Recently Asked Questions
+ What is the timeline for accepting/declining an offer with NSSF?
After our lottery is run and initial offers are sent out, families will have 2 weeks to accept or decline their offer. For families that are pulled from the waitlist from June 13th-30th will have 1 week to accept or decline their offer. On August 1st, the timeline to accept or decline an offer will be 72 hours.
+ What is re-authorization?
New School SF is a public charter school and charter terms are five years. Our school was originally authorized in 2015 and extends through the end of next year when we will have kindergarten through 5th grade. Re-authorization is the process by which the District or State renews our charter for the next five years. As part of the re-authorization process, we are requesting a change to our lottery preferences and also requesting the addition of grades 6-8.
+ Is there a chance the school will not be open next year (or beyond)?
New School SF will absolutely be open next year, and it is even likely we will remain at our campus at 655 De Haro Street (which we are thrilled about!). We will have a full elementary school, serving K - 5th grade next year. Re-authorization is a standard process that all charter schools go through every 5 years and for schools in good standing (which we are!), they are re-authorized without question. We are not sure at this point, however, whether our request to extend into middle school will be granted.
+ Why is New School SF changing the lottery preferences?
New School SF is committed to equity and ensuring that all families have fair access to a high-quality public school, irrespective of their relative wealth or privilege. Yet, the consistently high demand for our school has effectively decreased our socio-economic diversity and limited the attendance opportunities for low-income families. We see no indication that this trend will correct on its own and are requesting a preference for low-income families (up to 33%). It is our hope that this preference will go into place before we run the lottery for next year.
+ How does this affect me?
The above changes to our timeline do not affect your application. Your place in our lottery is secured and you will be notified of the lottery results on May 30th.
+ SFUSD will be in the 2nd round of their lottery process, how does that affect your timeline?
This does not affect our timeline. New School SF and SFUSD’s lottery processes are separate. If you receive an offer for enrollment at New School SF it does not affect your Round 1 or 2 result at SFUSD. If you enroll at New School SF, we ask you to release all other offers.
+ How many applications did you receive last year? What is your acceptance rate? How many people were drawn?
We received over 610 applications for the 2017-2018 school year, with over 72% of all applications being for Kinder. Our acceptance rate is over 55% and we went through less than 85 families on our waitlist for kinder. We continue to have a waitlist of over 300 students.
+ Is the SFUSD tie breaker CTIP used?
No. Our lottery is separate from SFUSD. Priority is only given to siblings and families that reside in SF proper.
+ Will you be accepting additional students for middle school and high school as those grades become established?
It is likely that enrollment will increase slightly for middle school so that we can accept students who will matriculate in at 6th and 12th grade. We will know in the Spring of 2019 how many spots that will likely be.
+ I see you currently only are offering K-4th grade. Is there a possibility that you'll offer 5th grade for the 2019-2020 school year?
Yes, we will serve Kindergarten through 5th grade in 2019-20. We add one grade per year.
+ Where will you be next year?
We don’t yet know. We are currently applying for space with the San Francisco Unified School District, via the Prop 39 process which guarantees us space (same process that landed us at our current location). We will receive an initial offer from the District on February 1st and, if we like it, we can accept by March 1st. At the latest, we’ll have a confirmed location by May 1st. We will once again request space within 2 miles of our current school. We will not ask a family to make a decision regarding enrolling at New School without first knowing where we will be.
+ How often will New School move?
While unfortunate, securing a long-term facility takes time and requires relocating to shorter-term sites as the school grows. We are actively searching for long-term options and assume the school will need to move at least one more time. It is not uncommon for new schools - public, charter and private - to move multiple times before landing in their permanent home. Our priority is limiting the number of transitions and the disruption to our community. This means that when relocation is necessary, we will focus our search on locations close to our current site and accessible to public transportation.
+ If SFUSD places us far away from the current location will transportation be offered?
Once our location is identified we will survey our families to determine whether car shares, shuttles or buses are needed to support all our families in getting to the new location. We understand we may need to pay for a bus next year.
+ When will you be a K-12 school?
We expect to grow by one grade level every year. Our current fourth graders are our pioneering class and will be the oldest students in the school for the foreseeable future. We will be at full build-out in 2026 when we serve K through 12th Grade.
+ Am I able to tour the school prior to accepting my offer?
Yes. We plan to host a small number of community building event/conference calls for accepted and waitlisted families starting in late March/early April. These events will introduce our families and staff to one another, build community, engage kids in our program, and involve parents in our school's development prior to making a decision.
+ How long do I have to accept or decline my offer?
Families who have received offers have up until May 1, 2019 to confirm or decline. Receiving and considering an offer from New School SF does not affect your offer from San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The enrollment processes are completely separate.
+ What happens if I decline my offer or miss the deadline?
Families who decline an offer or do not respond by the deadline permanently release their space to the waitlist. Families can opt to join the end of the waitlist if they would like to be reconsidered for a space.
+ I have multiple children applying to New School. Are they all guaranteed spaces?
Preference for siblings is given to those who already have an enrolled student at New School SF. If one of your children receives an offer and accepts, their siblings will automatically rise to the top of the waitlist, but an offer is not guaranteed [particularly in grades 1-4].
+ What services do you provide children with IEPs?
As a public school, we provide all needed services in a child’s IEP. We partner with Seneca Family Agencies for some of our service providers.
+ How is the waitlist drawn?
For those applicants not offered a space in the March 15th drawing, the lottery will randomly assign students to a wait list in ranked order.
+ Will spaces open up for waitlisted families?
Yes, though we cannot predict how many in total. We expect a number of waitlisted applicants to receive offers between May 1st through September, as spaces are confirmed or declined.
+ What is the diversity of the student body at New School?
- White: Students 53%, Staff 45%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: Students 18%, Staff 11%
- Latino: Students 21%, Staff 36%
- African American: Students 5%, Staff 6%
- Native American: Students 1%
- Other: Students 2%, Staff 2%
+ Does New School SF have a language pathway or program?
At this time, the majority of our instruction is in English -- however, we offer Spanish as a second language for all students. On average, our students receive 40 minutes of Spanish 2-3 times a week. Approximately 16% of our students are English Language Learners and we use a variety of strategies to support their growth and acquisition of the English language, including but not limited to: intentional literacy groupings, one-to-one support, math talks, print-rich classrooms with visuals and lots of student dialogue throughout the day.
+ How are students assessed at New School SF?
We assess both formally and informally to ensure we always know how a child is learning and progressing. Assessments vary from standard tools like Running Records for literacy to numeracy benchmarks we have created that align to Common Core standards to rubrics for inquiry we have created alongside the Exploratorium.
+ Two teachers in a classroom sounds expensive. How do you fundraise?
Our co-leadership model enables Emily and Ryan to fundraise to account for the delta between what we get from the state in per pupil funding ($9.5K) and what it actually costs to run our model successfully ($15K this year). Our funders range from individuals to long-standing Foundations to our parents.
+ What are the retention rates for your staff and families?
Our retention rate for families is 97%; for staff it is 84% annually.
+ Does New School SF have sports teams?
At this time New School SF does not have a sports team. However families have self-organized into grade-level, SF rec and park league soccer and basketball teams throughout the year.
+ How are holidays celebrated at New School SF?
We love the idea of including culture in our classrooms. Our hope is to celebrate holidays in an equitable manner. Please contact your teachers about particular holidays you’d like to be celebrated (or holiday celebrations you’d like your child to opt out of) as we encourage your expertise/ participation.
+ Can you explain your policy on homework?
Our Home-School Connections are intended to foster the link between school and home, and reinforce what students are learning at school. For the beginning of the year, home-school connections will generally consist of a reading log and share calendar, with math and inquiry added later in the year.
+ What kind of family involvement are you looking for?
Our approach to family involvement is very much grounded in our school values, as well as making a commitment to meet families where they are at. Whether it is a grandparent coming to read to a classroom, chaperoning a field trip, making copies, chairing a committee or making a financial contribution, the emphasis will always be that we have a 100% of our families involved as we build our school and our community.
Commonly Asked Questions
+ Where do I apply?
+ Who can apply?
The New School of San Francisco’s lottery is open to all families with children eligible to enter kindergarten. Students must be 5 years old on or before September 1, to be eligible to attend.
+ What is the enrollment timeline?
- Early October: Tour + Open House registration process goes live
- October: Application process opens
- March 11th, 2019: Application window closes
- March 15th, 2019: Lottery conducted (open to the public)
- March 15th, 2019: Applicants notified of lottery results
- May 1st, 2019: Enrollment decisions due (families accept or decline offers)
- June 7th, 2019 Registration due
- May - September 2019: Students will be drawn from the waitlist as spaces become available
+ What is required to apply?
Our application is all you need to apply to the school. Once admitted and as part of the registration process, we will need proof of residency as preference is given to families living within the San Francisco city limits.
+ What is the age requirement for kindergarten?
Students must be 5 years old on or before September 1 to be eligible for kindergarten.
+ How does the lottery work?
If the number of students who wish to attend New School SF exceeds the available number of spaces for a given grade, enrollment shall be determined by public random lottery. Families living within the boundaries of SFUSD are given preference, as will siblings of current students and successful applicants.
We are currently in the process of revising to our charter petition to further diversify our student body. We hope to add a preference for families that qualify for free and reduced priced lunch (up to 33% of each grade). Income verification will be requested if you indicate that you are eligible for free and reduced price lunch on your application. Applicants not offered a space in the initial round will be placed on the waitlist in ranking order as determined by our lottery. From April through the first month of school, we will draw from the waitlist as spaces become available.
+ What happens if I’m offered a space?
Each family receiving an offer from the initial lottery at New School SF will have approximately one month to accept or decline their offer. Places that become available will be offered to families on the waitlist until the class is full.
+ If I am not accepted and do not get off the waitlist for that year, do I stay on for future years?
No - unfortunately our waitlist does not roll over. Our waitlist remains active until February 1 of each new school year. You will then need to re-apply to our lottery for the next grade.
+ Do siblings need to go through the lottery?
Yes - All siblings will need to apply. However, siblings are given preference in our lottery. If the number of siblings does not exceed the number of open spaces, all siblings are automatically accepted. Regarding twins or triplets applying together (and we had quite a few this year!): if one child is accepted via the lottery, all siblings will automatically move to the top of the waitlist.
+ Is New School SF’s lottery separate from the school district’s lottery?
Yes. New School SF's lottery notification and enrollment dates somewhat follow San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) timeline. If successful, you will receive an offer from us the same time the district notifies you of your public school placement.
+ Are you accepting applications for your current school year?
Yes, we are currently accepting applications for the waitlist for the 2018-19 year. The waitlist will remain open through February 1, 2019. After that date you will need to re-apply for the lottery.
+ Can I apply or be added to the waitlist now for Kindergarten enrollment for 2019-2020?
Our application for 2019-2020 goes live in October 2019, and the lottery is run in mid-March. We run a public lottery each year per California law and accept 46 kindergarteners.
+ Can we enter both the SFUSD lottery and the New School SF lottery?
Yes — and we encourage families to explore all options as we only admit a small number of students annually thorough our lottery. Our process is entirely separate from the district’s process and that of other charter schools in the city. Thus, it is possible to get multiple offers and then weigh your options before making a final commitment. Once you accept our offer, we see that as a firm commitment to be part of our community.
+ When does the school day begin and end?
For the 2018-19 school year the day begins at 8:40am and ends at 2:30pm for kindergarten and 3pm for 1st and 2nd graders and 3:15pm for 3rd and 4th graders. On Wednesdays there is school wide early release at 1:10pm.
+ Is there morning care?
Yes morning care is offered beginning at 7:45am.
+ Is there an after school program?
Yes we offer an in house after school program called Exploremos. It is club-based program that runs from dismissal until 6pm (including Wednesdays when we dismiss at 1:10pm). This is a paid program and with our commitment to equity we have a sliding scale model to ensure accessibility.
+ What does personalized learning mean?
For us, it means that we know each child as a learner and developed individualized goals to best support their learning and growth.
+ Does New School offer any language programs?
Spanish is taught beginning in Kindergarten. Spanish with Maestra Hannah occurs every other day (2-3 times per week) for 40 minutes. Maestra Hannah includes both explicit instruction of Spanish in her lessons as well as the appreciation for Spanish language and culture.
+ Is there an art program?
Exploratory Arts with Mr Omar occurs every other day (2-3 times per week) for 40 minutes. Mr. Omar includes performance art [dance, theater], visual art and tinkering into exploratory time with the students.
+ Is there a physical education program?
Yes our students participate in a physical education program.
+ Do the students take field trips?
Field trips expose students to a wide variety of learning experiences and are an integral part of the curriculum at NSSF beginning in Kindergarten.
+ Are there opportunities for parents volunteer?
There are many ways you can get involved in our school community. You can participate in our Home & School Council (HSC) meetings, join committees, be part of an affinity group or attend our coffee chats. There are also many ways that you can volunteer school wide and in the classroom.