Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We don't like our child's school assignment! Now what?

When the impeccably dressed government worker delivers your child’s school assignment letter (hopefully on March 19), sit yourself down before you open the letter and STAY seated. This will insure that you avoid injury when you (a) jump for joy, or (b) scream hysterically and smash your head on every wall in the house in disgust. Washing down your morning dose of Prozac with a good stiff drink before opening the letter might help too.

If answer is “a,” run, don’t walk, to the school and enroll your child by the deadline.

If answer is “b,” now what?

Families have tried various strategies for survival after the dreaded letter arrives, including enrolling as a group in a lesser known school when they liked the principal and location, enrolling at said dreaded school and trying your luck in the next couple of rounds of the lottery, forgoing enrollment in SFUSD completely until an acceptable opening becomes available (Did you know that you can transfer into a public school at any time from outside the District; whereas, internal transfers within the District are blocked after a certain date?), mortgaging the house for parochial/private down payment, home schooling, waiting it out for another year in a transitional K program, or moving out of the District completely. And I have probably missed a few options.

Feel free to share your experiences and recommendations for survival after the dreaded letter arrives. What advice can you offer for eventually getting into a SFUSD public school that you like.

Anyone from J. Serra ready to share their story?

- Donna


  1. I know this is such a difficult process. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all of you! Here are blog posts that I wrote last year on this topic that might be of interest:

    Losing the Lottery

    The Parents, the PDF, and the Official Letter

    I wish all of you lots of luck!

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  3. "Did you know that you can transfer into a public school at any time from outside the District; whereas, internal transfers within the District are blocked after a certain date?"

    Keep in mind, though, that this is subject to availability. You will be offered a spot, but only at schools that are not at capacity. In other words, if you do not enroll, then wait until a month or so after school starts, you can enroll at "a public school THAT HAS AN OPENING at any time." That could be your neighborhood school (if, for example, someone drops out after school starts), or it could be a school miles from your home. In terms of a strategy if you don't get the school you want, I wanted to emphasize that simply declining to enroll does not guarantee a transfer into the school of your choice after school begins.

  4. Gateway middle school notifications went out Thursday night. We did not get in. UGGGH!

  5. I'm so sorry, Joseph. I know another family that also did not get in. I hope things go better for you in the SFUSD lottery.

  6. We didn't get into any of the schools requested and are in Round 2. We also are doing a medical appeal because my son has Sensory Processing Disorder (diagnosis happens in June) and is in a school that is a horrible match with lack of support, DW. Meanwhile, I'll be touring schools in Mill Valley. This has been a long journey. My son is in kindergarten now and has dealt with consistent bullying,an old teacher who can't manage an urban class, and high anxiety about recess time in the morning. I've spent hour upon hour in meetings, bringing in other professionals outside the district, and cajoling the principal/teacher to support him. If we don't get a decent school, I've decided I'll have to drive into SF for any cultural activities or friend visits. The quality of my son's education is more important to me.