School-placement letters just the beginning for parents 

click to enlarge Parents in the San Francisco Unified School District this week began receiving letters with their child's next school assignment.
  • Parents in the San Francisco Unified School District this week began receiving letters with their child's next school assignment.

Over the past few days, more than 14,000 San Francisco families have received school-placement letters. These highly anticipated letters inform parents which school their child has been assigned to for the school year that begins in August.

What now?

If you are one of those parents, you have just a few more steps to take to ensure your child gets a spot at a school in the San Francisco Unified School District.

After you receive your assignment letter, you must go to the school to register in order to secure a seat. If you would rather have your child attend a different school, you may still participate in further assignment rounds for your higher-ranked choice, but this way, you have the peace of mind that your child has a place to go in case your other choices aren't available in the next assignment round.

Assignment process

Students are assigned to schools through a choice process designed to provide equitable access to the range of opportunities available in San Francisco's public schools. Students are placed in their highest-ranked request as long as there are openings. If there are more requests for a school than openings, the student-placement process uses a series of preferences, known as tiebreakers, to assign students to one of their requested schools.

The odds are in your favor

This year, 82 percent of applicants received one of the schools they chose on their applications. If you are among the 18 percent who received an assignment you didn't choose, don't be dismayed. I often hear from families who went to their assigned school and were delightfully surprised. Others tell me about how they submitted the paperwork to be considered for future openings at a more preferred school and they got a spot before the start of the school year.

Important next steps

Your child is not automatically placed in a school until you register at the school listed on your placement letter.

Show up at the assigned school during open hours and register. It's important that you do this before April 11 or your spot will be offered to someone else in the next assignment round. When you go to the school to register, bring the placement letter you received as well as your child's proof of birth.

If in fact you do not prefer the school you've been offered, it is still safest to register at the school you were assigned while submitting an application for another school.

Remember: If you need help, there are placement counselors at the SFUSD Educational Placement Center who can guide you.

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

Key upcoming dates

Monday-March 28, April 7-11: Register at assigned school site

March 31–April 4: Spring break (schools closed)

April 11: Deadline to register; amended forms, appeals and late applications for Round 2

May 9: Round 2 notification. If a new assignment is received, it will replace the current school assignment. There will be no option to keep previous assignment.

SFUSD Educational Placement Center

Where: 555 Franklin St., Room 100, S.F.

Info: (415) 241-6085,

Hours: Open Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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