3.8.6 School Transfers / Change of Program Eligibility

School Transfers / Change of Program Eligibility

Transfers during the school year are disruptive for students and schools and will generally not be accepted.  Transfers are not permitted after the first week of September except in limited circumstances:

  1. Change of address
  2. Disciplinary action
  3. Safety concerns
  4. IEP Team-approved transfers for special education students

i. Change of Address

Parents/guardians who move within San Francisco may be allowed to transfer their children to a school closer to the new residence depending on space/program availability and, for special education, depending upon the student’s unique needs as set forth in the student’s IEP.  EPC may refer the parent/guardian of the special education student to the student’s IEP Team. (See “IEP Team-Approved Transfers” below.)

Parents/guardians may submit a request for transfer by completing a Change of Address form and submitting it to the Educational Placement Center (EPC) at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100, telephone: (415) 241-6085. A change of address must be submitted within 14 days of a move.

A picture ID of the parent/guardian and proof of the new address must accompany the Change of Address form.  The two address proofs must contain the name and address of the parent/guardian and must be dated and current.  

Any two of the following are acceptable documents: a utility bill dated within 45 days, or a current automobile insurance policy and vehicle registration, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, property tax statement, lease, Section 8 agreement, pay stubs, voter registration, or a letter mailed to parent/guardian by a governmental agency (e.g. social services) dated within 45 days.  These transfers will not be approved after April 15th. 

ii. Disciplinary Action

Students may be transferred through SFUSD Pupil Services as a result of an expulsion hearing or counseling conference.  If a special education student is transferred through Pupil Services as a result of an expulsion hearing or counseling conference, Pupil Services and the sending school will ensure that a copy of the student’s current IEP is faxed to the receiving school and that education records are forwarded promptly to the receiving school.  If needed, the sending school will participate in an IEP at the receiving school within 30 days. 

iii. Safety Transfer Process

Safety transfer requests must be based on continuing and credible threats of serious physical, psychological, or emotional harm. For example, Safety Transfers might be initiated because of substantiated safety concerns related to violence, sexual harassment/assault (“Title IX”), or bullying incidents. All safety transfer requests are initiated at the school site by the parent/guardian submitting a written description of the continuing and credible threat to the student’s safety and the required agency documentation (see below) to the site administrator or designee.  The school site will complete an investigation regarding the reported concern and, if the concern is substantiated, the school site will complete a Safety Transfer request. 

The safety transfer request will include:

  • A signed and completed Safety Transfer form completed by the school site designee
  • A copy of the school site investigation completed by the school site to address the parent’s concerns
  • A copy of the required agency documentation (see below) provided by the family. 

The parent/guardian must submit the following type of agency documentation regarding the continuing and credible threat of serious physical, psychological, or emotional harm:

  • A written statement from a representative of the appropriate state or local agency, including, but not necessarily limited to, a law enforcement official or a social worker, or properly licensed or registered professionals, including, but not necessarily limited to, psychiatrists, psychologists, or marriage and family therapists, OR
  • A court order, including a temporary restraining order and injunction, issued by a judge, OR
  • Copy of the investigation (incident) report completed by the appropriate Law Enforcement Agency, OR The Title IX Notice of Outcome letter/letter of finding received from the school site,
  • Outcome letter/letter of a finding of bullying received from the school site.

Parents/guardians may also include any other supporting documentation.

A school site designee shall forward the completed Safety Transfer packet electronically to the Office of Pupil Services by submitting the request via OPS Portal.

 Safety Transfer Requests are reviewed by a panel composed of a multidisciplinary team in the district. 

The safety transfer requests will be reviewed under the following process:

  • 1. Requests that have all the required documentation will be processed within two weeks.
    • a. Requests will be approved when there are unique and special circumstances that are not common to other students; and that involves a continuing and credible threat of serious physical, psychological or emotional harm to the student.  
    • b. Requests are granted on a case by case basis and will not be granted for every interpersonal conflict that may occur at school.  
    • c. The panel will review student records in considering whether the circumstances necessitate a Safety Transfer request and the appropriate school assignments. 
    • d. The panel will identify one suitable school alternative.
    • e. Assignment will be based on an assessment of where the student can safely attend and to minimize and prevent conflict with other students or staff. 
  • 2. Additionally, Safety Transfer requests based on bullying incidents outcome letters till be reviewed under the following specific parameters:
    • a. Requests that all the required documentation will be processed within two weeks.
    • b. The multidisciplinary panel will review the request and its attached documentation.
    • c. Based on the guardians/parents’ input the  panel will identify one suitable school alternative.
  • 3. All Safety Transfer Requests will follow these criteria: 
    • a. All assignment will be based on schools that have space/program availability at the time of the approval of the request
    • b. Pupil Services will inform the family of their new school assignment.
    • c. All assignments by the panel are final.

If after the completion of the school site investigation a concern is not substantiated, the school site designee will inform the family that the criteria to submit a Safety Transfer are not being met and that:

  • 1. The student will remain at the current school.
  • 2. A School site designee will meet with family to develop a student support plan.

  • 3. Families must follow SFUSD attendance guidelines.

  • 4. Families can apply for a Spring or Fall transfer through the Educational Placement Center.

Education Placement Center
555 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

iv. IEP Team-Approved Transfers (Special Education)

For special education students, the IEP team determines the student’s placement in the least restrictive environment.  A change in school may be needed during the school year if the student’s IEP Team determines that the student’s needs cannot be met at the current site. If a change in school is needed,  the new case manager will convene an IEP meeting within 30 days to address how services will be delivered in the new school setting. 

V. Other Transfers

  • 1. Change of Program (Language Immersion and Biliteracy Programs)Parents/guardians who wish to change their child into or out of a language program (e.g. change from the Spanish Biliteracy program to the general education program or vice versa), may submit an application to EPC through the appropriate enrollment cycle process.  A request for transfer is based on space/program availability, student’s grade level, and student’s language proficiency and/or needs. 

For students who are unsuccessful in their language pathway at their current SFUSD school, parents may consult with the school about a Change of Program to transfer out of the language pathway.  The Coordinated Care Team will discuss and determine whether such a transfer is appropriate.  The Principal must submit evidence to show that the student is not successful in their current pathway. If space is not available in the general education pathway at the child’s current school, the parent can submit a Change of Program request for their student to be transferred to a school with space that can meet their needs.

  • 2. Probation Transfers. Juvenile Probation Department completes a “Request for Student School Placement or School Transfer” form, which is submitted to SFUSD  Pupil Services, 727 Golden Gate Avenue, 2nd Floor, to the designated Program Administrator, with the exception of probation youth in out of-home (Foster Youth) placement, who will be referred directly to EPC.

vi. Exit/Withdrawal Procedures

Any student who will be transferred within SFUSD schools should not be withdrawn by the school site.  EPC will enter in all internal SFUSD transfers that involve Special Education students, change of program, inter-district transfers, or change of address. 

Transfers for safety or disciplinary action will be determined by Pupil Services.  

Any student who has withdrawn and is requesting re-enrollment into SFUSD within the same semester will be returned to the previous school of enrollment if there are openings and if the openings have not been filled in the enrollment cycle.

This page was last updated on September 28, 2022