From the Desk of the Superintendent - March 21, 2023
By Dr. Matt Wayne
Even though it’s only March, it’s time to start thinking about August.
Why? Because the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) just sent school assignment letters to 14,000 families of incoming transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, 6th grade and 9th grade students. I want to personally welcome all our new and returning families to the district - we’re so glad you’re here.
As the deadline is fast approaching for families to accept their assignment in a San Francisco public school for the next school year, I want to provide some insight into our enrollment system.
SFUSD has a choice-based enrollment system, which means families have the opportunity to choose which public schools they would like their children to attend. To assign students when there are more applicants than available seats, we use “tie-breakers.” These are factors like whether a sibling already attends the school, whether or not a student lives in an area of the City with low average test scores, whether or not a student lives in the school’s attendance area, and other factors intended to make the system as equitable and fair as possible while still allowing families a choice.
This year, more than 60% of students who applied for Kindergarten or TK, 6th grade, or 9th grade will receive an assignment to their first choice school, and 81% will receive one of their top three choices.
Here are more highlights from the enrollment data:
- SFUSD received a very similar number of applications this year compared to last year. The District received 14,080 applications for the 2023-24 school year, compared to 14,127 for the 2022-23 school year.
- One key increase was in transitional kindergarten (TK) applications -- an additional 337 compared to last year -- as more 4-year-olds become eligible for TK under California’s new Universal TK program.
- 95% of SFUSD families headed to a new school next year applied on time, including a very high number of the district’s focal families.
- More highlights are available at sfusd.edu/highlights.
Families have until April 7, 2023 to accept or decline the assignment. Families can do this online or by contacting the Educational Placement Center, and can see instructions at sfusd.edu/mainround. Many schools are having parent meetings or are offering tours for families to learn more about the assigned school; families can sign up at sfusd.edu/tours.
To better support families with the enrollment process, SFUSD staff has transformed our approach to outreach to ensure that families know when, where, and how to apply. Including our enrollment fairs, staff organized more than 70 virtual and in-person events, which were attended by more than 6,000 families. We coordinated closely with the City’s Department of Early Childhood, libraries, Head Start Centers, and Children’s Council to provide individualized support to families in childcare settings all over town. We created a centralized sign-up sheet for school tours that helped more than 10,000 families visit SFUSD schools as they completed their applications. School staff -- teachers, counselors, and office staff -- worked closely with their families so that any current SFUSD student moving onto elementary, middle, and high schools next year applied on time.
Because of these efforts, 95% of “transitional grade” students applied on time this year for Kinder, 6th, and 9th grades, and the district’s focal families also had much greater participation in the Main Round this year.
The Main Round period for submitting applications ended on Feb. 3, 2023. Families who have yet to apply for a school for their student for next year can apply for Round 2 by April 21 by going online to sfusd.edu/apply or by contacting the Educational Placement Center (EPC). The EPC can be reached at email@example.com, 415-241-6085, or in-person at 555 Franklin Street or 1520 Oakdale Avenue (Oakdale is open Tuesday and Thursday). Educational Placement Center staff members are ready to help families find a school that meets their needs. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.