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Enrollment and School Assignment

Intra-District Policy

Enrollment and School Assignment


The Board of Trustees approved a [Board Policy 5116 ] governing student enrollment and school assignment in October 2011. In adopting this new policy, the Board’s priority was to preserve the community’s commitment to neighborhood schools while providing flexibility for variations in enrollment over time. The policy eliminates school attendance areas, the former geographic boundaries for each of the six elementary schools, and establishes a district-wide attendance area with the goal of assigning students to schools near their homes.

The policy directs the Superintendent to establish an unbiased enrollment process and an objective assignment criteria. All of our enrollment information can be found at the links to the right.

Process for school assignment

Under the new process for school assignment, students will be assigned to elementary schools based on the walking distance from their homes. The assignment criteria will take into account the walking distance from each new incoming student’s home to each of the six elementary schools as well as the limited capacity of each of the schools. Each enrollment period is a self-contained cycle.

The District will use a well-studied algorithm to optimize school assignment by assigning students to the closest schools that have available room.

How does the Algorithm work to assign students?

The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District assigns students to schools using an algorithm. The school assignment algorithm developed by the District is based on a linear optimization (also known as linear programming) function known as minimum-cost flow formula. Companies use similar linear optimization functions to make important business decisions. For example, airlines use a linear optimization function to determine flight routes that are most direct and minimize fuel costs, and shipping companies use a similar method to move packages from warehouses to stores to customers most efficiently.

In our case, the District uses a linear optimization method to assign incoming students to schools close to their homes and within the limits of the enrollment capacity at each school. The assignment algorithm allows the District to find the optimal solution to minimize the total distance traveled by all students to their schools. One way to think about the District’s goal is to imagine a pedometer attached to every student for one morning’s walk to school; the optimal assignment would minimize the sum of the distances of all students’ walks to their schools. Instead of pedometers, however, the walking distance for all students is determined by querying the same Web-based mapping service, such as Bing Maps.

The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District assigns students to schools using the algorithm to minimize total walking distance traveled collectively by all students being assigned in that calculation. The calculation consists of two distinct phases.  In the first phase, the distance from each student’s home to each of the six elementary schools is calculated.  In the second phase, which can be run repeatedly with different parameters, these distances are used, along with minimum and maximum capacity of each school,  to perform an assignment that minimizes the total distance travelled.

In the current implementation, the Bing Maps service is used to transform the addresses of each student to a latitude and longitude, and this location is then used to calculate the walking distance to each school entrance.  When calculating distances to each of the six schools, there are two schools that have multiple entrances, and for those schools, the distance used for assignment is the minimum distance to any of the school’s entrances.

Once the distances are calculated for each student, the assignment is performed according to the capacity constraints provided by the program operator.  In order to perform the actual assignment to minimize the total distance travelled by all students being assigned to schools while respecting the capacity constraints at each school, the Microsoft Solver Foundation package is used. 

Important Notice: Starting March 1, 2016, you must schedule an appointment to submit supplemental enrollment documents after completing the online enrollment form.  All families are asked to schedule an appointment by clicking here. You must have the online enrollment form completed prior to your appointment.

New Enrollment Information

2017-18 Visitation & Enrollment Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions - Regarding Enrollment & School Assignment

Middle School Choice

Board Policy & Administrative Regulations

Enrollment Documents

Transitional Kindergarten

Priority Reassignment Process

The BRSSD has fulfilled its school assignment goal if your child has been assigned to his/her first or second closest school.  The following outlines our Reassignment Process:

  • Students receiving a school assignment to their third, fourth, fifth or sixth closest school will be put on the Priority Reassignment list automatically.
  • Siblings who are assigned to different schools will be placed on the Priority Reassignment list automatically.
  • Students on the Priority Reassignment list will be given first consideration for new seats that become available at their first or second closest school.
  1. The processing of school assignment for subsequent enrollment period enrollees happens after all possible priority reassignment placements are completed.
  2. After school starts and through April 30th, students on the Priority Reassignment list remains active, and will be offered a school reassignment when a seat opens up at the closest or second closest school.
  • Students, who are still on the Priority Reassignment list after April 30th, will be given first consideration for open seats in the next school year.
  • A student remains on the Priority Reassignment list until a reassignment option is offered, the student enters middle school or the student disenrolls from the BRSSD.