Where can I find out which public school my child would attend?

Asked by Joni, 94133 Tue Nov 6, 2007

I thought most public schools in SF operate on a lottery system, but I heard a rumor that may not be true, or is changing soon.

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Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Wed Nov 7, 2007
I've raised two very strong girls here and one went all the way thorugh public and the other did middle school at private school but is now in public HS. I know both and I am also very active with current public school issues.
Here is the information I posted on my blog. I think both of you might benefit from the information. Also as your children are approaching entry attend the school fair. The last one was 10/17. Each school sets up a table and presents thier value proposition. As you'll see in the article the "lottery" system only comes into play if there are more applicants then seats.


On October 15th I presented a seminar at the San Francisco Board of Realtors with Hydra Mendoza, a member of the Board of Education and Gentle Blythe, the Director of the Office of Community Outreach for SFUSD. Their presentation was focused on giving Realtors information to answer our client’s questions about admissions and the quality of education in The City.
The questions I hear all the time center on the admissions policies and local school issues. Here are some interesting facts that came out in the presentation.
When a child is entering school or moving up to the next level, middle and high school an application is filled out by the parents naming seven choices of schools the family has chosen. Although most schools have a designated attendance area, the administration has found over the past five years that the majority of families chose schools based on special programs available in individual schools rather than proximity to home addresses. The first round of admissions to those schools goes to the students that live in the attendance area and then the siblings of students that already attend the school. The remainder of the admissions go to students that have chosen it as one of their seven choices. 67% get their first choice of schools and 87% receive one of their seven choices.
If the school has more applicants than seats available the diversity index is used to assign students.
The Diversity index currently is:
1. Academic background of the student. (Pre-school for kindergarten)
2. Academic background of the sending school.
3. Extreme poverty.
4. Language spoken at home.
5. Family income
We were presented with a number of facts that show perceptions to be false:
• In San Francisco 70% of our students go to public school and that number is consistent with ratios throughout the country.
• USA Today reports that overall performance in core subjects, student’s performance is no better if the student graduates from private high school or public high school.
• SFUSD has 7 high schools in the top 5% of high schools in the country according to Newsweek Magazine.
• For six consecutive years SFUSD has improved on test scores and outperformed the seven largest urban school districts on the California Standards Test (CST).
• SFUSD has an 11.3 year average term for teachers, which is higher than the CA average of 10.4 years.
• San Francisco has a declining population of school age children, but that the entire state is losing at the same rate.
• SFUSD has 56,000 students and is losing 800 each year.
The high cost of living and the assumption that you can’t get a quality education in San Francisco’s public schools has led to the fact that SF has the lowest population of school age children. My own experience raising two children in San Francisco has shown that there are good schools and great educations to be had. Parental involvement keeps the children on track and community involvement keeps the schools on track.
San Francisco is a great place to raise kids. They have a level of sophistication because they are a part of this City.
Web Reference:  http://www.FogCityGuide.com
1 vote
Mary Fenton, , San Francisco, CA
Wed Nov 7, 2007
Hi Joni. You are correct about the lottery system, and I believe all of the public schools are involved. My son is in preschool and will be starting kindergarten next year so I am getting ready to start the selection process myself. It is a bit overwhelming as there are so many schools and so little time! The first thing I would do is visit the district's website or visit their office; the website is http://www.sfusd.edu. There you can get a detailed description of how the system works, you can download the application, get info on all of the schools, and find out about enrollment deadlines.

Basically you will choose your top seven schools and hope for the best. It is good to start visiting schools, talking to other parents, and possibly attending one of the workshops offered by the district.
Web Reference:  http://www.vanfenton.com
1 vote
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2007
I just finished an article for my blog and newsletter that covers your questions. I recently organized a teaching opportunity for SFUSD to come and talk to a group of Realtors. If you have any questions after looking at the article feel free to cantact me and I can put you in touch with the right people.
I have the admissions policy and the diversity index available in the article. All informatiosn is from SFUSD.
Web Reference:  http://www.FogCityGuide.com
1 vote
Michael Robe…, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Hi Joni, Your county office of education website is a great start..Then, you have to call the identified school to be certain there have been no realignment within the District.

1 vote
Jemmy Kan, Home Buyer, Somerset, NJ
Wed Mar 19, 2008
Excellient! and I have also detailed my reasoning in other thread as you can click to see ... http://www.trulia.com/voices/Schools/Which_markets_give_you_…
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