If you have a 4 or 5 year old headed to TK/Kindergarten next year, you need to read this! Having gone through this grueling process recently, I hope that some of the tears I shed through this stressful time can save you from shedding some of your own as you embark on this elementary school journey! There is a LOT to learn, and not a ton of time to learn it.
Today, October 7th, at noon, the SDUSD Choice Application became available. What is the SDUSD Choice Application, and how might it apply to you, you ask? Well, here goes nothing…
- I exaggerate how this may apply to you, because “School Choice applications are only necessary IF YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO ATTEND A SCHOOL OTHER THAN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL, or if you reside outside of SDUSD boundaries.” If you’re not sure what your neighborhood school is, or whether or not you like it, start with punching in your address here and take a tour! Most schools in the district will be offering one or two tours during the choice window, so make sure to do some research sooner than later and mark your calendar, as the tours typically occur during normal business hours. Tour times are often listed directly on the school’s website, but you can always call the front office to ask about dates. These tours will allow you to see the school, meet the teachers, and ask questions. If you want more insight/info about the school, or if you’re interested in how well their students do on standardized testing, check out greatschools.org, or turn to your local nextdoor.com and start asking your neighbors! If you feel comfortable with your neighborhood school, GREAT! Attending your home school has a ton of benefits, and you can now sit back, relax, and enroll your child at your convenience sometime before the school year begins.
- If you are NOT comfortable with your home school, you’ll want to give this choice application thing some thought. It is important to know that the choice application process is NOT first come first serve, so you should spend the next few weeks doing all that you can to find the right school (or three) for your child, and get your application in on or before NOVEMBER 13th, 2019. You do not have an advantage of getting him/her into the school by submitting your application early. You will have the opportunity to select up to three “choices” on your application, and filling in all 3 blanks does not factor into the selection process for your first choice school. In other words, listing only one school does not increase your odds, so FILL IN ALL THREE BLANKS!
From the SDUSD Website:
Q: Is there a way to find out what the chances are of being selected for my first choice school?
A: There is a published list of rates of acceptance on the Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options webpage. This list tells you the percentage of accepted applicants for all schools and is a good tool to reference to predict if your child will get into the school of Choice.
- This is important mamas! Each year the district releases historical data of acceptance rates at every school (19/20 data should be released soon). While it fluctuates year-to-year based on community growth and school capacities, you are essentially looking at your odds of getting in. So, if you select 3 schools with historically low acceptance rates, your odds are much lower of getting accepted into any of them. (Are you starting to see why I shed tears over this process? Stay with me; it gets worse…)
- Charter schools & Magnet schools. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate independently of the state school system, and each has their own enrollment process. Applying for a charter school does not affect your SDUSD choice application, so you should tour any that strike your interest, and APPLY TO ALL OF THEM. Most charters also accept applicants using a random lottery system, and this typically occurs after the SDUSD applicant results are released. Magnet schools, however, ARE a part of the school district, and will count as one of your choices. These public schools offer a special focus, such as language, fine arts, or STEAM. Both Charter and Magnet schools are government funded, and free to attend.
- Ok so you’ve done your research, toured the schools, asked the questions, and submitted your applications. Now what? Unfortunately, now you wait several long months before eventually finding out whether or not your child was accepted. “The electronic lottery will be conducted in mid February 2020. Parents will then receive an email regarding the status of their child’s application. Schools will contact parents to confirm acceptance of offers of Choice enrollment, and parents will receive instructions for completing the enrollment process for the 2020-21 school year.” If your child was accepted to a choice school, congrats! Make sure to quickly accept and get enrolled to save your spot! If they weren’t, you may still hear back from any charter schools you applied to, or you may also get a call later in the year as declined spots become available in your choice schools. Lastly, you can also apply for an “interdistrict transfer”. (Is your head spinning yet??) An interdistrict transfer is when you apply to enroll your child into an entirely different district (ex: a SDUSD student applying to a La Mesa/Spring Valley school).
- Most importantly, your child is always guaranteed a spot in your neighborhood school, and that is a great option too! Research shows that students with involved parents, no matter their income or background, are more likely to be successful in school. So, if you’ve made it to the end of this article, you are proving that you are already on the right path for a positive school experience!