Your Guide to Understanding San Diego's School Choice Program for 2021

Hurry, you only have a few weeks to decide your 4 year old's future education plans! No pressure or anything....

Choice, Charters & Magnets….OH MY!!! This one is for parents of 3-4 year olds…. Your precious babies will be heading off to TK or Kindergarten next year so you think you’ve got a whole year to worry about it right? Wrong! You actually only have until November 15th, 2021. What?!?! Yup. That is if you want to “Choice” your kids into any other school besides your local neighborhood school. (pssst...You can also choice older students into another school.)

Having gone through this craziness myself, I wanted to let you all in on what I found out. Hopefully this will save you the hours I spent trying to figure this all out on my own. Read below for everything you need to know about the San Diego Unified District CHOICE Program.

(Other school districts may have a similar "choice" program and different deadlines, so check directly with your school district. But most of the general information below will still be helpful.)


What is the SDUSD Choice Program

Who is the SDUSD Choice Program For (age cut offs)

When is the SDUSD Choice Window

How to Find Your Local School

What About Out of District Enrollment

What Is Considered TK, UTK 4, Kinder and Early Learning (pre K)

How to Decide Which School is "Best"

List of All SDUSD Schools

What Are Magnet Schools

What Are Charter Schools

Where to Find School Ratings

How to Take a School Tour (not avail this year!)

How to Apply

When Will I Find Out

We Got In! Now What

We Didn't Get In...Now What

SDUSD Choice Application Link: CLICK HERE

(scroll down to where it says "Apply")

📚 What is the San Diego Unified School District Choice Program?

The "Choice" Program gives you the option to enroll your kids into a different school, other than your locally assigned neighborhood school. If you don't want your kids attending your local school for various reasons, you can try to get them into another school, as long as it's within SDUSD.

You should know that enrollment into another school is not guaranteed, since you can only submit your top 3 school choices into the lottery. You may get picked for either your first, second or third choice schools, or none at all.

(In which, case you can still apply for Charter Schools; which you should still do simultaneously. Most Charter School application deadlines are BEFORE you'll hear back from the SDUSD Choice Program lottery. You can be accepted into several schools as a back-up plan and proceed with the enrollment process, until you hear from the school you really want.)'s okay to send your kids to their local school. Here are 6 Reasons to Attend Your Neighborhood School

If you know your kids will attend the neighborhood school, then stop here. Register them next summer and relax.

If you're not sure, do some research on your local school, look into other schools like "Magnet Schools", "Charter Schools", or regular schools with a different focus.


They have an Enrollment Guide that’s very helpful and for some reason it's only mailed to currently enrolled students, so if your child is going into TK or Kindergarten next year then you won’t get one in the mail. Ask them for a copy, go pick one up in their office or you can download it here (click the English or Spanish guide).

For Main Phone or Choice Questions, you can call or email here:

Phone: 619-260-2410


For Early Learning (pre K) inquiries you can call or email here:

Phone: 619-260-2450


For InterDistrict Enrollment, email here:


(In-person visits are not allowed this year due to Covid. All staff are working from home and can respond to emails and phone calls only.)

In Person (NOT AVAILABLE THIS YEAR): 4100 Normal St., Annex 12, San Diego, 92103