Today, SFUSD will send out letters to parents and incoming kindergarteners, sixth graders and ninth graders on which school they have been assigned to for the next school year.

A friend of mine told me that school assignment process has been haunting her dreams. Another friend told me that she has had trouble concentrating on anything but where her child is going to school.

The happy news is that approximately 85-90% of the students get their first choice-especially for elementary schools. The even better news is that there are a lot of great elementary schools that usually have room in their kindergarten classes.

But there was the story of the child who lived in OMI but got assigned to New Traditions in Hayes Valley. Every day at 6:30 a.m., the child and his mother would start their two-bus trips to get New Traditions. But every evening when the mother came to pick up her child, she found him excited about another art project that he was working on or just completed. After the ten day count, the District informed her about a space of a school that was closer to her home (and didn’t require two buses). She looked at her son and his excitement each day-and turn the offer down. She figured having a son excited about school was worth two bus trips.

With the closure of three middle schools in last two years (Enola Maxwell, Luther Burbank and Gloria R. Davis) and two others on the Program Improvement List (Horace Mann on Year 3 and Everett on Year 5), it’s more difficult to get your choice for middle school. But there are several great middle schools that get overlooked by the majority of parents-Visitacion Valley, James Lick, Martin Luther King Jr., Francisco and Marina. All have great staff and wonderful programs that would meet the needs of incoming 6th grader (and their parents). There are also the always popular Presidio, Hoover, A.P. Giannini, Aptos and Roosevelt.

In years past, 74% of the incoming ninth graders have requested Lincoln. Here is the real story-Lincoln is good school, but the District has lots of good high schools. A friend of mine, Molly tried to get her son into Lincoln for all three rounds-and finally (reluctantly) accepted assignment at Washington H.S. She figured that if her son didn’t like Washington H.S., that she would transferred to a private school that her younger son went to in the middle of the semester. Not only did he like Washington, but he found that he had talent for instrumental music.

Throughout the District, there are many schools that can give your children wings to fly on. And the school that you got assigned may not have been initially your first choice-but it might turn out to be the best choice for your child.

Good luck!