Navigating the system: San Francisco
Live in San Francisco? We did the homework to help parents make informed choices about the city's schools.
Learn more on what to look for when touring schools in these videos:
Video: How to find a middle school
Video: A guide to private schools
Playground at McKinley Elementary School, San Francisco
By GreatSchools Staff
Parents in San Francisco have been complaining for years about the complicated and sometimes torturous assignment process for placing their children in the city's public schools. After more than a decade of debate, San Francisco's Unified School District (SFUSD) recently adopted a new, simplified assignment policy for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.
"The assignment system was desperately in need of an overhaul," explains Ellie Rossiter, Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools San Francisco (PPS-SF) and parent of two children in local public schools." The new system is designed to be transparent, flexible, and the same for everyone. It's a hybrid of parental choice and student diversity, where the old assignment process looked for school diversity above all else. This is a better system than we had, but we need to wait and see how things work out."
Find the best school for your child
You have many resources for finding the schools that best serve your child’s needs. Click here to compare public schools by selecting start times, after school programs, or location. View GreatSchools' school-specific ratings and parent reviews, as well as the district’s report card (SARC) for individual schools. Parents for Public Schools (PPS) San Francisco will connect you with parent ambassadors at local schools who serve as liaisons between prospective parents and the schools.
Applications are due on January 27, and placement offers are mailed mid-March. You can find all the required forms here. The application is simple, and asks for your address, home language, special needs, and a rank listing of up to seven schools you want your child to attend. For the 2009-2010 school year, 80 percent of kindergarten applicants received one of their chosen schools, and 64 percent received their first choice.
Applicants must be five years of age on or before November 1 of the school year to be legally eligible for kindergarten, and six years old on or before November 1 to be legally eligible for first grade. SFUSD requires children whose first language is not English to be tested for English proficiency before applying. If your child is new to the district, you must submit the application to the Educational Placement Center. Be sure to also bring a parent/guardian photo ID, the applicant's proof of birth, and two proofs of home address.