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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.

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 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 a transfer request the same as school registration?

No. Transfer requests 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.  A transfer request is not a school registration and is not a guarantee of enrollment.

What is the difference between a school of assignment school 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 home address. In order to attend the school of assignment, students must complete the new student registration process, but 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, and the District Montessori Program located on the North Shoreview & Parkside campuses. All students who wish to attend these schools must request 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 request a transfer to attend any school in the District.

How does the transfer process work?

Transfer requests are submitted online.  New students will have the option to request a transfer on the Submission Confirmation page of the online new student registration form.  Current/continuing SMFCSD students will access the transfer request form on the Transfer Request Process page of the District website.   If a transfer request is received by the posted deadline, it will automatically be entered into the lottery for that school.

When is the transfer application deadline?

The transfer request window for the 2019-2020 school year is December 3 - December 20, 2018.  Transfer requests must be received by the deadline in order to be entered into the lottery for the school/program requested.  Transfer applications received after the deadline of 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 20, 2018, 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 2019-2020 school year received by the deadline of  4:00 pm on Thursday, December 20, 2018, 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 1, 2019.  Families that apply after the deadline will be placed on the transfer request list in the order the transfer request was received.

Please note: Transfers will only be granted if there is room in the school and grade level requested.  Applicants on the transfer request list will be contacted only if the transfer has been granted; there are no transfer status updates sent during the year.  Transfer requests expire on the first day of school; transfers will not be granted after that day.  

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 the College Park or Fiesta Gardens language programs, or the Montessori Program, 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 & Bayside language immersion applicants must have completed the elementary program at Fiesta Gardens (Abbott) or College Park (Bayside) 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 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:

  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. 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.
  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.  See below.
  13. 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 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 apply 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 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.  Applications received during the transfer window, December 3 - December 20, 2018, 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.