Admission FAQs

Following are frequently asked questions about our school. Feel free to reach out to our admission team with questions: admission@sfds.net.

Admission Application Process

How do people afford the school?

SFDS is committed to a strong discounted tuition program to ensure economic diversity and balance among our students. In the 2016-2017 school year, SFDS offered $1.7 million in tuition assistance to 87 students.

How old should my child be when we apply?

Your child must be five years old by August 1 of the year that he or she will enter Kindergarten. The SFDS Kindergarten class tends to be 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 years old. The age range in any given grade can span a full year. We recommend talking to your child’s preschool about Kindergarten readiness.

How many children apply each year?

SFDS always has more applicants than available spaces. Since most families apply to more than one school, the number of applications is usually large. Every year we enroll about 44-46 students in kindergarten, half of whom are usually siblings or faculty children.

Openings in grades 1 through 8 vary each year. Some years, as many as four spaces are available in a certain grade, other years there are no spaces.

What is the sibling policy?

SFDS is a family school. When possible, we want our families to start and finish at the same school. All siblings are evaluated in the same way as non-siblings. As a courtesy to our current families, Kindergarten sibling applicants are evaluated in early November. Although siblings are not automatically accepted, all other things being equal, siblings are given priority.

After School & Summer Programs

What kind of after-school care is available?

The Afterschool Enrichment Program (AEP) provides a safe and friendly environment for children to play, work on homework, or attend enrichment classes. AEP begins each day at dismissal and extends until 6:00 p.m. Individual 10-week enrichment classes offer students the opportunity to explore specialized interests such as cooking, yoga, theatre, movie-making, and robotics. The standard AEP program provides students with abundant activity choices; they may choose organized outdoor games, art, reading, computers, science, crafts or cooking, or choose their own creative form of play. This is a fee-based program.

How is the playground supervised?

Two recess/lunch supervisors and a rotating team of teachers are with students on the roof and in the yard during recess. The adults on recess duty encourage positive behavior, observe children carefully, and intervene when necessary.

What kind of sports program does SFDS offer?

Upper school students may join SFDS sports teams that compete against schools in the Bay Area Independent School Athletic League. By competing on a team, students develop their physical skills and their ability to work toward a common purpose. Coaches balance their emphasis on good sportsmanship, self-discipline, responsible behavior, healthy competition, and consideration for others.

Girls’ teams include volleyball, basketball, soccer, and cross-country. 
Boys’ teams include volleyball, basketball, soccer, and cross-country.

For students in grades K-4, parents organize team sports (soccer, basketball, and baseball) with leagues in the city.

What is Breakthrough San Francisco at SF Day School?

Breakthrough has been a valued community involvement initiative of SFDS since 1993. The program supports motivated public school students in grades 5-10 from across the city on the path to college, providing academic enrichment and other key services after school, on weekends, and in the summer. Breakthrough also trains outstanding college students for education careers and engages volunteers of all ages, including eighth graders at SFDS. For more information, please visit www.breakthroughsf.org.

Philosophy & Curriculum

What are the advantages of a co-ed school?

The SFDS founders envisioned a family school, an intellectually rigorous institution which included all children in a family, both boys and girls, and families from a wide range of racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Gender balance is one of the many forms of diversity at our school. We believe that when a school strives to create an inclusive community, using curricula and approaches that explicitly address gender issues, co-education proves to be a benefit for both boys and girls.

 

SFDS is attuned to the ways in which gender differences affect personal development and learning in our society. Our teachers proactively use many different modalities to help each student access information, ideas, and skills. Teachers and students analyze the influences and pressures of gender stereotypes to work toward an authentic understanding of who they are and who they wish to become. In addition, the diverse influences of adult role models, peers, and older mentor students, enable our students to define their own individual values and interests.

 

Providing an environment in which all students can feel comfortable with their identity fosters psychological safety, building self-assurance and ultimately success. In our classrooms girls and boys develop the confidence that allows them to take intellectual risks, preparing them for the future in an idealistic and realistic way.

How do you ensure that curricula and approaches are gender-fair?

We have ongoing training in gender awareness and equity. We give equal time and support to boys’ and girls’ athletic programs, and provide leadership opportunities for both boys and girls in our classrooms, special activities, and student government. We use cooperative learning strategies, experiential learning, individual research and inquiry, and critical thinking, all of which tend to level the playing field in terms of children’s learning styles and gender differences.

What is the School’s philosophy on cultural and ethnic diversity? How is it evident?

San Francisco Day School welcomes, recruits, and celebrates children, families, faculty and staff who reflect the broad range of diversity in the Bay Area. Diverse points of view and experiences are preconditions of learning to think critically and are integral to an outstanding academic program. We strive to create an open and welcoming learning environment in which children and their families feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to school.

The School’s diversity programs include the following:

  • Student Affinity Groups
  • Affinity Dinners for Families
  • Parent Group on Diversity
  • Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) for Faculty and Staff

43% of SFDS students are students of color.
25% of the faculty and staff in the school are people of color.

SFDS seeks to create a school community, including faculty and staff, that reflects the rich diversity of the city of San Francisco and the world in which we live.

Which world languages are offered, and when?

Students learn a second (or additional) language and thus further advance the understanding and skills that will prepare them for true global citizenship. The program utilizes developmentally appropriate communication-based approaches that address varied learning styles. All students begin the study of Spanish in grade 4 and have the option to continue with Spanish, or to begin the study of Latin in grades 7 and 8.

What is covered in the Health Education program?

Science teachers and the School’s counselors collaborate to teach health and life skills in grades 4 - 8. Topics addressed include interpersonal relationships, bullying, self-knowledge, peer and media influences, changing bodies, communication skills, stress reduction, healthy use of technology, and others. These sessions are conducted in either coeducational or single-sex groups, depending on the session topic.

What is Outdoor Education?

Outdoor education programs play an integral role in the School’s curriculum. On their trips, students explore the natural environment as they build community within each grade level. Students are trained in basic outdoor skills such as trip planning, navigation, first aid, and the principles of minimum-impact wilderness living. They work together toward shared goals in an enthusiastic and supportive atmosphere and emerge with stronger self-confidence and leadership skills. Full day trips begin in kindergarten, and overnight trips begin in third grade.

What is Service Learning?

Through service learning students acquire a deeper understanding of what it means to be an active member of a community. Students in every grade participate in off-campus service learning projects that address community needs and help them gain a sense of social responsibility. In-school service activities such as food and book drives allow them to help outside communities while strengthening our own. The program ties classroom study to real-life experiences by utilizing the city as an extended classroom.

School Facilities & Logistics

Can students buy lunch at school?

Yes, full cafeteria service is offered for students in all grades who wish to buy lunch at school.  Options include a 5-day a week or 2-day a week program.  For more information, visit www.sfds.net/parents/lunchmenu.

What kind of security does SFDS provide?

Masonic Avenue is the main entrance. The receptionist is on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors are asked to sign in and out, and wear a visitor badge. A security guard is on duty from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Both arrival and dismissal are closely monitored by faculty and staff.