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How to find the right school for your children

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Submitting an application by Jan. 12, 2018 will ensure families have the best opportunity to get a school assignment of their choice. (Courtesy photo)
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You may not believe it, but thousands of families have begun looking for schools to enroll their child for next fall.

Because we encourage families to find the right school for their child, we also open our school doors for them each fall so they can get an up-close look and learn more about the community.

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT SCHOOL?

I’ve been an educator for a long time now, and I have three grown children.

So you could say I know what it means to choose a school.

If you are looking at SFUSD schools for the 2018-19 school year, here are some things to think about:

FIRST, LOGISTICS

Before you even head out for a visit, consider the basics. Where is the school located? How will your child get to school each day? Does the start and end time work for your family’s schedule? Do you need an after-school program at the same school?

SHOW & TELL

A school’s academics and culture should literally be up on the walls for you. Take a close look at artwork, data charts, poetry, even how teachers’ names are displayed. (Some of our teachers include their college alma mater next to their name as a way to remind students that we are a college-bound culture).

ASK

When you talk with the principal, parent tour guides, or teachers, ask them what they like about the school. If they talk about things that you want for your child, then you are well on your way to having a good match. More importantly, if you’ve heard the school has challenges, go ahead and ask directly about them. It’s so much better to hear from school staff about how issues are being addressed than to rely on rumors.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE CLASSROOM

If you have the opportunity to observe a classroom (which may or may not be possible on your scheduled tour), notice what students are doing. It can sometimes look chaotic and noisy with small groups of students doing different activities. Or it may sometimes look like everyone listening to the teacher. Either way, upon close inspection, you should be able to see whether each child is participating in his or her learning.

PLEASE FILL OUT AN APPLICATION ON TIME!

Submitting your application on or before Jan. 12, 2018 (Round 1) means you have the best chance to get one of the schools you chose. It also means you are able to change your choice or appeal the school you are assigned if you want a different school.

We look forward to seeing you in the hallways of one of our schools during your school tour.

Learn more at www.sfusd.edu/enroll.

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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