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Window opens for SDUSD School Choice program

M.G. Perez
San Diego Unified School District Welcome and Enrollment Center in University Heights October 7, 2021

This week, the San Diego Unified School District began accepting applications for its School Choice program. Parents anywhere in the county have a six-week window to apply to have their child enrolled in the District school of their choice.

The program is open to all existing San Diego Unified students, in addition to out-of-district students and students attending private or charter schools. With San Diego Unified’s new Universal Transitional Kindergarten program, Choice options are expanding to an even younger age group, providing critical education opportunities to the littlest learners at 56 school sites for children who turn four by September 1.

Window opens for SDUSD School Choice program
Listen to this story by M.G. Perez

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Typically, more than 10,000 area students apply to the Choice program to attend one of more than 170 schools in San Diego Unified. Last year, approximately 75 percent of all students secured a spot at one of their three school choices.

“While the neighborhood school may be the just right fit for many families, San Diego Unified offers parents the opportunity to apply for Choice to any school,” said Marceline Marques, the district's Operations Support Officer. “Parents may be looking for a school with a special program such as language immersion, visual and performing arts, STEAM, or International Baccalaureate. Perhaps they are looking for a strong athletic program, or a school located near their workplace, family, or childcare provider. Whatever the reason, the perfect San Diego Unified school is waiting for you to apply.”

School Choice enrollment is determined through a computerized lottery system, with weight given to factors such as sibling enrollment and magnet program continuity. No priority is given based on when the application is received, so long as it is received by the November 15 priority window deadline.

Yvonne Torres is a supervisor at the district’s Family Welcome and Enrollment Center in University Heights. She’s also a parent of two elementary school students. She applied and was approved to move her 9-year old daughter Abbey and 11-year old son Jacob from their home schools to choice schools in Point Loma. She said COVID taught her to recognize and adapt to her children’s needs. “Both of them did well online but when it was time to go back to school, I sent one and didn’t send the other. It was about recognizing who they were and their needs academically and to socialize,” Torres said.

School Choice Program Popular Among Some Parents at San Diego Unified

San Diego Unified offers personalized consultations for families who want to discuss their options with an enrollment specialist, or for those having difficulty with the application process. The bilingual staff at the Family Welcome and Enrollment Center is available in both English and Spanish at 619-260-2410 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Although families can apply for Choice anytime during the current school year, the priority application window ends November 15. After that date, any applications received are processed in time/date order of receipt.

Families will receive an email notification by early March indicating whether they have been accepted or waitlisted to a school of Choice.

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