Important Tips For Oakland Families Still Looking for the Best School For Their Child

Recently, several parents have asked me about options for enrolling for the current year now that school has started. To get answers, I spoke with Shawn Masten, the external engagement project manager from Enroll Oakland Charters, an Oakland nonprofit dedicated to streamlining the public school enrollment process and helping families make informed choices, with a focus on family-friendly and equitable charter school admissions processes.  Their website has a school finder tool, charter school enrollment portal and also the district’s enrollment portal.

 Q: If I am a parent who hasn’t enrolled my child in school this year or who wants to enroll in the future what are my options?

EOC: When it comes to public schooling, Oakland is a “choice” city, meaning that instead of being automatically assigned to a school in their neighborhood, Oakland parents get to choose which school they want their child to attend.  This provides a range of choices in both traditional district schools and charters.  Even though the school year has already started, it’s not too late to find the right school for your family.

To enroll in an Oakland charter public school now, parents can either:

Charter schools admit students by lottery and while those lotteries have already taken place, you can still join the waitlist. New applications will be added to schools’ waitlists and students are admitted from the waitlists if space becomes available.

Parents who want to enroll their child in a district-run school, can:

Or visit the district’s enrollment offices at 746 Grand Avenue, or at 125 69th Avenue.

Q: How do I find out which schools are still accepting students?

 EOC: For Oakland’s charter public schools, apply online at and look for the schools with green or yellow or dots next to their names. Green dots mean the school may have space available. Yellow dots mean the school likely has a waitlist. However, schools with waitlists often admit students throughout the year if space becomes available. EOC encourages parents to apply to as many schools as they are interested in, regardless of the school’s waitlist status.

And for more information about late admissions to district-run schools, we’d recommend calling the OUSD enrollment center at 510-273-1600.

Q: What advice would EOC give to parents about choosing the best school for their child now or in the future?

EOC: It’s never too soon or too late to be thinking about your options. Oakland has 88 district-run schools and 43 charter schools.   To find the school that best fits your child’s needs Oakland Public School Finder is a great place to start. Jointly launched last December by OUSD and EOC as part of an effort to simplify public school enrollment in Oakland, this online tool provides consolidated information about public charter and district-run schools.

Parents can access the site from their home computer, laptop or smartphone, input their address and view schools based on criteria they deem important, like individual or blended learning, bilingual or special education, the school’s academic achievement or programs focused on science, math, technology or the arts. Additionally, OUSD and EOC both partnered with school choice platform provider SchoolMint to provide families with a unified application experience.

While the applications for district and charter schools are still separate, families only have to create one account and profile that they can use for both.  Once parents have identified the schools they like, both OUSD and EOC recommend touring each school to get a better feel for teaching styles and understand the school’s mission and culture. EOC will be posting on its website additional tips and information as Open Enrollment draws near so check our site often or sign-up to receive reminders. Both OUSD and EOC also provide “enrollment fairs” throughout the city to assist families during the Open Enrollment period. For more information on these events, go to .

 Q: What is Open Enrollment and when does it start?

 EOC: Enrollment for the 2018-19 school year opens in November and runs through January 2018 for OUSD and February 2018 for EOC. During this time, parents can apply to most public charter and district-run schools through the online application process at or by using one of the other options suggested above. To have the best chance of getting your child into the school of your choice both EOC and OUSD highly recommended that parents enroll during this window of opportunity. The sooner parents apply the higher their chances are of getting into their choice school. And we encourage families to apply to multiple schools and weigh their options when accepted.  Both OUSD and EOC also allow parents to apply after Open Enrollment period, but late applications mostly are for families new to the district.  For more information and key dates for the next Open Enrollment period visit and 

Q:  What is EOC?

 Based in West Oakland, Enroll Oakland Charters is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower Oakland families to make informed choices about their public school options and make the process of selecting and enrolling in Oakland’s many public schools easy, efficient and equitable. It was founded in late 2016 as part of a city-wide partnership to create a public education system that works best for all Oakland students and families by disrupting inequity and creating excellence in all schools. For more information about EOC visit us at



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