PPS-SF Enrollment Tips: Ranking Schools on Your SFUSD Application

When applying for Transitional Kindergarten through 12th grade in the SFUSD, you may list as many school choices as you’d like, ranked in the order that you prefer them.

School Choices.jpg

To clear up some misunderstandings about rankings, we’d like to clarify how the assignment system works. It is important to understand that the selections for each school are done independently, and then you are assigned to the school highest on your list that you were selected for.  

Selections for SFUSD schools are done using the tie-breaker/lottery process, from Transitional Kindergarten through 12th grade. There are two exceptions:

  • Selections for Lowell High School are done using grades and test scores (and other considerations for bands 2 and 3).

  • Selections for Ruth Asawa School of the Arts are done using the audition/portfolio process.

The attendance area tie-breaker, feeder school tie-breaker, and all other tie-breakers offer priority in the selection step. The order of your list is not consulted during this step, so you get your priority during the selection no matter where you rank that school on your list.

In theory, you could be SELECTED for every school on your list, some schools on your list, or no schools on your list. Then list order is consulted once the initial selections are done, and you are ASSIGNED to one school.

Let's consider a few scenarios based on a simplified list of fictional choices.

  1. Blue School

  2. Green School

  3. Purple School

  4. Red School

  5. Yellow School

a. If the student is selected for Blue School, then the student is assigned to Blue School because they didn't rank anything higher. This will be the case regardless of the selections by the other schools on the list.

b. If the student is selected for Green School, Purple School, and Yellow School, but is not selected for Blue School or Red School, then the student is assigned to the highest ranked of the three selections: Green School.

c. If the student is not selected for any of the schools on this list, then the district assigns the student to the closest school to the student's home that has openings once the selections are done for EVERYONE. By this point in the process, the closest school that still has openings may actually be far away.

So you should always rank your school choices in the order that you prefer them.

  • You are not given a preference for ranking a school first.

  • You do not have to rank a school first to take advantage of your tie-breaker for the school.

  • You do not have to rank Lowell High School first to get assigned to Lowell.

  • There is no negative consequence for listing a school that you want. You are assigned to the top choice you are selected for, no matter what else you had listed.

Check out our answers to other frequently asked questions on our website. We also invite you to attend a PPS-SF enrollment workshop for more details on the process.

PPS-SF Frequently Asked Questions

PPS-SF Enrollment Workshops