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Frequently Asked Questions - Buffer Zones

WHAT IS A BUFFER ZONE?

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 Superintendent 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 by the Superintendent when making a school assignment.

 HOW DO I REGISTER?

A family in a buffer zone may register at one of the buffer zone schools in their district. You will be asked to provide all the documents necessary to complete a registration including a birth certificate, immunization records and the original lease or deed for the property where you will be living in Brookline, along with a utility statement. Your registration request will be forwarded to the Superintendent’s office for a school assignment.

 CAN I STATE A PREFERENCE?

Yes, families are welcome to state a preference as to which school they would like their child assigned.  The Superintendent 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.

 WHEN IS A DECISION MADE?  HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED?

The timing of a placement decisions depends upon when you register:

  • Spring Kindergarten Registration for Fall enrollment:

If you plan to pre-register your child for the incoming kindergarten class during the months of February, March and April, you may visit any of the schools in your buffer zone to drop off the required documents and state a school preference. The Superintendent will review the enrollments at each school and notify you of a school assignment in mid-April either by phone, email or letter.  If you register for the incoming kindergarten class in 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. 

  • New to the district mid-year:

If you move into Brookline after the school year has started, you should contact the Superintendent’s Office, 617-730-2401, with your new address and the grades your child(ren) are entering. You may also state a school preference at this time. 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 Superintendent's office will notify you either by phone or email with a school placement and appropriate contact information.

  • New school year/new to the district:

If you move into Brookline during the summer, you should contact the Summer Registration Office 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 when the Summer Registration Office closes. 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.

 

 HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED OF A SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT?

You will be contacted by the Superintendent’s office either by phone, email or letter as outlined above.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF MY HOME IS IN A BUFFER ZONE?

To determine whether or not you are in a buffer zone, visit our School Locator page which will allow you to enter a street address.  This will display the school information, as well as important details about your new neighborhood.  If you are uncertain about an address, you can contact the Superintendent’s office at 617-730-2401.