Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below you will find information for the following topics:
- Proof of Residency
- Establishing Residency
- How to Register
- Tip Line
- Timeline and Requirements
- Grade Placement and Age Eligibility
- Current Families
- Buffer Zones
Q. How is residency defined?
A. In order to attend the Public Schools of Brookline, a student must actually reside in the Town of Brookline. A student’s primary residence is the place where s/he dwells permanently, not temporarily, and is the place that is the center of his or her domestic, social and civic life. The primary residence of a minor child is presumed to be the legal residence of the parent(s) or guardian(s) who have physical custody of the child.
Q. How does the Public Schools of Brookline verify residency?
A. Families registering for the Public Schools of Brookline or submitting a change of address must demonstrate Brookline residency by submitting documents from an authorized list of acceptable proofs (link to list of checklist of proofs). A photo ID is also required.
In order to verify residency, the Public Schools of Brookline reserves the right to request additional documents and/or to conduct an investigation if needed. Residency can change for students and their families during the school year and the Public Schools of Brookline may verify residency at any given time.
Proofs of Residency/Acceptable Documents
Q. Why must I bring a photo ID?
A. A photo ID is required for all registration, change of address, or transfer applications as proof that the person making the application matches documentation for parent/guardian status and is also the person whose name is associated with the residency proofs. Acceptable photo IDs include:
Q. What if I don’t have the required proofs of residency with me when I register?
- A Driver’s License
- Massachusetts ID card
- Military, School or Employment ID
- Another government issued ID that includes both your photo and legal name
A. All new applicants are required to submit the required proofs. Applicants who do not have the required documents will be asked to return to the Office of Student Affairs with the appropriate materials in order to complete pre-registration. There are no acceptable substitutions for items on the list of acceptable proofs.
Q. What if I do not pay for utilities, or if none of the utility bills are in my name?
A. If you live in a household where all utilities are listed in the name of your landlord or someone else, AND if this is noted on your lease or landlord/shared tenancy affidavit, then you may submit proof of residency for Column B in the name of your landlord or the person that pays the bills. If your lease specifies that all utilities are included, and you do not have a home telephone ("land-line telephone") or cable television, you may fill out an application for appeal. All appeal applications will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Superintendent for final decision.
Q. Is a cell phone bill an acceptable document?
A. No. Only a home telephone (“land-line”) bill satisfies this requirement.
Q. Why is a water bill not accepted?
A. Landlords typically include water in their lease agreement. Therefore, someone paying a water bill may or may not necessarily live in the property associated with the water bill.
Q. What if I have recently moved and do not yet have two documents I can use?
A. To fulfill the requirements, you also may also submit a "work order" or “statement of service” letter from any utility company stating that your service has been ordered and/or installed.
Q. What if I cannot produce both required proofs?
A. If your personal circumstances make it impossible for you to provide the required proofs of residency, consult the staff at the Office of Student Affairs. You will be asked to bring copies of any proofs of residency you have, and to describe the circumstances that prevent you from having the required proofs. Staff will work with you, and if necessary, fill out an application for appeal. All appeal applications will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Superintendent for final decision.
Q. What if I am over 18 and no longer live with my parents?
A. Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older may establish a residence separate and apart from his or her parents or guardians for school attendance purposes. However, you will still be required to submit the proofs of residency bearing your name and address.
Q. What if I live with a friend or relative?
A. If you share housing with a friend or relative, and you cannot provide the required proofs of residency, consult with the staff at the Office of Student Affairs. You will be asked to bring copies of any proofs of residency you have, and to describe the circumstances that prevent you from having the required proofs. Staff will work with you, and if necessary, fill out an application for appeal. All appeal applications will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Superintendent for final decision.
Q. What if my family does not have a permanent residence?
A. The proof of residency policy does not apply to homeless students and families covered under the McKinney-Vento Act. Contact the Office of Student Affairs for assistance with registering your child, if you believe that you qualify as homeless under the Act. If you are staying in a shelter, bring a letter from the shelter staff stating that you are living there. The McKinney-Vento Liaison for the Public Schools of Brookline will work with you.
How To Pre-Register
- Your residency documents
must indicate you are living in Brookline at the time of
- For new owners, you must
close on your home purchase (we cannot accept a purchase and sale agreement)
- For new renters, the lease
must start prior to your pre-registration appointment (i.e. lease begins August
1, pre-registration must be August 1 or later)
2. Complete the
- The application is
online, and available through the link available on each pre-registration page using the blue
- Please create a username
and password and complete all required questions in the
- Please allow yourself ample time to complete the application
questionnaire. We recommend using a non-mobile device to complete this
task if possible, as it is easier with access to a keyboard
3. You must make an
appointment with the Office of Student Affairs through the enrollment application.
- This is the final step in
the application – click “Continue” when you reach the end and can see the
checklist of documents to access our appointment calendar.
- Appointments are
available approximately one month ahead of the current date (i.e., if you want an
appointment for August 25, it will not be available until approximately July
If you are unable to read and answer the
pre-registration questions in English, please call Colleen McGowan at
617-264-6412 to learn about resources that may be able to assist you.
كنت غير قادر على القراءة والإجابة على اسئلة التسجيل المسبق باللغة
الإنجليزية، يرجى الاتصال بالسيده كولين مكجوان على رقم الهاتف ٦١٧٢٦٤٦٤١٢ لمعرفة
المزيد عن الموارد التي قد تكون قادرة على مساعدتك
McGowan at 617-264-6412
vous ne pouvez pas lire et répondre aux questions de pré-inscription en
anglais, vous êtes priés de contacter Colleen McGowan au 617-264-6412 pour
obtenir des renseignements sur les ressources disponibles pour vous aider.
אין באפשרותכם לקרוא או לענות על שאלון טרום-הרישום באנגלית, אנא התקשרו ל-
Colleen McGowan במספר 617-264-6412 לקבלת עזרה.
事前登録の質問を英語で読み、答えることが難しい場合は、その手助けとなる情報を差し上げますので、Colleen McGowan (コリーン・マクガワン）電話番号617-264-6412 までご連絡下さい。
가등록 하실 때 나오는 영어를 읽고 그 질문에 대답할 수 없으시면, 저희가 학부모님들께 언어적 지원이나 도움을 제공해 드릴 수 있으니, 담당자인 콜린 맥고윈(Colleen McGowan)에게617-264-6412로 전화하여 알려주시기 바랍니다
não compreender e/ou responder as perguntas no preenchimento da
pré-matricula, feitas em inglês, por favor contacte a Sra. Collen McGowan pelo
telefone (617) 264-6412 que poderá ajuda-lo(a) no processo.
Вы не можете прочитать и ответить на английском языке на вопросы
предварительной регистрации, пожалуйста, позвоните Colleen McGowan (Колин
МакГауан) по телефону 617-264-6412, чтобы узнать о ресурсах, которые могут Вам
Ud. no puede leer ni contestar las preguntas de pre-inscripción en inglés, por
favor, llame a Colleen McGowan a 617-264-6412 para aprender sobre recursos que
le podrían ayudar.
4. Collect all required documents.to bring to your
appointment. We will make copies of any
originals you bring and return the original to you.
- Please see the checklist at the top of
this page, and also access a downloadable checklist
- All translations must be completed by a
translation agency or authorized translator, not by parent or guardian
- If your proofs of occupancy are
electronic, please print your e-bill/statement and bring it to your appointment
- Please find the list of required
immunizations here: http://brookline.k12.ma.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=175
- Previous school records:
- Not required for incoming Pre-School or
- Grades 1-8 may present the most recent
progress report/report card to prove grade level for enrollment
- Students registering for Grade 9 are
required to bring copies of their 7th and 8th grade transcripts that show
- Students registering for Grade 10 are
required to bring copies of their 8th and 9th grade transcripts
- Students registering for Grade 11 are
required to bring copies of their 9th and 10th grade transcripts
- Students registering for Grade 12 are
required to bring copies of their 9th, 10th, and 11th grade transcripts
5. Complete your pre-registration appointment with
the Office of Student Affairs at scheduled time. You must have ALL required documents to
proceed to the next step.
- If your child requires an English
Language Assessment, we will schedule that appointment for your family.
6. All students will attend a meeting with the
guidance counselor (and nurse as needed) at the student’s assigned school.
- The Office of Student Affairs (and in
some cases the English Language Learning Department) will arrange guidance
counselor appointments for your family.
7. Every student must have all required
immunizations completed prior to beginning school. The school nurse must review and clear each
student. Missing immunizations may delay
school enrollment start date.Top
Residency Tip Line
Q. How can I report a suspected violation of the residency policy?
A. Residency fraud is a violation of Massachusetts state law and is subject to per diem fines for every day that a student attends school outside the district s/he legally resides. Please call the anonymous Residency Tip Line: 617-730-2462.
Q. Will documents that I submit to prove residency remain confidential?
A. All documents submitted to the Office of Student Affairs will be considered part of his or her confidential record. The Public Schools of Brookline will adhere to the standards of confidentiality set forth in state and federal laws in maintenance of these records.
Pre-Registration - Timeline and Requirements
Q. What is pre-registration?
A. The entire process is pre-registration. Until a student clears residency, health and a guidance appointment, he or she will not be considered as completing pre-registration. A student is registered upon their first day attending classes in the Public Schools of Brookline.
Q. I just moved to Brookline with my school-age children in the middle of the school year. What steps do I take?
A. New-to-Brookline families may register for the Public Schools of Brookline at any time for a current school year assignment. Please pre-register and make an appointment with the Office of Student Affairs as soon as you are able to provide adequate proof of your residency. If you live in a buffer zone, we will make an assignment as soon as possible after your pre-registration appointment.
Q. What if I do not have the documents required for the Public Schools of Brookline Registration?
A. Parent/Guardians and/or students over 18 years old must show photo ID for all enrollment transactions with the Office of Student Affairs.
All new registrants to the Public Schools of Brookline must present specific, current proofs of Brookline residency. If you live in Brookline but are having a hard time securing acceptable proofs, please call or email the Office of Student Affairs (617-264-6492 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your circumstances.
All applicants are required to submit proof of residency, two required proofs of occupancy and one proof of identity. Applicants who do not have the required documents will be asked to return to the Office of Student Affairs with the appropriate materials to register, and no substitutions will be accepted.
If your personal circumstances make it impossible for you to provide the required proofs of residency, consult with the staff at the Office of Student Affairs. You will be asked to bring copies of any proofs of residency you have, and to describe the circumstances that prevent you from having the required proofs. Staff will work with you, and if necessary, fill out an application for appeal. All appeal applications will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Superintendent for final decision.
Families who fall under the McKinney-Veto Homeless Assistance Act are not required to prove residency as outlined above. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for assistance in registering if you believe that you qualify as homeless under the Act.
Q. My family is moving to Brookline from outside of the United States. Is there anything special I must do?
A. Any family that meets must first meet our residency requirements. Families preparing for an international move can prepare by making certain to gather the appropriate documents: you must provide original and notarized translations of any documents at the time of their pre-registration meeting. These documents include birth certificates, custody documents, immunization records, and school records/transcripts. You can also review the required immunization schedule for students entering Massachusetts Public Schools (available here: http://brookline.k12.ma.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=175). We encourage all families to review our document regarding visitors (Visitors and Public School Enrollment).
Grade Placements and Age Eligibility
Q. My child already completed Kindergarten in a different school system, but will not be six years old by September May I apply for a Grade 1 assignment?
A. If a student completes a kindergarten year successfully in a public school elsewhere in Massachusetts, we will honor it, and the student may enter grade 1. The student may not use any other private, parochial or day care kindergarten as a substitute for a public school kindergarten program.
Additionally, students having completed a public school kindergarten in a different state may be placed in 1st grade.
If a student has completed K and grade 1 at another school, the student may enter grade 2, even if the student’s birth date is after September.
Q. How is grade placement determined, especially if my children come from a school system different than Brookline’s?
A. Final decisions will be made by the Principal or Headmaster of the school. The Office of Student Affairs makes preliminary grade placements based on evidence shown at the pre-registration appointment. Principals may consult with guidance counselors and department coordinators. The decision will be based on the following factors: Child’s age, ability, achievement, social development, and previous grade; scores and evaluations on tests as utilized by the Public Schools of Brookline; parental input; input from the child’s previous teacher, where possible.
Current Families - Relocation or Re-Enrollment
Q. My family moved to another address in Brookline after registering, what should we do?
A. If you change addresses, please inform the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible so that important information such as your child's school assignment, or any new information, can reach you. To update your address, return to the Office of Student Affairs with your new deed or lease (and if a lease a new notarized Landlord Living Agreement), and a utility bill for your new Brookline address and a photo ID. If your new address is in a different school zone, you may need to attend your new neighborhood school.
Families who move out of the Town of Brookline are not eligible to attend the Public Schools of Brookline.
Q. My student was enrolled in Brookline, but withdrew to attend a semester/year at another school. How do I re-instate their enrollment?
A.You must call or email the Office of Student Affairs to arrange a special appointment. At your appointment you will:
- Re-verify your Brookline Residency
- Provide the most recent school records for your child for the time they were not enrolled in Brookline
If your family has been away from Brookline for an extended time (in excess of one academic year) and withdrawn from the Public Schools of Brookline, you must call or email the Office of Student Affairs to arrange a special appointment. You will have to present the full complement of documentation for registration (including parent identification, student birth record, residency, school records and health records).
Q. What is a buffer zone?
A. A buffer zone is an area surrounding a neighborhood school district that serves two or more schools. All of the elementary schools in Brookline have buffer zone streets in their district. Buffer zones are designed to keep class sizes small by allowing the Office of Student Affairs the discretion to assign students to any of the schools in their buffer zone. Class size, whether or not there are siblings and family preference, are all considered when making a school assignment.
Q. Can I state a preference?
A. Yes, families are welcome to state a preference as to which school they would like their child assigned. The Office of Student Affairs makes every effort to honor those requests, however, the enrollment at each buffer school for the grade that your child is entering plays an important part in the final decision.
Q. Are buffer assignments made on a first-come, first-served basis? Should I come on the first day of the open registration period?
A. No. Our student assignment policy is based on your assigned buffer and overall enrollment patterns. Those that live within a core zone will receive an immediate school assignment. The timing of your registration will not impact your school assignment. A family that registers on the first available registration appointment has no advantage over a family that registers on a later day of the same period (i.e. Kindergarten pre-registration or Summer pre-registration) just because they registered earlier.
Q. When is a decision made? How will I be notified?
A. The timing of a placement decisions depends upon when you register:
If you pre-register your child for the incoming kindergarten class (beginning with the registrations days in February and continuing through April), the Office of Student Affairs will review the enrollments at each school and notify you of a school assignment during the first part of May either by phone, email or letter. If you register for the incoming kindergarten class during May, every effort will be made to make a placement before the kindergarten visiting days in early June. Buffer zone registrations made in June will receive a school assignment at the end of the Summer Registration period in mid-August.
- Spring Kindergarten Registration for Fall enrollment:
If you move into Brookline after the school year has started, you should make an appointment the Office of Student Affairs using Registration Gateway. You may state a school preference during your appointment. Decisions on placements are made close to the effective date of the lease or actual closing on a purchase of a home/condo. Advance decisions cannot be made because of fluctuations in enrollments. Siblings residing in a buffer zone are always assigned to the same school. The Office of Student Affairs will notify you either by phone or email with a school placement and appropriate contact information for your assigned school.
- New to the district mid-year:
If you move into Brookline during the summer, you should complete the pre-registration application online to begin the enrollment of your child(ren). You may state a school preference which will be reviewed, along with the enrollments, in mid-August. After your pre-registration appointment, you will be notified of the school assignment by phone, email or letter in mid-August and directed to contact the Guidance Office at the appropriate school to make an appointment for the end of August. Guidance counselors return in late August to meet with all new families in their district prior to the opening of school.
Q. How will I be notified of a school assignment?
A. You will be contacted by the Office of Student Affairs either by phone, email or letter as outlined above.
Q. How can I find out if my home is in a buffer zone?
A. To determine whether or not you are in a buffer zone, visit our School Locator which will allow you to enter a street address. This will display the school information, as well as important details about your new neighborhood. When searching, please to select the address without the zip code. When reviewing the school district, make certain to look also for the School Buffer Zone. If you are uncertain about and address, you may contact the Office of Student Affairs at 617-264-6492 or email email@example.com
- New school year/new to the district: