Student Assignment Newsletter

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Looking back, and looking forward

May 20, 2022

Before summer break begins for students, teachers, and families, we want to look back on the school year we have all just experienced, and set our sights on our goals ahead. There’s no doubt about it: this past year has been tough! But tough puts us in a place to evaluate what’s truly important – and that’s providing the best learning environment we can for our students.

This year, we made steady progress towards creating a more racially and socioeconomically integrated learning environment by improving our student assignment system. We partnered with educational researchers, our City government, and with you – the community – to design a student assignment system that better serves our students. (Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we look back on all our progress since August).

We are committed and excited to continue our work over the summer and in the coming school year. We are especially looking forward to continuing our partnership with the community, as we will be sharing updates and soliciting feedback at in-person events in different neighborhoods throughout the summer. We'll share details in this newsletter and on our webpage, and we look forward to meeting with and hearing from many of you!

Over the summer break, we hope you will stay connected with us through this newsletter, our website, and at an event in your neighborhood. We are so grateful for your partnership as we continue to build a better student assignment system together.

Your Questions Answered

Will the new assignment policy affect middle and high school assignments too, or just elementary schools?

The new assignment policy, Board Policy 5101.2, only affects elementary school assignment. Currently, there is no plan to redesign the middle or high school assignment system.

We are aware, however, that as enrollment changes at the elementary level, adjustments may need to be made to middle school feeder patterns. If any changes do occur, we will review and discuss them with the community before they are finalized.

In the event we make revisions to the middle school feeder system, the Kindergarten class of 2025-26 would be the first class to use the new middle school feeder system, when they enter 6th grade in the 2031-32 school year.

Whether we make any future changes to middle school enrollment or not, our goal is to provide students and families with a predictable and smooth transition from elementary to middle school, and from middle to high school.
Thank you to our community members who submitted questions about the new student assignment policy. We will be answering a few questions in each newsletter. If you would like to ask a question, please use this Google Form.

Come See Us This Summer and Fall at Sunday Streets!

Throughout this summer and fall, we will be coming to a neighborhood near you to share information about the student assignment policy, hear your questions and feedback, and give out swag!

Our first event is this Sunday, May 22 at Bayview Sunday Streets! Come visit us at Mendell Plaza at 3rd and Oakdale from 11am to 4pm.

Here is where else you can find us this summer:

  • Excelsior Sunday Streets, June 12 from 11am to 4pm
  • Valencia Sunday Streets, July 10 from 11am to 4pm
  • SOMA Sunday Streets, August 21 from 11am to 4pm
  • Western Addition Sunday Streets, September 18 from 11am to 4pm

More information about Sunday Streets is on their website. We hope to see you at an event in person!

Policy Timeline Extended by One Year to 2025-26

May 6, 2022

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This month, we want to provide you with an important update.

Last week at the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment, we shared updates on the new student assignment policy, our progress on zone development, plus highlights from this year’s enrollment cycle. If you missed this meeting, you can watch the video recording or read the slide deck.

A big theme from the meeting was that this work is incredibly complex, and SFUSD has a responsibility to get it right for our students and families. Community members have also asked us to not rush the process. In response, SFUSD has decided to extend the implementation timeline by one year to 2025-26. 

This means that students applying for a new elementary school for 2025-26 will be the first group to apply and enroll under this new policy. This includes students who are new to SFUSD and currently enrolled TK-5 students who want to change schools.

This extra year is very beneficial because it allows us to:

  • Ask for more community engagement around the implementation of the policy 
  • Improve how we develop our zone map to best meet the goals of diversity, proximity, and predictability 
  • Deepen our partnerships with community organizations and City agencies to assess how resources, services, and supports can be made available in each school zone
  • Align the implementation of the new policy with other important SFUSD initiatives, including Vision 2025, Universal TK, and Facilities Capital Planning
  • Invest more time in building and testing a user-friendly assignment process, and training District staff on supporting families in the new process.

We understand this timeline extension may be surprising to some of you. We would appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this change, and how we can best use this extra time to do better work. Please let us know at

Your Questions Answered

When will zone maps be available for me to see?

We plan to provide different options for zone maps and ask for community feedback in the 2022-23 school year. Between now and then, we will be evaluating the data used to create zones and make sure maps adhere to policy guidelines and reflect Fall 2021 community feedback. Our goal is to present zone map options to the community in 2022-23 that best meet our policy goals of diversity, predictability, and proximity. Community members will have a chance to see map options and provide feedback before any map is finalized.

Please stay tuned to this newsletter, invite your friends to sign up for this newsletter, and check our website to see updates and opportunities to see draft maps.

Exciting update about zones

April 22, 2022

Last week, we shared perspectives on the new student assignment policy from many leaders in SFUSD (if you missed the blog post, check it out here). This week, we want to give you an exciting update on how we are developing the zone map.

In the past few months, we have been gathering input from leaders in SFUSD, partners in city agencies, and members of the community, and using that input to refine how we develop the zone map. We want to highlight these partnerships: 

Special Education and Multilingual Pathways

We have had many productive meetings with these two departments to think through how we want to offer special education and language programs in the new zone-based student assignment system so that these programs are accessible to all families. 


We also had some great meetings with our partners at the SFMTA about how to make sure our zones are accessible to families by walking, biking, and public transportation.

District Advisory Committee

Our District Advisory Committee on Student Assignment is made up of community members from different SFUSD parent groups. They have been providing their valuable perspectives as parents and caregivers to guide our zone development to ensure zones work well for our students and families.

What’s Next

We have taken all their feedback back to our awesome research partners at Stanford University. Together, we are refining the computer program that simulates zone map options. Just recently, we were able to preview some map options! We are also hard at work developing and testing a process to identify which maps best meet our policy’s goals of diversity, predictability, and proximity. Stay tuned for more info about our zone map development and when we might share zone map options with you.

Our work to develop a zone-based assignment system is complex, multilayered, and extremely important. We take it very seriously and are working hard to make sure we get it right for San Francisco children and families. We hope you’ll join us at next Thursday’s Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment meeting to hear a more detailed project update.

Your Questions Answered

If my family moves from one zone to another, does my child have to leave their current school and enroll at a school in our new zone?

No, your child does not have to leave their current TK-5 or TK-8 school if you move to a new zone. We do not want to disrupt students’ and families’ educational experiences, so your child can continue at their current elementary school, no matter where you move to in San Francisco.

Please join us at our next Board Meeting: Wednesday, April 28, 2022, 6-8 p.m.

Please join our next board meeting with our Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. We will share highlights from the most recent enrollment cycle, updates about the progress we’ve made to develop draft zones, and questions about the timeline moving forward.

No registration is required and Cantonese and Spanish interpretation will be provided. This is an in-person meeting that will occur in the Boardroom at the SFUSD office at 555 Franklin St.

You can also observe the meeting by Zoom or telephone by clicking this Zoom link at the scheduled time or by dialing 1-669-900-9128, then entering Webinar ID: 813 7240 216, then pressing “#”. The password is: 583102.

For more information about this meeting, please visit our website.

How will other parts of the district support zone-based student assignment?

April 8, 2022

In previous newsletters, we shared that student assignment was only one part of the change that SFUSD has to make to realize our mission of providing “each and every student” with the education they deserve, and that we would be working with other departments across the district to coordinate our efforts.

Well, since then, we’ve been busy collaborating internally with leaders in SFUSD to make sure the community’s needs are being met.

We asked district leaders from departments like Transportation, Multilingual Pathways, Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction, and Human Resources to share how their teams will support access to high-quality educational experiences for students in every zone.

These leaders all spoke about the need for collaboration—not only with the student assignment team, but with each other—to maintain and even expand access to the wide range of educational programs that SFUSD offers, and to support rigorous and affirming learning environments at every school. (In next week’s email, we will share what they said in detail.)

The changing student assignment policy creates a huge opportunity to increase quality and equity in our schools, but it won’t happen unless we work together. Luckily, we have awesome partners in the district who are collaborating already. And we are lucky to have you—the community—partnering with us on this effort as well! Have a great weekend.

Your Questions Answered

How is SFUSD drawing the zones for the new student assignment policy?

  • SFUSD is using a set of guidelines described in the board policy to draw zones, such as:
    • zones will be drawn to intentionally promote diversity;
    • zones will take into account geography, traffic patterns, and community feedback;
    • all students in a zone will be guaranteed a school in that zone; and
    • zones will reduce the distance students must travel to attend school.
  • For the complete set of guidelines, see page 3 of Board Policy 5101.2.

Thank you to our community members who submitted questions about the new student assignment policy. We will be answering a few questions in each newsletter. If you would like to ask a question, please use this Google Form.

What do we mean by diversity?

March 25, 2022

Happy Friday and International Women’s Month! In this update, we want to share what we mean when we say diversity, and why it is the top goal in our new elementary school student assignment policy.

Diversity can mean different things to many people. SFUSD defines diversity in the new student assignment policy as “the presence of the many identities, experiences, ways of making meaning and perspectives” of students, families, and staff. Our list of diversity characteristics includes: “differences in background, thought, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, national origin, and ability.”

All this simply means that SFUSD sees a benefit in diversity because research has shown that children do better⸺academically, socially, and emotionally⸺when they go to school and learn with other children of different backgrounds. (For a deeper dive, check out a blog post we wrote a while back about the benefits of integrated schools.)

However, the pursuit of diversity does not mean the end of affinity⸺the desire of families to be with other people from their community. Affinity might mean families wanting to interact with staff or other families who speak their language or share a similar background. It might mean a sense of welcoming and belonging created by the school through teachings, celebrations, and programs. The desire for affinity and belonging is important, and we support it. 

We are striving to create zones that are both diverse and promote a sense of belonging, including for students from smaller demographic groups. Zones will be diverse, but not identical to each other. Some zones will be distinct from other zones because of the makeup of its student and family populations. Also, we will not be asking students from smaller demographic groups (or any group) to travel across town to meet a diversity goal.

Many SFUSD departments will need to work together to help all students feel welcomed and included in this new system. We will need to work together to make sure that teachers, staff, and leaders at all our schools have the knowledge, training, and support needed. Our zones can create the potential for diverse enrollment, but it will take a coordinated and committed effort to create inclusive and integrated school communities. 

We know that challenges will come up and investments are needed as we pursue diversity, but we are so lucky to live in a city that has and values diversity! It’s about time we provide our children with more advantages that this opportunity provides. We are excited to continue working with you and the rest of the community to support each and every student. Have a great weekend!

Your Questions Answered

If my child is already enrolled in a school outside of my zone, will they be required to transfer to a school in my zone?

  • No. Students who are already enrolled in an SFUSD school (TK-12) will not be required to change schools. We want students and families to have stable and consistent school experiences.
  • The new elementary school student assignment policy only affects newly enrolling students, and students who request a transfer in SFUSD.

Thank you to our community members who submitted questions about the new student assignment policy. We have a new page of Frequently Asked Questions on our website, and we will continue to answer a question or two in each newsletter. If you don't see your question answered, please submit it using this Google Form.

Student Assignment in the News

KTVU interviews Lauren Koehler, the executive director of the Educational Placement Center, about what families can expect when we change to the new policy. Watch video

Go Deeper - Interesting Articles and Podcasts About Diversity

Our staff has hand-picked a selection of interesting articles for your weekend reading:

Balancing Individual Choice and Collective Goals

March 11, 2022

We hear and respect that families across San Francisco value having choice in their child's school assignment. For many families, choice can serve a very practical purpose -- to identify the set of schools that could be a good fit for their unique child and family situation. Families across the city also tell us that they value diversity, proximity, and predictability in the school assignment process, and that the current assignment system is not achieving these goals. 

The new elementary student assignment system attempts to balance the individual and collective values our community holds. The new process respects families’ ability to have school choice while also addressing the problems of racial isolation, unpredictability, and complexity created by the current school assignment process. Instead of choosing from 72 school options, which families have told us can be overwhelming, families will be able to choose from 10-12 school options within their zone. We are designing zones to give families access to educational options like special education and language programs.

How will zone-based school choice improve outcomes for our students and schools? 

Here are some of the reasons:

  • The current assignment system is very complicated. It takes time and other resources to research all the school options and navigate the steps. Not every San Francisco family has the resources to do that, which means not everyone can participate equitably in an unlimited choice process.
  • The current assignment system can be very unpredictable, since students can be assigned to any school in the city. It’s stressful for families not to have a clear idea where their child might attend school.
  • Under the current enrollment policy, families expressed concerns that they were not assigned to schools within a reasonable walking, biking, or busing distance from their homes.
  • Families have told us they value diverse schools; however, the current plan has increased racial and socio-economic segregation in our schools. It will take specific policy actions and citywide coordination to achieve our collective district goals of diversity, social justice, and strong academic achievement for “each and every student.”
  • The current choice system has resulted in under-enrollment in some schools, which leads to staffing and budget imbalance across schools.
  • Unrestricted choice creates an unnecessary sense of competition among families, and turns one of our most important communal and shared resources -- quality public education and programs across district schools -- into what might feel like a competitive marketplace.

For these reasons, supported by research on choice plans from other public school districts (Cambridge, MABerkeley, CA), it makes a lot of sense for SFUSD to move away from district-wide choice to a zone-based choice process. Creating zones with 10-12 school options maintains individual choice for families while allowing the district to better coordinate and achieve our collective goals across the district.

We know this is a big change for families, but we cannot accept the current racial isolation in our schools, or the unpredictable, stressful, and competitive school enrollment process. We are excited to continue working with you and the rest of the community to improve our assignment system and make it more equitable for all families!

Recap of Wednesday’s Board Meeting

Thank you to our community members who attended this past Wednesday’s meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. We provided updates about the progress we’ve made to develop draft zones, and discussed the implications of things we are learning while evaluating draft zones. If you would like to watch the recording of the board meeting or see the presentation slide deck, please see the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment page.

Your Questions Answered

Thank you to our community members who submitted questions about the new student assignment policy. We will be answering a few questions in each newsletter. If you would like to ask a question, please use this Google Form.

Will the new elementary school zones affect the current middle school feeder system?

  • Board Policy 5101.2 only affects elementary student assignment. There is currently no plan to change the middle (or high school) assignment system.
  • It is possible that we may need to make changes to the middle school feeder patterns once the elementary zones have been approved.
  • Any potential changes would be designed to provide all elementary students with a predictable path for grades K-8, and they would be reviewed and discussed with the community before they are finalized.

If my child is already enrolled in SFUSD when the new student assignment policy goes into effect in Fall 2024, will it be possible for them to apply to a school in my zone?

  • Yes, currently enrolled students will be able to apply to attend a different school in their new zone.
  • For all grades, seats are not guaranteed to any specific school in the zone. Students who apply can be assigned to their preferred school as long as space is available.

You're Invited! Board Meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment

March 4, 2022

Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 6-8 p.m.

Please join our board meeting with the SFUSD Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. We will share updates about the progress we’ve made to develop draft zones, and discuss what we are learning while evaluating draft zones.

This meeting is open to the public. No registration is required and Cantonese and Spanish interpretation will be provided. At the scheduled time, please click on the Zoom link and enter the webinar password.

Zoom link:

Webinar Password: 274422

ADA Accommodations: To request accommodations in order to participate remotely, please call (415) 355-7364 as soon as possible but at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to the scheduled meeting.

Translation Services: SFUSD will provide interpretation throughout today's Board meeting.

  • For Chinese interpretation, please call 1 484-854-3328‬ PIN: ‪721 609 895‬#
  • For Spanish interpretation, please call 1 319-382-9676‬ PIN: ‪665 996 976‬#

Working Together to Build Student Success

February 25, 2022

SFUSD’s mission is to ensure that each and every child receives the quality instruction and equitable support they need to thrive in the 21st century. Over the years, the community has asked how the new zone-based elementary student assignment plan will help make this goal a reality, and also expressed a desire for broader changes in SFUSD, from school funding to program placement to transportation services.

We hear you. We recognize that changing the student assignment system is only one part of the shift required to give each and every child the support they need, and that work needs to be done in multiple areas beyond student assignment.

As we described in our previous newsletter, our current assignment system has some significant problems with respect to its ability to realize SFUSD’s mission. We believe that our new zone-based assignment system will offer families more predictability, strengthen community connections, balance enrollment across schools, support effective use of resources, and reduce racial isolation in our schools. 

But there are other operational changes the District must make to fulfill our mission. One example is making sure students have equitable access to the full range of SFUSD programs within the new elementary school zone system. To that end, we are working internally across SFUSD departments, with City agencies, and with academic researchers to make this happen. In future newsletters, we will share more information about this and other collaborations to support all our schools.

We believe it will take everyone in the district and community working together to bring SFUSD’s universal goals of access and equity, student achievement, and accountability fully to life. These are big changes, and it takes all of us to make it happen.

Changing to a new assignment system is not easy work. We recognize the challenges, but it’s important to do. We cannot accept the current trends of racial isolation in our schools, or a complicated, unpredictable school enrollment process. We look forward to your collaboration as you join us on this journey to advance equity in San Francisco!

Community Town Hall Recap

illustration of women attending virtual meeting on laptopOver 60 community members joined our Virtual Town Hall this past Wednesday to hear about the latest updates to the new student assignment policy and asked their questions. We shared what we heard from our Fall 2021 community workshops and survey, and how this feedback is influencing the way we are drawing elementary school zones. If you missed this event, you can watch a video recording of the town hall or download our slide deck from our website.

Download the presentation

Your Questions Answered

Thank you to our community members who submitted questions about the new student assignment policy. We will be answering a few questions in each newsletter. If you would like to ask a question, please use this Google Form.

Can my younger child apply to my older child’s school and receive the sibling tiebreaker, even if their school is outside of their zone?

  • Yes, younger siblings will be allowed to apply to their older sibling’s school, even if it is outside of the family’s new zone boundaries. Younger siblings who are applying to an out-of-zone school where their older sibling is already enrolled still get a sibling tiebreaker.
  • The sibling tiebreaker will apply consistently to any elementary or K-8 schools where an older sibling attends, regardless of whether it is inside the new zone boundaries or outside them.
  • Students who live at the same address and have the same parent/guardian are considered siblings.

What does it mean that "all zones will provide students with access to language and special education programs"? Does that mean that language and special education programs will remain citywide, or will they be redistributed across the zones?

  • We know that no matter where you live, your child will have access to language and special education pathway programs in the district.
  • How we achieve this equitable access is one of the exciting collaborative decisions we are actively working on, involving SFUSD’s Multilingual Pathways, Special Education, and Transportation departments, the SFMTA, and our zone development research partners.
  • Working with these groups, and using feedback we heard from the community last fall, we will figure out the details of this equitable access plan before the new policy begins. Please stay tuned for more info!

Save the Date! Board Meeting on March 9

Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 6-8 p.m.

Join our board meeting with our Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. We will share updates about the progress we’ve made to develop draft zones, and discuss the implications of things we are learning while evaluating draft zones. No registration is required and Cantonese and Spanish interpretation will be provided. We will email the Zoom link next week. In the meantime, please see our website for more information about the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment.

Student Assignment in the News

two girl students talking with teacherABC7 reported on our town hall and the new student assignment policy! 

Watch the video

How Zones Will Be Better for Families

February 11, 2022

Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Black History Month! 

We are proud to celebrate the diverse people and history that make our city amazing. We are also proud to do the work of advancing social justice for our students and families. In celebration, here are two great videos that you can watch with kids: Lunar New Year for Kids and Kids Explain Black History Month.

In our previous newsletter, we shared some basic information on elementary school zones. In this newsletter, we take a closer look at how the new policy will use zones to create positive change for SFUSD students and schools. We also invite you to a virtual town hall.

Why SFUSD is Changing Our Assignment System

SFUSD’s current assignment system has been in place since 2011. It was designed to overcome residential segregation by giving families the option to choose from any school in the district. However, it has not worked as intended. The following are some of the biggest problems with the current system, and how the new zone-based system seeks to improve student assignment to benefit more students, families, and schools.

It’s Not Working for Many Students and Families

  • Stress and anxiety for families. Families have told us that the current system is complicated and causes them stress and anxiety. Some of the reasons are that there are 72 elementary and K-8 schools to choose from, the process takes several months, and there are numerous rounds and rules to keep up with. 
  • Unpredictability for families. Families have also told us that the current system feels unpredictable, so much so that many call it “the lottery.”  Although about 80% of families typically receive one of their top three school choices, families still feel anxious between when they apply and when they get their school assignment because they are not certain which of the 72 elementary schools they will get.
  • Far travel distance for families. Right now, many San Francisco families travel all over the city to reach their child’s school. On average, students living in the same Elementary School Attendance Area go to 27 different schools. This means that many students living in the same neighborhood are not going to school with each other, and not forming the social connections that bring communities together. Families have told us that they desire and deserve stronger connections with their fellow neighbors.
  • Segregation in our schools. Our own SFUSD data shows that, under the current system, more schools are segregated by income, race/ethnicity, and academic performance than they were 10 years ago. Many of our low-income students are concentrated in high-poverty schools, and historically marginalized students--Pacific Islanders, English Learners, Latinx, and African Americans--are more often enrolled in high-poverty schools, while white students are more often enrolled in low-poverty schools.

To see what other families told us about their hopes and desires for their schools and students, please read our 2020 Community Engagement Report.

How the New Zone-Based System Will Be Better

SFUSD believes that by changing how we assign students to elementary schools we can disrupt some of the inequities currently experienced under our full choice system. Here are some of the ways we believe constraining choice using a zone-based assignment system can help SFUSD fulfill its mission of providing each and every student the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive in the 21st century.

  • Offer families more predictability on where their children will attend school and minimize the effort families must use to enroll their children in school.
  • Reduce travel times for families and strengthen social connections between schools and communities.  
  • Balance enrollments across schools and provide a framework to strategically plan and allocate resources to meet the needs of every student, including language pathways and special education pathways.
  • Support the efficient and cost-effective use of school facilities and transportation services.
  • Create more integrated schools and classrooms that will help narrow the opportunity and achievement gap in the District.

We want to acknowledge that change can be difficult, and that we will face potential challenges as a district and as a city as we move into the new assignment system. However, we also recognize that the current system perpetuates outcomes that are unacceptable, including segregated schools, inequitable school funding, and unequal student outcomes. This is our opportunity as a community to create a stronger, healthier school district for the future of our students and families.

In future newsletters, we will share some of the challenges we see, and how we are addressing them, as well as more information on the zone development process.

Get involved! You’re Invited to a Virtual Town Hall

Please join SFUSD for a virtual town hall meeting to hear the findings from our fall community feedback activities. During this one hour event, SFUSD staff will present findings and recommendations for how zones will be developed based on community feedback. 

This virtual meeting will be conducted in English. Interpretation is available in 6 languages. Please register in advance to request your language interpretation. 

Virtual Town Hall: Community Feedback and Development of Elementary School Zones 
February 23, 2022 (Wednesday)
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Register in advance using this link 

We want to hear from you!

Thank you to those who submitted questions in our previous newsletter! Selected questions will be answered in the next newsletter. Here’s another opportunity to ask more questions. Please also share with us: What excites you about the new zone-based student assignment policy? What potential benefits do you see for San Francisco families, students, and schools? We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think by completing this Google Form.

Quote of the Week

“In this diverse country, especially in San Francisco, we of course hope to have diversity. It’s important for our students’ learning experience.”

-- Chinese American parent, Chinese Parent Advisory Council meeting, December 12, 2021

What you need to know about zones

January 28, 2022

Greetings and we hope you are well. This newsletter will provide information about the future elementary school zones and share what happened at last week’s Board of Education meeting.

Moving from District Wide Choice to Elementary School Zones

One of the many challenges with our current district wide choice system is that it causes great stress and anxiety for families, in part because of the large number of options available to choose from (72 different elementary and K-8 schools!) and the uncertainty of where their child will be assigned. With zones there will be less choice and, as a result, a lot more predictability.

When the new policy is implemented with kindergarteners starting school in August 2024, instead of district wide choice, families will have choice within zones.

Zones will be drawn to meet the three goals of the new student assignment policy: create diverse elementary schools; offer a high degree of predictability for families about where their children will enroll in school; and create strong community connections to local schools within a reasonable geographic distance.

Learn More about Elementary School Zones

What is a zone?

A zone is a boundary that is drawn around a group of SFUSD elementary schools. Each student will be able to apply to any of the schools in the zone in which they reside. This is different from SFUSD’s current system, in which there are no zones and students can apply to any school in the district. All zones will provide students with access to general education programs, language programs, and special education services.

How many zones will there be and what schools will be in which zones?

We are currently developing a draft set of zones so do not have an exact number yet. Based on community feedback showing a preference for larger zones that give families more options, we anticipate that there will be 6-8 elementary school zones with 10-12 schools inside each zone.

When can I see the zones and provide feedback?

SFUSD will present draft zones to the public in Spring 2022. In the coming months, we will announce opportunities for the public to see the draft zones and provide feedback.

When will the zones be final?

June 2022. After zones are final, we will update our enrollment processes and materials so that families can apply for kindergarten under the new zone-based system. New kindergarteners will start school in their zones starting in fall 2024.

Submit Your Questions about Zones

We invite you to use this form to submit any questions you have about zones and what they will mean for kindergartners enrolling in August 2024.  We will answer your questions in future newsletters.

Recap of Board Meeting

Last Thursday night, the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment met to discuss the work to develop and implement the new student assignment policy. SFUSD staff shared findings from our Fall community engagement, where more than 400 community members provided feedback on elementary school zones, and how that feedback is influencing how zones will be drawn. Staff also shared the process for drafting zone boundaries, and the process for evaluating zones to ensure they promote diversity, proximity, predictability, and equity.

You can see the meeting presentation slide deck in three languages (English | Chinese | Spanish) or watch the video recording of the meeting.

Quote of the Week

"I appreciate that the school district is taking this on; our current assignment system is not serving our children."

-- Parent from African American Parent Advisory Committee meeting on October 21, 2021

Reading of the Week

As SFUSD redesigns our student assignment policy, one of our primary goals is to create integrated elementary schools that provide students with the opportunity to experience the rich diversity of our city. In this post from October 5, 2020, we highlight a few school districts that have had success integrating their schools and improving racial equity and educational quality for all children. Read: Lessons on Integration From Around the Country

Student Assignment in the News

Unconstrained choice — allowing families to apply to all SFUSD schools — has resulted in unintended consequences for our schools: More schools are now segregated, under-enrolled, and disconnected from surrounding communities than they were 10 years ago. This recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle highlights some of the challenges we are hoping to overcome with the new student assignment policy.

You're Invited to A Board of Education Meeting This Thursday, January 20, 6-8 p.m.

January 18, 2022

Meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment

Thursday, January 20, 2022
6:00-8:00 p.m.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment is a subcommittee of the SFUSD Board of Education. The Committee meets regularly to support implementation of the new student assignment policy for elementary schools. Please join the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment for a virtual meeting this Thursday to better understand how SFUSD is drawing and evaluating draft zones, and to receive updates on the work we are doing to engage the community. 

Zoom Link

To join the meeting by video conference, please click here at the scheduled time. Webinar Password: 033938. It may help to download the Zoom app before the meeting if you don’t have it already. See here for instructions on how to join a meeting by video conference.

Listen to the Meeting by Phone

To listen to the meeting by phone, please call (669) 900-9128 at the scheduled meeting time, enter Webinar ID: 890 4864 0004, then press “#”. Webinar Password: 033938. If asked for a participant id or code, press #. See here for instructions on how to join a meeting by phone.

Translation Services

SFUSD will provide interpretation throughout the Board meeting.

  • For Chinese interpretation, please call 1 484-854-3328‬ PIN: ‪721 609 895‬#
  • For Spanish interpretation, please call 1 319-382-9676‬ PIN: ‪665 996 976‬#

ADA Accommodations

If you require accommodations to access or participate in a meeting, please call (415) 355-7364. Requests should be made as soon as possible but at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to the scheduled meeting. The District will make every effort to accommodate requests that are made within (72) hours.

We listened to your feedback — here’s what’s next

January 14, 2022

Before we provide an update on the new student assignment policy, we want to acknowledge that this is a very tough time for our students, families, staff, and schools. We’re all grappling with a sharp rise in Omicron infections that’s ripping through our community. If you need COVID-19 vaccine, testing, and health guidance information, please visit for the latest announcements. We wish for your health and safety as we get through this challenge together.

Wrapping Up Community Feedback - Thank you!

From last October through December, SFUSD held community workshops and gathered surveys to hear directly from you, San Francisco families and community members, on what you want to see in SFUSD’s future elementary school zones. Over 400 individuals provided feedback on what is important to them, and we are so grateful for that gift of feedback. Your insights are helping us develop elementary school zones that will work for students and families and create more diverse and integrated classrooms to benefit our students and our city.

We also want to thank our community partners — nonprofits, social service agencies, parent groups, and many others — who co-hosted workshops with us and provided invaluable support. Our ongoing partnership makes it possible to reach and give voice to diverse families across San Francisco.

What We Heard from the Community

Since receiving your feedback, we have compiled it, reflected on it, and learned from it. Here are the key themes we heard:

  1. Most families prefer school zones that represent the diversity of San Francisco, but have questions about how this diversity can be achieved, how diversity will be defined, and about whether students from smaller demographic groups will feel isolated within their new zone.
  2. Most families prioritize having more school options over being able to attend a school close to home (proximity), but they value both.
  3. Families want to ensure access to a range of language and special education programs for their child.
  4. Families want the district to be accountable for providing equitable resources in schools, and to invest in schools to reduce disparities.
  5. African American, Pacific Islander, Latinx families, and families with students who are English learners or receiving special education services want SFUSD to ensure diverse staffing and intentional inclusion/integration in schools.
  6. Although there are questions about how the new policy will work, many families value the policy’s overall goal: diverse learning environments.

What’s Next

We will share a full report of these learnings next month. In the meantime, we will incorporate the feedback we have received into drafting elementary school zones. The draft zones will be shared with the community for consideration later this spring, and we are hoping to finalize the zones by June 2022. Once the zones are finalized, we will begin to create all the different changes needed to launch the new student assignment policy in the fall of 2023.

Please stay tuned for more information as we send biweekly newsletters to keep you updated.

Quote of the Week

"We are thrilled to see the school board working through this proposal with the input of parents and can't wait to see the outcome."

-- Pacific Islander parent of child age 0-5, household income over $200K, from 94121, who attended Foster Youth Policy Council Workshop on November 4

Reading of the Week

Integration is not just about living our values — it’s also a critical component of a high quality education. There is robust research demonstrating that integrated learning environments improve creativity, critical thinking, leadership, empathy, and collaboration — skills SFUSD believes are critical for students to thrive in the 21st century. Take a few minutes to revisit our blog from September 2020 to learn Why Integration Matters.

Upcoming Event

Meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment
Thursday, January 20, 2022
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Please join this Board of Education virtual meeting to better understand how SFUSD is drawing and evaluating draft zones, and to receive updates on the work we are doing to engage the community. For the agenda, presentation slide deck, and Zoom link, please visit the Ad Hoc Committee web page.

Last 2 weeks to provide your input on zones

November 19, 2021

Join an Upcoming Workshop to Learn & Contribute

There is still time to provide your input on the elementary school zones! We have four more workshops until December 2 that you can attend online or in-person. Sign up for one of these workshops at

Monday, November 29, 2021
11 AM-12:30 PM
Co-host: Latino Taskforce
In-Person at 1601 Lane St, San Francisco
In Spanish with English interpretation

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Co-host: First 5 San Francisco & Office of Early Care and Education
Zoom, In English with interpretation upon request

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Co-host: SFUSD Early Education Department
Zoom, In English with interpretation upon request

Thursday, December 2, 2021
7:00 – 9:00pm
Co-host: Chinese Parent Advisory Council
Zoom, In Cantonese

During the workshop, you will learn more about the new policy, provide your input, and connect with other families and community members. After you sign up, we will email and/or text you the meeting link and details.

Sign up for a workshop

Another Way to Share Your Input

Can’t attend any of these workshops but still want to share your input? No problem, we have you covered! We have created a brief document and survey to get your thoughts on the elementary school zones. Here’s how to provide your input:

  1. Read this 2-page document (English | 中文 | Espanol) that explains the new policy and the zones.
  2. Using what you have learned from the document, answer a few questions in this survey (English | 中文 | Espanol).

Your survey responses are your input on the school zones, and we will use this information to help us draft the zones. Your input is critical! We thank you for your help!

Start the survey (English | 中文 | Espanol)

In Case You Missed It: Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

Thank you to those who were able to join our Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment meeting this Monday! During the meeting, SFUSD staff provided an update from the Fall community engagement workshops that are ongoing, and research partners from Stanford University described how we will use community input to draft school zones that will be shared with the public in Spring 2022. 

If you were not able to attend this meeting, you can see the video recording of the meeting. Stanford’s presentation starts at 20:47. We have also linked the presentation slides (available in different languages) on our Ad Hoc Committee webpage.

See the video recording

Help Us Design New Elementary School Zones

Posted November 1, 2021

Join a workshop to help design elementary zones

Don’t miss an opportunity to make your voice heard on the future student assignment policy! We have added more workshops for you to join. Your input at these workshops will be used to draw the elementary school zones, which will be shared with the community in Spring 2021 for public feedback. Many families and community members have already participated. Add your voice to the conversation!

Please visit to see all the workshops we are hosting and sign up for a workshop today. After you sign up, we will email and/or text you the meeting details.

Join the Ad Hoc Committee Meeting on 11/15

Please join the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment on Monday, November 15 from 6-8pm. At this meeting, updates about the new student assignment policy will be provided to the public and the SFUSD Board of Education members.


Join a Virtual Workshop

Posted October 14, 2021

We can’t make this change without you! We need your guidance on many aspects of the assignment policy. Join a virtual workshop this Fall to help develop new school zones for elementary schools.

  • Build a common understanding of why we’re changing the policy, and the policy’s goals: diversity, proximity, and predictability
  • Provide feedback to help us design zones that we’ll bring to the community in Spring 2022 for further discussion

Workshop Dates and Times

Wed 10/20/2021, 7:00-8:30 PM
Co-Host: 2nd District PTA
In English with interpretation upon request

Thu 10/21/2021, 5:30-7:30 PM
Co-Host: African American Parent Advisory Council
In English, open to all families of African American students

Sat 10/23/2021, 3:00-4:30 PM
Presented as part of the SFUSD Virtual Enrollment Fair
In English with interpretation upon request

Mon 10/25/2021, 10:30 AM-12 PM
Co-Host: Wu Yee Children’s Services
In Cantonese with interpretation upon request

Thu 11/4/2021, 6:00-8:00 PM
Co-Host: Parent Advisory Council
In English with interpretation upon request

Fri 11/12/2021, 12-1:30 PM
Co-Host: Mission Graduates
In Spanish with interpretation upon request

Mon 11/15/2021, 10:30 AM-12PM
Co-Host: Wu Yee Children’s Services
In English with interpretation upon request

More workshops will be added!

Learn more and register

2 Year Timeline for Implementation

Posted October 14, 2021

The Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment met on September 22, 2021 and gave the green light to adopting a two year implementation timeline. This means that the policy will go into effect for families entering schools for the first time in Fall 2024. This longer timeline will provide more time to facilitate meaningful community engagement and give families a true chance to influence the policy and understand the decision-making process.  

See the Ad Hoc Committee meeting presentation and recording

This page was last updated on May 20, 2022