Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hot topic: Twins!

A suggested forum topic from an SF K Files visitor:

"There are a lot of twin families in SF and there is a lot of disinformation about how to apply to the public school system with twins. I would love to hear from those who have gone through the application process to find out what works and what does not work. I know that there was some discussion about twins not having sibling priority under your '10 day Count' entry but it would be great if there was a whole entry dedicated to this topic. "


  1. For the most accurate info on twins and the enrollment process, be sure to contact the SFUSD EPC and Parents for Public Schools.

  2. Assuming you want both children to go to the same school. I was told last spring by SFUSD that you list the schools in the same priority on both applications, and that you should let them know that they are twins when turning in the forms.

  3. There was a thread in the last couple of months on either the SFSchools or PPS listserv that highlighted the confusion about this issue, I'll see if I can find it and post a link.

    The district says that with twins you need to complete two identical Round I forms with the same schools in the exact same order and the other twin's name in bold capitals written across the top with the word TWIN highlighted.

    If memory serves, the core of the confusion was that some people at the EPC were saying that if you did this, you would be given sibling preference in Round I and later to be able to have your twins at the same school, while other folks at the EPC were saying that there is no sibling preference for twins at any time.

    There is a parent of twins entering K next year who has been trying to get copies of the district's policy and computer assignment program to determine the real story, but I think there is still little transparency on this issue.

    From what I understand, the district is basically saying: we'd like you to voluntarily limit your Round I choices to 7 (rather than the 14 you'd have if you created two independent Round I lists). In exchange, we'll place your twins together. But then again some at the district/EPC insist that there is no policy of sibling preference for twins. Very confusing and frustrating!

    If anyone at the district can clarify this, we'd be grateful!

  4. As a twin Mom whose kids are in Kg I can confirm that the info already posted is correct. Write TWIN on everything and turn in the SAME school list. I will also had a big GOOD LUCK. The system is a huge disadvantage for twins. If you do not get any of your 7 schools you likely will not get anything in Round II or wait lists either. The probability of TWO slots coming open is very low. Do not pad your list with impossible schools hoping to get in to a good one off a wait list b/c your chances are FAR less than folks with singletons. And low to begin with because even if one of your kids pulls a high lottery#, there have to be 2 slots at that school for them to go. Likely there are not, so then you get bumped down your list. Many twins families we know got ZERO choices & nothing in wait pools. Be prepared for this. Just another way that SFUSD is so NOT family friendly!

  5. i have twins and agree with the previous poster.

    i wrote TWINS on top and have always had identical lists.

    have always gotten mixed info from EPC including "get one in and we'll make space for the other..."

    we had zero luck in the lottery and in all waitpools. we are still waitlisted and will never get spots. you are screwed for future year transfers because you need two spots. it is very unfair for us.

  6. Thank you for this topic. As a twin mom looking for public kindergarten for the Fall of '09, this is worrisome.

    To the last two posters, would you do anything differently if you could do it again? If I go 0/7 with my twins linked together, what about separating them for Round 2 and the waitpool, in the hopes we get one of them in somewhere we are excited about, and then have the other twin join up later in the school year or for first grade? I assume you would get sibling priority for first grade, right? Of course this assumes we could handle dropping off and picking up from 2 schools.

    Maybe this all sounds too crazy, just trying to think outside the box here.

  7. 11:32 -

    yes, that's an option, but also a risk.

    i would organize if i were you. you need to march down to EPC and get it in writing that they will give you sibling priority.

    i swear the reason we have never been called on waitpools was because there are two kids. it makes me wish waitlists with names were public and posted somewhere.

  8. 11:32 following on your thoughts

    I have a question on sibling priority in general as it applies to twins, do we even really get it as there is no younger or older sibling.

    I guess the answer comes down to how the district views twins, if for some reason the "system" can't deal with identical birth dates then we are just out of luck with using sibling preference.

    4:45 I think you have an excellent point

    "i would organize if i were you. you need to march down to EPC and get it in writing that they will give you sibling priority. "

    Does anyone want to organize and get some clear answers? We need to know what the rules are. I fear we are at a huge disadvantage as opposed to "usually spaced" two kid families or one child families on wait pools etc. unless we know the truth.

  9. Good luck folks. If you can get anyone at EPC to do anything other than cross their eyes at you when you mention twins, more power to you. Sorry, this twin parent is VERY bitter.

  10. Spoke with Archie Fokin, Director @ EPC and he said that on the enrollment form this year they have a check box for twins and triplet. He said the goal is to keep twin together. However they do go thru the lottery run as separate individuals -- if they are assigned separate schools during the run, say one gets the first choice and the other gets seven then the system flags this and they call the parents to see what they want to do. In this case the twins ARE given sibling priority on the wait list for the other school. I also asked if one twin goes to one school in Kindergarden and the other to another can we use sibling priority in first grade, and the answer was yes.

    Good news, hopefully someone else can confirm this with the same or another source.

    EPC phone numbers can be found here:

  11. To Seb: Wow, that is terriffic news and seems to be an improvement. Hope it works.

  12. ^^Thanks!!


  13. I don't think that SFUSD really does run your twins separate. We got 0/7 of our choices and both ended up with the same school off our list. Same thing happened to my friend with her twins last year. How could they end up with the same school not on our list?? Nobody contacted us.

  14. Please see my 3-part post tonight about our recent experience with the wait pool w/twins (under current headline post "waitpool calls". It was an absolute nightmare. Mr. Folkin actually told me that twin families "are at an advantage" in this system. ?????
    I can tell you that no one calls you when they assign your twins to 2 different schools. And no one at EPC has EVER told us that this might happen in the last wait pool. IN fact, they always put our apps together, stapled w/ "twins" all over it, and tell us they are run together. We had NO idea a letter could come this week and nearly missed in our big batch of mail. Had we missed it, we'd be sending our twin 2nd graders to 2 different schools w/same start time on opposite sides of town. How is this an advantage?
    Yes, twins get sib priority, but in order for this to have ANY relevance you have to endure separating your twins for a bit (3 or 10-d count) and risk possibly having them spend a yr separated. Of course non-twin sibs may have to do this too, but it is altogether different than separating identical twins who may have never been apart before and are very intricately entwined emotionally and physically. Pls read my 3-part story for more info. (posted today)

  15. I have twins - one got Peabody and one got Sutro (our neighborhood assignment). We are not taking the spots, b/c we are going private, but odd that they got different schools. I did put down that they were twins on the application. Peabody said that my other child would have gotten in as a sibling.