What you Need to Know Today, About Choosing a School for Next Year

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.

Oliver started Kindergarten this year!

  • 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!

Happy first day of Kinder, Dunkin!

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…)

Caleigh starts Kindergarten at SD Co-Op!

  • 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.

Ella on her first day at OB Elementary

  • 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!

Fave 5 ~ Week of October 7th

It’s another jam-packed week of kid-friendly FUN, and it starts with us taking advantage of one of our favorite Kids FREE in October events . . .


Padres’ Petco Park Tour (Kids FREE!)

Tuesday, October 8th @ 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 3 p.m.

Petco Park, downtown

Experience San Diego’s amazing ballpark as only players and staff do with a behind-the-scenes tour. Kids go free in October and tours happen nearly daily. Kids will love sitting in a  major league dugout, checking out the visitors’ clubhouse, the press box, a private luxury suite and more!


Carlsbad Public Safety Open House

Saturday, October 12th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Carlsbad Safety Training Center, 5750 Orion Street

Teach your kids about crime prevention and fire safety at this free event featuring a burning house exhibition, SWAT mission exhibition, Police K-9 maneuvers, CPR demonstrations and talks about safety in your home.


Spooky Trail @ Hellhole Canyon County Preserve

Saturday, October 12th from 4-8:30 p.m. 

19324 Santee Lane in Valley Center

Brave the haunted trail, carve a pumpkin and enter the costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for the best jack-o-lanterns and costumes in the following categories: Funniest, Scariest, Prettiest, and Most Original. Your spooky night concludes with the movie “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”  This free event is presented by San Diego Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Hellhole Canyon, and they promise you a Spook-tacular time.


Parent Connection Family Swap Meet

Sunday, October 13th from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

Torrey Pines High School, 3710 Del Mar Heights Road
It’s a thrift lovers delight for expecting parents and parents with young children.  New and gently used items for sale to help stretch your family’s budget. This is a great event for backyard play equipment, toys, books, clothes and more!

Not So Scary Estuary

Sunday, October 13th from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Creepy crawly creatures don’t have to be scary. Kids visit in costume and enjoy crafts, interactive activities, live animals and more fun at the nature center. Costume contests at 11:30 and 1:30.

Don’t forget to visit our online calendar for even more weekly fun!

Fave 5 ~ first week of October

It’s the first week of October, and fall is in the air. This is the month of pumpkin patches, trick or treating at Seaworld & Legoland AND free admission for kids to nearly every San Diego museum and attraction. It’s also the last month for summer movies in the park with many Halloween favorites playing for free in parks across the county. So much fun, but what will you choose????


Kids Go FREE!

Tuesday, October 1st – Thursday, October 31st

Museums, Attractions, Restaurants & Hotels County-wide

Take up to two kiddos per paid adult to nearly any San Diego museum that you’ve ever thought about visiting with the family. There are more than 100 attractions, hotels and restaurants offering deals for San Diego families starting this week. The San Diego Zoo is offering free admission for up to ten children, aged 11 and younger, free with each paid adult ticket. Legoland is offering a one-day child hopper ticket with purchase of a full-price one-day adult hopper ticket to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE® aquarium. Up to 4 children can cruise on a Coronado Gondola with a paying adult. Get the full list of these special offers here.


La Mesa Oktoberfest

Friday – Sunday, October 4th – 6th 

Village of La Mesa

Kid and dog-friendly, La Mesa’s Oktoberfest is a great outdoor event. Enjoy rides, games, music and food all weekend long. Free entry.


Kids Care Fest

Saturday, October 5th from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Lemon Grove Recreation Center, 3131 School Lane in Lemon Grove

The Grossmont Healthcare District generously puts on Kids Care Fest each year, providing free vital screenings and services from local healthcare providers, food, games, rock climbing, safety demonstrations, giveaways and more! Free admission, open to the public, no registration necessary.


The Nightmare Before Christmas Movie in the Park

Saturday, October 5th @ 5 p.m. 

Santa Clara Point in Mission Bay

Arrive at 5 to enjoy the pre-movie fun including a bounce house with slide, and arts and crafts. This free movie in the park will begin at sundown at the Santa Clara Recreation Center.



Saturday, October 5th from 5-6 p.m.

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park in Bonita

Meet LIVE Hawks, falcons and owls with the help of Sweetwater Springs Summit Regional Park rangers. Experience a close encounter with these skilled predators and learn about their fascinating physical adaptations. Learn about the birds of prey that live in your neighborhood and the important role they serve in the wild. Gain skills in identifying the birds of prey in Southern California.