Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program

At a Glance

In 1976, a group of parents filed a lawsuit, which contended that elementary students in the South County area school districts were denied an equal educational opportunity because of the isolation of racial minorities in the Ravenswood City School District. The lawsuit went on for 10 years and was settled in 1986 when the school districts entered a Settlement Order designed to reduce racial isolation. One component of the Settlement Order is the Voluntary Transfer Plan, which allows minority students in the Ravenswood City School District to transfer to one of the following seven districts: Belmont-Redwood Shores, Las Lomitas, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, San Carlos and Woodside. Non-minority students in these seven districts may transfer into Ravenswood.

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Who qualifies for the Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program (VTP)?

  • Only minority students in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park may transfer out of Ravenswood City School District
  • Only non-minority students may transfer into Ravenswood City School District

What is the definition of a "minority" student, as defined by the Court Order?

Minority students are persons defined as minorities by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. At present, the SPI has defined the following persons as “minority”:

  • African-American
  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander
  • Filipino
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • American-Indian
  • Alaskan Native

Is it required for students in the Ravenswood City School District to sign up for a transfer?

  • No. The program is completely voluntary.
  • Students will only be transferred if their parents request a transfer and are selected through the lottery process to participate in the program.  Transfers are only offered to a school district requested by parents.

What are the grade level or age requirements for students who apply?

  • Students applying for a transfer must be entering kindergarten, first or second grade in the fall of the school year for which he/she is applying .
  • Students entering grades 3-8 in the fall of the school year for which he/she is applying do not qualify for a Tinsley transfer.

Do students need to apply every year?

  • No. Once students receive transfers, they are considered permanent “residents” of that school district, and are treated as any other district student with the same rules and expectations for compliance with district policies. However, siblings of children granted a transfer through the lottery process must also apply for a transfer in order to also participate in the program.
  • Students may remain in their new elementary districts until they complete elementary school, as long as they continue to live in the Ravenswood City School District.

Who provides transportation from Ravenswood to the new district and how does it get scheduled?

  • A free bus transportation program is provided by the elementary districts and the Sequoia Union High School District for all transfer students.
  • Buses pick up students at some of the elementary schools in Ravenswood and take them to their new schools.
  • With the exception of students with transfers to Palo Alto students, high school students do not ride on the buses with the Tinsley students.

How is residence in Ravenswood verified?

  • SMCOE does not verify residency, but does require parents to submit proof of address during the application/acceptance process. In addition, districts follow their own policies about residence verification for newly enrolling students.
  • Once parents receive notification that their child has been accepted in the Tinsley VTP, they are treated as residents of that district and must follow district enrollment deadlines and policies.

What is the timeline for Tinsley VTP?

September 15 Applications are available and mailed to Ravenswood residents
November 15 Deadline for “early applications”. These applications will be processed first.
December 15 Early applicants will receive offers by this date. Applicants have 45 days to accept or decline the offer.
February 3 Final deadline for applications
April 1 Deadline for districts to assign Tinsley VTP students to school sites
June 30 Registration deadline for Transfer students

Are students allowed to request intradistrict transfers once they have begun attending their new district (transfer to a different school within the same district)?

    1. Tinsley VTP students who have been awarded a transfer into a new district are considered “residents” of that new district and have the same rights as other resident students. If the district allows transfers within district schools, Tinsley VTP students will also be considered for intradistrict transfers.

Where will Tinsley VTP students go to high school?

All students will attend the Sequoia Union High School District, with the exception of Palo Alto students who may attend Palo Alto schools through 12th grade. (Palo Alto is a K – 12 grade district).

What are the numbers of new Tinsley transfers accepted each year?

Belmont 31
Las Lomitas 12
Menlo Park 24
Palo Alto 60
Portola Valley 8
San Carlos 26
Woodside 5

Tinsley Application

Will be available on this website beginning on September 15 of each year.

  • Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program Application (English) 9-15-17
  • Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program Application (Spanish) 9-15-17