Resources for Special Education in the SFUSD

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) views special education as “instruction specifically designed to address the educational and related developmental needs of children with disabilities.” Sometimes these special needs are met in a general education setting and can be accommodated in any SFUSD school. Some students’ needs will best be met in a Special Day Class, which is a separate special education classroom offered at certain schools throughout San Francisco.

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. The IEP is a plan that specifies what the school will do to address the child’s unique needs, including modifying instruction, offering special services such as speech or physical therapy, and providing other support systems or staff. There are very specific rules about who can qualify for an IEP, so some students’ needs will be met with a 504 plan instead.

To apply for SFUSD enrollment, submit the standard SFUSD enrollment application at the Educational Placement Center (EPC), mark the box to indicate that your child has an IEP, and attach a copy of your child’s most recent IEP. 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.

For children under the age of 5, contact Early Childhood Special Education Services.

There are organizations in San Francisco that offer support and guidance to families whose children have special needs.

Here are some additional online resources that have been helpful to families navigating the IEP process and special education, including information about parents’ and students’ rights: