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FAQ

 
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GENERAL     ELEMENTARY     MIDDLE     HIGH     RESOURCES

General SFUSD Enrollment Questions

 

Where can I find an application?

Paper copies of the application can be picked up at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) or at many San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) schools after the SFUSD Enrollment Fair in October. The same application is used for all grades from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 12th grade.

You can also download the SFUSD General Enrollment Application. Only the last page (titled Application Form) must be printed and turned in.
 

How can I list more than ten schools on my application?

To list more than ten schools on your application, include the Additional School Choices Form with your application or attach a separate sheet of paper.
 

Where do I turn in my application?

If you are applying to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) for the first time, submit your application in person at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) by the deadline.

The Educational Placement Center is located at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100, and has a permanent satellite location for enrollment at Leola Havard Early Education School, 1520 Oakdale Avenue.

If you already have a child enrolled in an SFUSD school, you may submit the application at the EPC or at your child’s school. Elementary schools accept applications in the main office. Middle schools generally collect them in the counseling office. If you are not taking the application to the EPC yourself, we recommend submitting it at least a few days before the deadline.

Educational Placement Center
 

What is a tie-breaker?

The San Francisco Unified School District uses the term tie-breaker to mean a preference “used to help place students in a requested school when the number of requests for a school is greater than the number of spaces available.” A tie-breaker is not a guarantee of placement in a particular school, but it gives the student who has a tie-breaker a higher priority than a student who does not.

Tie-breakers
 

Will my younger child lose the sibling tie-breaker if my older child's school is not our first choice?

Students who are applying to their older sibling’s school benefit from the sibling tie-breaker. Note that a graduating student does not give a younger sibling the tie-breaker, as the older sibling must be enrolled in the school when the younger sibling would start attending the school.

When your older child’s school is selecting students, you get the sibling tie-breaker no matter where it is ranked on your list. After the selections are done for each school, the order of your choices is considered, and you are assigned to the school highest on your list of the ones which selected your child.

You do not have to rank your older child’s school first in order to get the sibling tie-breaker. You should rank your choices in the order you truly prefer them.


How do I enroll my twins in the SFUSD?

Parents of twins have the choice to link their applications together, so that the children will definitely be placed together in the same school, or to not link their applications, so that each child will be placed in a school as high as possible on your ranked list. In subsequent rounds of the application process, twins give each other the sibling tie-breaker.

Enrolling Twins in the SFUSD 
 

How do I enroll my child who has special needs?

To apply for enrollment in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), submit the standard enrollment application at the Educational Placement Center (EPC). Meet with a Special Education Placement Counselor to ensure that your child’s school assignment will meet your child’s needs. The SFUSD Enrollment Guide has more information about special education services and which schools offer which Special Day Classes (separate special education classrooms available at certain schools).

If a child requires special education services, an Individual Education Program (IEP) is developed by a team that includes parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, and special education providers, to specify what the school will do to address the child’s unique needs. If your child already has an IEP, then include a copy of it with your enrollment application.

Resources for Special Education in the SFUSD
 

How can I find out more about a specific school?

Email ambassadors@ppssf.org and specify which schools interest you. We will connect you with a Parent Ambassador from each school you request. PPS-SF Parent Ambassadors are public school parents who have volunteered to speak to other parents about their children’s schools.

How Can PPS-SF Parent Ambassadors Help You? 
 

Where can I find out about transportation options?

The SFUSD website provides a current list of bus schedules per school. To receive transportation to school, you may submit a request for general education transportation services. There is no guarantee that services will be provided. Transportation for special education students can be arranged through their IEP, which is their Individualized Education Program.

There are many public transportation options as well, as most schools are within a five-minute walk from a bus stop, and many students qualify for free Muni bus passes.

School Bus Schedules

Alternatives to Yellow Bus Transportation

Free Muni for Youth Program
 

What do I do if I missed the application deadline?

Although your chances for receiving a preferred assignment are better if you apply on time in the first round, you can join the process in the next round. Take your SFUSD General Enrollment Application and the necessary documents to the Educational Placement Center (EPC). Rank your preferred schools on your application, and include the Additional School Choice Form in case your preferred schools have no openings. If your initial assignment is not one you prefer, then participate in the remaining rounds of the enrollment process.

You might also consider applying to charter schools, which are public schools as well, but each school has its own enrollment process. Contact the schools directly to apply.


How do I register at my child’s assigned school?

Your assignment letter will have detailed instructions about how to register. You will need to do so in person at your assigned school. Be sure to visit during regular school hours. Take the following documents with you:

  1. The school assignment letter from the SFUSD

  2. A copy of your original application (provided by the EPC or school when you applied)

  3. A photo ID

  4. Your child’s birth certificate

If you do not register by the deadline in early April, your seat may be reassigned to another child in Round 2. Note that schools are closed during Spring Break, which usually falls between the time the letters are mailed and when registration is due.

How to Register


Do I have to register at my assigned school?

We generally recommend that you register at your Round 1 assigned school. If you have no intention of sending your child to that school, then you might not choose to do that. But if it's possible that other people might want that assignment, you might register to benefit from the trade-up value that spot can offer. It does not impact you negatively in the subsequent rounds if you register, and might offer you some peace of mind to have a place held.

If you are not able to get one of your Round 2 requested schools, you will not be given another offer.


How do I appeal my initial placement offer?

Everyone can participate in the five rounds of the enrollment process. The appeals process is limited to those who face special circumstances. There are two types of appeals:

  1. Medical Appeal: for a student whose own serious medical condition cannot be accommodated appropriately at the assigned school.

  2. Family Hardship Appeal: for a student whose family faces a unique hardship within the household.

Decisions are made by a committee, and their decision is final. Your application should include as much documentation as you can provide to make a compelling case for your unique situation.

You may appeal for placement into one school. Submit your application and paperwork for the appeal together with your Round 2 application by the Round 2 deadline in April. Even though you may only appeal for one school, include any options you would prefer over your initial assignment in your Round 2 application.

Placement Appeals


If I did not register at my assigned school and have not yet received my requested school in the wait pool rounds, how can I secure a school assignment for my child?

Starting in mid-June, you may also participate in the Available Schools Assignment Period (ASAP). Students may be assigned immediately into any school with available seats and no wait pool requests. These seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Availability may change frequently, so the information is not published and is only available in person at the Educational Placement Center (EPC).

You may still participate in the wait pool for Rounds 4 and 5 (but remember that you can only be assigned once in the wait pool). If you select a school through the ASAP, and receive a Round 4 or 5 wait pool assignment, the wait pool assignment will replace the ASAP school.

The ASAP continues until the No Transfer Period begins in early September.


How can I apply to transfer to another SFUSD school?

After the five rounds of the regular SFUSD enrollment process, there is a No Transfer Period for enrolled SFUSD students. You can apply by mid-November to transfer at the start of the spring semester or by mid-January in the regular enrollment process for the following school year.

SFUSD Spring Transfer Process 


I am moving to San Francisco during the school year. How do I register my child for school?

San Francisco is a choice district, so you are not automatically assigned to your neighborhood school. When you arrive in San Francisco, go to the SFUSD Educational Placement Center (EPC) at 555 Franklin Street. An EPC counselor will work with you to place your child in a school that has immediate openings available.

If you would like to apply for placement in a school that does not have any openings at the time, you can submit a Spring Transfer application by mid-November, or an application for the following school year at any time after late October.

Key Dates

What You Need to Apply


I am moving to San Francisco during the summer break. How do I register my child for the next school year?

San Francisco is a choice district, so you are not automatically assigned to your neighborhood school. When you arrive in San Francisco, go to the SFUSD Educational Placement Center (EPC) at 555 Franklin Street. An EPC counselor will work with you to place your child in a school that has openings for the coming school year.

If you would like to apply for placement in a school that does not have any openings at the time, you can submit a Wait Pool application for one school that you would prefer.

Key Dates
What You Need to Apply


 

FAQ: Elementary School

 

Will my child lose the attendance area tie-breaker if our attendance area school is not our first choice?

Every home address in San Francisco is assigned to an attendance area for an elementary school that is also within the boundaries of that attendance area. Students who live within the attendance area benefit from the attendance area tie-breaker.

When your attendance area school is selecting students, you get the attendance area tie-breaker no matter where that school is ranked on your list. After the selections are done for each school, the order of your choices is considered, and you are assigned to the school highest on your list of the ones which selected your child.

You do not have to rank your attendance area school first in order to get the attendance area tie-breaker. You should rank your choices in the order you truly prefer them.
 

What is Transitional Kindergarten?

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is an additional year of kindergarten that helps children transition from preschool to kindergarten. Children who were born between September 2 and December 2 are eligible for TK for the school year during which they turn 5 years old.

Transitional Kindergarten in the SFUSD


What language programs are available in SFUSD elementary schools?

Dual Language Immersion Pathway (Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish)

  • Students are English learners who speak the pathway language at home, students who are already bilingual in English and the pathway language, and students who do not yet speak the pathway language.

  • Goals are academic competency, as well as proficiency and literacy, in both English and the pathway language.

Dual Language Biliteracy Pathway (Cantonese, Spanish)

  • Students are English learners who are native speakers of Cantonese or Spanish.

  • Goals are academic competency, as well as proficiency and literacy, in both English and the pathway language.

World Language Pathway (Filipino, Italian, Japanese)

  • All students are eligible, including English learners.

  • Goals are full proficiency in English and real-world competency in a second language.

  • Program is also known as FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School).

Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Preschool and Elementary School 



What can I do to prepare my child for the transition to elementary school?

Starting kindergarten is exciting for children, but they can feel nervous about the upcoming changes. Read our tips for navigating this transition.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten 


 

FAQ: Middle School

 

Will my child lose the feeder school tie-breaker if our feeder school is not our first choice?

Students who are attending an elementary school that is assigned to feed into a particular middle school benefit from the feeder school tie-breaker.

When your feeder school is selecting students, you get the feeder school tie-breaker no matter where it is ranked on your list. After the selections are done for each school, the order of your choices is considered, and you are assigned to the school highest on your list of the ones which selected your child.

You do not have to rank your feeder school first in order to get the feeder school tie-breaker. You should rank your choices in the order you truly prefer them.


Will my child be automatically assigned to our feeder middle school?

The new middle school feeder pattern assignment policy, adopted by the Board of Education on June 14, 2011, has been put on hold. Current SFUSD 5th grade families must still fill out an application and submit it at your elementary school or at the EPC. You will NOT be automatically placed at your feeder school.

If you list your feeder school on your application, you will receive the tie-breaker for your feeder school, no matter how you rank it.


What language programs are available in SFUSD middle schools?

Starting in the 6th grade, the elementary school Dual Language Immersion and Dual Language Biliteracy Pathways merge into the Secondary Dual Language Pathway for each language, so the program is for students who are already proficient in the pathway language. Students take two academic courses in the pathway language. The goal is to become bilingual and biliterate at a high level and to attain native-like proficiency by the end of high school. In middle school the program is offered in Cantonese/Mandarin, Korean, Mandarin, or Spanish.

The Secondary World Language Pathway is for all students. Instruction in the elective language class is mainly in the target language. The curriculum includes lessons on culture and reinforces concepts students learn in math, science, and social studies, so that students develop academic, literacy, and social skills in the second language. The languages offered at various SFUSD middle schools are Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Middle School and High School 


What can I do to prepare my child for the transition to middle school?

Parents and their children can feel overwhelmed by the many changes that go along with starting middle school. Read our tips for navigating this transition.

Getting Ready for Middle School


 

FAQ: High School

 

What language programs are available in SFUSD high schools?

The Secondary Dual Language Pathway is for students who are already proficient in the pathway language. Students take two academic courses in the pathway language. The goal is to become bilingual and biliterate at a high level and to attain native-like proficiency. In high school the program is offered in Cantonese/Mandarin, Mandarin, or Spanish.

The Secondary World Language Pathway is for all students. Instruction in the elective language class is mainly in the target language. The curriculum includes lessons on culture and reinforces concepts students learn in math, science, and social studies, so that students develop academic, literacy, and social skills in the second language. The languages offered at various SFUSD high schools are Cantonese, Filipino, French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Middle School and High School 


What if I missed the Round 1 December deadlines for Lowell or SOTA high school applications?

The deadline to apply for Lowell High School for 9th grade is in mid-December. There is only one chance to apply to Lowell for 9th grade. If you miss that deadline, then you can apply for 10th grade by submitting an application by mid-June of 9th grade, for the following school year. In order to qualify, your child must take four of the following subjects in every semester of high school: English, Laboratory Sciences, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Foreign Language.

The Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA) has a second round application process. Submit your SFUSD application to the EPC or to your current school by mid-January. Submit the SOTA application to SOTA by mid-February. Second round auditions will take place in early March.