All students in the Bellevue School District are guaranteed a spot at their attendance area school. These Frequently Asked Questions are for those interested in applying for entry to another school as part of the Open Transfer process.

What is Open Transfer?

Open Transfer is a period of time each year when Bellevue School District RESIDENT students may apply to attend a school other than their attendance area school.

If my student has an approved Transfer, do we have to go through Open Transfer again?

No.  Open Transfer placement is approved for the school level (elementary, middle or high school). Once a student has been accepted through an Open Transfer, they can stay at the school if the student is not excessively tardy or absent and does not engage in frequent misconduct.  For more information, refer to Procedure 3120.1P.

What is the timeframe for Open Transfer applications?

The Open Transfer application period for the upcoming school year will typically be from mid-December to mid-January, the actual dates will be posted on the BSD website in late November.

How do we apply?

During the Open Transfer period applications are completed online at Families may access online applications from their personal computers or smart phones, or by using a kiosk at any school or the district office. If internet access is unavailable please contact Student Placement at for assistance;  Student Placement personnel will enter your application information into the online application and provide application confirmation as needed.

How many spaces are available at each school?

When deciding if students can be admitted, we look at projected enrollment and staffing numbers at both the releasing and receiving schools.

  •  Initial Open Transfer placements: If space is available, students will be offered placement by grade level at the requested school by lottery number. (Applicants with priority will be moved to the top of each list; children of full-time employees and those having sibling preference)
  •  Additional placements (typically in late August but offers may occur in Spring): placements at this time may be to alleviate over- crowding at a school; in this case students from the overcapacity school will be offered placement to their requested school without regard to their waitlist number.    (Example: If Stevenson is overcrowded and District administrators decide to alleviate the overcrowding by placing some Stevenson students at Cherry Crest, Stevenson attendance area students from the Cherry Crest waitlist will be offered placement at Cherry Crest regardless of their position on the waitlist) 

What is meant by school status?

This is an indication of projected available space in the individual schools.

What are the school statuses?

The descriptions for school status are: “Limited,” “Possible,” and “Closed”.

  • “Possible” is based on the forecast and we expect some space at all grade levels.  Although we will maximize opportunities for all students who wish to attend a requested school, this does not mean we will be able to admit all students who apply.   We plan to have high school notifications out by the beginning of February 2021, middle school in March 2021 and elementary school in April 2021.
  • “Limited” means there may be some opportunity at specific grade levels closer to the start of school as it will depend on the actual enrollment numbers and class sizes.  Notification will likely be made in August or September.
  • “Closed” schools are unable to accept transfers. As a school’s enrollment numbers reach capacity, we will move them to a “Closed” status.

Who can apply for Open Transfer?

Open Transfer is only open to residents of the Bellevue School District– the student must be physically living within the boundaries of the district at the time of application.

The address provided on the application must be where the family is living at the time of application. If it is discovered that this has been falsified, the application and any placement offer given will be null and void. There will be no exception to this rule.

What if my student does not meet the age requirement to enter kindergarten, but will take the Early Entrance to Kindergarten assessment?

If your student turns 5 years old on or before October 31st of the entry year you may submit an application for kindergarten entry. If your student is selected in the lottery and offered placement, your student’s  actual enrollment will be contingent on whether they qualify through Early Entrance testing, they will retain their spot pending the assessment results.  If your student does not qualify the placement offer will be rescinded and the spot will be offered to the next student on the waitlist. Being selected via the lottery and offered placement is not a valid reason to appeal the results of the early entrance assessment should your student not pass.

I am a full-time employee of the Bellevue School District but I don’t live in BSD attendance boundaries, can my student apply?

Yes, please submit an Open Transfer application for the new school you are requesting if the following is true:

  • if you are enrolling a new student
  • if you would like to request a different school
  • if your student is changing school levels

Per Washington State Law and District Policy, the nonresident children of full-time employees* of the Bellevue School District may apply as resident students. Student Placement will verify full-time status with Human Resources before the student is given employee preference.

*The parent/guardian is working full-time for the Bellevue School District (i.e. teacher, principal, in a support function) not that the parent/guardian works in the Bellevue community.

What is the definition of a Bellevue School District full-time employee?

For the purpose of enrollment, full-time employees in the Bellevue School District are defined as:

  • classified employees who work 30 hours per week,
  • certificated employees who work .75 FTE

Can my student attend the same school as their sibling?

No, not without submitting an Open Transfer application. If the sibling is attending the requested school on an approved Open Transfer or Transfer Request, the new sibling must apply and then will have sibling preference in admission provided that both siblings will attend the school together for a minimum of one year. Siblings who do not apply will not be considered for admission.

My student is in a centered program (i.e. Advanced Learning, Special Education, etc.) can they apply for Open Transfer?

No, not for centered program placement.  Placement of students in centered programs is determined by each individual program. Open Transfer is an Attendance Area Transfer, these transfers are only between “neighborhood” schools for general education students.

What if my student accepts an Open Transfer placement and then qualifies for the Advanced Learning program?

If after accepting an Open Transfer placement but before attending at that school, the student qualifies for and accepts centered services in Advanced Learning, the Open Transfer placement will be cancelled; the school assignment will be determined through the Advanced Learning department by the student’s home attendance area school.

Note: If the student is already attending an Advanced Learning school (Cherry Crest, Medina, Somerset, Spiritridge, Odle, Tyee, Interlake) in general education through an Open Transfer placement, then qualifies for and accepts placement in the Advanced Learning self-contained/centered program, and the parent/student wishes, they will be allowed to continue at that school. Upon completion of the school level. the student’s school assignment will revert back to the Advanced Learning attendance area school placement.


If we apply early are we guaranteed a place at our requested school?

No.  Placement is not made on a first come, first served basis.  All Open Transfer applications received during the Open Transfer period are considered equally and all applicants will be in a general lottery. Students will be placed by grade level on the requested school list by lottery number.

How many schools can we apply for?

You may apply for one school per student.  If you submit multiple applications to multiple schools for the same student, all your applications will be discarded.

Can we apply multiple times to one school to improve our chances in the lottery?

No.  Any student with multiple applications will have all submissions discarded and will be removed from the Open Transfer process.

How will we know our application has been received?

You will receive a confirmation email at the email address provided on the application. When you receive the email confirmation, please verify your student’s information is correct. If a correction is needed please reply to the confirmation email with the information that needs to be corrected.

TIP: Please make sure that is in your list of safe emails. If you did not receive a confirmation email check your spam, junk and promotion email folders for the email from if you do not find the confirmation then contact us with your student’s name and school requested, we will let you know if your application has been received or if you need to resubmit the application.

What if we do not receive an email confirming our application has been received?

If you do not receive the confirmation email, please check your spam, junk and promotion inboxes for emails from  before contacting us. If you do not find the confirmation then contact us with your student’s name and school requested, we will let you know if your application has been received or if you need to resubmit the application.

TIP:  When completing your Open Transfer application, please provide the contact information (i.e. name, phone number and email address) of the parent you want us to contact. If you have multiple email addresses, take special care to provide the email address you check frequently on the application, this will be the email we use to contact you for placement offers.

When do we get our assigned number for the lottery?

You will NOT get an assigned lottery number for Open Transfer.  You will receive an email confirming that your application has been received, you do not need to do anything more.

How do the lotteries work?

Following the close of the Open Transfer application period, all applicants will be entered in a general lottery and placed on a list in the order of their general lottery number.  Then qualified applicants will be placed on the requested school list by grade level in the order of their general lottery number. Applicants with priority, children of full-time employees and those having sibling preference will be moved to the top of each list. Available spots will be offered to students by their list order, those not offered placement will be on a waitlist.

Can we attend the lottery drawing?

No.  All lotteries are closed to the public.

How will we be notified of the results of the lottery?

Notification will be made via email using the email address provided on the application. Families will receive either a placement offer or their student’s number on the waitlist.  Please add the email address to your list of safe emails so you can receive notifications. If you do not receive the confirmation email during the notification time frame, please check your spam, junk and promotion boxes before contacting us.

When can we expect to be notified and how long do we have to respond?

Initial notifications for high school will be sent by the beginning of February 2021. Middle school notifications will be sent the beginning of March 2021. Initial elementary school notifications will be sent by the beginning of April 2021. Please check your spam and junk email box during this time.

You will have 1 week to respond to a placement offer or it will be rescinded and the spot will be offered to the next student on the waitlist.

How long do we have to accept an Open Transfer placement offer?

Families will be given one week to accept an initial Open Transfer placement offer.  If there is no reply or the spot is declined the spot will be offered to the next student on the waitlist.

For placement offers in late August acceptance is typically expected within 24 hours:  Because the start of school is eminent, Open Transfer offers made in late August or early September may be made by phone call with a follow-up email and you will have less time to accept the placement offer. The deadline to reply will be stated in the phone call/voice mail and email. If you do not respond by the deadline the offer will be rescinded and your student removed from the waitlist.

What happens if we are placed on a waitlist?

If your student is placed on a waitlist, please plan on attending your attendance area school.  If space becomes available Student Placement will contact families immediately with a placement offer, it is important to get students in their schools as soon as possible.

If my student is placed on a waitlist, can I submit a Transfer Request to help get a place at my desired school?

No. Transfer Requests are not part of this process.  If you feel there is a specific reason that your student needs to be transferred, please work with your student’s current principal who will work with Student Placement.

If selected, when does my student begin at the new school?

If selected through Open Transfer, the student will attend the new school beginning the first day of school for the upcoming school year.

Is there paperwork required if we accept an Open Transfer placement offer?

Yes. All students new to BSD must submit enrollment paperwork and residency documents through the secure portal within 2 weeks of accepting placement. Visit the Enroll Your Student webpage to learn more about enrolling your student.

Residency documents required:

  • New students will be required to submit 2 most recent electricity bills (PSE) and 1 piece of Government Mail to establish residency.
  • New incoming kindergarten students with a BSD sibling(s) currently enrolled  may submit the most recent electricity bill (PSE) to confirm residency (provided BSD has the required residency documents for the family on file)

Failure to submit the paperwork within the time frame requested may result in the offer being rescinded.

If we get accepted to a school through Open Transfer, can we change our mind?

Yes. You can always go back to your attendance area school.  If you will be canceling your approved open transfer placement please email as soon as this decision is made so that we can have accurate enrollment numbers and offer the spot to the next student on the waitlist.  Be sure to include your student’s full name, grade and both schools involved.

Do we have to be at school for the first day of school if accepted through Open Transfer?

We want to stress the importance that all students be in attendance the first day and week of the new school year.  Students accepted through Open Transfer MUST attend their new school on the day of the statewide enrollment count or the approved open transfer placement will be rescinded and your student will be withdrawn and enrolled in their attendance area school. The dates of the statewide enrollment count are – Wednesday, September 8, 2021 for grades 1 – 12 or Friday, September 10, 2021 for kindergarten students.

Does the district provide transportation for Open Transfer students?

No.  Transportation is the family’s responsibility for all elementary and middle school students.  High school students will be given an ORCA card for Metro Transit.

What happens when my student moves up to middle or high school?

When it is time to go to the next school level, students will automatically be enrolled in their attendance area school and must apply through Open Transfer to request a different school.

Can my high school student participate in athletics?

If your student is going to a new school in 9th grade, they will be able to participate in athletics as the new school will be their school of record.  If your student is transferring to a new school in 10th, 11th or 12th grades, it is possible that they may not be eligible to participate in varsity sports but would be able to participate in sub-varsity competition.  Please review the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) guidelines for varsity eligibility.

Who do we contact if we have questions?

If you have questions, please send an email to with specific information:  student name, grade, school, address, etc.  We will answer your question as soon as we are able.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.