Friday, December 14, 2007

What's this blog about?

The other day, I bumped into a friend, a dad who knows that I'm the one writing this blog. He and his partner have been primarily looking at private schools but he told me that the blog inspired him to check out Miraloma. He absolutely loved the school and said he could envision his children there. He seemed surprised to be so smitten with a public school.

At times, I wonder what this blog is all about. I started it as a way to cope with the overwhelming process. I never expected others to contribute—except my dad who posted one of the first comments. But then it turned into this community, and the blog became more about the interaction between visitors than my emotional outlet—which is a good thing.

I think this blog is about nudging one another to think outside the box—whether it's convincing parents who were only considering Clarendon to visit Leonard Flynn and Starr King, or encouraging parents who steered clear of private schools (because they seemed prohibitively expensive) to apply for financial aid. This city is full of excellent schools and it seems that our children could thrive at many of them.

Please share, if you've looked at schools that have pleasantly surprised you or if you plan to apply to or list schools that you never imagined you'd consider.

5 comments:

  1. I threw myself into a ton of research when this process started, so I wouldn't say the blog opened my eyes to new schools.

    Where I see the blog being hugely valuable is in 1) offering a "sounding board" for comparing my priorities and observations against other parents' (which helps me clarify where I stand) and 2) giving me the confidence to say "Yes, i can make the public schools work, and no, it isn't Clarendon or bust." For example, hearing enthusiasm for schools that were initially questionable to me - but ones I really wanted to love - helped me get over my concerns.

    I would add, too, that the blog is an awesome counter-balance to all the quantitative data I keep pouring over (such as test scores, competitiveness and ethnic make-up). The words/voices of all the parents who've posted (starting with Kate's) are real, raw and unfiltered. These "data" may be qualitative and anecdotal, but they're hugely helpful. Thank you, Kate! Really. Thanks so much.

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  2. Hi Kate,
    My wife and I want to say THANK YOU for putting your experience on line for folks like us to share. We are in New Haven but will move to San Fran in July and our son starts K in Sept (then his sister 2 years after, then another [gender unknown] 2 or 3 years later), so you can imagine what we're going through with these forms and little more than the Internet before us. We have one big advantage, which is that we can put down any neighborhood and if he gets in, that's where we will rent our place in July.

    So when you ask what is this blog about, I can safely say that it's about letting others benifit from your insight, honesty, judgement, and experiences. You ARE our eyes and ears at these tours and events... sorry if that's daunting (and we'll never blame/credit you with the ultimate end result, of course) but it's true. Between yourself, the folks at PPS, other parents like the Dudley Adam's of this world, and some reaching out to friends/family in the area for their memories and experiences, we've had to make a list of 7 schools from over 3 thousand miles away. And we've had to accept our limitations and get comfortable with our choices (perhaps a life lesson that no school could ever teach).

    We will probably slow down our reading after these forms get sent in tomorrow, but thank you a thousand times over for what you've done here.

    Marc and Sisi
    New Haven, CT.

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  3. thanks for encouraging us to be specific, kate. at the end of the day, that's what i always like to read about.

    some of this i've said before, but since you asked about schools that surprised us or hadn't heard much about prior:

    i liked the nurturing quality and smallness of harvey milk and mckinley. i felt like my kids would be well cared for there, and get a good education.

    i liked the challenging nature of what they're giving the kids at starr king.

    sunnyside also felt intimate and peaceful. it seems a little off the beaten path, but is so close to glen park, bernal and noe.

    monroe has a tremendously talented principal. maintaining three strands is hard, but they seemed like a caring and rising school.

    SF community was great if you're looking for something different -- project-based learning, split grades and a head teacher instead of a principal.

    those are some that come to mind.

    did anyone see marshall? can you weigh in?

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  4. Yes, this blog has been somewhat of an obsession for me. I am getting weary of the tours, but I still feel like I could tour so many more. Proximity is a big deal to me, so I ruled out without much thought a whole bunch of schools. Probably a mistake, but I had to use some sort of blunt instrument to narrow things down. Still, it's been extremely heartening to read about all of the excellent things happening at schools all around town, schools that people wouldn't have dreamed they'd send their kids only a few years ago. I can't help think that the energy and can-do spirit that I read in these posts will serve our own kids well, but will also improve the experience of all kids in the district overall.

    I feel like the remarks in the last few days have taken on the tone of winding down, a little bit of wistfulness even? The looking was fun, the exploring, the thinking -- looking toward the future is what propels the species to propagate, anyway, so is it any surprise that we put so much energy into making sure we've investigated the path for them before they tread upon it?

    So, if anything, this blog has helped me get to my angle of repose, a realization that it's all going to be OK, because, at the end of the day, I will make sure it is.

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  5. This is in connection with the title of the post, though not on the subject of the comments Kate asked for.

    I posted a somewhat detailed commentary ABOUT this blog on www.sfschools.org, where I co-blog:

    http://www.sfschools.org/2007/12/blog-success-story-thesfkfiles.html

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