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Choice School Application

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 kindergarten student (for the 2020-21 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 are on the PAUSD website, and registration must occur between January 8 and February 12, 2020. Proof of residence must be supplied to register (See registration requirements). You must register your child by February 12, 2020 (Round 1 registration) in order to be eligible for the first lottery draw in March 2020.
  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 Parent 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. Both meetings will cover information about Ohlone as a whole as well as Mandarin Immersion-specific information, so you may attend either date (you do NOT need to attend both). Meetings are held in the Ohlone Multi-purpose Room. Please sign-up in advance using the link below. Each attendee must sign-up.

    January 27, 2020 at 7:00pm OR February 10, 2020 at 8:45am

    Sign-up to attend an information session
  4. Take a tour to observe Ohlone in action
    Please sign up to attend one of 3 tour opportunities AFTER you have attended a prospective parent information session. You must attend a prospective parent meeting prior to touring campus.

    Tours are by appointment and are for adults ONLY, so please make arrangements for childcare. Please sign up for each adult attending. Tours begin in our Multi-purpose Room, after which you will be guided 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 2020-21 school year.

    At the conclusion of the tour, you can pick up your lottery form if you are interested in applying to either of our programs.

    Sign-up to participate in a tour
  5. Return your Lottery Form to the Ohlone office
    After attending a Prospective Parent Meeting and an Open House, you may obtain the required forms from the Ohlone office. You must turn in these forms to the Ohlone office BEFORE NOON on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

    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 on March 5, 2020, parents will receive an email with their students' results (either offered placement or put on the numbered waitlist).

    Your child's application will be rolled forward each year as long as your child is registered in the Palo Alto Unified School District AND you do not apply to any other Choice schools. You do not need to reapply each year but will be asked via email to confirm your continued interest each Spring.


  1. When vacancies arise in Choice schools, offers for admission are made first to siblings of concurrently attending students and then to students from the waitlist (in number order).
  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 your child getting chosen in the lottery.