What to consider when choosing a school

It’s that time of year when families of preschool, 5th, and 8th grade students think through which schools they want to apply for next year. Turning your application in on time makes a big difference so remember, applications are due January 17, 2020.

As you know, there are many factors to consider when selecting schools and we encourage families and students to explore their options –– and not just rely on word of mouth. We’ve put together a list of some things you may want to consider, no matter what grade your child is entering.

Location. Are you looking for a school near your home or workplace? If your preferred school is farther away, do you need busing? To find a school near you or to see which schools offer buses from your neighborhood, visit sfusd.edu/schools-search and click on individual school websites.

Start and end times. Some schools start before 8:00 a.m., and others start after 9:00 a.m. These could be important factors in your daily schedule. Our school search tool (sfusd.edu/schools-search) will show you each school’s start and end times.

Language programs. From Arabic to Mandarin, Spanish to Vietnamese, you can find a language program at any grade level. Some programs are designed for newcomers learning English and growing their native language, others are for students who want to learn a world language. Visit sfusd.edu/learning/language-pathways-by-language to find out more.

Special education services. SFUSD provides special education programs for infants and toddlers up to students aged 22. While all schools offer services, you can see which schools offer special programs at sfusd.edu/schools-search. For a description of all services, visit https://www.sfusd.edu/schools/enroll/student-categories/enrolling-special-education-students

Before and afterschool programs. These provide additional learning and supervised care outside of the regular school day. You can see which schools offer these programs by using our school search tool, sfusd.edu/schools-search.

School size. Do you prefer a small school community or a larger one? A smaller school could mean it’s easier for students, families and staff to all get to know each other, while a larger school could have a wider range of program offerings. See individual school websites for the size and program descriptions.

School visits. You can get a feel for a school when you visit it that you can’t from a website. Many parents say school tours are the number one factor in helping them decide which schools are best for them. Some schools offer scheduled tours you can find on their website while others are by appointment only. Contact the schools directly to ask about the best way to arrange a visit.

Career pathways. All SFUSD high schools offer Career and College Pathways, which are multi-year pathways that prepare students for different career fields through real-world project-based and work-based learning. See which high schools offer which pathways at sites.google.com/sfusd.edu/college-career-pathways/.