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The Assignment Process


The Board of Education’s student assignment policy (P5101) is designed to support the Board’s mission of providing each student with an equal opportunity to succeed. Our vision for student success is that every student who enrolls in our schools will graduate from high school ready for college and careers and equipped with the skills, capacities, and dispositions necessary for 21st century success.  

Students are assigned to schools through a choice process designed to provide equitable access to the range of opportunities available in San Francisco’s public schools. Students are placed in their highest ranked request as long as there are openings. If there are more requests for a school than openings, the student placement process uses a series of preferences, known as tie-breakers, to assign students to one of their requested schools.  

Video: Watch how the student assignment system works


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Tiebreakers are preferences used to place students in their requested school when the number of requests for that school is greater than the number of spaces available. Random numbers will be used for school assignments if tiebreakers do not resolve ties, or if there are no tiebreakers.

Requests may qualify for more than one tiebreaker. In that case, requests with the highest ranked tiebreakers preference are always assigned before requests with multiple lower ranked tiebreakers.

Tiebreakers are not used for students applying to Lowell High School or the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (RASOTA). Lowell High School uses academic admission criteria, and RASOTA has an audition process. More information on Lowell can be found here, and more on RASOTA here.

See tiebreakers for:

Non-Choice Assignments

Students who do not get assigned to a requested school because of space limitations are offered a school through a designation process which considers geographical distance. These are the policy guidelines that determine non-choice assignments:

  • Students who attend an SFUSD school will receive an offer to their current school if there is space in the requested grade.
  • Students applying to grades K-5 will receive an offer to their attendance area school if space is not available at their current school.
  • Students applying to 6th grade will receive an offer to their feeder middle school if space is available, or to the school closest to their home with openings.
  • Students in grades 7-12 will receive an offer to the school closest to their home with openings if space is not available at their current school.
  • Students not assigned to any one of their choices because of space limitations are assigned to a school with available seats closest to the student’s home.
  • Students who applied for a SFUSD language pathway can request on the application form to be assigned to the closest language pathway with openings, instead of the closest school with openings.
  • Students who only requested Lowell and/or Ruth Asawa SOTA high schools, and did not get assigned those schools, must contact the EPC to request other SFUSD high schools.

IMPORTANT Informational Update for 2019-20 Enrollment

For more information on how student assignment works, see Frequently Asked Questions.

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