Frequently Asked Questions
Parent/Guardians and/or students over 18 years old must present a photo ID and two current proofs of Boston residency to register.
Families who are living in Boston under another person's lease can use the BPS landlord affidavit as one proof of residency. Families living in homeless shelters may register for BPS under the McKinney-Veto Homeless Assistance Act. Please bring a letter from the shelter staff stating that you are residing there.
If you live in Boston but are having a hard time securing acceptable proofs, please contact a Welcome Center to discuss your circumstances
Neither K0 nor K1 classrooms are present in every school and there is no guarantee that every child who applies for BPS pre-K will receive a school assignment. BPS currently offers more than 2,400 K1 seats and is expanding the number of K1 classrooms. K0 classrooms are far more limited, and most seats are reserved for students with disabilities.
All K2 students have a guaranteed seat, although not necessarily at one of your initial school choices, and, only if you agree to receive an administrative assignment if we cannot match you to a school of your choosing. If BPS cannot assign a child to a K2 school their parent/guardian(s) chose and the parent/guardian does not wish to be administratively assigned, s/he will be 'unassigned' and placed on waitlists for the schools they ranked.
No. There are no waivers or exceptions to our minimum age requirement for Grade 1, regardless of a child's previous school experience. Any child who will be five years old by September 1 may apply for a K2 assignment.
BPS strongly encourages families to rank all the schools that appear on their choice list. We suggest ranking them in your true order of preference. Choosing more schools, especially schools at which your child has a sibling priority, means a greater possibility of assignment.
If you would like to make changes after you've received your assignment notice, you may return to a Welcome Center to make new school choices even if your child was assigned to a school you ranked. However, we cannot guarantee that the new school(s) you choose will have available seats. A photo ID will be needed for this transaction.
No school assignments are made until the close of each registration round, so a family that registers on the first day of their registration period has no advantage over a family that registers on the last day of the same period just because they registered earlier.
Only students applying for Kindergarten (K0-K2), Grade 6, and Grade 9 who registered during the first registration period will be assigned at the close of that round even if their siblings applying for other grades registered at the same time. From the second registration period onward, all students who register in a round will be assigned following the close of that period.
At the close of every registration period, our assignment computer program (algorithm) matches students to seats based on their priorities (if applicable), their random number, and the number of seats available in the grade desired at each school in the order they were ranked on that student's application. There are fewer open seats after each passing period, so families should try their best to register children during the first available registration period for their grade.
New-to-Boston families may register for BPS at any time for a current school year assignment. Please visit a Welcome Center with 1) your child's original birth certificate, 2) your child's up-to-date immunization record, 3) Parent/Guardian photo identification, and two proofs of Boston residency from the list below, and a Registration Specialist will be happy to help you.
If you change addresses, please inform a Welcome Center as soon as possible so that important information such as your child's school assignment, or any new bus route, can reach you. To update your address with BPS, please return to a Welcome Center with at least two proofs (from our list) of your new Boston address and a photo ID. If your new address is in a different assignment area, you will be asked to make new school choices unless you are willing to transport your child to and from a school in your old assignment area on your own.
Families who move out of the City of Boston are not eligible for BPS.
BPS only assigns K0, K1, and K2 registrants to schools chosen on their assignment application. If there are no available seats for an applicant at their chosen schools, s/he will not be administratively assigned to another school unless, for K2 only, a parent requests an administrative assignment. The only exception to this policy is for K2 applicants who will be six years old by December 31.
Registrants who meet the age requirement for Grade 1 or higher are required by state law to attend school. If BPS is unable to assign these applicants to one of their school choices, BPS will administratively assign students to the school that is closest to their home that has available seats in their grade level. Administratively assigned students and students who are assigned to one of their school choices but not their top choice will be placed on a waitlist(s) for their ranked choices.
Assignments are typically mailed six weeks after the close of a registration period. Once assignment information is available, parent/guardian(s) may also contact any Welcome Center to find out their child's waitlist(s). Families who register before March 31, will be added to the waitlist for each school they ranked.
As seats become available in schools, waitlists will be processed automatically, allowing students to move into their higher-ranked schools. On June 16, waitlist selections were reduced to one selection, the family's highest ranked school. BPS will contact families about availability by email or phone. If you are content with your child’s assigned school and wish to prevent an automatic transfer, please contact a Welcome Center to have your child’s name removed from a waitlist, or email RSVP@bostonpublicschools.org.
BPS students who are moving on to Grade 6 or Grade 9 will receive assignment applications in January to take home from their school. All other eligible students will be given assignment applications in February. Parents/guardians should rank the schools on this application and return the completed application to their student's school.