SF Board of Education Votes to Create Task Force to Examine SFUSD High Schools

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SF Board of Education Votes to Create Task Force to Examine SFUSD High Schools

Majority Votes to Resume Previous Criteria-Based Admissions for 2023-24 School Year

San Francisco (June 22, 2022) - The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved Superintendent’s Resolution No. 225-24Sp1 (Amended) at a Special Meeting on Wednesday, June 22, to create a Task Force that will provide community informed recommendations to improve SFUSD’s portfolio of high schools. 

The Task Force will be charged with gathering input from the community on what it needs and wants from San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) high schools; understanding and summarizing the current portfolio of the district’s high schools in terms of offerings and student outcomes; and providing recommendations to the Superintendent on ways to improve policies, practices, and programs for better student outcomes.

Per the resolution, the Task Force will exist for 12 months and members may include education experts, school leaders, teachers, caregivers, students, civic leaders, business leaders and nonprofit leaders. An independent facilitator (individual or entity) will actively manage the Task Force and provide Task Force volunteers with guidance on seeking the necessary research and content expertise as well as making recommendations.

The Task Force will also examine admissions policies for both selective admissions and comprehensive high schools, with a focus on how to best elevate the quality of education and improve outcomes for all students. 

Lowell Admissions for 2023-2024 School Year

The SF Board of Education voted 4-3 against a Superintendent’s resolution to extend the Interim Lowell Admissions Policy for the 2023-24 school year. This means that the previous Lowell Admissions Policy (Board Policy 5120.1) will be restored for the 2023-24 school year and beyond while the Task Force undergoes a review of SFUSD’s portfolio of high schools.

Under Board Policy 5120.1, students will apply to Lowell High School using a Lowell High School specific application and must meet designated grade point average and standardized test score criteria in order to qualify for any of the three "bands" for admission. Students must also submit a personal statement that is used by the school-based committee and principal to determine a student's eligibility for admission under the second and third "bands." Under Board Policy 5120.1, the application window for Lowell will open in early October and close in mid-December, a month to six weeks earlier than the deadline for all other high schools.

"The Lowell admissions policy is clearly important to our community. I believe that an inclusive, community-informed process that draws from the best research will ultimately yield the strongest long-term solution," SF Board of Education President Jenny Lam said.

Background on Lowell Admissions

On March 16, 2020, the district ceased face-to-face instruction in response to the declaration of a health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. District schools closed for in-person learning for all students for the remainder of the school year, and, for most high school students, remained closed for in-person learning for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. As a result of the suspension of standardized testing and the implementation of an alternative grading system, the district determined that the process for Lowell Admissions could not be implemented as required by Board Policy 5120.1. 

On Feb. 9, 2021, the Board of Education approved Resolution 212-2A1 that applied the same admissions policy (Board Policy 5101) used for all district comprehensive high schools to Lowell High School for 2021-2022 school year. Resolution 212-2A1 was subsequently the subject of litigation and ultimately rescinded by the Board on Dec. 7, 2021. Concurrently, at the same Dec. 7 Board meeting, the Board approved a resolution to extend the Interim Lowell Admissions Policy for the 2022-2023 school year, using the same admissions criteria as all district comprehensive high schools under Board Policy 5101.

The Board of Education extended the Interim Admissions Policy for the 2022-23 school year only. At that time, the Superintendent agreed to return to the Board with a recommendation for a Lowell High School admissions process in subsequent school years.

About SFUSD High Schools

There are 14 comprehensive high schools in SFUSD. High schools do not have an attendance area like the elementary schools do, and all high schools are city-wide schools. There is also no high school feeder system. 

Learn more about high school enrollment in SFUSD.