Ohlone is a "Choice" school in the Palo Alto Unified School District ("PAUSD") and includes 2 programs: English-only Ohlone and Mandarin Immersion Ohlone.  Both programs encompass the alternative open education model.  Admission to elementary-level Choice programs is granted through a lottery, and there are separate lotteries for each of the 2 programs at Ohlone.

There are 6 steps to follow to enter the Ohlone lottery for your incoming PAUSD kindergartner (for the 2018-2019 school year):

1.  Register your student with PAUSD.

Your child MUST be registered with the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) prior to entering the Ohlone lottery. Information and forms will be on the PAUSD website–registration must occur between January 11 and February 16, 2018. Proof of residence must be supplied to register (See registration requirements). You must register your child by February 16, 2018 (Priority 1 registration) in order to be eligible for the first lottery draw in March 2018.

2. Read about our school.

We suggest starting with our 2 brochures about Ohlone and the Mandarin Immersion Program.  The Ohlone website also has information about our school philosophy, our 7 Core Values, the Goals of an Ohlone Education, the Mandarin Immersion program, and more general information about our school. 

3. Prospective Parents’ Meetings:

Parents are required to attend an information session about Ohlone before applying to the lottery.  These meetings are for adults only; please make arrangements for childcare.  If you are interested in the Mandarin Immersion program, please plan to attend the evening meeting on January 23, which will cover information about Ohlone as a whole as well as Mandarin Immersion-specific information.  All meetings are held in the Ohlone Multi-purpose Room.

Jan 23, 2018 8:30am
Jan 23, 2018 7:00pm Mandarin Immersion
Feb 6, 2018 7:00pm

**You do not sign up for one of these meetings - just show up!**

Ohlone Prospective Parents Presentation

Ohlone Mandarin Immersion Prospective Parents Presentation

4. Observe Ohlone classrooms.

Please sign up to attend a tour of the school and classrooms after you have attended a prospective parent information session.  (You must attend a prospective parent meeting prior to touring campus.)

Sign-up here for a tour

Tours are by appointment and are for adults ONLY, so please make arrangements for childcare.  Tours will take place on select days in January and February 2018.  Tours begin at 8:30am in our Multi-purpose Room, after which you will be escorted around campus and into classrooms.  Because space is limited, we can only accommodate PAUSD residents who have a child entering Kindergarten or above for the 2018-19 school year.
At the conclusion of the tour, you can pick up your lottery form if you are interested in applying to Ohlone.

5.  Return your Lottery Form to the Ohlone office.

After attending a Prospective Parent Meeting and a self-guided tour, you may obtain the required forms from the Ohlone office.  You will need to turn in these forms (lottery form and intra-district transfer form) to the Ohlone office BEFORE NOON on Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Please remember that your student must be fully registered with the Palo Alto Unified School District before we can accept a lottery form from you. 

6.  Await notification. 

After the Lottery is complete in March, PAUSD staff will call the parents of those students randomly selected by lottery.  In addition, names will be drawn to create a waitlist for each program (i.e., one waitlist for English-only Ohlone and one waitlist for Mandarin Immersion).  All other prospective students not randomly selected will NOT receive a phone call, but will remain in the general wait-pool. Your child's application will be continuously rolled forward for two years as long as your child is registered in the Palo Alto Unified School District and you do not accept any other Choice school enrollments.  You do need to reapply after two years if you wish to remain in the pool for 3rd-5th grade openings.


1. When vacancies arise in Choice schools, offers for admission are made first to siblings of concurrently attending students and then to students chosen through a lottery.

2. Because the number of incoming siblings changes from year to year, the number of open spaces for incoming Kindergartners also varies, as does the number of applicants.  For these reasons, we are unable to give you the "odds" of getting a spot in the lottery.