 more than 20 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.

School of Choice

 SCHOOL OF CHOICE APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE ACCEPTED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 1, 2023 AND MARCH 3, 2023

 SCHOOL OF CHOICE APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE ACCEPTED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 1, 2023 AND MARCH 3, 2023

2023-2024 School of Choice Information

 
School of Choice FAQs:  English  Spanish
Capistrano Unified School District's School of Choice (SOC) program offers to parents within the CUSD boundaries the opportunity to apply for another CUSD school that they would like their child to attend.  To verify if your address is within CUSD boundaries or to find your home school, please use the School Locator tool here. 
SOC is not approved on a first come first served basis.  All applications are reviewed after the window closes. 
Transportation to any school other than the home school is the responsibility of the parents. Students approved for School of Choice are not eligible for District bussing.
Families Living Out of CUSD Boundaries
If you do not live within the CUSD boundaries please click here to find more information about Inter-District transfers.
Application Window to Apply
The SOC window to apply will open on February 1, 2023, and will close on March 3, 2023. 
Notifications
Approval and denial notification EMAILS will be sent to ALL of the parent emails associated with the student (not including emergency contacts, physician, or out-of-state contacts) by April 14, 2023.
The status will not be provided before notifications are emailed.
School Availability List
List of open, open-limited, closed schools for School of Choice for the 2023-2024 school 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 to that site. This list is only valid during the open SOC window to apply and does not reflect space available after SOC placements are completed.
Student ID Number Required
For kindergarten students, new students to CUSD, or students who are returning to CUSD after leaving, parents will need to enroll their child at their home school in order to obtain a seven-digit student identification number.  This ID number is required to complete the SOC application. New student registration starts on January 30, 2023.  Registering on or after January 30, will not affect your odds as long as an application is received before the window closes.If your student already has a student ID number from a previous year, you must still enroll in the home school for the 2023-2024 school year to make the ID number active.  The application will not accept an inactive student ID number. 
Enrollment Information
CUSD Online Student Enrollment allows you to begin the enrollment process for students new to the district or students enrolling in Kindergarten from preschool.
Former students returning to the district (who withdrew from CUSD at least a month ago or longer) may also complete the Online Enrollment process.
You must have a valid address in the cities served by Capistrano Unified to use this system.
For immunization requirements please see the following section on Vaccination Requirements.
For Admission requirements please see Board Policy 5111, Admission.For District Residency requirements please see Board Policy 5111.1, District Residency.
  • There is no need to re-enroll students who are currently enrolled at a CUSD school in grades TK-12. This does not include preschool students.
  • Please note that enrollment is not complete until all information has been reviewed by the school, other school forms are completed and residency has been verified.

You can begin Step 1 of the enrollment process using the link below.Online Enrollment WebsiteKindergarten parents should also attend the home school’s kindergarten orientation meeting.  The information given will be standard throughout the District, so there is no need to attend the requested school’s orientation as well. 
Secondary Student Electives: For secondary students choosing their courses/electives for the next school year, please select your courses with your school of residence.  If approved to the requested school, those selections will be automatically sent to the approved school.  The approved school will do their best to accommodate the requests after all in boundary students are placed.
 Special Programs: Please note that preschool and TK placement are not completed through SOC.  Please contact the Early Childhood Programs Department for any preschool or TK questions.If you are interested in applying for the Language Immersion Programs, please visit their website for more information. SOC applications are not accepted for the following schools in the program:
  •  Bergeson Elementary School (Mandarin Immersion)        
  •  Las Palmas Elementary School
  •  R.H. Dana Elementary School (Kinder - Third Grades)
  •  San Juan Elementary School
  •  Viejo Elementary School
Enrollment for the schools below are processed through the school directly.   SOC applications are not accepted.
  •  California Prep Academy
  •  Capistrano Virtual School
  •  Capistrano Home School
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, the requests for School of Choice (made during the open window) placements will be honored according to the following priority criteria, not on a first come first serve basis, until all openings in a given school 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 order of the names drawn within that category.You will need to select one of the following codes on your SOC application.
EMP –   One of the parents/guardians is a CUSD employee AND this is your work site. 
SIB –     There is a sibling already attending the school applying for and will remain there for next school year (K-11). (You will need to provide siblings name, student ID, and grade).
CONT – Continuously enrolled at current site in grades K-12. This code does not apply when a student is matriculating to the next level (elementary to middle or middle to high school). This code also does not apply to students currently enrolled in preschool or TK. 
CFD –    You pay Mello-Roos, Community Facilities District (CFD), that go towards CUSD. Click here for a list  of addresses that pay CFD to CUSD.
LOT-      Lottery, none of the codes above apply.


APPLYING FOR SCHOOL OF CHOICE DURING THE ONLINE APPLICATION WINDOW  

 
 A parent or guardian must complete the SOC application. 
  • You will need your child’s seven-digit active student ID number.  This is the same number as your student’s lunch number or it can be found on the Parent Portal. 
  • For students new to the District you can ask for the ID number from the school of residence after you fully enroll your child.
  • When you apply for SOC and are approved, you are agreeing to give up your child’s seat at their home school.  If you wish to return to the home school you will have to apply during the next School of Choice window for the following school year, as there is no rescinding an application. Acceptance back into the home school is not guaranteed.
  • Once you have submitted your application you will receive a confirmation email with the application number.
  • If you need to change or cancel you application, please email schooltransfers@capousd.org.  Please note this can only be done during the open window.  Make sure to include your application number in your email. For general questions please read over the FAQ before emailing, as many of your questions can be answered there. 
  • Approval and denial notification EMAILS will be sent to ALL of the parent emails associated with the student (not including emergency contacts, physician, or out of state contacts).


If you applied and receive an approval to your requested school, please note that the approved school is now your School of Record and there is no rescinding or cancelling the approval, as part of the application process was agreeing to the following:
I have read and understand the guidelines which govern Board Policy 5119:  School of Choice    
I understand that I am making a commitment for my child to attend the School of Choice.  The approved School of Choice is now considered the school of record.
I am giving up my child’s space at his/her school of residence.  In order to request a return to the school of residence, I understand I must re-apply for School of Choice the following school year during the online application period.
I understand that home to school transportation is the responsibility of the parent and I cannot apply for a CUSD bus pass.
I understand that the above named student may be transferred back to his/her school of residence for any of the following reasons:  (1) unsatisfactory attendance; (2) continual tardiness; (3) failure of the  parent/guardian to make adequate transportation arrangements; (4) unsatisfactory academic performance: (5) unsatisfactory behavior; (6) no longer residing within CUSD boundaries.
I understand all School of Choice decisions are final.  There is no appeal process for School of Choice denials. 
If approved, the initial School of Choice agreement is in effect for the duration of a child’s years at the requested school. You do not need to reapply annually.
I understand that approved applications are valid until the student matriculates to the next level (i.e. elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school).
I understand there are no rescinding an application once approved for School of Choice.  Any requests to return to the home school must apply for School of Choice in the following school year.
I understand that if this student is approved to the requested school, it DOES NOT guarantee approval for siblings in the future.
All information on this application is current and true. I understand that if any information on this application is found to be false, this School of Choice application is VOID and my student will be immediately returned to their school of residence.
I understand that I can only apply for School of Choice once per school year, either during the annual application window or at time of enrollment with CUSD as a new student. 
 
Unfortunately, if you applied and were denied, there is not an appeals process or completing an additional application.
SECONDARY STUDENT ELECTIVES

SECONDARY STUDENT ELECTIVES

For secondary students choosing their courses/electives for the next school year, please select your courses with your school of residence.  If approved to the requested school, those selections will be automatically sent to the approved school.  The approved school will do their best to accommodate the requests after all in boundary students are placed.

TRANSFERS OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL OF CHOICE WINDOW

TRANSFERS OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL OF CHOICE WINDOW

Outside of the annual application window, one exception for applying is when a new student is enrolling with CUSD. The student must first enroll at the school of residence and then complete a hard copy School of Choice application. The school of residence would be able to provide the application.
Any other transfers outside of the annual application window for students already enrolled in CUSD must go through a process called Administrative Placement.  These types of transfers are for serious and compelling reasons on why the student needs to leave their current school of enrollment.  This document explains the process of requesting Administrative Placement by starting with the current school of enrollments administration.  These transfer requests can take up to 10 business days for a decision once received by Student Services.