We were at an event a few weeks back where we met and heard from the Superintendent Carlos A. GarcÃa, Rachel Norton (sits on the board of education), and representatives from parents for public schools (http://www.ppssf.org). They did not provide us with a list of the top elementary schools but they did share a few things that may be good for you to know.
Our understanding is that the lottery is still in effect despite measure H which was a non binding measure that would have given parents preferential treatment to send their kids to their nearby neighborhood schools. Like Dan mentioned in his answer, the city can't assign you to a school based on where you live.
Anyhow, here are some facts that were given about the lottery system:
* 59% of applicants get into their first choice school
* 74% of applicants get into their first, second, or third choice schools
* 81% get into a school that was on their list
The representative from parents for public schools also mentioned a few things that caught us by surprise. First, you can improve your child's chances of getting into on of their top choice schools by simply putting down as many schools as you can on your applications. Due to the matching algorithms built into the lottery system (I can't really explain it) this will help improve your child's chances of getting into one of your top choices. Second, your child has a better chance of getting into a good public school if they lived in one of the low test scoring area in the city than if they lived across the street from that school (points 4 and 5 below). Surprised? we were!
According to the representative from PPSSF here's how students are selected and tie breakers work in the lottery system, listed in descending order of importance.
1. if a child already has a sibling in that school they have the best shot of getting in
2. If your child attended the attendance area's SFUSD pre-K school AND lives in the attendance area they have a pretty good shot of getting in
3. NCLB / Open Enrollment
4. Live in low test scoring area
5. Live in the Attendance area of the school
6. others - chosen at random
So where exactly are these low test scoring areas? During that meeting we were shown a map that highlighted these areas but wee weren't allowed to keep it. No worries, the representative from parents for public schools, told us where we could find it online. If you click on the following link, you will be able to download the enrollment guide from the SFUSD.edu website. On the very last page of this PDF you will find a map that highlights these low test scoring neighborhoods.
Hope this has been helpful, but I would suggest you contact parents for public schools (http://www.ppssf.org) to do your own research and verify this information.
Legal disclaimer: All above data and information is deemed reliable but subject to error and omission and not warranted.
Stella And Mike
You can visit these sights for additional information:
Recently SFUSD named the following as the most wanted schools by applicants per seat.
Clarendon Elementary, Rooftop K8, Grattan Elementary, West Portal Elementary, Lawton Alternative
You can get lots of detail on this at the Zephyr website: http://zephyrsf.com/buy/explore-schools. You'll also find other good neighborhood info there. Check it out.
I'd be happy to talk to you more about locations and what you are looking for, give me a call or drop a note.