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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

The school of choice window to apply for the 2021-2022 school year will open february 1, 2021

Click below to read the most commonly asked questions and answers regarding

School of Choice



Frequently Asked Questions

2021-2022 School of Choice Information

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 February 1, 2021, and will close March 5, 2021. 


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) on April 16, 2021.

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 2021-2022 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. 

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 7 digit student identification number.  This ID number is required to complete the SOC application. New student registration starts on February 5, 2021.  Registering on or after February 5, will not effect 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 2021-2022 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 Website

Kindergarten parents should also attend the home school’s kindergarten orientation Zoom meeting.  The information given will be standard throughout the District, so there is no need to attend the requested school’s orientation as well. 

 Special Programs

Please note that preschool and TK placement is 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 - Second 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.

OE –     Any student enrolled in a District school that has been identified on the State of California's Open 

             Enrollment list. Currently CUSD does not have any qualifying schools on this list. 

T1  -      Any student enrolled in a participating Title 1 Public School. Click here for a list of schools that qualify.

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  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).

Click here for the School of Choice application that will be available starting February 1, 2021.

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