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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 known as “overflowing” – 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?

Please contact the school office staff of your child's current school to notify them that your child(ren) will be disenrolling from the District.

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 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.

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 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 campuses. 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.

How does the transfer process work?

Transfer requests are submitted online.   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 lottery deadline?

The transfer lottery request window for the 2020-2021 school year is January 13 - January 31, 2020.  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 4:00 pm on Friday, January 31, 2020 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 2020-2021 school year received by the deadline of  4:00 pm on Friday, January 31, 2020, 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 28, 2020.  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.

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.

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.

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. New Intradistrict Transfer Students – students who live within the SMFCSD who are requesting a transfer to attend another school in the district.
  9. Interdistrict Siblings – siblings of interdistrict transfer students concurrently enrolled in the district.
  10. Elementary to Middle School Interdistrict Transfer Students – elementary students on an interdistrict transfer requesting an ongoing interdistrict transfer to a district middle school.
  11. Out-of-District Preschool Students – preschool students who live outside the district and attend a feeder SMFCSD preschool five days a week.
  12. New Interdistrict Transfer Students – all other out-of-district transfer requests.

Board adopted on 11/14/19


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 January 6, 2020.  Applications received during the transfer lottery window, January 13 - January 31, 2020, 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.