Tiebreakers

About Tiebreakers

Tiebreakers are preferences used to place students in their requested school when the number of requests for that school is greater than the number of spaces available.

  • Requests may qualify for more than one tiebreaker. In that case, requests with the highest ranked tiebreakers preference are always assigned before requests with multiple lower ranked tiebreakers.
  • Random numbers will be used for school assignments if tiebreakers do not resolve ties, or if there are no tiebreakers.
  • Tiebreakers are not used for students applying to Lowell High School or the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (RASOTA). Learn how to apply for Lowell and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.
  • Students will be assigned to their highest ranked request as long as there is space at the school.​​ 
Grade Level Tiebreakers
Transitional Kindergarten

1. PreK at the same school
2. Sibling
3. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Elementary Attendance Area Schools

1. Sibling
2. PreK/TK Attendance Area
3. Test Score Area (CTIP1)
4. Attendance Area 

Elementary Citywide Schools

1. Sibling
2. PreK/TK City-wide
3. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Citywide Language Pathways

1. Language Pathway Sibling
2. Language Pathway
3. Sibling
4. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Middle Schools

1. Sibling
2. Middle School Feeder
3. Bayview Elementary School to All Middle Schools
4. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Middle Schools Language Pathways

1. Language Pathway Sibling
2. Language Pathway
3. Sibling
4. Middle School Feeder
5. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Willie Brown Middle School

1. Sibling
2. Bayview
3. 94124
4. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

High Schools

1. Sibling
2. Bayview
3. 94124
4. Test Score Area (CTIP1)

Tiebreakers

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

  1. PreK at the same school. Presently enrolled in a SFUSD Early Education School offering TK.  Students who have been enrolled in a Pre-K program in the 2019-20 school year where TK will be offered in 2020-21 will receive this tiebreaker for their current school.
  2. Sibling. Has a younger sibling enrolled in a SFUSD PreK program or an older sibling enrolled at the elementary school where TK is offered and are requesting placement at the same site. 
  3. Test Score Area (CTIP1). Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.

Elementary Attendance Area Schools

  1. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is enrolled in and will be attending the school.
  2. PreK/TK Attendance Area PreK or TK students who live in the attendance area of the school requested; and are enrolled in an SFUSD PreK or TK in the same attendance area of the requested school.
  3. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  4. Attendance Area Elementary school students who live in the attendance area of the elementary school requested
  5. No tiebreakers Students who do not have a tie-breaker.

Elementary Citywide Schools

  1. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is enrolled in and will be attending the school.
  2. PreK/TK Citywide Incoming kindergartners who attend an SFUSD PreK or TK at the elementary Citywide school to which they are applying.
  3. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  4. No tiebreakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

Citywide Language Pathways

  1. Language Pathway Sibling Students who are enrolled in and want to continue in a multilingual language pathway; and they have an older sibling who is enrolled in and will be attending the same program.
  2. Language Pathway Students who are enrolled in and want to continue in a multilingual language pathway.
  3. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is enrolled in and will be attending the school.
  4. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  5. No tie-breakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

Middle Schools

Middle School Tiebreakers

  1. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is enrolled in and will be attending the school.
  2. Middle School Feeder Incoming 6th-grade students enrolled in an elementary school that is identified as a feeder for the requested middle school.
  3. Bayview Elementary School to All Middle Schools Incoming sixth-grade students who attended Carver, Drew, Harte or Malcolm X elementary schools from grades K through 5 and apply to any SFUSD middle school.
  4. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  5. No tiebreakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

Middle School Language Pathways

  1. Language Pathway Sibling Students who are enrolled in and want to continue in a multilingual language pathway; and they have an older sibling who is enrolled in and will be attending the same program.
  2. Language Pathway Students who are enrolled in and want to continue in a multilingual language pathway.
  3. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is currently enrolled in and will be attending the same school.
  4. Middle School Feeder Incoming 6th-grade students enrolled in an elementary school that is identified as a feeder for the requested middle school.
  5. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  6. No tie-breakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

Willie Brown Middle School

  1. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is currently enrolled in and will be attending the same school.
  2. Bayview Students enrolled in Carver, Drew, Harte, or Malcolm X elementary schools who apply to Willie Brown Middle School.
  3. 94124 Students living in 94124 who apply to Willie Brown Middle School.
  4. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  5. No tie-breakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

High Schools

  1. Sibling A younger sibling of a student who is enrolled in and will be attending the school.
  2. Willie Brown Middle School Students applying to 9th grade who attended Willie Brown Middle School in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. This applies to all high schools requested except Lowell and Ruth Asawa, which have a different enrollment policy.
  3. Test Score Area (CTIP1) Students who live in areas of the city with the lowest average test scores.
  4. No tiebreakers Students who do not have a tiebreaker.

Definitions

Siblings, Twins and Multiples

How are siblings defined by SFUSD?

Students who live at the same address and have the same parent/guardian are considered siblings.

How does the sibling tiebreaker preference work?

Younger siblings can be assigned to their older sibling’s school if the older sibling will still be attending during the upcoming school year, and if space is available. If placement in the older sibling’s school is desired, we strongly recommend that you list the older sibling’s school on the application form as your first choice. If you do not list the older sibling’s school as the first choice, there is a possibility that the student will be placed in a different school. We also recommend that you list other schools also in the event there is a lack of space in the older sibling’s school.

An older sibling will not receive a priority to attend a younger sibling’s school. The purpose of the sibling priority is to assist families with multiple children to enroll their children in a school together, not to provide a placement priority into multiple schools. Additionally, we strive to assign younger siblings into an older sibling’s school as allowable by space, but may not necessarily be able to assign the sibling into the same program (such as language programs).

We encourage you to list additional schools in the event that space is unavailable in the older sibling’s school or program.

Siblings who are applying for school at the same time for different grade levels cannot be guaranteed placement into the same school. There is a possibility that new siblings applying for school may be assigned to different schools based on space availability. Some families, in fact, choose to have the siblings attend different schools. There is no way we will know you desire to keep siblings together if different schools are listed in a different order of preference.

How do I apply for twins and multiples

If placement into the same school is desired for twins, triplets and multiples, each application should indicate the same school choices in the same order.

The parent/guardian must indicate on the enrollment application check box that they wish to have their twins or multiples placed in the same school. When one twin is assigned to a choice school, the student assignment process will seek to place the other twin into the same school if space is available. If an assignment cannot be offered to one of the requested schools, then the twins will be assigned together into the school closest to home with openings as space allows.

If you choose ‘No’ on the check box, then twins, triplets or multiples will go into the assignment process as individual students. In the event that multiples are separated in the assignment process, a sibling tie-breaker will be assigned to the sibling requesting placement into the other sibling’s school for any subsequent placement period.

What happens if I check the “Yes” box on the enrollment application to have my twins assigned together?

If you check the “yes” box, indicating that you want your twins to be assigned together, then the student assignment process will treat them initially as individual students in the computerized process. Once one twin receives a tentative assignment, the other twin will be linked with the sibling and the process will seek to assign the sibling to the school if space allows. If there is no space for the second twin, then neither twin will be assigned. If neither twin receives an assignment to any choice school, then both twins will be assigned to the school closest to home with two openings.

What happens if I don’t check the “Yes” box on the enrollment application to have my twins assigned together?

If you do not check the “yes” box indicating that you want your twins assigned together, they will go into the assignment process as individual students for the entire process. There will be a possibility that they may be separated in this process.

What are my options if the twins are separated?

The parent may submit an application form for the May Placement Period or Wait Pool Process for one twin to join the other. The twin will receive a sibling priority in the assignment process to join their sibling for any future openings. The assignment of a sibling is a higher priority after appeals, but can only be offered if there are openings at the school and program. There cannot be a guarantee that there will be openings to accommodate siblings.

I want my twins assigned together, but I am concerned about getting a lower choice school, what are my options?

Parents of twins and multiples must make a decision regarding how they want the twins’ assignment to work. Linking them together will ensure that they will be assigned together, but the trade-off will be that they both may be assigned to a lower choice or non-choice school.

Having twins treated separately in the process may result in, but not guaranteed of, one or the other twin receiving an offer to a higher choice school.

My twins are in a non-transitional grade (not TK, K, 6th or 9th) but I would like to transfer them both to another school. What are my options?

Applying for and receiving an assignment into a school and program in a non-transitional grade is only limited to available openings since students presently attending are expected to promote to the next grade.

It is recommended that parents of twins who want to transfer to another school or program check the “yes” box on the enrollment application so that the twins will only transfer if there are two seats available. Otherwise, there is a risk that one twin may be assigned and the other not. Once a twin receives a new assignment, they relinquish the former placement and there may be no opportunity to return.

Attendance Areas

What is an attendance area?

Elementary attendance areas are geographic borders drawn around elementary schools throughout the district. Middle and high schools do not have attendance areas/geographical borders.

How does my attendance area affect school placement?

We create attendance areas so there can be a system of helping you get placement in your attendance area school if you wish. You are not required to choose your attendance area school, nor can you be guaranteed a placement at your attendance area school. Middle school students get an initial placement offer based on the elementary school they attend, regardless of where they live. If middle school students decide to choose different schools, they will get an attendance area tie-breaker based on where they live.

Does every elementary school have an attendance area?

No. City-wide schools and city-wide programs do not have an attendance area. To find your attendance area school, click here.

How will the attendance area SFUSD PreK or TK tie-breaker work?

This is an attendance area tie-breaker that will apply to students who live in an attendance area and attend an SFUSD PreK or TK in the attendance area.

Will this tie-breaker apply to me if I attend an SFUSD PreK or TK but do not live in the attendance area?

No. This is an attendance area tie-breaker that will only apply to students who live in an attendance area and attend an SFUSD PreK or TK in the attendance area.

Citywide Schools

What does ‘citywide’ mean?

City-wide means there is no attendance area, and as a result city-wide schools and programs do not provide a tie-breaker for students who live near the school.

Which schools are citywide?

To find your City-Wide school, click here

What are examples of citywide programs?

Newcomer programs are a great example. These serve students who have recently arrived in the US and help them learn English. Other city-wide programs are language programs listed as city-wide on the application form. These are language programs that are available only at a limited number of schools, and have a separate enrollment capacity.