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 neighborhood school.
Are students guaranteed admission at their neighborhood school?
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 known as “overflowing” – them to a school that has space available for the duration of the school year. Students are given priority to return to their neighborhood school the following year or the option to apply for a transfer to stay at their overflow school.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Transfers
Is the transfer application the same as school registration?
No. Transfer applications are filled out only when a student wishes to attend another school in the District or apply to one of the district-wide magnet schools – College Park, Fiesta Gardens, and the Montessori Programs at North Shoreview & Parkside.
What is the difference between a neighborhood school and a Magnet school?
The SMFCSD offers a combination of neighborhood schools and Magnet schools. Neighborhood schools have residential boundaries and students are assigned to them based on their home address. In order to attend a neighborhood school, students must complete the New Student Registration process, but no transfer application is necessary.
SMFCSD also has neighborhood schools that have magnet themes - Bayside STEM, Borel IB, George Hall Project-Based Learning, LEAD, Parkside STEAM, San Mateo Park Math & Science and Sunnybrae IB. If you live in the neighborhood of one of these Magnet Schools, you do not need to transfer into your school, as you are already slated to attend.
Our District also offers district-wide magnet programs that do not have neighborhood boundaries. Admission into one of these schools/programs is by lottery. These schools are College Park Mandarin Immersion, Fiesta Gardens Spanish Immersion, and the District Montessori Program located on the North Shoreview & Parkside campuses. All students who wish to attend these schools must apply for a transfer.
Can students apply 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 apply for a transfer to attend any school in the District.
How does the transfer process work?
Transfer applications are completed online. If a transfer application is received by the deadline, it will automatically be entered into a lottery for that school.
When is the transfer application deadline?
The transfer application window is January 17, 2017 and February 10, 2017 in order to be entered into the lottery for the school/program requested. Transfer applications received after the deadline of February 10, 2017 will be automatically wait listed. Please visit the Transfers & School Choice page for more information.
How and when will I be notified of my transfer status?
All applications received by the deadline will receive an email confirmation and be entered into the lottery. Once lotteries are run, parents will be notified by email of their child's accepted or wait listed status. All applications received after the deadline will be placed on a wait list in the order in which they are received. Wait listed students will be contacted only if space becomes available. All wait lists expire when the school year begins.
How can I find out more information about the different Magnet Schools / Programs available in the District?
Contact the school(s) you are interested in attending and schedule a tour in November – January prior to the year you would like your child to attend.
What are the requirements for entry into the Language Immersion and Montessori Programs?
If applying to the College Park or Fiesta Gardens language programs for grades 1-5, students will need to be assessed by a teacher and the Principal to ensure that they will be able to make a successful transition into the program. Abbott & STEM language immersion applicants must have completed the elementary program at Fiesta Gardens or College Park and be recommended to continue into the middle school program. Please contact these schools directly if you have additional questions.
How will students be assigned to the District’s Montessori program now that there are two K-8 campuses available?
Students will be randomly assigned to either the North Shoreview or Parkside campus in the transfer lottery. Site priority will only be given to applicants who are children of District employees or who have concurrently enrolled siblings. If applying to the District Montessori Program for grades 1-8, students will need to be assessed by a teacher and the Principal to ensure that they will be able to make a successful transition into the program. Montessori middle school applicants must have already attended a Montessori elementary school. Please contact these schools directly if you have additional questions.
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 Applications are approved based on the following descending order of priorities:
- 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.
- District Employees – children of district employees who have requested attendance through the Employee Preference transfer process.
- Siblings – siblings of students concurrently enrolled on an approved intradistrict transfer.
- Continuing Students – students who move to another attendance area within the district and wish to remain at their current school.
- Overflow Students – students overflowed to another school who want to remain at the overflow school.
- 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.
- Preschool Students – preschool students who live within the district and attend a feeder SMFCSD preschool program five days a week. See below.
- IB Program Continuation Students – students who have attended the Sunnybrae International Baccalaureate Primary Years program for five years who wish to continue to into Borel’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.
- New Intradistrict Transfer Students – students who live within the SMFCSD who are requesting a transfer to attend another school in the district.
- Interdistrict Siblings – siblings of interdistrict transfer students concurrently enrolled in the district.
- Elementary to Middle School Interdistrict Transfer Students – elementary students on an interdistrict transfer requesting an ongoing interdistrict transfer to a district middle school.
- Out-of-District Preschool Students – preschool students who live outside the district and attend a feeder SMFCSD preschool five days a week. See below.
- New Interdistrict Transfer Students – all other out-of-district transfer requests.
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 applying 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 a wait 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 apply by the posted transfer deadline and space is available. Employment status must be verified annually.
Interdistrict transfer requests
The District is only accepting out of district transfer requests for students with preference (i.e. siblings, children of employees, preschool, continuing 5th and 8th grade students). Paper applications are available from any school office or the District Office. Applications received during the transfer window (1/17/17-2/10/17) 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.