Monday, July 21, 2014

SFUSD Updated Wait Pools Available

A reader noted in the comments that SFUSD has released the most recent waitpool numbers for 2014-2015. If you're looking for that information, you can find it here:

We couldn't help but notice that Argonne is down to only one student in the Kindergarten waitpool. I am guessing that is because (as a reader noted in the comments) Argonne started the school year earlier than the other schools. I don't know exactly how it works, but if I recall, Argonne has 3 or 4 K classes and I wonder if kids ever start kindergarten at Argonne in the summer but shift in the fall to another school if a spot opens up--might be something to investigate if you're still without a spot for a kindergartner on August 18 or a couple of days after. I've heard great things about Argonne.

Another striking number that jumped out at us: the huge waitpools for middle school grades. Wow!

Anyone else notice anything interesting in the numbers?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Possible changes in tiebreakers

Finally, there is a discussion about possible changes with the lottery system. In case you missed the article,  here it is. I am curious what you think about the proposed changes?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Round 3 Results

Did you go for Round 3? If you were 0/x, what was your strategy, and what's your backup plan?

Good luck to everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Special Education Changes Afoot

Article on SFGate today about changes in special education at SFUSD schools. It sounds like these changes have an impact on which schools are open to which kids in the lottery. If you have thoughts, please weigh in.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Round 2 results -- and help for a family new to SF?

We understand Round 2 results should be mailed today. Please let us know how you fared or if you need help from other parents to figure out your next steps.

Meanwhile, we heard from a family that is moving to San Francisco soon and has some questions about the Spanish fluency test. They have a rising third-grader who has been in a Spanish immersion program since kindergarten and would love to transfer him to a Spanish immersion program in SF (they speak English at home). Does anyone have experience with the assessment around that grade level? What type of things do they ask? They don't know exactly where they will be living, but they are looking at the following schools: Alvarado, Fairmount, Daniel Webster (but I'm sure would love to hear about any 3rd grade openings you might know about at other schools like Marshall or Buena Vista Horace Mann). It sounds like Daniel Webster is the only one with openings now. Thanks in advance, parents!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breaking News! New Transitional Kindergarten Program Announced For Flynn

We heard from Parents for Public Schools and some other nice folks about an exciting new development: a new TK program being started at Leonard Flynn Elementary School.  The announcement from SFUSD is below. We are assuming this is a General Education, not Spanish immersion, Transitional Kindergarten, but if anyone out there has any more info, please let us know.

Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School will be adding a Transitional Kindergarten class to begin in August for the 2014-15 school year.  Flynn is located at 3125 Cesar Chavez St.
If your child is eligible for the TK program, you may submit a Round 2 application for the May Placement Period.  The April 11 deadline has been extended for one week to April 18 for TK applicants only.
If you have already received a TK assignment or have already submitted a Round 2 amended form, you may still add Flynn onto your list of choices by submitting a revised Amended Choice Form which will replace your previous form by April 18. You may come and talk to a placement counselor at the Educational Placement Center at 555 Franklin Street for more information.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 11th is Deadline for SFUSD Round 2

Hello all! Just a reminder that the deadline for SFUSD's Round 2 is coming up this Friday.

Here's the info from the ever reliable Parents for Public Schools:

April 11, 2014: Deadline to register at your assigned school. Application deadline for participation in Round 2 (May Placement period). To participate in seeking a higher choice school, submit an amended form for the Round 2. Application forms can be obtained at the Educational Placement Center (EPC), 555 Franklin Street, or on the SFUSD website,

As always, good luck and feel free to weigh in below with questions and comments.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Look into San Francisco’s Education Market

Local mother and reporter Beth Weise has an interesting piece on her blog about the number of students who leave SFUSD. Please take a look and share your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Public High Schools

Do you have a child heading to high school? What school placement did you receive? Were you happy with the placement?  It seems as though there is often a lot of talk about Lowell but not every child is a Lowell child...what else is out there?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rich school, Rich School: Financial Aid and Affording Private School

So you can stretch enough for next year's kindergarten tuition. What about 8th grade, if it's 40% more than the current tuition?

Historically, tuitions have increased 4% a year, as shown in the chart below. It's important to account for this when deciding if private school is financially survivable. A few formulas:
  • Tuition for kindergarten this fall = 1.04 x current K tuition.
  • 8th grade tuition for kindergartner staring this fall =  1.42 x current 8th grade tuition
  • Total cost of K-8 = 11 x current K tuition,
    assuming the same tuition for upper grades as lower grades.
Tuition Increases at SF Independent Schools, 2009-13

When doing financial planning, it's good to remember that your assets are included in financial aid calculations. This makes it hard to save for other priorities like a home, high school or college. If you own a home, part of the home value is protected. But if you've been saving up for a down payment on a home, be prepared to spend it on tuition. Started a 529 plan for college tuition? Be ready to use it on K-8.

How much do schools budget toward financial aid?

Most schools allocate a set percentage of their tuition revenue to financial aid. For example, Live Oak has allocated 17% of their tuition revenue for 72-73 students a year since 2009.  Looking at the percentage of tuition revenue or operating budget allocated to financial aid is one way to examine a school's commitment to economic diversity.

The percentage of students on financial aid can also be helpful, but at all the schools below, 70-80% of families earn enough to pay full freight, sometimes for 2 or more children.  Moreover, even as tuitions have risen, the percentage of students on financial aid has dropped at many schools, most notably Children's Day, San Francisco School, and San Francisco Day.

Here's the numbers for the data geeks out there.

SCHOOL Year Percentage of students on financial

tuition for
on fin aid 
Total spent on
financial aid
Financial aid as a % of tuition revenue
CATHEDRAL 2014‑15 "about 1/3" $12,100 $27,625 1.4m 19%
2013‑14 "about 1/3" $12,000 $26,700 1.327m 18%
2012‑13 "about 1/3" $12,900 $25,700 1.147m 17%
2009‑10 23% $10,900 1.017m 17%
CHILDREN'S DAY 2013‑14 31% website $8704 $25,400 "over 2m" 22%
2011‑12 36% website $8425 $23,250 1.91m 24%
2009‑10 40% website $8709 $21,190 1.67m 25%
SYNERGY 2013‑14 30%
$16,500 K‑5
$17,200 6-8

2011‑12 32% $6,400 $14,800 0.51m 18%

$14,100 0.57m 21%
SF SCHOOL 2013‑14 29% $9,900 $24,756 K‑5
$26,457 6‑8 
2011‑12 31% $9,500 $21,510 K‑5
$23,500 6-8
1.08m 18%
2009‑10 35% $9,800 $19,950 K‑5
$21,520 6‑8
0.9m 18%
LIVE OAK 2013‑14 27%

2011‑12 27% $8,800 $23,550 1.07m 17%
2009‑10 website 25%
Form 990 29%
$8,300 $21,150
0.95m 17%
SF FRIENDS 2013‑14 26% $7,500$26,000
2011‑12 26% $7,900 $24,045 1.79m 18%
2009‑10 26% $6,600 $22,665 1.51m 18%
PRESIDIO HILL 2013‑14 22%
$23,900 K‑3
$24,950 4‑8

2011‑12 website 21%
Form 990 23%
$7,500 $22,000 K‑3
$23,295 4‑8 
0.67m 15%
2009‑10 22% $5,300 $19,985 K
$21,265 48
0.69m 17%
SF DAY 2013‑14 21% website $7,810 $27,470 1.65m 15%
2011‑12 22% $7,600 $25,770 1.70m 17%
2009‑10 25% website $7,340 $23,540 1.70m 18%
2013‑14 20%
$26,700 K‑4
$27,750 5‑8

2011‑12 website 22%
Form 990 20%
$12,500 $25,000 K4
$26,000 58
1.05m 10%
2009-10 22% $11,200 $23,400 K4
$24,200 58
1.09m  11%
2013‑14 19%
$28,500 website 1.58m*
2011‑12  website 21%
Form 990 22%
$11,600 $25,675
website 1.32m*
actual 1.22m

2009‑10 website 22%
Form 990 19%
$10,400 $23,475 website 1.2m*
actual 1.08m 
TOWN 2013‑14 19% $
$26,700 K‑5
$27,720 6-8

2012‑13 20% $10,300 $25,670 K‑5
$26,650 6-8
1.24m 12%
2009‑10 17%
1.10m 11%
$21,000 NL NL

2011‑12 11%
$19,000 K
$20,000 1‑2
$119k 13%
$20,630 K
$22,070 1-5
2012‑13 10% approx $15,600 $19,930 K
$21,320 1-5

* Hamlin typically spends less on financial aid than the budgeted amount listed on its website.
NL=not listed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Private School Letters and Emails

We hear that today's the day folks will hear about independent school decisions.  Feel free to comment about your own experiences or post any questions you have. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SFUSD Enrollment Stats

SFUSD has posted the enrollment info for Round 1.

I hate the way the district breaks down the statistics.  Information such as "Overall (K-12), 82% of applicants (11,539) received one of their choices, compared to 80% last year (11,525)" is fairly useless without knowing the mean number of schools requested.  If everyone listed 5 schools,  it may be interesting, but if the mean is 40 schools less so. 

Likewise, "Overall (K-12), 59% of applicants (8,305) received their first choice, compared to 60% last year (8,506)" is not very interesting without breaking out sibling and CTIP.  CTIP info is completely missing from all reporting presented.

Friday, March 14, 2014

SFUSD Lottery Results? Private School Admissions Letters?

It's March 14th. SFUSD letters should be mailed today. You may also be hearing from independent or parochial schools. Please share your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your fears in the comments, but especially any useful advice you might have for other families.

Parents for Public Schools will be hosting Round 2 enrollment workshops for families who aren't happy with their Round 1 assignments (or perhaps families who just moved to town or were not in Round 1 for some other reason). Here's what we hear from PPS:

March 24 9:30am-11am: PPS-SF Enrollment Workshop Navigating Round 2 (Spanish, Chinese and English)
This informational enrollment workshop on SFUSD Student Assignment System is an opportunity for you to learn about options and strategies for navigating Round 2 and beyond.
Attendees will:
  • hear about the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Student Assignment System Round 2 options
  • receive advice, tips, and strategies from experienced parents
  • learn about key dates and your next steps
Location: Hoover Middle School | 2290 14th Ave @ Santiago St
No Registration required.

March 25 6-8pm: PPS-SF Enrollment Workshop; Navigating Round 2.
This informational enrollment workshop on SFUSD Student Assignment System is an opportunity for you to learn about options and strategies for navigating Round 2 and beyond.
Attendees will:
  • hear about the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Student Assignment System Round 2 options
  • receive advice, tips, and strategies from experienced parents
  • learn about key dates and your next steps
Location: Presidio Branch Library | 3150 Sacramento Street cross street Lyons Street

Both events are for all grades, TK through 12.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Parent Request: Advice on Possibly Repeating Kindergarten?

Hi folks. Once again, a parent has written in with a dilemma. Let's see if we can help, shall we? 

Last year, applying for kindergarten, the mom who has written in felt that several of San Francisco's all-girls schools might be a good fit for her daughter, who can be a bit shy and get intimidated easily. The daughter (we'll call her Mabel) has a late summer birthday, and ended up on the waitlist for two single-sex independent schools. At the same time, Mabel was assigned to a well-regarded SFUSD neighborhood school, and her parents sent her there for kindergarten. It sounds like kindergarten has gone pretty well and Mabel has done great, but Mabel's mom still thinks single-sex education could be a great fit for her daughter long-termHere's the rub: the schools would want Mabel to repeat kindergarten. Mabel's parents are wondering if she might be bored or develop some issues if she spends all of next year relearning things that she's already covered this year. What say you, parents? And as long as we're at it, are there any parents willing to share their recent experiences with Hamlin and Burke's? 

Thanks much!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live Oak Almost Doubling In Size?

It can be stressful for parents this time of year as some wait for the SFUSD lottery results and others for admissions decisions from the independent schools (and some for both). But this year at least we hear some interesting news on one front: Starting in Fall 2014, Live Oak School is apparently beginning an effort to almost double in size, moving from its current model of one class in the early grades and two classes in the middle school to an expansion that will include two classes each for the early grades and three classes each for grades 6-8. This will surely open up some spots for families interested in Live Oak (or indirectly, other independent schools) and, according to a letter from Live Oak School, provide for a stronger financial position for Like Oak itself.

What else have you heard? Any other developments out there? Good luck to everyone waiting!!