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    As students progress through their education, they are likely to change schools at least once. Reasons for a change of school include:

    • Rising - the natural shifts between preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school
    • The student’s Placement/Primary Service type changes (this is an IEP team decision)
    • Family move
    • Family-elected change in enrollment (within Seattle Public Schools, to a private school, or to a home school)
    • Family School Choice request (within Seattle Public Schools)
    • Family assignment appeal (within Seattle Public Schools)

    Through any of these shifts, a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) defines what services they receive. In order to ensure Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), each student’s IEP and the availability of appropriate special education staff must align. Learn more about the assignment process.


    “Rising” describes the natural shifts between preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school. In this process, every student is assigned to their designated attendance area school first. This school is based on your home address. Most students will attend their attendance area school. In two situations, a student may be assigned to a different school:

    • Based on the student’s primary service type and grade level, a different school will offer support aligned with the student's IEP. This is called a modified assignment.
    • The family applies to a preferred school using the School Choice process during open enrollment.

    School Choice during Open Enrollment

    Students with the primary service type of Resource who participate in open enrollment follow the standard Admissions Department process for School Choice.
    Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Vision programs are in single locations that serve the entire District. For these students, School Choice is only available if the student is receiving itinerant services. Students receiving itinerant services would also follow the standard Admissions Department process for School Choice. Students with the following primary service types may have modified assignment pathways if they participate in school choice, to ensure their IEP needs are met:

    • Access
    • Focus
    • Distinct
    • Social/Emotional
    • Medically Fragile

    If participating in School Choice, families are responsible for:

    • Reviewing the Regional Assignment Supplement form with your Case Manager
    • Determining if the preferred school offers their student's Primary Service by using the Linked Schools Chart
    • Indicating on the Admissions School Choice form that your student receives services

    If you need assistance, please contact your Case Manager.

    Updated 28 November 2018

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    • Family Guide to Change of School

      Download this printable guide to understand change of school for your student. Updated for the 2019-2020 school year.

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