Transferring to/from the Oakland School District

Parent Q&A

Info on the OUSD inter-district transfer to Piedmont schools Nov 19, 2021 (4 responses below)
Transferring to OUSD from a private school Apr 5, 2019 (1 responses below)
Staying in OUSD if move out of Oakland Aug 31, 2017 (1 responses below)
  • Hi there, 

    We live in Oakland, just across the street from Piedmont and two homes down from the district line. Our closest school is actually Wildwood but we are zoned for OUSD. Does anyone have experience applying for the OUSD inter-district transfer to a Piedmont school? When I looked into this process (, it seems like it's a very high hurdle to transfer out from OUSD (e.g., you need to work in the other city, require a specialized specialized program that is only available in that new district, etc.) and a high hurdle to transfer into Piedmont public schools (e.g., remodeling a home in Piedmont, children of employees, grandchildren of residents, and the last category "other" for a lottery system). 

    I would love to find out whether it's worth a shot for us given the high hurdles. 

    Thank you! 


     We know a family that got their kinder into Piedmont very easily this year.  Could be Covid has effected enrollment.

    My guess is that it's unlikely you will be able to transfer into Piedmont public schools.  For AY2020-2021, there were 0 accepted transfers out of 41 applications from the "Other" category (of which I believe your situation describes).  See page 4 of this memorandum:

    We transferred both our kids in to PUSD from OUSD under the grandparent resident category, one about two years ago and the other about a year ago. Although OUSD's requirements for approving a transfer out sound like a high bar, in practice our experience was they rubberstamp it (we got approved almost immediately after submitting the paperwork). Anything you could come up with about why PUSD would offer something that OUSD doesn't would probably be fine.

    PUSD is the real hurdle. It really depends on their enrollment numbers, and the number of spots open will vary by grade. A spot in our younger kid's grade did not open up until after the pandemic started. Not sure what the story would be today. I would recommend contacting the PUSD Superintendent's office, because staff there can probably give you a more realistic idea of what your chances would actually be. Good luck!

  • After being burned by the lottery I’m considering a serious career change so we can afford private school :/ In the case that we do enroll our kid in private for kindergarten, how difficult might it be to transfer back to OUSD mid year should an ideal opening pop up? What has been your experience transferring from private? 

    We know several families who've done this--it's generally not a big deal, as long as you understand that you will owe the private tuition for the year even if you leave. But yes, if you're open to doing it, there are certainly spots that open mid-year in the in-demand OUSD schools. Those we know who've done it have had positive experiences and I don't think any regret it--most had younger children coming up through the school system so eating the cost of a year of tuition was worth it to secure the public spot.

  • Staying in OUSD if move out of Oakland

    (1 reply)


    My daughter just started K at a great OUSD school. We'd like to keep her there and start her brother in Fall 2019.  However, we are house hunting.  Ideally we will stay in Oakland but if we end up moving to Berkeley, could she stay at her school? Is there any hope of her brother getting in?


    I know older kids (4th or 5th grade) whose families moved out of Oakland and they stayed at their OUSD elementary school. It was not official through OUSD, however. The elementary school turned a blind eye because the families had been part of the school community for years and why force them to change schools when they only had a year or two left anyway?  But if I were you, since your kids are so young, I would start them fresh in their new district wherever that might be. To start a kid in kindy at an OUSD school when they live somewhere else would much more problematic and would require some sort of official interdistrict transfer. Sounds unpleasant. And if your OUSD elementary is oversubscribed for kindy, then they wouldn't make space for him anyway.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Can we stay in OUSD if we move to another district?

Oct 2013

Does anyone have experience transferring INTO Oakland Unified? If my daughter completes one year and we move to Contra Costa County (a possibility for various reasons), I don't want to have to uproot her from her school, so I'd like to do an interdistrict transfer to keep her in her Oakland school. Do you know if they will consider the circumstances, and allow her to stay? thanks! Wants to Stay

We recently moved to San Leandro after a year in OUSD, and wanted to keep our daughter in her elementary school (Sequoia). I work in Oakland, so this was one of the grounds that allowed us to apply for the interdistrict transfer. But when I spoke to an OUSD staff person, basically she said that if your child is already established in a school, is having no attendance or discipline issues, and the school & grade are not over-enrolled, then it's OUSD's policy to allow a child to stay for continuity, etc. The process was to get the paperwork from the district we were wanting to transfer out of, submit it to them, then submit the copies to OUSD. Good luck! Happy in OUSD


Transferring to a different OUSD school for kindergarten

Nov 2012


We started kindergarten 43 days ago. My son has been punched in the face, stomped on and the latest incident was an older kid spitting in his face in a bathroom during recess. He just turned 5, is social and sweet-tempered. I'd like him to stay that way. We are at a bilingual school and I love the teachers but his safety comes first. What is the process for transferring to another kindergarten. I don't see anything on the website. Had Enough

I do not know what the transfer process is, but I do know that our school, Sequoia Elementary, has availability. This is our first year (kindergarten) and we are incredibly happy there, and so is our daughter. It is a great school, with a wonderful community, and most importantly, this violence is just not happening there. I am SO sorry that is happening with your son. I hope you find a safe place for him soon. Happy Sequoia Parent

I am so sorry to hear about your son's terrible experience. The student assignment center info is: office at 273-1600 or email enroll [at] Have you spoken with the school's principal? In situations like these the teachers don't have the weight a principal has, and they need to know this is going on. Telling the principal you want to transfer can actually grease the wheels with the assignment center, if the principal is any good he/she will do their best to rectify the situation however it plays out. Every person I dealt with at OUSD admissions was nice and helpful but they are busy. Also, if you have friends with kids in other schools they can ask if there are openings there, helps to know that in advance. Hope this works out for you and your son. OUSD mom

Hello, Please let me start by saying that unfortunately I can relate to your experience. I wish we had transferred our son into Archway School last year. He is there now (1st grade). We ''stuck it out'' because we thought it was the right thing to do. In hindsight, I wish we had cut and run. The children at Archway are happy and kind. The difference between the level of kindness there verses his old public school is unparalleled. The teachers really do care and because it's a small time can take time to commit to the kids. Which includes teaching all kids to treat people with respect. Bullying is NOT tolerated at ALL there. This is the first time I've left my son and didn't feel anxiety over it. I am forever grateful for Archway. Regardless of your desisiom, trust that you will make the right one. You are a great mom, by writing this and reaching out anyone could see that :) xo Emily

We experienced ''kinder violence'' at one of the most expensive private schools in the Bay Area. There is no excuse for this, I know that you are right to move on as fast as you can. We have had an absolutely excellent experience at Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School, and from what I hear from other parents, bullying in BUSD is taken very seriously, so I recommend trying to transfer into BUSD. I'm so sorry that your baby has had to deal with this, it will get better. Run, fast


Transferring from Oakland to Berkeley school district

March 2004


Can anyone give recent feedback on the process of getting permission for an interdistrict transfer from Oakland to Berkeley public schools for Kindergarten (and beyond)?

I read what is on the website but it is a few years old and some of the posts are conflicting. My oldest will be starting school in 2005 but we are looking at housing options now and wondering if the changes going on with OUSD will affect our ability to get permission to leave OUSD and how possible it is to get into the Berkeley system, should that end up being our best choice. Does anyone have recent experience or informed predictions?

I'm also curious if the changes at OUSD will reduce the ability to transfer within OUSD to Peralta - the closure of other nearby elementaries may mean Peralta is going to be more crowded?

I realize this is probably a gamble, but I'd like to at least know my odds!

I have a special needs child who went to OUSD from 2001-2003 - I was very happy with services offered through OUSD during that time. In 2003 I had very specific reasons why an interdistrict transfer would be necessary for my child. I was aware that in the past these were approved if the reasons were compelling. We went through the proper channels requesting the transfer and had doctors, teachers, etc. stating the transfer would be in the child's best interest. After numerous phone calls, letters and threating a lawsuit we received no response other than the same form letter that they are reviewing our request. (In the past response from the OUSD was immediate.) We began legal proceedings but decided that moving would be in our child's best interest. We were able to move into a new community one week before the start of the new school year. It was a stressful time but we definately made the right decision. Granted, our issues occured during the district shake-up, you may have more luck. Good luck. Sandy

I'm not sure how difficult it is to transfer systems and am not sure where you are located in Oakland. The Hillcrest School in Upper Rockridge is rated as one of the top elementary/middle schools in the district and is the only school in the district that rates similarly on a test score basis as Piedmont and Orinda schools. Over 60% of students' parents have masters degrees or higher level of education and there is a significant amount of private funding for the school. As a result the cuts in the Oakland school district have no effect on Hillcrest. The music, language, arts, and extra programs are all privately funded by local residents. I believe the schools raised over $500,000 this past year. Anyway you have to be a resident of Upper Rockridge to get into this school but if you are it is definitely an excellent program. Upper Rockridge Resident

I can't advise regarding inter-district transfers out of Oakland Unified School District, however, I do have some information regarding intra-district transfers from your neighborhood school to another school within the district.

During this past open enrollment for intra-district transfers, I found out that priority for granting requests for projected available space at schools within the district is given in the following order:

1. First priority is given to students requesting transfers from schools that have ''underperformed.'' This is in compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. 2. Second priority is given to siblings of students already enrolled at the requested school. 3. Third priority is given to those children needing after- school care, since not all district schools have after-school programs. 4. If there is still space available at a requested school, then a traditional lottery is held.

I was advised that due to the No Child Left Behind Act, intra- district transfers are highly unlikely due to the enormous number of requests from parents with children attending these underperforming schools. That is not to say it is impossible, just highly unlikely. I was advised that the best alternative for having my child attend our school of choice would be to move into that neighborhood. Hope this helps, and good luck with your housing decision. Charlotte