Student Assignment Policy

  • BPS has adopted a Home-Based student assignment policy to assign students to kindergarten through grade 8. All of our high schools remain citywide options for our students.


    The Home-Based plan uses a student’s home as the starting point.

    • BPS will offer a customized list of school choices for every family based on their home address. It includes every school within a one-mile radius of their home plus, as needed, nearby high-quality schools based on BPS's School Quality Framework (SQF) system of measurement. This ensures that every family has access to high-quality schools, no matter where they live.
    • The list may also grow, as needed, to include schools offering K0, Advanced Work Class (AWC) and more, and to ensure we can offer every child a seat in a school on his or her list. These are called “Option Schools.”
    • Families may also select any citywide school. And some families may have regional options, as well.
    • Every family has a choice of at least six schools; most will have between 10 and 14 choices.
    • The Home-Based plan uses an algorithm, similar to a lottery; therefore we can’t guarantee an applicant will be assigned to one of his or her top choices
    • Due to limited seating we cannot guarantee an assignment to K0 or K1.
    • Students who apply for grades K0, K1, 6, 7, and 9 in January have the best chance of assignment to their top choice schools.
    • For students applying for grades 4 or 5, BPS will make every effort to assign to a school on the Home Based list; however, due to grandfathering, an assignment from the list cannot be guaranteed. In such instances, a student may be administratively assigned to a school within the former zone structure.


    Home-Based Map



    Supporting English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities

    The Home-Based plan creates community clusters of school options to ensure that students can enroll in schools that offer quality programs closer to home.
    English Language Learning students have access to schools on their home based list as well as program options in their wider cluster.
    Depending on their needs, students with disabilities may be able to choose seats from the home-based list, or they may be assigned to a program within the cluster in which they reside if their Individualized Education Program calls for specific services or level of services.
    A few programs still remain citywide, as well.
    You can read about the plan in more detail and learn about school options here:


    An in-depth look at your BPS school options

    Understanding the Home-Based school choice plan

    What are "priorities?"

    Sometimes a school doesn’t have room for every student who lists it as a choice. When this happens, the computer assigns students based on choice and priorities. Sibling priority is one of our highest priorities, and other priorities include EEC/ELC priority, present school priority, and East Boston/Non East Boston priority.

    Sibling Priority

    We try to assign children in the same family to the same school if the parent requests it. If you want your children to go to the same school, ask the Welcome Center staff how to apply for sibling priority. However, sometimes a school doesn’t have room for all the siblings who apply for it; so we can’t guarantee sibling assignments. Be sure to list sibling preference the first time you apply.

    Present School Priority

    Present school priority gives a student priority to a program in his/her school over another student attending a different school. For example, a student currently enrolled in grade 3 at the Hennigan School will receive a priority to a grade 4 AWC (Advanced Work Course) seat at the Hennigan over a grade 3 student attending the Mendell School who has selected the Hennigan AWC program.

    Priority for EEC and ELC students applying for Grade 2

    Students completing grade 1 at an Early Learning Center (ELC) or Early Education Center (EEC) that does not have a Pathway school will be assigned to available grade 2 seats before students new to the BPS or those applying for transfers from other elementary schools.

    When assigning these students to grade 2 seats, including assignments from wait lists, the usual factors will be considered, including the registration period when the students applied, priorities, and their random number. Exceptions may include program seats for English Language Learners, services for some students with disabilities, and middle school-age students because some East Boston elementary schools have pathways to middle schools in Charlestown.

    East Boston/Non-East Boston priority

    Due to its unique location, East Boston general education students beginning in K2 have a guarantee to an assignment in East Boston, if they so choose.

    • Customized lists for East Boston students will include all schools in East Boston. East Boston residents are given a priority over non East Boston applicants to those seats. These customized lists will also include some schools outside of East Boston, but the priority would not apply for these schools.
    • Since this limits access for non-East Boston residents who may have East Boston Schools on their lists as well, these students will have priority to the remaining schools on their lists over East Boston students.

    Random numbers

    The computer gives each application a random number. Random numbers are used to break “ties” between students who have the same priorities for the school.

    How does this work? Let’s say there is one seat left for K2 at the Kenny School. All applicants with sibling have been assigned. Three additional students, all without sibling priority, listed the Kenny as their first choice. The student with the lowest (“best”) random number will be assigned.