SFUSD rethinks school assignment system

As an educator and parent, I know that where you send your child to school is an important decision. There are many different factors parents consider when selecting their child’s school, from location to program offerings, but generally speaking we parents want our children to be safe and supported and to receive a well-rounded top-notch education.

SFUSD allows parents to choose from all available schools across the City. Choice is generally a good thing but sometimes lots of parents want the same schools and there isn’t enough room and sometimes schools don’t get enough students.

The Board of Education is currently revisiting SFUSD’s approach to how elementary students are assigned to public schools in the City. This won’t affect families applying for schools for next fall but it may change things in future years.

The current approach reflects a policy approved by the Board about eight years ago. Under the current choice enrollment system families may apply to any elementary school in the District. Families submit a ranked list of choices, and students are placed in their highest requested school as long as there are openings.

If there are more requests for a school than openings, the student assignment process uses a series of preferences to ensure that all students are equitably assigned to schools. Students who do not get assigned to a requested school because there is not enough space are offered the school closest to where they live that has space.

This policy is intended to reverse the trend of racial isolation and the concentration of underserved students in the same school; provide equitable access to the range of opportunities offered to students; and provide transparency at every stage of the process.

But despite these well-intentioned efforts, the Board of Education determined last year that the policy is not working as intended and in December 2018 passed Resolution 189-25A1 Developing a Community Based Student Assignment System, which began the process of developing a recommendation for a revised Student Assignment Policy.

We are now undergoing that very process and hearing from current and prospective parents of SFUSD students is critical.That’s where you (or someone you know) comes in.

In spring 2020, community input will help staff form a policy recommendation, which is scheduled to go to the Board of Education for a vote in June 2020. If a new policy is adopted in June 2020, it would likely go into effect for students enrolling in kindergarten for the Fall of 2022.

Interested? Stay up to date and participate. Visit www.sfusd.edu/studentassignment for more information.

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