Parents apply for the annual San Diego Unified school choice lottery
The application window is now open for parents with children in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) to apply for campuses outside their neighborhood boundaries, including magnet schools.
The district uses a lottery system to determine enrollment at schools parents choose for their children.
“Our neighborhood schools are the perfect fit for many of our families,” said Marceline Marques, SDUSD operations support officer. “But others may be looking for a specialty program offered at another school, like language immersion, STEAM, visual and performing arts or international baccalaureate. Perhaps another location just fits better for childcare or a parent’s workplace. Whatever the reason, we have an excellent school for every family.”
All students are eligible for the choice program, including students who are out-of-district or attending private and charter schools.
Priority applications are being accepted through Nov. 15.
Dilagha Hamkar, an immigrant from Afghanistan, visited the district’s neighborhood school and enrollment office in University Heights with his son, Mudaser, 15. They’ve applied for choice enrollment to schools closer to their new home. He moved his family of six children to the U.S. almost three years ago.
“It’s good because the teachers are nice and the management (of the schools) is also better (in San Diego Unified),” Hamkar said.
According to data from the last school year, almost 9,000 SDUSD students in all grade levels applied for choice options. About 80% of them were accepted at one of the top three schools they listed on their application.
“When it comes down to it, I don’t think we want to restrict parents to just one option. Kids are very diverse,” said Yvonne Torres, a parent of four children who attended their choice schools in SDUSD. Two of her children graduated from Point Loma High School, and her two younger children are on course to do the same. Her youngest child is Abbey, 10.
“I think she’s aware that she’s going to wear the same color robe (for graduation) as her older siblings and she’s happy about that,” Torres said.
Parents can also apply to schools of their choice for the district’s Universal Transitional Kindergarten program, which is now available at nearly all elementary and K-8 sites because of a new state law. The program is for children who will turn four by Sept. 1.
The choice lottery will be held in February, around Valentine’s Day, when parents are notified through email.
The application process can be done online here.