Deadline for next school year's application quickly approaching 

click to enlarge Submitting your school application on or before Jan. 16 (Round 1) means you have the best chance to get one of the schools you choose. - TED S. WARREN/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Ted S. Warren/AP file photo
  • Submitting your school application on or before Jan. 16 (Round 1) means you have the best chance to get one of the schools you choose.

Happy New Year! Even though it's only January, it's tme to start thinking about August. Why? Because the deadline to apply to San Francisco's public schools for the next school year is fast approaching. Applications for the 2015-16 school year are due Jan. 16. Here in the San Francisco Unified School District, we have a choice-based enrollment system, which means families have the opportunity to choose which public schools they would like their children to attend. This is different than how it worked back when a lot of us were kids, so I get questions about it. Here are some of them:

Q: Why is the January deadline such a big deal? A: Submitting your application on or before Jan. 16 (Round 1) means you have the best chance to get one of the schools you choose. It also means you will have time later to change your choice or make an appeal. If you turn in your application by Jan. 16, you'll receive notification of your child's assigned school in the middle of March. After the Round 1 deadline, there are fewer schools with openings, so it will narrow down your choices.

Q: How many families get a school of their choice? A: Last year, 80 percent of families in grades K-12 who applied by the January Round 1 deadline received one of their school choices. For those entering kindergarten, 85 percent received one of their choices.

Q: Why do some families not get any of their choices? A: The majority of families get one of the schools they list as their top three. But every year, a few of our schools get as many as a thousand applicants who list that school as a first choice. That's 50 students applying for every one seat available. So as you can imagine not every applicant will get one of those seats.

To assign students at these high-demand schools, we use a system of tiebreakers. These are things like whether a sibling already attends the school, whether or not a student lives in an area of The City with low average test scores, whether or not a student lives in the school's attendance area -- and other factors all carefully considered by the Board of Education.

The best thing to do is to list several choices that will work for you and your family.

Q: I want my child to go to his feeder middle school next year. Do I still need to apply? A: While admitting students to their feeder middle school is a priority, assignment to middle school is not automatic. On the application, you must indicate any and all middle schools you are applying to -- including your feeder school if it is one of your choices. If you select your child's feeder middle school as your No. 1 choice, there is a strong likelihood that your child will be assigned to that school.

Q: What if I miss the Jan. 16 deadline? A: My advice: Don't miss it! Of course there are reasons you might miss it. Your application is welcome anytime, but your choices get slimmer after Round 1.

Q: What if I still have questions? A: We are here to help. If you would like some help, call or visit our Educational Placement Center at (415) 241-6085 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. You can also find more information at

Richard A. Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

Key dates

Upcoming deadlines for San Francisco Unified School District enrollment for the 2015-16 school year:

Jan. 16: Application deadline for Round 1. Deadline to submit, cancel, change or update any choices for transitional kindergarten through 12th grade.

March 13: Round 1 notification letters sent to families.

March 16-27 and April 6-10: Families must register students at assigned school.

Source: SFUSD

Pin It

Speaking of San Francisco Unified School District, school Enrollment

More by Richard A. Carranza

Latest in Careers & Education

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation