Update: This post originally ran Oct. 6, 2016 and has been updated with current information.
San Diego Unified School District’s choice program provides students with the opportunity to attend a school other than their neighborhood school. Students may apply to any school within the district.
There are all sorts of reasons parents look for alternatives to their neighborhood schools. They might want to avoid the low-performing school closest to their home. Others search for high test scores, dual-language schools or simply a school that’s on their way to work.
The window to take advantage of San Diego Unified’s school choice program for the upcoming academic year is Oct. 2 to Nov. 13.
How can I find my neighborhood school?
Simply go to San Diego Unified’s website to see its neighborhood school finder. You type in your address and hit “find.” It will tell you your assigned school, which is the school your kids would automatically attend if you don’t opt into other schools.
How do know which school is best?
This one’s tougher. If you’re a parent whose kids are already in the district, you’re connected with teachers, principals and other parents whom you could ask for advice.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Another good source for information is the School Accountability Report Cards, also known as the SARC, which hit on lots of information in one place for every school: demographics, test results, class sizes, teacher qualifications, school maintenance issues, suspensions and expulsions. It's available in multiple languages: https://www.sandiegounified.org/sarc
Going to the school for a tour is always the best choice. If you have absolutely no insight into a school, ask about whether the school has a PTA/PTO and/or a private foundation to fund program at the school. Those indicate greater parental involvement as well as extra funding per pupil, both things that make a school better.
I'm a school of choice parent even though my school of choice is less than 10 blocks away from my apartment.