Enrollment Process Simplification

The SFUSD Enrollment Process is Becoming Simpler for Families!

The Enrollment Center is excited to announce some changes to next year’s Enrollment Cycle (starting in October 2024, for students enrolling in the 2025-26 school year), aimed at making the enrollment process simpler, more transparent and more equitable. There are two key changes to next year’s enrollment process: 

  • Applicants only need to apply once, for the Main Round application deadline on January 31, 2025. We will not have a separate Round 2. Once Main Round assignments are announced in March 2025, applicants who did not receive their top choice school will get automatically placed onto waitlists for their top choice schools, up to 5 schools, without having to re-apply. 
  • Applicants will be able to wait on several schools’ waitlists rather than having to pick just one waitlist choice.

Late applicants who do not apply before the Main Round deadline will be allowed to join the end of waitlists starting February 1 and placed into a school with open space in April.

Why are we making these changes?

Under the previous assignment process in use until 24-25, families who are not satisfied with their Main Round assignment in March need to apply again, for Round 2, and then again for the Wait Pool if they are still seeking a placement that they prefer. We have heard from families that this process too complicated, specifically regarding:

  • PredictabilityThe 40% of families who don’t get their most preferred school in the Main Round are often waiting until August - even after school starts - to learn about their final assignment.
  • Equity. Participation in the enrollment process beyond the Main Round is much lower among focal families, particularly African American and Latinx families. In focus groups, families share that the multiple deadlines are confusing.
  • Re-work. We ask families to re-submit their same choices several times - doing the same work over.

The enrollment process change described above would positively impact everyone who applies by the Main Round deadline, by giving them faster resolution, a more predictable process, and better assignment outcomes. 

  • It would mean faster resolution for families: In this new process, hundreds of families could start receiving waitlist offers in early April. More families would receive offers as soon as spaces are available, rather than waiting months for subsequent application deadlines.
  • It would improve predictability: Families would automatically be on waiting lists for their top-choice schools, and they would know their place in line. This creates a clear and automated path to families to get into their desired schools, instead of the uncertainty associated with assignment runs.  
  • It would offer more preferred assignments to Main Round applicants: it would keep all of them on a path to get into their top-choice schools, without having to re-apply or compete with late applicants for seats that open up

The new process would also make the enrollment process more equitable in key ways:

  • It would ensure that all families — including focal families — stay eligible to receive their top-choice schools. Of the 1,750 Latinx, African American, Native American and Pacific Islander students who currently apply in the Main Round and are not assigned to their top-choice school, only 400 of them re-apply to secure their more-preferred SFUSD school through a second application round. 
  • It would create more opportunities for students with IEPs to get their final school assignments in time to have essential transition meetingsbecause a faster resolution process would give more families their final assignments before summer. 

Who was consulted in the development of these changes?

In late 2023, staff sought family and school feedback on these changes. We conducted 15 different community feedback sessions in English, Spanish, and Cantonese, in which over 200 people participated, and surveyed a total of 882 families and other stakeholders. Engagement included 25 different Site Leaders who we engaged asynchronously and through a virtual meeting. Responses were largely in favor of the proposals:

  • The proposed changes have a great deal of support across the board: 74% of respondents supported the proposal to eliminate Round 2 and 79% supported allowing multiple wait lists, with only 10% and 9%, respectively, opposing these proposals.
  • We looked across race, income, and zip code, and for every demographic at least 60% of respondents supported both proposals. (To see family responses disaggregated by race/ethnicity and income, and school responses please review our data slides.)
  • School Principals are also very supportive of the proposed changes: 80% and 76% supported each of the 2 proposed changes.

Who can I reach out to with questions?

Please reach out to the Enrollment Center with any questions that you may have! 

This page was last updated on May 15, 2024