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SMFCSD enrollment FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Registration/enrollment

What is an attendance area & how do I find my child's school?

An attendance area is a defined geographic boundary for a school that is determined by the School Board of Trustees. Visit our School Assignments page to look up your address and determine your school of assignment based on address of residence.

Are students guaranteed admission at their SCHOOL OF ASSignment?

Students who live within the school attendance area get first priority for attending their assigned school if they register during the stated New Student Priority Registration timeframe. However, if classes are already filled at the time of registration, the Enrollment Office will assign – also referred to as “overflow” – students to a school that has space available for the duration of the school year. Students are given priority to return to their school of assignment based on address of residence the following year or have the option to request a transfer to stay at the overflow school.

who do i contact if i need to disenroll my child(ren) from the district?

Fill out the School Disenrollment Form (English / Spanish) and submit it to your child's current school office staff to notify them that your child(ren) will be disenrolling from the District.

Note: disenrolling from the District drops the student from the school's enrollment.  Should the student return to the District at some point in the future, the student will have to re-register (see below).

Does my previously enrolled student need to re-enroll?

If your child was at one time enrolled in grades TK-8 in the SMFCSD, they were disenrolled at some point, and you now wish for your child to once again be enrolled in the SMFCSD, then yes, you must re-enroll your child for school in the SMFCSD.

Can I defer (delay) my child's registration to the following school year?

No.  New student registration applies only to the school year the student is registered for.  If plans change, and the student does not enter school in the school year of registration, then the student must be registered again for the following school year.  The previous registration does not rollover to the following school year.

my child's address of residence has changed-who do i notify?

Contact your child's current school office staff to notify them of your change in address.  You will need to provide new proofs of residence to the school office staff.  If you have moved within District boundaries during the school year, your child may remain at the current school through the end of the school year.  You may request a transfer for the following school year for your child to remain at the original school.  Alternatively, you may enroll your child in the new school of assignment based on the new address of residence and start at the time of the change in address. 

If you have moved outside of District boundaries and wish for your child to continue in the SMFCSD, you may request an interdistrict transfer from the new district of residence within 30 days.

my child is in a district preschool, do i need to enroll them for k/tk?

Yes, students residing within District boundaries who are currently enrolled in a District preschool program need to register their child for Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten if the family wishes to enter the SMFCSD (grades TK-8).

do i have to register my currently enrolled and attending smfcsd student (grades TK-7) for next school year?

No, students currently enrolled and attending school in the SMFCSD do not need to complete the new student registration process for the next school year.  The new student registration process is only for those students who are not currently enrolled and attending school in the SMFCSD (grades TK-7) who will be entering the SMFCSD next school year.  Currently enrolled and attending SMFCSD families will be surveyed in the Spring about their plans for their child(ren) for the next school year (information will be shared in the Spring).

does employment within san mateo or foster city constitute district residency if we do not reside within the boundaries of the smfcsd?

No.  Employment within the boundaries of  the SMFCSD does not constitute residency for enrollment.  A child must be physically residing within district boundaries with their parent/guardian in order to enroll.  Families that reside outside the boundaries of the SMFCSD may request an interdistrict transfer from their district of residence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Transfers

Is a transfer request the same as school registration?

No. Transfer requests are submitted only when a student wishes to attend another school in the District or attend one of the District-wide magnet schools – College Park Mandarin Immersion, Fiesta Gardens Spanish Immersion, North Shoreview Montessori, and Parkside Montessori.  A transfer request is not a school registration and is not a guarantee of enrollment.  A student must be either currently enrolled and attending school in the SMFCSD, or be registered for the upcoming school year, in order for a transfer request to be processed.

What is the difference between a school of assignment and a Magnet school?

The SMFCSD offers a combination of schools of assignment and Magnet schools.  Schools of assignment have residential boundaries and students are assigned to them based on their address of residence. In order to attend the school of assignment, students must complete the new student registration process; no transfer request is necessary.

Our District offers district-wide magnet programs that do not have assigned residential boundaries. Admission into one of these schools/programs is by lottery only. These schools are College Park Mandarin Immersion, Fiesta Gardens Spanish Immersion, North Shoreview Montessori, and Parkside Montessori. All students who wish to attend these schools must request a transfer.

Can students request to attend a neighborhood school if they do not live within the school’s boundary?

Yes. Students who live within the District's boundaries may request a transfer to attend any school in the District.  A transfer is not needed for the school of assignment based on address of residence.

How does the transfer process work?

Transfer requests are submitted online.  Families may request up to two (2) schools.  If a transfer request is received by the posted deadline, it will automatically be entered into the lottery for that school.  Transfer offers are made via email and will have a stated deadline by which the transfer offer must be accepted or declined.  If there is no response by the stated accept/decline deadline, the transfer offer is voided and the transfer will be offered to the next student on the waitlist.  Transfers are good through the highest grade offered at the school.

When is the transfer lottery deadline?

The transfer lottery request window for the 2021-2022 school year is January 11, 2021 (noon) - January 29, 2021 (noon).  Transfer requests must be received by the deadline in order to be entered into the lottery for the school/program requested.  Transfer requests received after the deadline of January 29, 2021 will be added to the transfer request list in the order the request is received.  Please visit the Transfer Request Process page for more information.

How and when will I be notified of my transfer status?

All transfer requests for the 2021-2022 school year received by the deadline of 12:00 pm (noon) on Friday, January 29, 2021, will receive an email confirmation and be entered into the lottery. Once lotteries are run, parents/guardians will be notified by email of their child's transfer request status on Friday, February 26, 2021.  

Families that submit a transfer request after the deadline will be placed on the transfer request list in the order the transfer request was received. Transfer requests received after the publicized deadline will not receive notification or update of wait list status.

More information:

  • Plan to attend the school of assignment unless you receive communication that the transfer has been granted.
  • Transfer requests are granted only if there is room in the school and grade level requested.
  • A transfer request is not a school registration and is not a guarantee of enrollment.
  • All transfer requests expire the day before the first day of school.  Transfers will not be granted after that day.  There are no mid-year transfers.
  • Transfers can be granted after the lottery if space becomes available.  The last day a transfer can be granted is the day before the first day of school.

How can I find out more information about the different Magnet Schools / Programs available in the District?

Visit the school website to learn more information.

What are the requirements for entry into the Language Immersion and Montessori Programs?

If requesting College Park Mandarin Immersion, Fiesta Gardens Spanish Immersion, North Shoreview Montessori, or Parkside Montessori for grades 1-5, students will be assessed by a teacher and the Principal before being accepted into the program; kindergarten-aged students do not need to be assessed.  Students requesting the Abbott Middle School Spanish Immersion Program and Bayside Academy Mandarin Immersion Program must have completed the elementary immersion program at Fiesta Gardens for Abbott or at College Park for Bayside Academy 6-8.

Note: Students assigned to Abbott based on address of residence must request a transfer to Abbott Spanish Immersion if that is one of the programs they wish to request.  Students assigned to Bayside based on address of residence must request a transfer to attend the Bayside Mandarin Program if that is one of the programs they wish to request.


Priorities for Transfers

Student Services will annually review the enrollment capacity at all school sites to determine space availability for purposes of enrollment and transfer requests. Available space is determined by program capacity, staffing entitlement, program considerations, and facilities. Student Services will annually establish and publish enrollment cut off dates for the purpose of determining district enrollment priorities.

Transfer Requests are approved based on the following descending order of priorities:

  1. Continuing 5th and 8th Grade Students – former residents of the school’s attendance area who have moved into another school’s attendance area within the district, provided space is available.
  2. District Employees – children of district employees who have requested attendance through the Employee Preference transfer process.
  3. Siblings – siblings of students concurrently enrolled on an approved intradistrict transfer.
  4. Overflow Students – students overflowed to another school who want to remain at the overflow school.
  5. Continuing Students –  students who move to another attendance area within the district and wish to remain at their current school. 
  6. Continuing Interdistrict Transfer Students – students living outside the district currently enrolled in one of the district schools with an approved interdistrict transfer and requesting to continue at the same school, providing they continue to meet transfer student criteria.
  7. Preschool Students – preschool students who live within the district and attend a feeder SMFCSD preschool program five days a week.
  8. Neighborhood Students - 1/3 of the seats for the incoming Kindergarten classes at College Park, Fiesta Gardens International School, North Shoreview Montessori, and Parkside Montessori shall be set aside for in-district students from the historic neighborhood
  9. New Intradistrict Transfer Students – students who live within the SMFCSD who are requesting a transfer to attend another school in the district.
  10. Interdistrict Siblings – siblings of interdistrict transfer students concurrently enrolled in the district.
  11. Elementary to Middle School Interdistrict Transfer Students – elementary students on an interdistrict transfer requesting an ongoing interdistrict transfer to a district middle school.
  12. Out-of-District Preschool Students – preschool students who live outside the district and attend a feeder SMFCSD preschool five days a week.
  13. New Interdistrict Transfer Students – all other out-of-district transfer requests.

Board adopted on 11/14/19

Revised 12/9/20


Siblings of concurrently enrolled students attending a school on an intradistrict transfer will receive priority in the intradistrict transfer lottery at the requested school if space is available. If requesting concurrently and one sibling is approved through the lottery process, additional siblings will have enrollment preference if space is available. If siblings are placed on the transfer request list, they will receive priority.

San Mateo-Foster City School District Staff

Children of district employees working 20 hours or more per week or at least 50 percent of 1.0 (one) FTE at the time of application and during the year for which the application is made will receive priority in the transfer process provided they submit a transfer requst by the posted transfer deadline and space is available. Employment status must be verified annually.

For a full listing of intradistrict transfer regulations, please see SMFCSD Board Policy 5116 .1 and Administrative Regulations.

Interdistrict transfer requests

The District is only accepting new out of district transfer requests for students with preference (i.e. siblings, children of employees, preschool, continuing 5th and 8th grade students).  Paper applications for students with preference are available from any school office or the District Office as of TBA.  Applications received during the transfer lottery window, January 11, 2021 (noon) - January 29, 2021 (noon), will be entered into the lottery.  All others must request and receive an approved interdistrict transfer (out) from the district of residence.  Requests are only considered after all SMFCSD students have been placed, and only if there is space is available.