Monday, March 17, 2008

K Files Council: Jose Ortega?

Here's our situation:

We put only four schools on our list. Miraloma was number one and it's still our number one choice. The other three were the obvious top-of-the-list schools.

We toured about five schools. Now I know that's not enough, but we assumed we would get into Miraloma—wishful thinking!

Our assignment is Jose Ortega, and we're not happy with the assignment at all. We live in the Sunset and immersion is not a priority for us.

At this point, I feel like we have no where to go and the clock is ticking away quickly. If I knew then what I know now I would have had backup parochial schools set up—even though we really want to go the public route. Other private schools are really not an option for us because of money. Any one know of parochial schools that are still accepting applications?

For our family situation, I think it would be difficult to go to a school in Bernal or the Mission due to logistics.

I submitted round two with my waitpool request, and I have been told the odds are not in our favor.

What do we do????

23 comments:

  1. Hi
    Try St. Gabrielles in the outer sunset. They are wonderful - very diverse and great teachers. I don't know if they still accept applications but are worth a try. Also Holy Name in the sunset might be an option. St. Monica's and Star of the Sea in the Richmond are great options too.

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  2. there are other great publics out there - try Francis Scott Key (on 43rd in Sunset) and Lafayette (36th in the Richmond - they are a CA Distinguished School) -

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  3. You should try for round 2 and put 7 down this time. Also, if Miraloma is your first choice, get on the waitlist and follow up on the parochial's suggested.

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  4. Is your child assigned to immersion or general ed at Jose Ortega? My understanding is that assignments to immersion are supposedly only by request. If that's correct and there's an actual error, maybe you can get extra attention to this.

    If you're assigned to general ed, that's another story and you do need to deal with the regular process. My inference is that you haven't been very wired in until now, so you are aware that Parents for Public Schools is a valuable source of reliable information and support, right? 861-7077, www.ppssf.org

    Kate -- it's not because I'm being a cheerleader but because I'm hoping that already stressed parents don't get even more frazzled that I'd suggest changing the headline on this item. It's a Round 1 "offer," which doesn't mean the family is "stuck," plus that's a dis on Jose Ortega that may not really be fair.

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  5. I don't think it is a journalist's place to editorialize the submitter's feelings about their assignment.

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  6. If you liked Miraloma you should take a look at Sunnyside for your ammended choice list. It's just down the street and is a good fallback while waitlisting for Miraloma & looking at parochials.

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  7. The Stratford School is opening a San Francisco campus for the 2008-09 school year and has rolling admissions. From what I know it is the newest campus of a private, for-profit school. Their tuition is in ther $12k per year range and their admissions procedures are supposedly not as involved as at typical independent schools. The SF campus is right near where Junipero Serra and 19th Ave converge near the on-ramp to 280 S. We did not apply to Stratford, so this is all I really know. I am neither recommending nor not recommending this school -- just letting you know that it might be an option. Here's a link (I hope!): http://www.stratfordschools.com/podium/default.aspx?t=102808

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  8. FYI, star of the sea told me that they have 11 spots, but already have 30on the waitlist and 9 of those are catholic (priority).

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  9. Caroline, if a person is assigned to a school they did not list on their list of seven, it could indeed feel to that person that they are "stuck" with that school.

    I don't see why you are haunting this listserve when you do not have any children anywhere near kindergarten age and all you are doing is ridiculing parents for being unhappy with schools they obviously do not want to send their children to.

    This is Kate's blog, go write your own and for god's sake stop trying to get her to rewrite her headlines.

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  10. Anons, my point was that the headline seemed unnecessarily discouraging at a point when parents don't need any more stress. I'm not ridiculing anyone, by any means. I've been there and I'm sympathetic.

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  11. anon at 11:44, your nasty post is totally out of line. caroline hasn't ridiculed anyone and i have found her posts reasoned and valuable. why would we limit this blog to only parents new to the system -- it would be like the blind leading the blind. i visit this blog primarily for the insight of veterans like caroline. and i think her comment was legitimate -- "stuck" with jose ortega has an inherently derogatory tone that is unnecessary. the poster can complain about her assignment all she wants -- caroline is only pointing out that the title migth offend some people. how about "rejected by privates, stuck with public school" -- how well do you think that would go over?

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  12. "how about "rejected by privates, stuck with public school" -- how well do you think that would go over?"

    That would be an apt summary of this blog lately.

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  13. I believe St. Philips in Noe is still accepting apps.

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  14. Try St. Finn Barr,right next to Sunnyside school. It's not a pretty school,but the kintergarten teacher and principal are absolutely great,and after kintergarten the average class size is about 13 kids.

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  15. Thank you, anon at 12:14pm. I also look forward to and value Caroline's insights.

    As for the headline, I know Caroline is only trying to help. But I'm guessing it's how the person who email'd Kate had titled the question (?). In which case, I don't see any reason to editorialize either.

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  16. I am a parent at Jose Ortega, and I have to admit the headline struck a nerve. However I understand the frustration involved. I was there 2 years ago with the same problem. I picked fewer than 7 schools and was assigned to Jose Ortega (a school I had never heard of). Long story short, we accepted our assignment (after attending the EPC grievance meeting and touring the school) and have been very happy. It is a great little gem of a school. Here is the link to our school if anyone is interested : http://joseortegaschool.org/

    At this point it seems that you have followed the SFUSD procedure for what to do next, so here is my piece of advice:
    It sounds like you are an involved parent. That is fantastic (lots of parents aren't). Whatever school you choose will benefit from your involvement, as will your child. Join the PTA or the School Site Council (SSC), volunteer in your child's classroom, attend family events, etc., at whatever school you finally choose. You will be able to help shape the programs that your child receives and participates in. You will also get to know all of the staff and most of the kids (in all of the grades). Most of all, your child will get a great education, whether it is a top ten school or a little known gem of a school.
    I wish you well in your ongoing search.

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  17. I have to say, one of the great things about this blog for someone who will be going through this process next year, you discover so many wonderful schools that are under the radar. The Jose Ortega website is very impressive. I will definitely look at this school where as before, I had not even heard of it. If it weren't so far from us, I'd definitely put it on our list, but if we happen to get it assigned to us, I wouldn't feel too unhappy. We live in the Northern side of the Inner Sunset. Looks to be a 1/2hr. drive with the 19th Ave traffic. Any other good alternative routes that will get you there faster from where we are?

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  18. Oh and I also want to comment that I believe that involved and interested parents do make a difference on how the hidden gem schools become one of those sought after schools. It seems that higher API usually follows if that's a concern.

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  19. I'm a little late to this discussion, but I would also like to thank Caroline for her helpful comments (she's definitely opinionated, but that's a good thing; she is also a wealth of information and has good advice) and, it goes without saying, Kate for providing so much information along with this forum for all of us to share thoughts and get advice. I know this is an emotional, stressful time for all of us (we also did not get any of our choices and were assigned to Jose Ortega) and I'm certain the stress is leading to some of the trigger responses on this blog.

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  20. Not to beat a dead horse, but I agree that the headline is not in keeping with this blog's usual sensitivity to parents, teachers, and others who are currently attending schools that are being discussed. Jose Ortega Mandarin immersion was on our Round One list, in large part because we were very impressed by the principal, by what we saw in all of the classes, and by the parent community. If I had a child at that school I would be pretty upset by that headline.

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  21. Yes, and children read this blog too. No joke.

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  22. I preferred the old headline ;)

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  23. We were assigned to Jose Ortega and weren't happy. Then on the 21st, feeling desperate and wanting something, I went in to accept, knowing it wouldn't affect our 2nd Round options. I was lucky enough to meet a parent of a kindergarten student. She was about to give a tour and I went along.

    I was very impressed. The classrooms were nice, the teachers seemed great, the student body was diverse, and they only let two grades out for recess at a time so younger students aren't overwhelmed. I felt SOOOOO much better.

    We're still trying for others in the 2nd round (since Ortega is far away and the opposite direction from where we work), but if we end up there, we may just stay.

    If that happens, I'd love to connect with some of the other parents who are assigned and going there. I've heard a lot recently about involved parents "taking over" a school. If we go to Ortega we'll definitely be doing this. Please email me if you're interested. christian@covision.com

    Thanks and good luck to everyone...

    -Christian Saucedo

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