The latest workshops for families seeking more information about next steps in the SFUSD enrollment process. These popular events fill up quickly, so please pre-register.
Round 2 and Beyond for Elementary and Middle School Applicants.
Learn more about your options for elementary and middle school enrollment in Round 2 and beyond. Please click on the name of the library branch to register.
Round 2 and Beyond for High School Applicants.
The San Francisco Unified School District mails the Round 1 assignment letters on March 17, 2017. Within a few days, parents receive their offers for Round 1 school assignments.
Some of you celebrate because your child is assigned to one of the schools on the top of your list. Some of you have mixed feelings because your child is assigned to a school that you listed, but there are other schools that you would want more than your assigned school. And some of you are disappointed because your child is assigned to a school that you did not even list on your application.
Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco is here to support all of you. We celebrate with those parents who are happy with their assigned schools, and we will help those parents who would like to reapply for schools that would be better suited for their families.
All parents should register at their assigned schools by April 14, 2017.
If you do not register by the deadline, then your child will lose the spot and you will have to start the process over. If you do register in time, then your child will hold that spot even if you submit an application for Round 2 or any subsequent round. If you register, your held spot will only be released if you are assigned to another school that you want more.
If you are pleased with your assigned school, then you need only to register by April 14, and you are finished with the assignment process. Congratulations!
If you would like to apply for another school, then by April 14 you should register at your assigned school and submit a Round 2 application at the Educational Placement Center (EPC).
Parents who reapply must submit their Round 2 applications by April 14, 2017.
The application for Round 2 is called the Amended Choices Form. It will be available to download after March 17, 2017, from the SFUSD. You do not need to resubmit proof of address documentation with your Round 2 application, but you do need to submit the application in person at one of these locations:
Parents should only list schools on their Round 2 applications that they want more than the Round 1 schools where they registered their children.
If the district is able to offer you another school in Round 2, you will automatically lose your Round 1 assignment. So only apply to schools that you want more.
Your Round 1 list of schools is not taken into account in Round 2. You may add more schools, remove schools, or reorder your list on your Round 2 application. As we recommend in Round 1, list your schools in the order you truly prefer them. For Round 2, you may still list as many schools as you like, so you should rank every school that you would prefer over the Round 1 assignment.
The SFUSD mails the Round 2 assignment letters on May 12, 2017.
If you receive a new assignment as a result of Round 2, then:
If you do not receive a new assignment in Round 2, then:
We are here to help you if you have any questions about your next steps.
Among the PPS-SF staff, we have experienced both the elation of receiving our first choice school and the disappointment of receiving an assignment that was not a preference. We all ended up with schools that we love. We would like to help you navigate the next steps of the assignment process to find a great public school for your family.
There are two application strategies for families with twins, triplets, or multiples, described in detail below. Either strategy can be followed for any round of the enrollment process, and parents can change their strategy from round to round. This article uses twins as an example, but the same strategies can be used when there are triplets or multiples.
Section 6 of the SFUSD application includes the following relevant questions:
Note that twins, triplets, and multiples give each other the sibling tie-breaker no matter who is technically older. In other cases, only an older sibling gives the tie-breaker to a younger sibling.
Strategy 1: Link the Applications
Link the twins’ applications, so that the priority is to place the children together in the same school.
Positive: The children will be placed in the same school.
Negative: It may be difficult to secure two or more seats in a preferred school, so the children may be placed together in a school that is not preferred.
To link the twins’ applications, answer Yes to the question “Do you wish to have your twins, triplets or multiples placed in the same school?” On each application, list the same school choices in the same order, and enter the other twin’s information into the older sibling fields.
The twins’ applications are initially processed individually. When one twin is selected for a requested school, the system checks to see if there is another seat available at the school for the other twin. It assigns them to the school highest on their list that has openings for both at the point that they are processed. If none of the requested schools can accommodate them both, then the system assigns them to the closest school to their home with two openings available.
Strategy 2: Do Not Link the Applications
Do not link the twins’ applications in the first round, so that the priority is to place each child in a school as high as possible on your list of requested schools. If the children are not placed together, then use the sibling tie-breaker in subsequent rounds to get the other child placed in the preferred school with the twin.
Positive: There is an increased chance that one of the children will be placed in a preferred school. The other twin will have the sibling tie-breaker to the preferred school in all subsequent rounds.
Negative: There is a risk that a second seat will not open up in the preferred school and that the children will end up in different schools.
To not link the twins’ applications, answer No or N/A to the question “Do you wish to have your twins, triplets or multiples placed in the same school?” Enter the other twin’s information into the older sibling fields.
The twins’ applications are processed individually. Each child is placed at the school highest on their list for which they are selected during the assignment process. If a child is unable to be placed in a school on their list, then the system assigns the child to the closest school to their home that has an opening.
Next Steps After Initial Placement
If the twins are assigned to different schools, then register both children at their assigned schools. In the next round, submit an application for the child who was assigned to the less preferred school. Answer Yes to the question “Do you wish to have your twins, triplets or multiples placed in the same school?” and Yes to the question “Does an older sibling living at the same address attend one of your choice schools?” Fill out the older sibling’s information with the details for the child who was assigned to the preferred school.
If the twins are assigned to the same school, but you want to try to get them into a school you prefer more, register both children at the assigned school. Submit applications in the next round for both twins, and use the strategy of linking their applications. You will then only be offered another placement if the school can accommodate both children.
For more information, read the SFUSD Frequently Asked Questions about Twins and Multiples.
Where can I find an application?
Paper copies of the application can be picked up at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) or at many SFUSD schools. The same application is used for all grades from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 12th grade.
You can also download the application here. Only the last page (titled Application Form - School Year 2017-2018) must be printed and turned in.
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 SFUSD for the first time, submit your application in person at the EPC by the deadline.
The EPC is located at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100. It will be open during the Winter Break, except on December 26th and January 2nd for the holidays.
The EPC is open Monday through Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm. It opens at 10:00am on the third Friday of every month.
The EPC has a permanent satellite location for enrollment at Leola Havard Early Education School, 1520 Oakdale Avenue. Their hours are 8:30am-2:30pm.
You may also drop off your application at the following temporary locations:
- Tuesday, January 10, 2017: West Portal Elementary School, 5 Lenox Way, 4-7pm
- Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Sutro Elementary School, 235 12th Avenue, 4-7 pm
Will my younger child lose the sibling tie-breaker if my older child's school is not our first choice?
You do not have to rank your older child’s school first in order to get the sibling tie-breaker (priority). You should rank your choices in the order you truly prefer them.
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.
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 for students who are applying for the 2017-2018 school year. 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.
Will my child lose the feeder school tie-breaker if our feeder school is not our first choice?
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.
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.
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 was December 16, 2016. There is only one chance to apply to Lowell for 9th grade. If you missed that deadline for the 2017-2018 school year, then you can apply for 10th grade by submitting an application in May or June of 2018, 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 January 13, 2017. Submit the SOTA application to SOTA by 3pm on February 15, 2017. Second round auditions will take place on March 4th.
Where can I find answers to my other questions?
What is a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador?
A PPS-SF Parent Ambassador is a public school parent who has volunteered to speak to other parents about their child’s school. Many parents find it helpful to get another parent’s perspective about a school, and to learn more about a school than what can be found on the school’s website or seen on a school tour.
How do I connect with a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador?
Email email@example.com and specify which schools interest you. You can also mention if you have a particular concern, and PPS-SF can try to connect you with a parent who might have insight about that issue. Some topics that parents have questions about include special education, afterschool programs, language pathways, or diversity.
PPS-SF does not give out contact information for parent volunteers. Instead, we forward your details to the Parent Ambassador and ask them to contact you within three days. If you don’t specify otherwise, we send the email address used to contact us. If you include a telephone number in your email, we can pass that along as well.
What can I learn from a Parent Ambassador?
People who volunteer to promote their schools tend to be excited about, or at least mostly satisfied with, their schools. They can share the great things happening at their schools. But most of us recognize that no school is perfect. Parent Ambassadors can address these challenges and explain how the school community is dealing with the challenges and how that affects their family and their child.
Here are some examples of what parents have said about connecting with a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador:
“What helped get me fully behind the school was hearing immediately from the [Parent] Ambassador who was able to answer my questions that centered around what it was like to be a real part of the school, and how she dealt and was dealing with challenges. It was just that touch stone to a current pulse on what the school really was like behind the tour curtain.” (Jennifer)
“[The Parent Ambassador] was able to bring my husband into the school after tours were over and to show how the kids interact in the am. She made him perfectly happy and comfortable to send our child to public school.” (Christine)
“The most useful part was hearing parents talk passionately about their school experiences. There is no substitute for hearing about experiences from an actual parent. Our speaking with parents in general convinced us to forego private schools and put our daughter in public school, a decision we are very happy with.” (Tom)
“Thanks again for linking us up with a couple of Parent Ambassadors for Mission HS — both were very generous with their time and gave me and my husband lots of helpful information and perspective. As a plus, both parents had children who had also attended other high schools, so they were able to offer us some insight into those schools, as well.” (Barbara)
“As newcomers to the Bay Area, we studied the school options via online resources and chatted up some of our work colleagues, but that can only take you so far. Being able to connect and talk with the [Parent Ambassador] about their experience at the targeted schools really helped us to confirm or re-think our hypothesis if the school offering was a fit with what kind of educational experience we wanted to have for our children.” (Scott)
“It was truly amazing! and made all our move much easier. I expected schools in the big city will be a challenge, and it turns out human, friendly, and easy.” (Meital)
“[The Parent Ambassador] was great and helped connect me with another parent. We knew no one at Alamo so having someone to talk to was a huge help in our decision. We planned to attend but got our 1st choice in round 4. I'd love to help out with the ambassador program.” (Beth)
How can I help?
Once you get through the enrollment process and your child is in a school that you would like to help promote, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer to become a PPS-SF Parent Ambassador yourself.
The SFUSD Enrollment Fair is this Saturday, October 29 from 9:30am until 2:30pm at the City College of San Francisco Wellness Center. Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco has created a printable Beginners' Guide to the Enrollment Fair to help you navigiate the event.
We also have SFUSD workshop schedules and maps of the fair in English, Chinese, and Spanish so that you can plan ahead and decide which tables to visit.
PPS-SF will be on the third floor. Please stop by and say hello!
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.
- Support for Families of Children with Disabilities. A nonprofit organization that offers families information, education, and support, for any disability or health care need.
- Parents Education Network (PEN). A parent coalition that educates parents, students, and educators about learning and attention differences, by offering lectures, workshops, and support groups.
- Student Advisors for Education (SAFE). PEN’s student community that educates and mentors students 13 to 19 years old regarding the challenges and strengths of learning and attention differences.
- SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC). A committee made up mostly of parents who advise the Board of Education and advocate for effective special education programs.
- Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy. Information for parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
- Center for Parent Information and Resources. Information and resources for parents, compiled by the Office of Special Education Programs of the United States Department of Education.
- Special Education Resources. Information and resources regarding special education, in California and nationally, compiled by the California Department of Education.
In the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) there are many opportunities for students to learn languages other than English. In middle school and high school, some programs are designed to continue language studies started in elementary school. Others encourage students to start learning a new language.
The high school language pathways offer courses students may take to fulfill the high school graduation requirement of 2 years, or 20 credits, of a World Language. Those who study French, Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish may take College Board approved Advanced Placement courses for their languages.
Secondary Dual Language Pathway
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. Students are strongly encouraged to remain in the Secondary Dual Language Pathway through 12th grade in order to become bilingual and biliterate at a high level and to attain native-like proficiency in both languages.
The Secondary Dual Language Pathway is for students who are proficient in the pathway language, whether they are native speakers, native English speakers, or bilingual students. Students who were enrolled in a Dual Language Immersion or Biliteracy Pathway or in the Newcomer Pathway in elementary school are eligible for this program in the same pathway language. Students who would like to enter the Secondary Dual Language Pathway without transitioning from one of the feeder pathways have their language proficiency assessed by the Educational Placement Center (EPC).
In the Secondary Dual Language Pathway, students take two academic courses in the pathway language. For example:
Instruction for all other courses in is English.
For the Cantonese Secondary Dual Language Pathway, students study both Cantonese and Mandarin beginning in 6th grade.
Secondary World Language Pathway
Students from the Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) program can pursue further language studies in the Secondary World Language Pathway in select middle schools. This pathway also continues throughout high school, where every SFUSD high school provides language courses that are open to all students.
The Secondary World Language Pathway is for all students, whether they are English learners or native English speakers, and whether or not they were enrolled in the FLES program or in any language pathway in elementary school.
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.
To learn more about these language programs and language assessments, to see which SFUSD schools offer these programs, and to read about other programs that support English learners, we highly recommend the English Learner Program Guide, which is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.The guide is published by the Multilingual Pathways Department of the SFUSD, and also provides information for high school students about language requirements for graduation and UC admissions, and about earning the Seal of Biliteracy.
For information about language programs in SFUSD preschools and elementary schools, read Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Preschool and Elementary School.
In the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) there are many opportunities for students to learn languages other than English, even before they get to high school. Learning another language is a valuable skill in our multicultural world, so these programs tend to be very popular. Some of the programs require a language assessment; others are open to all students.
The SFUSD language program for pre-kindergarten (pre-K) is the Dual Language Pathway. It is available in Cantonese and Spanish. The program’s goals are academic competency, as well as proficiency and literacy in both English and the pathway language. Proficiency is not assessed for eligibility in any language at this level. Students can be English learners who speak the pathway language at home, students who are already bilingual in English and the pathway language, or students who do not yet speak the pathway language.
SFUSD offers three pathways for elementary school students to learn English as well as another language. They are:
Dual Language Immersion Pathway - Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish
Dual Language Biliteracy Pathway - Cantonese, Filipino, Spanish
World Language Pathway - Filipino, Italian, Japanese
Dual Language Immersion Pathway (Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish)
The goals of the Dual Language Immersion Pathway are academic competency, as well as proficiency and literacy in both English and the pathway language. The program is for 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.
For kindergarten and 1st grade enrollment, the SFUSD’s assignment process aims to balance each Immersion classroom with about ⅔ of students who are assessed proficient in the pathway language, and about ⅓ of students who have not demonstrated proficiency in the pathway language. Students who would like to enroll between the 2nd grade and the 5th grade are assessed for grade level proficiency in the pathway language. Language assessments are conducted by the Educational Placement Center (EPC).
Instruction in the Immersion program in kindergarten is about 80% in the pathway language and 20% in English. The percentage of English instruction increases yearly until it is about 50% in the pathway language and 50% in English by the 5th grade.
The Alice Fong Yu Chinese Immersion Pilot Program is structured slightly differently from the other Immersion programs in the district. Its goals include increasing student diversity and fostering cultural respect and understanding, while maintaining a high academic foundation and supporting language acquisition in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English for all students. The program aims for a balance of about ⅓ English learners and ⅔ English proficient students. The Immersion Pilot program is a Cantonese Immersion program as described above from kindergarten through 5th grade. In the 6th grade students begin to study Mandarin as well.
Dual Language Biliteracy Pathway (Cantonese, Spanish)
The goals of the Dual Language Biliteracy Pathway are academic competency, as well as proficiency and literacy in both English and the pathway language. The program is for English learners who are native speakers of Cantonese or Spanish.
For kindergarten and 1st grade enrollment, only students whose Home Language Survey (HLS) on the SFUSD enrollment application indicates that the pathway language is spoken in the home are eligible to apply for the Biliteracy Pathway. Students who would like to enroll between the 2nd grade and the 5th grade are assessed for grade level proficiency in the pathway language.
Instruction in the Spanish Biliteracy program in kindergarten and 1st grade is about 50-80% in Spanish, with the balance of instruction in English. The percentage of English instruction increases yearly until it is at least 50% in English in the 5th grade, with the remaining instruction in Spanish.
Because Cantonese is a non-alphabetic language, instruction is about 50% in Cantonese and 50% in English throughout the Cantonese Biliteracy program.
World Language Pathway (Filipino, Italian, Japanese)
The World Language Pathway in elementary school is known as FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School). The program’s goal is full proficiency in English, along with real-world competency in a second language. All students are eligible to apply for the FLES program, including English learners. Throughout elementary school, students may join the FLES program at any grade.
Students receive 30-60 minutes of instruction in the pathway language, 3-5 days per week, depending on the program. Additional support is provided for students who enter the FLES program later in elementary school.
To learn more about these language programs and language assessments, to see which SFUSD schools offer these programs, and to read about other programs that support English learners, we highly recommend the English Learner Program Guide, which is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The guide is published by the Multilingual Pathways Department of the SFUSD.
For information about language programs in SFUSD middle schools and high schools, read Languages Other Than English in the SFUSD: Middle and High School.
We have been happy to hear from many SFUSD families that their students have had a great start to the 2016-2017 school year. Even so, we recognize that some families feel like their school assignment is not the best fit. The district is currently in the No Transfer Period for the rest of the semester. The next opportunity to change schools within the SFUSD is through the Spring Transfer Process.
You can request a transfer to one SFUSD school for a student who is currently enrolled in another SFUSD school. Submit the application form at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) at 655 De Haro Street by November 18, 2016. The parent who applies must show photo ID when submitting the application.
This is the one case in which we recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible rather than at any time before the deadline. Once a transfer request for a school is received, an opening in that school will be held for the transfer and not made available to students who are new to the SFUSD. Since tie-breakers are used to assign the transfer seats (as they are in every assignment round), your early application is not a guarantee that your child will receive the assignment. But it does increase the likelihood somewhat as it increases the number of held openings and holds them sooner.
If at any point you change your mind and decide that you would like your child to stay in the current school after all, don’t forget to notify the EPC by November 23, 2016. You can either visit the EPC in person or send an email (including your child’s name, birthdate, grade, and present school) to EnrollinSchool@sfusd.edu to cancel your transfer request.
Notifications for spring transfers will be mailed on December 10, 2016, and students who receive an assignment at their requested school will begin attending the new school on January 3, 2017. There will be no chance to reject the transfer or to return to the fall semester school. Students who are unable to receive an assignment to their requested school will stay at their current school.
After the Spring Transfer Process, there are no further transfers for the rest of the school year. Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are due January 13, 2017.