Enrolling Special Education Students

Special Education: How to Apply

Children identified with a disability that affects their education may be eligible for special education services and an Individual Education Program (IEP). An IEP may include specialized academic instruction, related services, the use of supplementary aids and services, curriculum accommodations and modifications, and other individually determined services.

How do students with special education needs apply for school?

Students with an IEP may be required to submit an enrollment application if they are new to SFUSD*, entering a transitional grade (transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth and ninth), Access/Transition Services for 18-22 year olds, transferring to another school, or have changes to their special education needs. The same SFUSD enrollment application is used for all students.

Note: If the student is new to SFUSD, families should attach their child's latest signed IEP (if available) to the application and consider meeting with a Special Education placement counselor at the Enrollment Center (EC).

Most students with disabilities can apply to attend a school of their choice based on space available. All schools have related services (such as speech and occupational therapy) and up to a Resource Specialist (RSP) level of services and most have up to a Mild/Moderate special day class level of services. Highly specialized services are only available at specific schools, for example, SOAR, Autism Focused special day classrooms, etc. 

To find the locations of specialized classrooms and services, use the SFUSD School Finder or the SFUSD Enrollment Guide. For more information about the Types of Specialized Classrooms and services offered visit www.sfusd.edu/sped. The locations of specialized programs and services at schools are subject to change. For the latest information, contact a Special Education placement counselor at EPC.

Students with special education needs or mobility, vision or hearing impairments who request to be in the same school as their siblings will receive a sibling tiebreaker preference as long as their selected school also provides the special education services required within their IEP.


Does your child need special education services?

If you think that your child needs special education services, please contact the following:

  • PreKindergarten: Intake Unit at 415-401-2525 x1101 or email ecreferrals@sfusd.edu
  • Transitional kinder to 12th grade+: SFUSD Principal or Screening and Assessment at 415-759-2222

More information about special education assessment is available on the Special Education Assessment page of this website.

Need help?

Special Education placement counselors at the Enrollment Center are available to assist with enrollment. Call 415-241-6085 to speak with our team. 

Additional information on this website: 

Comprehensive special education enrollment information is also available in our SFUSD Enrollment Guides:  English | Español | 中文 | Tiếng Việt | عربي Tagalog | Samoa.

View the slides from the Enrollment Fair for an overview of the special education enrollment process. English | Español | 中文 


This page was last updated on September 13, 2023