Don’t Freak Out! Your Kindergartener Will Get into a GREAT Public School!
This post was written on March, 2015. By now a new round of prospective parents are looking at kindergartens. For that reason, I’ve updated it with current enrollment information. Please share with other future SFUSD parents!
SFUSD Enrollment season is upon us! This coming spring, letters go out to students and families informing them of which schools they can enroll in this fall. Now that my girls are well beyond kindergarten, I’m happy to leave that anxiety behind, however I know there are some parents out there currently feeling it. They say, “Hindsight is 20-20,” and with that in mind, I’d like to provide some solace with perspective during this anxious and exciting time.
The Good News: Most people get their school of choice!
Based on a report put out by SFUSD’s Educational Placement Center (EPC), for the March 20th 2017 Round 1 Assignment Run, 86% of kindergarten applicants received one of their choices, and 61% of applicants received their first choice school. (If you are interested in seeing more districts enrollment reports, go here.)
The Other Good News: If you don’t get your first choice, you can re-apply!
Parents can participate in a 2nd and 3rd round to try to get into a school of choice. If you need more information on this process, contact: SFUSD EPC. Also, Parents for Public Schools is a great resource. (See info below re: important dates, events, and links.)
But wait, there’s MORE: There are lots of GREAT elementary schools that you haven’t heard of!
Did you know: there are 70 elementary schools in SFUSD? Many parents have heard the names: Claire Lillienthal, Clarendon, Rooftop… But how about Yick Wo, Spring Valley, or John Yehall Chin? (My girls went to Jean Parker and we felt it was the BEST SCHOOL IN THE CITY!) There are AMAZING schools in every neighborhood that you may not know but, I know many of the parents couldn’t be happier at the other unknowns.
Ponder this, based on a 2017 enrollment report, of the 4,593 kindergarten applications SFUSD received in Round 1 last year, there were 2,330 requests for Clarendon. That’s over 50% of all applications! But since parents have only heard of a few schools, this is understandable. Some even fear they’ll pick a “bad one.” This issue is so prevalent that according to the district’s 2017 report, of the district’s 70 elementary schools:
- 16% of applicants listed just one choice on their application
- 25% listed three or fewer choices
As you can see, if everyone picks the same 17 schools, there just won’t be space for everyone. And, as I said before, just because a school doesn’t have a lot of name recognition doesn’t mean it’s not a perfect fit your kid. Venture out, it’s really okay. Find an alternative school of choice that fits your child.
There is a lot of movement on the first 10 days of school.
During the first ten days, the district does what it calls a “ten day count” in which schools take note of students who are absent. If a student doesn’t show up to school in one of the first ten days, they are dropped from enrollment. Who knows why students don’t show up, but things happen such as families move, choose private schools, and viola! Spaces open up. So have no fear, during the first few months of Kindergarten it’s a music chairs of sorts. Thus, no big deal if your child starts school at one site and transfers in a week or so. Though it sounds stressful, many families do it and are happy with the result. I know several families that have transferred between schools even after several years, and everyone is happy! Read their stories here.
School of Choice: Important Dates to Keep in Mind
- Friday, January 12, 2018 – Turn in your application paperwork for students in grades TK-12 to apply for 2018-19 (except for Lowell and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts HS, which is earlier). This is also your deadline to cancel, change or update any choices.
- Friday, March 16 – Round 1 offer letters go out. Many will be received this Saturday or Monday. If do not receive your offer letter by then, wait until Wednesday, March 19, and then go to the Educational Placement Center, 555 Franklin Street, to get a duplicate copy of your offer letter. (Do not go before Wednesday.)
- TBD. – Attend a Parents For Public Schools Workshop on Navigating Round 2 and Beyond. Register for this event here. PPS-SF members will share information on the 2nd round enrollment process and provide advice from parents who have gone through it before.
- March 19-23, & April 2-6, 2018 – Register at your offered school or you could lose your seat. This is very important as I had a friend who decided to accept his 2nd choice school but forgot to register. He almost found himself with NO choice! This is from the SFUSD website: “After the initial placement offer, we recommend that you register to secure enrollment at the school site. Even if you accept a placement offer, you can still choose to seek a higher choice school during any placement or waiting pool period. In order to secure enrollment, you must go to the school and register by bringing your placement letter and proofs of birth and residency by the deadline date stated on the letter. You can read more here.”
- Friday May 8, 2014 – Round 2 offer letters go out. If a new assignment is received, it will replace the current school assignment. There will be no option to keep your previous assignment.
- For more key dates click here.
For further reading…
- The Application Paperwork Is In… Now What? Getting our Kids Ready for Kindergarten.
- K-Readiness: How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready?
- Easing Kindergarten Jitters
- Books that Ease the Transition…
Do you have a question or concern about getting into a Kindergarten school of choice? Or do you have some advice for parents worried about enrollment? Please share it in the comments below.