New Elementary School Student Assignment Policy

Overview

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is developing a new student assignment system for elementary schools that will change the way TK-5th grade students enroll in SFUSD. This change is not immediate and will not impact students already enrolled at schools, but will impact families applying to schools for the first time in the 2024-2025 school year.

This website describes the new zone-based elementary school assignment policy and will be used to share updates and opportunities to get involved as SFUSD prepares to implement it. Also be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates throughout the process.

Why are we changing student assignment?

The current assignment system — in which families choose from all schools in the district — is not working as intended.

  • Unconstrained choice has resulted in segregation, with low-income students more often isolated in high-poverty schools.
  • Districtwide choice places a burden on families to navigate a complicated process, and creates stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
  • Students going all across the city for school creates a disconnect between schools and community.
     

What is the new assignment system trying to achieve?

Because the current assignment system is not working as intended, the new policy seeks to address three goals:

  1. Diversity: Create diverse elementary schools that create the conditions for integrated, inclusive learning environments,
  2. Predictability: Offer a high degree of predictability for families about where their children will enroll in elementary school,
  3. Proximity: Create strong community connections to local schools and facilitate enrollment in an elementary school within a reasonable geographic distance

What will the new student assignment system look like?

Below is an overview of the future assignment system. The new student assignment system will transition SFUSD from districtwide choice to assignment within zones, and has three defining policy elements.

  1. Zones: Elementary schools will be organized into zones; students can apply to schools within the zone around their house.
  2. Diversity Categories: Within zones, each city block will be assigned to one of three diversity categories based on multiple characteristics. Each school will enroll students who live on different types of city blocks to ensure diversity.
  3. Tiebreakers: A small group of students will receive tiebreakers, or preferences, which give them priority when they are applying to schools within their zone. Tiebreakers will include: (1) sibling, (2) Equity Tiebreaker, and (3) PreK.

Read the full policy here.

Please note that Zones have not yet been drawn. SFUSD is seeking community input on how to draw the zones. Please see Community Workshops for how to get involved.

What changes can I expect starting in 2024-25?

Things that won’t change Things that will change
  • Current students won’t be impacted
  • Students with siblings already at a school will continue to get a tiebreaker
  • All students will still be able to access K-8 schools, Language Pathways, and Special Education programs
  • Choices will be significantly reduced compared to current districtwide choice, and families will have fewer options than there is today
  • Assignment process will be simpler and more predictable for families
  • Schools will be more diverse. New zone boundaries will be drawn to maximize diversity, which means some areas might be oddly shaped