Friday, April 4, 2008

Kate, did you participate in Round II?

Recently, I've gotten this question a lot, and honestly I'm trying to skirt the issue. But for the sake of integrity, I feel that I should answer the question. Yes, I did turn in a Round II enrollment form. Gosh, I practically had the thing filled out the day I got my letter for Round I. I poured a ton of time into the public process and I wanted to finish what I started. I included only immersion programs on my list. That said, at this point my mind is set on attending Marin Country Day School and I think our chances are slim for getting into an immersion program in Round II. We're not going to participate in the SFUSD process beyond Round II, and we have no intention of keeping our name on a wait pool list.

I've long debated whether or not to disclose this information. I've asked everyone I know what to do and everyone has a different opinion. I finally decided that this site has long been based on honesty and so I decided to provide this information. I apologize if it's discouraging to anyone.


  1. I don't understand the rationale for Kate's decision to submit a Round II application.

  2. Kate,
    Thank you for your always brave and honest account of your personal decisions. The question that I have, (that I have asked before, but never viewed an answer and maybe you don't have an answer) is: What will you do if you get into choice number one on the second round? Will you seriously consider it and if not, why even go through it?
    I guess that you are prepared for the litany of abuse that is about to be thrown at you for admitting this tidbit. So many folks have voiced their scorn for parents who are holding places in both the public and private systems. I guess I can only admire your strong ego and backbone. I sure wouldn't be able to take it!

  3. I also don't quite get this. The chances of getting into an immersion program via Round II are pretty slim, unless she meant the WAIT pool. I also find this SO aggravating - a perfect example of how privileged are those who have a private school back-up vs those of us who don't. Kate has a better chance of getting one of these immersion programs than we do, b/c she got 0/7 on Round I. We got 1/7 in Round I b/c we could not risk getting 0/7 with twins (low probability of getting in on Rd I and wait pool). So we put one school on our list that in the end we decided we were not OK with. So now we are in Wait Pool and Rd II w/out the backup of private school. I really feel like those who have the private school back-up can risk a list of 7 that is "pie in the sky" (Clarendon, etc). And these are the very people who can hang out on the wait pool list and snag those last minute Alvarado slots.
    These folks have a better chance of getting a top public school, no doubt about it!

  4. Kate,

    Could you explain why you are going ahead with Round II if you are committed to going to MCDS? I don't have a problem with your decision... it just seems weird to continue the process. What do you mean, "see it through"? I thought you were through when you got into MCDS.

    I guess you don't have to explain your decision, but it is curious.

  5. Public schools are a public process. Kate is a taxpayer and is entitled to participate in the process as much as anyone. And why wouldn't she? If she got her immersion dream school, she might just decide to save tens of thousands of dollars she will spend in the future at private school.

    Plenty of families I know have accepted a private school slot while they wait to see what happens with public school process - then forgo the deposit. Sure is cheaper in the end.

  6. For those people who applied to both private and public and got into a private but not a public slot of their liking, the only rational thing to do is take the slot they know for sure. In this case, Kate knows she has a slot at MCDS and would have been foolish to ignore it and risk no place at all for Alice come Fall.

    And why is she focused on it? Because it's the sure thing, the one they have and the one they are looking forward to in this moment with the info they have. If they get unto a public they like, they'll need to make a decision based on the new information they have. (As will all of you in the same position).

    And that will start the ripple effects all through the system which is why, again something always works out in the end. This is like looking for a job, or a house. You sometimes say yes, while you wait for the outcome on the other and then make your final decsion which sometimes means backing out of something you committed to, or losing money.

    The only way it affects those of you who don't yet know is that your status is still up in the air. What Kate does or doesn't do doesn't really affect you, or not for long. She doesn't need two schools! It's not like she'll have two and you'll have none. If she gets a new assignment she'll have two schools for a couple days. Big deal.

  7. And maybe she'll get assigned to and go with Fairmount, and her spot at MCDS will go to someone now enrolled at Rooftop, and that will open a spot for the kid waitlisted who is now registered at Alvarado, and that will open a spot for the kid presently registered to go to Harvey Milk, which will free a place for...

    Nothing's locked up yet in this process. It's like one of those games where you have to slide one square over before you can move the next one and everyone's moves affect everyone elses which can be bad. Or good.

    There is STILL MOVEMENT! So many more of you will have resolved situations after the Round II results.

  8. nothing at all wrong with kate's decision, i'm genuinely glad you have options available to you, but i agree with 10:20, people with the private option don't take away a seat in sfusd, but they do have a big advantage regarding getting a top public.

    as someone with no private option we wait pooled a school that may turn out fine but was not even in our top 7, because we were 0/7 and not assigned to a school we felt ok with.

    just too bad.

    so, even among us middle class bloggers, there are definitely inequities, even in this lottery system that is trying so hard to be equitable.

    i do think over the long run this system will be good for the community, though.

  9. Kate has said that she is only doing second round and is not holding a wait pool slot. So I assume once the second round is over, her participation in the SFUSD process will be over, unless she gets on of her choices or changes her mind...

  10. Similiar to Kate, we went 0/7 in round 1; have a spot at a private; are only listing immersion programs in round 2; will give up on SFUSD if we don't get any of our choices in Round 2.

    Why go for Round 2 at all?

    I can't speak for Kate, but there is this dream of immersion that even the loveliest of the private schools can't offer. I know many families don't see it this way but we view it as a great opportunity.

    I also want to be the first family on our block to send their kids to public school - because I think it's time for families like ours to recognize and support the public system.

    But the longer it takes for SFUSD to let me know if I even have an immersion option, the more appealing the private option looks.

    I'm a full-time working mom who runs her own expanding business. How much more time and emotional energy can I devote to this? At some point the lottery system makes it too difficult for families like ours to pursue public options.

  11. Are the inequalities? Yes, of course there are! Sadly, life isn't fair. Why shouldn't Kate try to do what she feels is best for her family? Because anon at 10:20 but a school on her/his list that it turns out she/he actually doesn't want? 10:20 -- it id not Kate's fault that you listed a school you do not actually want. Your twins would have been assigned somewhere regardless, and you would have either received a school you're ok with (and all the twins I know have been given placements at the same school -- DiFi and Jefferson, for example) or gone 0/7. Your tactical error is not Kate's fault, nor is the wonky lottery system. 12:36 has it right. Also, of the parents I know whose kids received spots at private or parochial schools, very few are continuing with the public school process.

  12. Would you consider dropping MCDS for an immersion program?

    Frankly, this is your best shot at giving your daughter the gift of bilingualism. This goes beyond the advantage of being able to speak another language fluently. Bilingual children score higher than their monolingual peers on all sorts of cognitive measures, from abstract thinking to creativity. No monolingual school -- not even MCDS -- can point to empirical proof that their curriculum focus is giving students such a concrete advantage in life... and the price is right!

  13. THose of you with no private back-up: Did you apply and come up empty, or did you rule out applying for financial (and other) reasons?

    We'll be applying for kindergarten *next* Fall, though I'm trying to get an early start on research since I have a baby due in the Fall.

    We're definitely applying to both public and private, even though we could only afford private with substantial financial aid.

    But how many privates do most people apply to?

    We know a *wonderful* mixed-race family that didn't get into *any* of the private schools they applied to, but they only applied to three. (Still, with all this talk of diversity, you'd think somebody would have snatched them up...) Makes us quite nervous...

  14. I don't really get it either (submitting a Round II app after receiving an acceptance) but that's only because we wanted the torture to be over with once we got a school we liked.

  15. We applied to 4 private school and was waitlisted with 2 of them. We got 0 in of public school choices. I really believed in the system (the public that is) i was never really too interested in the privates as i believe there are too many good publics. What happens from here, well we all know that answer ...the waiting game, annoying yes, but what choice do we have, i'm not moving ( although serious talks between my husband and i are taking place-the earliest we would move would be next summer). So for you applying next year my advice would be apply to at least 6 or 7 privates.

  16. Thanks for your honesty, Kate. We enrolled in our SF public school and are very happy with our choice. However, if the situation were differnt, we might have accepted the private or parochial we were accepted to. As long as parents inform the public and/or private that they no longer need the spot they are holding, then while not ideal, it is understandable. We all want what's best for our kids. I realize private/parochial is not an option for everyone, but if you're lucky enough to have the option, then it is what is is. Resenting parents in this position will only make you bitter. It's the people who "hold" (enroll) a spot at a public, and then just don't show up after two weeks once school starts that are the worst! Obvously, their decsion was made well before the first day of school!

  17. It is not an immersion, of course, but MCDS has a wonderful spanish program. My son goes to high school with kids from MCDS. As freshman, they routinely place into Spanish AP their first year of high school.

  18. Sorry to bring this up again. I think I have changed my mind, can I change my list I wrote for round 2 and my waitlist choice?

  19. Kids in AP Spanish are hardly fluent, though they can pass the AP written test. They certainly couldn't hold their end of a conversation on politics or literature with a native speaker.

    I have an acquaintance from Mexico whose daughter was bilingual when she started at MCDS as a kindergartener. By the time she graduated, she had lost her fluency. She got As in Spanish at MCDS and is gettting As in Spanish in high school. But she's not fluent and has a very strong American accent. It is sad because she spoke Spanish like a native speaker before attending a monolingual school.

    This isn't a "dis" on MCDS... just schools in general who don't understand that for a child to master a foreign language (or even retain one), they need to spend at least 30 percent of their waking hours immersed in that language. ANything else is just for show.

  20. I totally agree with Kate's decision....mainly because I made the same decision.

    I got into my first choice private school--off the wait list, after waiting a couple weeks, which wasn't fun. But I feel strongly about public schools, and if I were to get one of my favorites (and I included about 7 schools, most of which aren't the popular ones) of course I'd go public.

    So to all the judgmental people, who question why we're doing this... You either want the public schools to represent the economic diversity in the city or you don't. That means that people who "could" afford private, put their energy and choice into the public schools.

    It's a lottery. I didn't invent it. It's not about privilege. It's about belief in public schools. I went 0/7, and I got a chance in the second round.

    And if like me, you have a couple kids, you'd be silly not to benefit from a free education. (Although I pay my share in property taxes.)

    Judging us on this point is like judging people who rent, who send their kids to public, because they're not really paying for it. That's ludicrous.

  21. 3:05 asks a great question.

    I applied to 5 privates. I was waitlisted three places, then eventually got a spot at my top pick, no financial aid.

    I was 0/7 in the lottery for publics.

    If I had to do it over again, I would have applied to 10 privates--and no, I am not kidding. I was fully eligible for financial aid, and I would have gone for as many deep pocket privates as I could have. It would have been hell for my daughter. It was the reason I held it to 5.

    But at the end of the day, I went for two weeks without a school, and I got a taste of how horrific a feeling it is! I would have rather put my daughter through five more applications, because on measure, it would have to be better than everything involved in leaving the city.

    I was lucky. I only enduring the specter of leaving the city for a couple weeks. I can only imagine how overwhelming it feels to come up zero with privates, zero with publics, and then be waiting out the second round, then come up zero for that. Then be scrambling all summer to move to some gawdawful place like Marin (sorry Kate) just so you can uproot your life, be miserable, and not live in the City you love.

    Now that would have been a nightmare. Yet it's true for hundreds of families right at this minute.

    Cover every base you can. Apply to as many as you can. Unless, of course, you don't care about moving and are fine with living in the East Bay, Marin, or the South Bay. We were not.

  22. 8:26 -- Did you apply for financial aid at the school you were admitted to?

  23. I just had to respond to the poster that said that anything less than speaking a second language for 30 hours a week is "just for show"!

    I am bilingual in Spanish and English. I learned my second language (Spanish) in my 20s when I lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a few years. We considered immersion for our son, but ultimately decided against it for several reasons. 1. The Spanish immersion programs were really far from us 2. I was not that impressed with the programs I saw (I was way more impressed with the Cantonese programs!). The Spanish was full of "english-isms", the work seemed rote and less creative than in the non-immersion classes, and when I spoke to the teacher (in Spanish), he said that the English-speaking kids are pretty much always behind. 3. I remember how miserable I was for the first half year when I was living abroad and in my own "immersion" acquisition of Spanish. Learning a language this way is effective, but it also has a price and I really want my son to have a less stressful introduction to school.

    I know from having toured so many schools and talking with friends that what schools and programs you like are such an individual choice --Spanish immersion wasn't for us, but it might be a great fit for some families! But there are plenty of people in this world who speak two or more languages fluently who did not grow up with an immersion program. In fact, I would wager that most simply had early second language instruction (2 or more times a week) and exposure to movies/tv etc. in the second language... What we really need is more early language instruction for everyone! This is not just for show! It provides the later template for full fluency and, really, the conversational abilities in a second language (without fluency) can be a goal in themselves! I speak two other languages (besides English and Spanish) with less than perfect fluency and I'm equally grateful for those.

  24. There are several private schools that start foreign language instruction in pre-K or K, a couple of hours a week or more.

    Their graduates would never pass for native speakers -- not by a long shot. Most place in Spanish II or III. Not very impressive despite the early start.

    ON the other hand, I know foreigners educated overseas in international schools where they were immersed in English for 4-5 hours a day who scored higher than 90 percent of monolingual AMericans on the verbal portion of the SAT. Their mastery of the English language matches any US native speaker.

    Few Americans ever master a foreign language to the same extent.

    THe 30% of waking hours rule of thumb is from a well-known paper on children and language acquisition, not based on one individual's personal experience.

  25. My problem with the Spanish immersion programs is that many of the teachers learned the language in their teens or 20s and are *not* native speakers. They have the vocabulary of a 7 or 8 year old and sound like tourists.

    And the majority of the native-speaking teachers are US born or have lived in the US for so many years, their Spanish is peppered with Anglicisms. Those who come from disadvantaged, immigrant backgrounds speak the Spanish their immigrant parents spoke at home, which is not the Spanish of an educated person. (Imagine your child coming home having picked up "ain't" from their English teacher.)

    I was born, raised and educated in South America and although I want to help my son maintain his Spanish (most of my friends have failed with their children), the Spanish immersion programs are hardly perfect.

  26. 9:22 -- I take it you mean Fred Genesee, McGill University?

  27. I do not fault Kate one bit, I only blame myself for not having thought harder about having a private back-up.

    I know someone who has a fall birthday kid and applied this year to just take a crack at the system. She hit a grand-slam. In round I she got a trophy school and she got a spot a desirable private. She enrolled at the public and put down her deposit at the private. Even though I sit here 0/7 and have nothing in my back pocket, I do not blame her at all and would do the same if so blessed. She is still trying to decide if her kid is ready for kindergarten and then, if so, which school is best.

    Jealous? Yes. Bitter? No.

  28. Does MCDS have an immersion track?

  29. 5:57 -- No immersion track at MCDS.

    SF Day does pull-outs starting in third grade for native-speaking kids so they can keep up their Spanish.


    10:39 - I didn't know there were *any* top privates in SF that took children turning 5 in the Fall... All the ones we looked at had August 1 or September 1 cut offs...

  30. There is *all* this research showing that the best way for kids to master a foreign language is starting at an early age and using content-based immersion, that is, studying history, or math or science *in* that language, instead of just studying vocabulary and grammar as a subject. Yet none of the privates do this (beyond FAIS, CAIS and the Lycee).

    If there were definitive research proving that there was a particular way of teaching Math or Reading that produced EXCEEDINGLY better results in Math and Reading *and* gave kids marked cognitive advantages, don't you think they'd try that approach?

    They are professional educators. They should be up on what the latest research says about the best way to teach the subjects they are offering the kids instead of succumbing to parental pressure to start language education early, but using an approach that simply is inadequate. It is the equivalent of graduating from elementary school without being able to read a book, only random words.

  31. 8:26... Thanks for your advice.

    Anyone else want to answer the Q, "if I had to do it again, I would...."

  32. I heard you have a MUCH better chance of admission if you do NOT apply for financial aid.

    That once your family is enrolled, you can ask for aid in subsequent grades and you will get priority over kinder applicants.

    Is that true across the board?

    That would mean that if you LOVE a school, you should try to come up with full tuition for year one, then apply for aid in first grade, no?

  33. My problem with the Spanish immersion programs is that many of the teachers learned the language in their teens or 20s and are *not* native speakers. They have the vocabulary of a 7 or 8 year old and sound like tourists.

    Anon above could you tell us which schools you are talking about? The four SI programs we put down all had native speaking, educated, well spoken Spanish teachers(my husband and I both speak Spanish which we learnt in Spain), but we only met one or two in each school. I would be grateful for specifics about the teachers you know of who have the vocab of an 8 year old or a tourist. Sounds a little like scaremongering to me?

  34. I don't know of *any* SI schools that can claim that all of their teachers are educated (as in educated *in* Spanish) native speakers of Spanish.

    There is more demand for Spanish immersion teachers than there are qualified teachers.

    But lots of families think that is better than nothing. And it probably is.

  35. I didn't write it, but I don't think it is scare-mongering. Many of the immersion schools are heavy on gringos who learned Spanish in their 20's. It still might be a great choice, but important to consider. Our city needs to do a better job of suporting native speakers to do this work, for example: a pay incentive?

  36. The problem is that many of the native speakers that *could* become SI teachers are part of a generation that was discouraged from speaking Spanish outside the home.

    Their Spanish is deficient because of this. They were never schooled in Spanish, so their vocabulary is limited to what they would use in casual conversations at home and their grammar is lacking.

  37. My experience with SI, and this is backed up by friends at other schools, is that there is a mix of teachers at each school. Some are gringos who learned Spanish in the peace corps or other immersion experiences, while others are native speakers. Some are highly educated (and are from South America as opposed to more working class Mexico and Central America or Chicano communities here), others the reverse. These class/education differences are mirrored in the English language side and in GE classes, by the way. Some of their teachers are highly educated and some hail from more middle class backgrounds, but all are proficient, and all bring their gifts. To be clear, none of these teachers have been below par. The only middling Spanish I have heard is from outside the main classroom, example arts or library teachers who are not credentialed in this area.

    I think this diversity works for the good. No, it is not like going to the Lycee with its rigorous (rigid?) program with the French curriculum. But the kids do learn the language, and they learn to distinguish between different modes and styles of speaking.

    Because one of us is a native Spanish speaker from Spain, my kids can easily switch back and forth between the "th" and "s" sound in most words: they judge the context, so in Spain, they use it and in America, they mostly do not. Similarly, they can distinguish between an Argentinian accent and a Mexican one. Some of their teachers have been more about verbal fluency, and others have been more rigorous than others about vocabulary and grammar, and they have learned from both. They have been forced to talk in both languages every day, however, and that has been the important thing from day one. It gets it into their brains at a young age.

    As my kids have moved into formal language instruction in both English and Spanish, for example learning about subjects and predicates in the third grade, they have also become more precise and less colloquial in their use of both languages. We speak correctly at home, but of course lots of street language is out there on the playground in both languages (using "good" instead of "well" as an adverb, for example).

    For whatever reason, my son is more fluent in his speech than my daughter. Both have good accents, both can speak/read/write, but he is just more easy with it. In any case, the SI program has been a wonderful blessing for us, definitely worth it.

  38. 11:41 - Which SI program do your kids attend?

    Also, is your son older than your daughter? We know a lot of families where the older sibling has a stronger grasp of the "other" language than the younger one. (The one exception we know is a family where the youngest attends a Spanish-immersion preschool that didn't exist when the older sibs were that age.)

  39. If I had to do it all again...

    1) I'd apply to more private schools, at least 7 or 8, but I would beg, borrow or steal to get the first year's tuition money. I think we may have gotten "dinged" because we needed too much financial aid.

    2) I'd tour more publics, beyond the most popular.

  40. I'm an admissions director for one of the private schools in SF, (yes, we admissions directors sometimes lurk here!) and just wanted to comment on a few things.

    One - the financial aid process at our school & most schools I know of is completely separate from the admissions process, so there is no way you can get "dinged" for asking for too much financial aid. If the admissions director/committee wants to offer your child a spot, at that point, we go over to the business office and have them calculate the financial aid award. It's not like we look at everyone who has applied for financial aid and weed out the ones who ask for a lot. Most of our schools have a lot to give out, so that really doesn't matter. What matters is if we feel your family would be a fit at our school, and that your child would be a good fit too.

    For us, as I'm sure with most & maybe all other private schools, the financial aid piece doesn't enter into the picture until after we have made our decisions. There are many families who applied for aid who we never even considered for aid because we never got that far in the process with them, either their child didn't screen well, or we got a bad teacher recommendation from their preschool (yes, those preschools are brutally honest!), or the parents didn't seem like a fit when we interviewed them, i.e. we sensed we were only a back-up school and they didn't really want to be here.

    I would be careful of not asking for aid the first year, and scraping by, only to ask the second year and beyond. Yes, as a current family you would get preferential consideration, but at our school, we allocate a certain %age of students in each grade to get financial aid, say 25% of the class. If we already have 25% of students receiving aid in a particular class, even if you are an enrolled family, we may not have any more allocated dollars to give out for that particular grade. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it's a gamble. Better to be up front about your financial situation from the start. I have never not taken a family that I wanted because they asked for financial aid. All of our schools want socio-economic diversity, so it absolutely doesn't hurt your chances to ask.

    The last thing I wanted to comment on is that yes, all of our private schools want diversity, but even if you're a family of color, or biracial, LGBT, adopted, etc. everything has to fit, as I said above. Good parent interview, a child who screens well, good teacher recommendation, etc. We waitlisted more than a few diverse families this year because something was off about their whole picture, either their child didn't screen well and what we saw was backed up by a teacher recommendation, or the parents didn't seem like they really wanted to be at our school. Remember, your friend's child who you see at birthday parties may be cute and energetic, but when we screen the child and have to think about 9 years of teaching the child and being with the family, we may have a different assessment, diverse or not.

  41. What do you screen the child for?

  42. "something was off about their whole picture, ... their child didn't screen well"

    Ugh. Creepy stuff. Thank goodness for public schools.

  43. I'm glad that the admissions director posted here (THANKS btw) but I have to say, something is REALLY OFF with the evals of kids.

    E.g.: the biggest bully in our preschool, a truly mean child (white, nondiverse in any known way) that most other children fear, was admitted everywhere. Sweet, sweet kids who are loved and get along with all others were waitlisted (even rejected!) most places (or, even everywhere). Maybe the evaluations were off, but I do actually feel like I know these other kids well. We have been at this school five days a week for three years (and witnessed field trips, birthday parties, school picnics, etc.) - that gives you a much clearer picture than a 2 hour screen. I wonder why the teacher eval didn't fill in those gaps there?

    I also found it interesting that the admissions directors look in the parent interview if a school is a "back up." How can they assess that? By speaking with other admissions directors?

    My last comment to the admissions director is that I wish you could be a bit more diplomatic. I read that post as saying that if you are a diversity family and didn't get in anywhere, something must be "off." Maybe it's possible that some lovely kids with great families didn't get in simply because there were too many applicants and too few spots? I sure saw lots of "off" families and kids be welcomed with open arms!

    (We did get in to our top choice, BTW, so I'm not bitter. It's just that that post made me feel kinda bad about private schools!)

  44. "For us, as I'm sure with most & maybe all other private schools, the financial aid piece doesn't enter into the picture until after we have made our decisions."

    Benefit of the doubt -- perhaps this is true of private K-12s.

    A highly regarded presenter on college admissions says that it's resoundingly false about colleges, no matter what they say. I attended one of his workshops -- the presenter is Peter Van Buskirk -- and one of his first pieces of information is: "Need-blind admissions is a myth."

    In Van Buskirk's workshop, attendees role-play college admissions committees, assessing fake applicants he has created. The parents at the workshop I attended voted for an impressive, if fictional, girl who had to waitress to help support her single-parent family while in high school and who needed financial aid. When he counted our votes, Van Buskirk said, "Congratulations! You just cost our school $40,000 a year!"

    Just putting that out there. It opened my eyes.

  45. i appreciate the time admissions director took to explain their screening process...and am completely repelled.

    nothing new here, but i think the level of my repulsion for private school culture may have actually risen a little. i'm still rather surprised at how opaque the privates' screening goals are, and why that is tolerated by applicants. i guess that's because, like a lot of clubs in life, it comes down to whether they like you or not (a fairly base, ugly thing). euphemistically calling what they're seeking "good fit" does not change that fact. it seems to me like they maintain a certain amount of mystique around both who they want -- for the reason mentioned above -- and what they deliver (lest the ROI be deemed insufficient by parents, as caroline has convincingly argued several times prior). sorry to flog this dead horse yet again, but i just don't understand why it seems worth it to some families to subject themselves to the, we spend half our lives being judged for something, often with little ROI! is that really something we want to spend more time enduring? i would classify private-school interviews with things like sweets: not great for your health, so consume sparingly.

  46. i agree with Kim. And I just really can't wrap my brain around the whole concept of screening a 4 or 5-year-old, or a child in general. indeed, what do they screen them for?

  47. Whatever they screen for, they must not do a great job. I heard that certain highly sought after private schools have numerous children who require tutors, 'shadows,' and other in-class assistants, and who later reject younger siblings in order to kick out the whole family. Guess they sometimes get it wrong.

    Agree that admissions director sounded harsh - I would have liked to hear some soothing words to the people she left behind.

  48. I would say most (especially those who could use financial aid) put themselves through that because they honestly believe their child will get something more or something better at that school. There's nothing wrong with that. No one is arguing that there aren't negatives to private school, and that culture can be judgmental. There are trade offs everywhere. Public school can be judgmental, too. (And offer good things, as well.) Trades off are a part of life.

    The private school option exists. It always will. Parents want what's best for their kid. It's their decision, and they get to weigh what is most important to them.

  49. I hate to break it to you people, but screening and judging is the way the world operates.
    You apply for a loan you're going to be screened/judged. Your apply for a rental unit, you're going to be screened/judged. You apply for a job, you're going to be screened/judged. You apply for college, you're going to be screened/judged. You write a book, you're going to be screened/judged.
    The world does not operate on a lottery system.

  50. A few quick answers and then I must go back to work, because I really didn't mean to hijack this topic. I had just been reading it and wanted to address people's financial aid comments, really.

    To answer Anon 12:00 - the admissions "play date" that are required for all private school applicants, is a screening for Kindergarten readiness. All schools look at pre-reading, pre-math skills, social skills since we see the kids in groups, etc. There's nothing creepy about it at all. It's more a fact of seeing where kids skills are than trying to screen them out. (Do people not know that all private schools have screenings for applicants?)

    To Anon 1:30 - Absolutely, I misspoke - see I knew I should just stay lurking! Yes, it isn't always a matter of something being "off", but more a matter of there being too many good-great diverse or non-diverse families for not enough spaces. It's just that many times though, people assume because they or their friends offer diversity that they're a slam dunk to get into private school, and that isn't always the case for a variety of reasons. I didn't meant to sound harsh about it at all, so apologies for it coming across that way.

    This year, more than any other year in recent history, left more great families on private school waitlists all over the city, with no private school option, and 0 for 7 with their pub. school option. For most of those families, absolutely, there was not a thing off or wrong or high maintenance or anything questionable about them. It was just a matter of more demand than supply.

    I heard recently that SF county has the highest percentage of children in private school than any other county in California, and actually than any other county in the country - higher than LA, Chicago, NY, etc. Demand definitely way exceeds supply in this town. There just aren't enough spaces for the great families we'd like to take.

    And about how we know if we're a back up school? If you apply to all boys schools and one co-ed school, it would seem kind of clear that the co-ed is a back up school. Or if you apply to all of one kind of school (top tier, co-ed, progressive, whatever), and there's one school that you've applied to that isn't like any of the others, it would seem that that one school could be the back up.

    Also, when you apply to schools and you have friends at the schools you've applied to, they talk to the admissions directors about your choices. I can't tell you how many times our parents will stop by my office and tell me which way their neighbors are leaning, which school is their friends' first choice, etc. The info doesn't stop me from making an offer if I want to accept the family, but it does give me pause. Besides, we admissions directors can tell which parents are genuinely enthusiastic about our school, and who may be more skeptical, or not as totally on board, maybe by the questions people ask us, etc.

    Caroline - thanks for the benefit of the doubt. In my time as Admissions director, I have never dinged anyone because of a financial aid request. I can only speak for our school, but I'd be surprised if my colleagues did that. Most of us have huge endowments, and we want to make our schools affordable to everyone, even middle class families, as others have commented. SF is an expensive place to live. If you make 150K a year, own a house and at least one car, have a few kids and take a vacation or two a year, you most likely aren't exactly super wealthy. We private schools take all of that into account.

    I'm not saying our school is better than any public school, it's just another option in a city of school choices. Be repelled, reviled, judgmental, or whatever by the fact that private schools exist if you want to. There are lots of great public schools and hidden gems of public schools in the city. I hope that everyone gets in where they want to be in round 2, or off of a private school wait list if that's their hope too.

    (back to lurk mode now! I didn't mean to start anything.)

  51. Anonymous at 2:23pm -- i understand that the big bad world operates like that, but christ shouldn't children be spared some of the judging? a one-hour playdate and they get stuck with a label of fits in or doesn't fit in. not a system i choose to support.

  52. So how do you suggest private schools figure out which kids to pick? The screening is one part of the process. There are other pieces as well. And many schools will visit the kids at their preschool, too, if the screening didn't match up to the kind of things in the preschool evaluation.

  53. "SF county has the highest percentage of children in private school than any other county in California, and actually than any other county in the country - higher than LA, Chicago, NY, etc."

    This is misleading, though (I'm sure it wasn't deliberately so ... at least I hope I'm sure) -- because SF County is contiguous with the city of San Francisco. Other cities are generally in counties that include both the diverse, high-poverty inner city, the rest of the city that share the school district with the high-poverty inner city, and upper-income suburbs. Diverse cities with stressed and underfunded public school districts tend to have high private school rates -- while higher-income suburbs don't.

    So everyone here is bright enough to see what I'm getting at. I don't know how SFUSD's private-school rate compares to other districts' -- I just read that Berkeley's is 50%, to SFUSD's 33%, but there wasn't statistical backup.

    However, it may be (very likely is) unsound and misleading to do the comparison by county rather than city or school district. In fact, it smacks of selectively choosing a way to portray the statistic JUST to blast SFUSD ("which way can we state this that makes SFUSD look worst?"), which if done deliberately is not admirable.

  54. As a former private school teacher and student, I would just say that the admissions people I worked with took their jobs very seriously and carefully thought through what it means to "screen" any applicant, whether they are five or fifteen. They also thought carefully about the kinds of characteristics that they wanted of children in our school and, by far, the most important one (over intelligence, preparedness, advantaged experiences, financial worth, ethinicity) was that family's commitment to the school in a personal way. Are these kids excited to learn, excited at being here, and will this family make us all better?

    I think it is unfair to criticize what you do not know and presume the worst about private school admissions officers.

  55. i didn't get the sense that anyone was criticizing admissions people per se. it's just a managing the waterboard inventory at abu ghraib.

    and as for life being full of casual and formalized judging...totally agree! that reinforces my point, doesn't it? why impose more on your child unnecessarily?

    i don't think there's a science to's gotta be more like an art. but, like a lot of things, the powers that be would probably like us to believe it is a science. (colbert would probably call it "sciencey".)

  56. Wow, Kim, that was a nasty comment.

  57. i think maybe i agree with 3:22 about the abu ghraib part. the colbert "sciencey" reference was hilarious and dead on.

  58. Yeah, Kim...gotta agree...pretty uncool.

  59. I don't think the real issue that Kim or the others who are critical of the private school admissions process have is the effect on kids. The kids go to the playdates and do their thing, emerging unscathed and basically unimpressed by the whole event. As a parent it's your job not to convey the ups and downs of the process to your kids - and that goes for public school admissions, too.

    No, I think the parents who are criticizing the process here are afraid that they themselves wouldn't be able to handle the idea of their kids being "judged." It has nothing to do with the kids' psyches at all.

  60. "I think the parents who are criticizing the process here are afraid that they themselves wouldn't be able to handle the idea of their kids being "judged." It has nothing to do with the kids' psyches at all."

    This is essentially true for K admissions. I agree that it's parents' job to protect their kids from understanding what it's all about and from seeing any parental emotion. That does go for public, too. Toting a kid around and saying "you might go to this school!" is a really bad idea.

    But as an 8th-grade mom whose daughter and her classmates all just went through this, I can attest that the kids are VERY, VERY aware of the screening/selectivity/rejection process, and can be deeply wounded when they're rejected. This will happen with college too, of course.

  61. "But as an 8th-grade mom whose daughter and her classmates all just went through this, I can attest that the kids are VERY, VERY aware of the screening/selectivity/rejection process"

    Very true for 5th-graders looking for middle schools too. On the other hand, they seemed to love the public school tours and being engaged in that decision-making (and had very definite opinions to offer about what they saw). They also understood that was a lottery, as in, luck.

  62. Yuck! The admission director post at 11:44 made my skin crawl!

    We were a "diversity" family, and the director at one school practically said we had a spot with a full financial ride, but in the interview, I had some hard questions about tokenism. Bottom line: We didn't get a spot.

    Gee, I guess I must have been one of the "off" people.

    What kind of person describes families as being "off" for heaven's sake?? This director needs to listen to herself/himself. S/he sounds waaaaay waaaaaaaaaay off.

    Again, YUCK.

  63. But at least the private school admissions process for high school is based on something concrete in terms of past student performance.

    We decided not to apply to privates to K for a whole litany of reasons, but amongst them was a complete distaste of what we would have to engage in to pursue it wholeheartedly. I'm talking about kissing a** to the preschool director, campaigning to get on the pre-school board for our "resume", tracking down contacts of people at the schools in order to beg them to write me letters, dressing up and trying to be impressive, interesting and perky for the socials, stressing over how to phrase the thank you notes.... not to mention that we didn't even have a real shot with a mid-summer birthday seeing as how the redshirting thing with privates has gotten completely over-the-top... YUCK!

  64. To the admissions director: It was very brave of you to post here given how many families are still without a kindergarten spot.

    I am sure you are not the only admissions director in the city "lurking" here... but you are certainly the most courageous.

  65. I have to agree that the whole private school process is just Yucky. We applied to one last year and although I liked the school a lot, I was very uncomfortable with the process. I'm still not at all clear what they want, other than kids who are easy and well adjusted (not exactly our child, although we think he's awesome in his own way : ) It just bugs me that professional educators seem to want to avoid at all costs children who might be "difficult" in anyway, including just by looking different due to a disability which was mentioned in another thread. Really Yucky!

  66. Some people have more delicate sensibilities, and some people can shrug things off, no matter what the environment.

  67. Well for some, knowing what it takes to see it through, it's a matter of saying - this isn't for me, I'm not going to even try to keep up with the Joneses on this one...

  68. What is ROI? I enjoyed the post and just want to fully understand it.

  69. good lord...i didn't think anyone would take that seriously. i was just joshin'. oops.

    and no, i don't think my ire comes from believing my own screening performance would not measure up. silliness. i think kinder-age kids very much sense that they're doing more than "going on playdates." even on the public school side, they are watching the process with increasing anxiety and alertness -- "mom, why does so-and-so have a school and i don't?" i just don't think we should assume they aren't affected by the process, that's all.

    in admissions director's defense, we have perhaps overblown her use of the word "off" when referring to human applicants.

    i have forgotten what this thread is supposed to be about....i think it's round II public lists.

    in that vein, does anyone have any waiting pool numbers for specific schools as of EOB 3/28?

  70. oh my goodness -- i can finally contribute something i did not pull out of my you-know-what. i learned it during dotcom: ROI = return on investment.

  71. In case the private school admissions director is still lurking, I have a suggestion. We went through the public/private process a couple years ago and applied to two private schools. The screening was fairly early on followed by open houses, coffees, letters to write, ...etc. After all that we got the "we wouldn't touch your kid with a ten foot pole letter" from both schools. Why can't you let families of children that fall into the flat out reject category know right after the screening instead of torturing them for months. NDV had an open house the morning after they sent the letters out so after hiring a sitter, getting fixed up and heading downtown to spend hours chatting with various teachers, we came home to the f-off letter in the mail. It was really humiliating.

  72. end of business -- i have just used the only two acronyms i know!

  73. Hmmm...

    How do admissions directors know what other schools you have applied to?

    Given how many families failed to get their children into private kindergartens this year, we are tempted to apply to 7 or 8 next year. But, if the admissions director who posted here is correct, that could actually hurt our chances since each school might consider themselves a "back up" if they know we've applied to that many. And yet, applying to just 2 or 3 seems foolish, too.

    Unfortunately, I only know one family that got into all 4 schools they applied to, and they are super-well connected at the board level and have raised huge amounts of money for various area non-profits. They are a *lovely* couple and their child bright and charming, so they are an obvious asset to any school...

    But what about the rest of us?

  74. Two comments inspired by Caroline April 8, 2008 2:50 PM

    1) According to the SF Magazine article on private schools by Dianna Kapp, "San Francisco leads major U.S. cities in the percentage of kids in private school—a whopping 29.3 percent in 2005, or nearly twice the national (and almost four times the statewide) average. More unexpected, given the steep housing prices families pay to buy into its excellent public schools, Marin County has the second-highest rate of indie school attendance in California, just under 20 percent." Is the author using county data?

    2) In terms of people playing with statistics I think SFUSD takes the cake....
    a) SFUSD states that 81% of K applicants got one of their seven schools. The only way this statistic can be true is if they include siblings and people who apply to under subscribed schools. This statistic makes the assumption that the first sibling got into one of the family's top 7 schools. This is not necessarily the case as the sibling preference only works for the younger sibling and I'm sure most families would put both kids in the same school rather than play the lottery again and have the older sibling in one school and the younger sibling(s) in a different school.

    I would like to see the percentage of applicants who are non-siblings, non-diversity candidates, and native English speakers who got one of their seven choices. I'd guess 50% or less??

    b) SFUSD only releases limited information, which makes it difficult for parents to make good choices. For their defense, SFUSD may not have the resources (or computer skills) to prepare this data for release.

    Can you tell that we went 0/7 in round I? Kate, you may have just saved me the embarrassment of launching into yet another rant against the SFUSD at our next social function. I thank you and my wife thanks you!

    Lastly, a general question for the parents with older kids. How does the selection process work for public high schools in SF. I've heard that kids have to test in to certain schools. What are the differences between the public and private process in high school?

  75. ***I would like to see the percentage of applicants who are non-siblings, non-diversity candidates, and native English speakers who got one of their seven choices. I'd guess 50% or less??***

    But what do you mean by "non-diversity" candidates? My family is solidly middle class and speaks English, and we would provide diversity if we applied to Malcolm X or John Muir or Bryant Elementary (though along slightly different indices for each, perhaps). Same with Moscone, which is usually quite a full up school because of their high test scores, despite their many free lunch/non-native speakers in the heart of a Latino neighborhood. Y'all non-poor English speakers could've gotten in there, I bet, despite lots of competition.

    The reason many folks on this blog had trouble getting their choices is that they applied to most of the same schools, many of which also happened to be hugely over-subscribed. I'm not criticizing your picks, because it really is a personal decision, but it's not the exactly the fault of the system that you decided to compete for the exact same scarce slots as your non-poor, native English-speaking demographic peers. If you all do that, and in large numbers, then your demographic's success rates will definitely be low.

    I certainly agree that the SFUSD could be a lot better at providing information ahead of time, especially about sibling enrollment. That would help eager parents calculate better odds. Though I'm not sure how much difference it would make for a school like Rooftop, with its 1000 applications, if the siblings number 18, 19, or 23....

    This is why the encouragement to cast the net more widely. I know people hate hearing about hidden gems and diamonds in the rough. I know! Hateful words at this point. But that is the best strategy, though not always easy as schools are coming up so fast. Shoot for the moon if you want, but find an acceptable alternative too. Hard to do too, when all the playground & preschool gossip tells you those schools are no good (whether or not that is true). I know, I know.

    While sibling data should be provided and also separated out so that parents can calculate more accurate odds of getting a school ahead of time, I don't see why the district should not include them in overall acceptance rates. They are kids who got the slots their parents wanted. Yes, because they had top preference (as they should, because it would be a hardship for many parents to have their young kids in two different schools). But if the parents really wanted another school for either kid, they would likely have already gone looking for a different one. They participated by the lottery rules that give them preference, and by and large, these are satisfied customers, even in schools you've never heard of. And believe me, all those parents have already paid their "K search" dues with kid #1, just as you all are now.

    And besides the sibling rates, there are plenty of other folks that got one of their choices. The ones that chose Charles Drew (that attracts many African Americans) and Cesar Chavez and the rest, and yes, people did put those down, for various reasons that may not make a lot of sense to folks here, but there it is. Those are satisfied customers too, and why shouldn't they be counted?

    I don't mean to sound snarky, truly. I just think the lottery really is pretty fair given the circumstances we are in, which is a small number of coveted slots, most especially for what seems to be the majority demographic of this blog.

  76. 10:55, there are two public high schools that require special entry, namely Lowell and School of the Arts (SOTA). Lowell has an oft-debated system involving test scores, grades, and a little bit of weight given to certain under-represented schools. SOTA has audition and/or art portfolio requirements. The other schools are by lottery just as they are the elementary and middle levels.

    The middle school process is not so bad. Most of our friends got their first choice for 6th grade (though, to be fair, not many of us put down Presidio). Still, there are a number of good schools. We looked at Presidio, Roosevelt, Aptos, Hoover, AP Giannini and James Lick. We went with Aptos.

    High schools are coming up too. Besides Lowell and SOTA, the big schools used to be Lincoln and Washington, and still are, but now Balboa and Galileo are climbing fast. Galileo's test scores are rising on a steep curve.

    With private high schools, well, you know, it's back to the murky process of interviewing, family fit, and all that. Except that the kids take it really personally at that age!

  77. The question about the differences between public and private high school admissions reminds me. I read somewhere that the emphasis that many colleges admissions folks place on the "essay" and on "character" (as shown by community engagement, etc.) came about in the 1920's when the number of Jewish applicants began to surge, and their straight-up grades were outpacing their white peers (I mean this in the sense that Jews, especially then, were not considered white, as in WASP, anymore than the Irish and Italians were--you know, white as social construction). So the college admissions folks panicked and started to institute these other more fuzzy criteria as a means of being able to winnow out the Jewish kids, at least a little, and keep the school culture Waspish as before.

    I don't have a reference here for this narrative, at this late hour, but I'll try to find one and post back. I believe I read it in the New Yorker, or the New York Times. The article made the obvious reference to the current anxiety about just how Asian the faces are at UC Berkeley these days, which makes total sense since Berkeley of course does not rely on the fuzzy criteria for admissions the way the private colleges do, and the Asian American kids are outpacing the rest of California in test scores and grades.

    Anyway. I do not mean to malign individual admissions folks at private K-12 or colleges, at all; I assume they are good-hearted, well-intentioned people who are doing their jobs. But the extent to which private schools can be selective in a literal sense, and along somewhat fuzzy lines, probably means that cultural biases about who "fits" into the system and who is "off" really do lurk, and probably do make a difference. It is very hard to overcome cultural (and class) biases, especially when the process is based on personal presentations such as interviews and essays.

  78. I want to post some waitlist pool numbers that I got from EPC. But before I bend this thread back towards Round II, I do want to acknowledge the courage of the admissions director posting here and the courtesy of him or her in following up on people's questions and comments. Another example of why this blog is exceptional.

    And now for the numbers. Here is what I was told in person by a counselor at EPC:
    1) They can disclose the number of people on waitlists as they compile this information.
    2) They cannot determine from their data at this point how many people on a list are of which priority (makes one wonder whether there is really a priority sorting).
    3) They cannot say how many openings a school currently has but can say whether there are any openings at all, at least this counselor was willing to say this.

    Here is what I was told (this is as of 4/7 -- she said they are still adding data):

    Alvarado: 29 people on waitlist -- no openings.
    Fairmount: 5 -- no openings.
    Marshall: 5 -- open spots.
    Paul Revere: 3 -- open spots.
    Starr King: 3 -- open spots.

    The counselor said you CANNOT change your waitlist choice until after Round II. Has anyone tried to change their round II waitlist since the application deadline passed? Any luck?

    And if anyone has newer numbers, please share.

  79. ooh, i'm bummed. when i called fairmount last week, the registrar told me only 45 of 60 families had accepted their first-round K offers by 3/21 (and two others were, as she put it, "transferring"). how can everyone be dishing such wildly different stats?

    does anyone have current statistics for flynn (spanish and gen ed)?

  80. i went in to try to change my WL option the monday after round 2 deadline and was told no - no changes. once the letters go out, you can come in (1st week of may) and see "final" numbers of round 2. then you can start strategizing which WL to keep yourself on though summer.

    which day exactly do they mail the letters? seems to me it was listed as a sunday on the publications.

  81. kim - what was your WL for round 2?

  82. The book "The Big Test" by Nicholas Lemann, about how the SAT developed into a major force in our culture, details how "character" and other fuzzy criteria evolved as a way to limit the numbers of those annoyingly high-achieving Jews in prestige colleges. (My late father-in-law attended Stanford in the '30s under the Jewish quota.)

    Whichever anon asked -- I don't know if Diana Kapp used county statistics on private-school attendance. I don't even know if it's inaccurate that SFUSD is highest among major cities. But I've seen the selective use of "San Francisco county" to mislead in other situations, so it was a red flag.

    There are elaborate breakdowns online about New York City schools and different parts of the district. One amusing map correlates the percentage of private-school enrollment in a neighborhood directly to the number of Starbucks in the neighborhood (high correlates with many), drolly wondering if there's a causation factor.

    Re Lowell admissions, just one small clarification: underrepresented schools (public and private) get some guaranteed seats, so that's sometimes a useful thing to know in planning your strategy. Aptos continues to be underrepresented (officially known as "on the Band 3 list) largely due to one really tough-grading honors math teacher. As much-discussed here and elsewhere, private-school kids are at a distinct advantage in Lowell admission due to the easier admissions tests they get and widely reported 8th-grade grade inflation in some (many) privates for exactly that purpose. (First-semester 8th-grade GPA carries the most weight.)

  83. well, we waitlisted for flynn spanish immersion. it was a tough choice between that and fairmount, since we have (supposedly) attendance area preference at fairmount and we liked both schools very much. maybe that was dumb. we put fairmount again at the top of our amended list, then paul revere. in the absence of reliable -- any? -- data, one driver was the overall sense that some families who got fairmount offers in round I were getting cold feet because karling is leaving. i thought they might blow through the waitlist and hit the amendeds because of that. we gave up all hope of alvarado spanish because the numbers were so grim.

  84. Kim, I certainly do hope that the information you received from Fairmount about number of openings is more accurate than what I received from EPC (I posted the numbers above). Seems like the school should have the best information, at least at this point.

    Perhaps the EPC's number for openings still reflects assignments from round I and not acceptances. I suppose the word to the wise is to rely on EPC's number of people on waitlist and not their "indications" about openings at schools.

    Seems the question about whether one can amend the waitlist choice before Round II is, no. Alright fellow San Franciscans, since no advantage can be gained or lost now for posting numbers, let's lay our cards on the table. Does anyone else have numbers for waitlists and/or openings?

  85. Well, these numbers confirm what I had heard from friends who went through this last year. Essentially very very very few kids are assigned in Round II to high demand schools. Enrollment numbers are manually passed from schools to the district, the district purposefully sends out more acceptance letters than there are spots at some schools since they know the trend is for some x% to not actually enroll, families seriously considering/hoping for private retain their spots, etc.

  86. Does anyone know the number of siblings enrolled for K at Fairmount for next year? The EPC published some sibling numbers for certain high demand schools, but not all. Fairmount wasn't on the list.

  87. Kim:

    I'm so looking forward to hearing your results from round 2...I'm sending you (and everyone else) good vibes :)

  88. Kinderplot and Kim Green, FWIW we are at Alvarado and have heard directly from the secretary that all the slots were filled, that is, registered not just offered. Also, the GLO afterschool slots for kindergarten were filled by day two. I would expect *some* movement in both just because people do move, lose their jobs and not need / afford childcare, whatever, things happen, but obviously it would be a long longshot. I hate to be the grinch, but there it is.

    Long, long ago when we applied to Alvarado for kid #1, the API scores were mired in the low 600's and I was told by at least one person that despite the nice neighborhood, Alvarado was really a ghetto school. (Ick, but that is the verbatim.)

    Definitely, sending good vibes to all of you round 2 folks.

  89. well i went down to EPC the Monday after the March 28th deadlne, and the woman at the counter let me change my waitpool choice (i'd put down Alvarado and then woke up one morning in a cold sweat thinking, what the hell did you do?!)

    She at first said I couldn't do it, but I said I'd been told we could change our waitpool choices before the next Round was done. And she said, oh yes, you're right. I was confused. I thought you hadn't submitted anything yet.

    And then she was like let's get this done fast and I'll run it in there for you (i guess there being where they were preparing to do the top secret lottery stuff?). Now of course I'm paranoid that either I've somehow been canceled out of the system entirely, or else my original choice is still in there.

  90. What kind of qualifications do most admissions directors have?

    Is it mostly a coordinating and ambassador role (organizing events, tours, screenings, interviews) or does it require an advanced degree in education?

  91. a side question -- has anyone heard anything about a new "Waldorf" inspired charter school starting up? I was in Progressive Grounds (Bernal Heights coffee place) last week, and these two moms were talking about it and saying the people trying to get it off the ground had found space near Precita Park. And also, after one expressed concern that her Polly Pocket-loving, TV-watcher daughter might not fit in, the other seemed to say, oh it's Waldorf-esque, but it won't be too hard-core. I kick myself now for not corraling them and asking questions, but I had my 20-month-old son with me and he was having a major fit over something. I don't know that a schol with a Waldorf bent would be the best place for my older son, though there are aspects of that style of education that are appealing to me. And I must admit to feeling desperate at this point -- we're a 0/7, John Muir, no private school backup family. Anyway, I'd be interested in learning more about this proposed new school if there is a website or yahoo group or something. (i tried googling, but didn't come up with anything.)

  92. The potential proposal for the Waldorf charter was discussed on sfschools a couple of weeks ago. A poster there who has researched Waldorf extensively (and who may chime in here any minute) cited a body of seriously racist writings by Rudolf Steiner, the "woodland gnome" founder of Waldorf schools.

    The minute those writings are read at a school board meeting, that school is dead in the water. School board members follow sfschools discussion and presumably already read them, in fact.

  93. It sounds like anon at 11:42am who was able to change her waitlist choice Monday morning perhaps did it just under the wire for the "true" deadline, as in when the big, bad, secret lottery machine is fed its diet of Round II applications. Anyone else had any luck changing a waitpool choice since the application deadline passed? My awaking in a cold sweat over my Alvarado waitlist choice seems to have happened too late.

    A question to anon at 11:17am whose first kid went to Alvarado when it was called "a ghetto school": do you feel there is an appreciable difference in the teaching/school/kids then and now? Was your first kid short changed a bit by being in the school when it was yet to be an official "up and coming" school?

    I ask this question because probably so many of us are considering joining one of many schools that are on the fence of "ghetto school" and "up and coming" but hesitate to have our kids be the incubator kids.

    It all works out fine, right? ... Right?

  94. I was able to change our waitlist school and our whole Round II list today. When I talked to a counselor, it sounded like you can change it until the begin the actual run... so if you go in tomorrow and insist on changing it, I bet you can.

  95. My goodness! I am going down to EPC tomorrow! Aren't laws invalid when they are vague and ambiguous? This whole lottery thing is not such a bad idea but really some consistent rules about how to participate in it are not such a bad idea too.

  96. this makes me so angry. i lugged my kids down there, waited for a counselor and was told no. this was just last week. now i go back in an tattle that "someone else got to change theirs!" i hate acting like that, it is a waste of my time, and it is unfair. ARGH.

  97. Hey, I thought the "managing the waterboard inventory" comment was hilarious... but I often laugh at inappropriate things.

  98. I'm the Alvarado mom. Our experience there has been good from day one. Well, okay, there was one teacher we had some problems with (not an extreme thing, and she is long gone) but otherwise all really good, in their different ways. And the community has always felt strong to me. It never felt like a "ghetto school." In fact, at the time and especially in retrospect, that felt like a racist comment.

    There was diversity. The school wasn't overwhelmingly popular as it is now, but there were Noe families in there trying to make it better--including several who went on to be founders of PPS and such.

    If anything, it feels less diverse now, and I mean that in a negative is more white, maybe less edgy. Actually, this is probably unfair, because the folks are great, but I guess I fear that the commitment to building a great school for all, and not just the Noe crowd, is not as strong as it used to be? Though still our largest group is Latino, I believe, but we have lost a small but noticeable group of African American families. I would guess that's what the commenter meant by ghetto, by the way.

    I would say, if you are going into a school that has good bones (principal, teachers) but is still relatively undeveloped, you'll have some challenges....but you'll be fine. Definitely reach across the cultural divides to find ways to engage everyone, if you can. That is the best thing about attending a school with more than one significant cultural group.

  99. i spoke with darlene lim today. (i think that's her name, and she's the director of EPC, so let's hope to goddess she knows what she's talking about.) i called to clarify some of the questions that have arisen on this board, namely:

    -- can you change your waitlist/amended, and, if so, till when?
    -- will EPC give out waitlist and round 1 enrollment numbers now or ever?
    -- why is EPC so inconsistent when it comes to these policies?

    it was a somewhat rambling conversation, but the gist is this: you can kinda sorta change your waitlist/amended prior to the first waitpool run -- or, rather, prior to when they first start *preparing* for the run, whatever that means -- but they refuse to state an actual date when this might happen. she threw out this friday as a possibility. second, she says they can't and won't give out any numbers whatsoever and can't understand why or how some counselors have done so. i told her how immensely frustrating it is for parents that we are expected to make such serious choices in a complete information vacuum. she sympathized. i ranted. she became alarmed. i calmed down. we bonded. the usual EPC/kim green tango. i also told her that the fact that some parents have managed to squeeze numbers out of counselors makes EPC seem like a zoo. she agreed (!).

    some other interesting nuggets:

    -- she said no school in the district -- i repeat: NO SCHOOL -- is ever completely full after the first round. i kid you not. she said that. i said, what about the clarendons of the world, and she backpedaled a little, but, hey, it was a pretty amazing statement, given the rumors going around this town. of course, you could be talking about a single spot or something. who knows. i didn't ask her to qualify it.

    -- we discussed my anecdote-based conspiracy theory that no one in 94131 with english as their home language got one of their seven in round 1. i think i sold her!

    -- the new superintendent is going to completely overhaul the assignment system (duh), but of course not soon enough for 08 families. i took that as a tacit admission that the system bites.

    -- she advised me to form a relationship with one counselor and one counselor only, and to only talk to them in the future. (obviously, that's the one she wants to get rid of via disability, eh?) seriously, though, she seemed to imply that better things can happen when you have someone familiar with your "case." (yes, we are all now "cases," but hopefully not the "head" kind.)

    -- a learning: if you talk to anyone at EPC long enough, be they counselor, director or custodian, they will eventually blurt out, "what's your child's name?" then you will hear them clicking on their computer -- which they will have previously claimed not to know how to use to dig up numbers -- and they'll hum knowingly as they absorb up your application(s), and you'll break out in a cold sweat because you'll fantasize that they're going to offer to "fix" things for you if you just:

    a) mosey on down to EPC with a bottle of hand lotion and a roll of paper towels
    b) send a check for $1000
    c) send a check for $10000 (hey, it's still less than private tuition)

    then -- oh, cruel gods of civil servitude -- they will sigh deeply, mutter a bit and offer some platitude. "well, there's always next year" or "the bayview's not all landfill" come to mind.

    anyway, just thought i'd share.

  100. Kim - very funny as always. You should do a one woman show (like Josh Kornbluth) on applying to SF schools. But seriously, how does one form a relationship with an EPC counselor? I thought people on this blog were saying that no one at EPC answer the phone. Is EPC different from SFUSD? Should I ask to be assigned a counselor? Should I just give up now since at this stage of the game I don't even know what EPC is?

  101. I think I have a school girl crush on Kim Green.

  102. no, don't give up! you too can have a "special friend" at EPC (i'm not sure what it stands for...enrollment placement center? education pedant cult?) it's the office that handles enrollment matters, that's all i know. nobody gets assigned anyone, and, true, they rarely answer the phone. after i press "2" for english, i madly press "O" for operator. sometimes someone answers then. if they do, i drive them nuts for a few minutes and then ask for a supervisor. i did start stalking a couple of counselors who seemed like they gave a crap, but they're in witness protection now....

    truthfully, i don't think it's going to make any difference. i'm not even sure they're actually processing applications over there. maybe it's a front for a columbian cartel?

  103. a side question -- has anyone heard anything about a new "Waldorf" inspired charter school starting up?

    Yes, contact Julie Fellon at the neighborhood playgarden, a waldorf inspired preschool in Noe Valley.

  104. Regarding the Waldorf charter: I went to one of the informational meetings. I was super excited to potentially have found a way out of the 0 for 7 madness, and to get in at the beginning of a groovy and loving alternative school. Unfortunately, the meeting was about, oh, let's say...99.99% white. I actually felt pretty uncomfortable there, and I'm a whitey myself. I had been assuming that because it's a potential charter, not a private, the parents would be a bit more rough around the edges, and perhaps we could joke about how we actually let our kids watch TV sometimes and other aspects of non-perfect parenting. Not so much. I guess that's true, but it feels psycho to consider entering such a segregated community. The last time I had that feeling was 4 and half years ago when I realized I was not a "real" attachment parenting mother. God damn that sling sometimes made my back hurt. I know, I know, one meeting and I have extrapolated quite a bit. Just thought I'd share that it certainly won't be for everyone.

  105. Re Caroline on Lowell admissions:

    "As much-discussed here and elsewhere, private-school kids are at a distinct advantage in Lowell admission due to the easier admissions tests they get and widely reported 8th-grade grade inflation in some (many) privates for exactly that purpose."

    Caroline is usually a fount of knowledge on public schools, but for once I believe she has her facts wrong. My child took the Lowell private school test two years ago and said it was very similar to the other tests she had taken (i.e. reading comprehension + math). I don't know if it's easier than the test the public middle school kids take, but it makes no difference because the Lowell admissions process looks at percentiles only NOT absolute scores. The percentiles are normed to the California school population. So even if you get a high score on an easy test, it still won't get you into Lowell unless your percentile ranking is also very high (i.e. you've got to do better than all the other smart kids who thought the test was easy too – recall Garrison Keillor's mathematically impossible Lake Wobegon where "all of the children are above average").

    Also, the Lowell admissions work sheet shows that grades count for a lot more than test scores. For example, if you place in the 99th percentile (highest possible) for both reading comprehension and math, that earns you 25 points. If you drop down to the 89th percentile in both subjects, you only lose 2 points, bringing you down to 23 points. But your eighth grade 1st semester grades in the four academic subjects Lowell considers (English, Math, Science and Social Studies) are worth 8 points each for an A, 6 points for a B, 4 points for a C, and 2 points for a D. If you get straight As that's worth 32 points. If you get only one B you lose 2 points, bringing you down to 30 points. In other words, you can drop 10 whole percentile places in both Math and Reading on your standardized tests, and it still only costs you as much as one B on the 8th grade transcript.

    Caroline also says the privates grade easier. I think this is a little bit of an urban myth. Sure, some of the privates might be lax in this regard, but who is to say the same thing doesn't go on at certain public middle schools? My child had a particularly tough and unfair Social Studies teacher at her private school who arbitrarily knocked her down from an A to a B during that crucial first semester of eighth grade, knowing full well that admission to Lowell and private high school was at stake. At the end of the day she got into Lowell and the privates she wanted, but it was a close call.

    Of course, it would be nice if SFUSD published statistics on Lowell admissions. But I suspect that in this as in most things potentially lending themselves to controversy they don't want to open the kimono.

  106. With all this talk of Lowell... Here comes a politically incorrect post. Forewarned. What's the big deal with Lowell? I don't get it!

    First point: Have you actually seen Lowell? I took a tour with my best friend with the 8th grader this past year. I thought the environment at Lowell absolutely sucked, and felt my heart sink as I realized I could probably never want to send my child there, should she be so lucky to qualify.

    The environs aren't as nice as most all the clean happy public elementary schools I'd seen. The school is so overwhelmingly Asian, and doesn't really reflect what the entire City looks like. It feels so cut-throat and un-diverse and un-happy. Many of the kids said so. If you are not Asian, according to some kids we spoke with, you automatically are out of the loop, which can be a good thing. Makes you hip and different, a square peg, but those comments really startled me. I had fantasized about a good mix of all kinds of kids, and I only saw middle class kids dressed the same with the same looks on their faces.

    Much much too heavy focus on math and science, it made me wonder why all the other subjects didn't get equal focus. And talk about 'ghetto school'. It was dingy, there was grafitti. It looked to be the set of a bad tv show about a bad inner city school. I know, I know. Maybe magic happens inside the classroom. I didn't see any. And some of the kids we talked to agreed with us.

    I say this because I was so impressed and happy about what I saw on the elementary tours. I just missed something about Lowell. Is it resting on its laurels? I have a good comparison. My next door neighbors kid plays football at Balboa, is the only white kid in most of his pursuits, and that school rocks by comparison. I'd send my kid to Balboa. But Lowell left me depressed. Is this just me?

    I just don't understand the clamor for Lowell, especially if you think about the tougher grading and curve preventing your child from getting as good a college choice.

    I have to bring up this last point, college, because there is this crazy daisy-chain connection with college, even from the get go. My daughter is only in pre- kindergarten. (We're a 0/7 family.) I wonder how any of this will prepare her for a good college. This, not even knowing what kind of student she is or whether she will go one day.

    I'm a little startled too, because my niece just got into Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and a couple others which is statistically impossible these days. She had the choice of going to a magnet school in her town like Lowell, but chose not to for the same criticisms I already stated, and the whole Lowell conversation made me think about how impossible it's gotten for kids of all stripes. I went to an Ivy League school from a public high school, but I doubt in today's cut-throat world I could EVER get accepted. In fact, I know I wouldn't. You have to be "gods" to get into the ivy league, and many many "gods" are rejected.

    So even if you did get into Lowell, which makes you a sort of "god" by local public school standards, what exactly is the payoff? I don't see it. Help me out here.

  107. I'm off to EPC now to try to change my waitlist choice. Let's see, it's the second Thursday of the month, just after a new moon, street cleaning is on the other side of the street, there is no fog, so this means .... oh, shoot. I can't remember now if this means I can change my waitlist today or not. It's so hard to keep track of the rules.

  108. waitlist changing people -

    what strategy are you using? switching from "shoot for the moon" to shoot for what you think no one else wants?

  109. I don't believe the privates necessarily grade easier overall, but I absolutely believe that some of them inflate the key 8th-grade grades as kind of a sweetheart deal to pump up the high school admissions. I'm told that by private school parents. And I know for certain that (at least) one of them actually alters transcripts -- gives student fake transcripts for Lowell.

    Re the test -- this information also comes from private school parents. Yes, it's based on the percentile, but it still seems like an advantage that the test private-school kids take is easier than the one SFUSD kids take -- I mean, what a psychological boost. Also, it's shorter (only math/reading).

    Plus the testing circumstances are much more motivating. For the public-school kids, the scores used are from the tests they took in May 7th grade -- the same mishmosh of tests they take in May every year, year after year (grade-level, of course).

    For the private-school kids, the testing is done in January of 8th grade on a Saturday, and it's 100% crystal-clear to every one of those kids that this is a really crucial test to their high school application process, which is right there looming in front of them. Every kid in the room is on that same page. If they want Lowell, they are as motivated as can be, and the outcome of their efforts is totally clear to them. They're also overall a few months more mature.

    I'm sorry, but there's just no way the private-school kids aren't getting a huge boost over the SFUSD kids in that process (even those whose private schools aren't faking their transcripts).

  110. Re the appeal of Lowell, I think they're kind of proud of the lack of aesthetics -- brains over beauty.

    However, it's a school where tons and tons of stuff is going on -- very lively and busy. That's a big attraction for a lot of kids. It's not JUST a grind of silent studying.

    The "grind" issue is why both my kids have chosen SOTA though they both got into Lowell, though. But we have many, many friends who are very happy at Lowell and having a ball, though they do complain about too much homework.

  111. Anyone out there giving the new Stratford school campus opening in SF this fall a shot?

  112. Why doesn't Lowell use the same test for ALL kids, regardless of whether they are from public or private schools?

  113. It's some issue about the relative cost of giving the tests (as in, it's too expensive or otherwise unfeasible to give the same tests on that one small scale), but I'm drawing an utter blank on the details. I'll e-mail the insider who explained it to me once and pass on the explanation when I get it.

  114. It isn't really whether or not the public school test actually differs substantively from the private school Lowell admission test that is troublesome. It's the appearance of a difference when so much depends on the result of a single test. They may "norm" the scores, or whatever statistical means they use to compare the scores, but there is the appearance of an uneven playing field. There are kids who are close enough to the cut-off score that a single point could make the difference between admission and denial.

    In the global scheme of things budget-wise, giving all the kids the same test probably only makes the tiniest fraction of a percent different in the overall SFUSD budget. The appearance of fairness is certainly worth that cost.

  115. Veering back towards waitlist pools ...

    I went to the EPC today, I did not ask for a counselor, I said to the woman at the counter that others have changed their waitlist and I would like to as well. She said, as though it were an obvious and unquestionable rule, yes, you can do that until tomorrow. I filled out a whole new second round application and it was accepted no questions asked.

    As for what is our strategy in switching. When we found out that as of Tuesday, the waitlist for Alvarado is 29, we decided that our candle of hope should be extinguished now and we should focus on another school we want and have fair chance of receiving. We switched to Marshall (after I sat in the office for about an hour agonizing over Marshall and Fairmount).

    After I left and repeated to myself all the reasons for Marshall, I felt I couldn't repress a new feeling that maybe we really did have a chance at Alvarado, we just needed to hang on. The psychology of scarcity and the grass is greener on the other side is so damn confounding.

  116. kinderplot -- good move. think how awesome it will be for your kid when you get into marshall off the first wait run and can start getting excited about school NOW, instead of the other scenario: wait rigid with anxiety the whole summer and into the school year, then yank kid out of wherever they're parked -- or nowhere -- and try to catch up socially and otherwise in a spanish immersion environment. sounds hard.

  117. Kinderplot - I applaud you. I have heard that everyone suffers some sort of angst after they make their choice, change their choice or even get their choice. We got one of our fave schools and then spent a week (I lie not) worrying that we did not research enough, why did we have that so high up? If it was so good how could WE have got in? etc etc. There is something about this process that breeds doubt.
    I loved Marshall it was high up our list and I know my son would have loved it there, I also know that if I had been assigned it I would have worried.
    Now a few weeks after learning of our assignment I am OVER the worry and am LOVING the fact that we have a school we wanted and can do what Kim said and look forward to a summer of sun and fun and a fall full of new school excitement. I wish you Marshall (but be prepared for a little worry) and a fantastic school experience.

  118. at least you guys can make a choice! i have secretly thought of the lottery as a system of "fate" that will put us in the right school, somehow, someway, without me having to make a decision.

    six weeks into this and i am still up in the air about mandarin vs. spanish, flynn vs. marshall vs. paul revere... total mind game - i listed flynn as my waitlist choice since that would be the only chance of getting it though i am not 100% sure i'd prefer it over, say, starr king.

    had i listed starr king for my WL, we very well might get in. but that would be like a choice, not fate, and i am too chicken to make a choice. i am normally a normal person but this process is making me wonder...

  119. 8:44 i feel your pain. this system creates the feeling that you are a victim of fate, it's not your fault you can't think straight. we put starr king as our waitpool(as you said, more of a choice than fate) and i am thinking of running down to EPC tomorrow to switch to marshall.

    we ended up picking a wait pool school for vibe, proximity, and to end the waiting game, but i am very anxious about the mandarin. so...anxious about where you will get in until the ten-day count? anxious about logistics/driving/parking? or anxious about your kid maybe hating a mandarin immersion program? lots of things to worry about in this system, no matter which way you go. part of me will still be wondering why we didn't pick ______ for a long time, but hopefully we will be happy with our choice. or wait, maybe i really should run downt here tomorrow.

  120. thanks 11:06. good to hear i am not the only one...

    stay with SK! my guess is that we will end up with SK as it was first on our list. who knows...

    off topic, but what do you think about the approval to rebuild the public housing across the street? they will tear them down in approx two years. how do you think that will affect the students? i worry that some will be displaced and wonder what effect that will have on the school community. i also worry about the environmental factors of demolishing 60+ year old buildings.

    what do you think?

  121. i'm no expert, so not sure, but i know that potrero hill has a strong community who will be very aware and active in making sure environmental input is minimized. i know they did a great job with valencia gardens and worked hard to rebuild so that families could move back in and not many families were "lost" in the process.

    i also don't think it will really happen in 2 years.

    now i will go play with my kids instead of compulsively reading this blog.

  122. On the environmental side, the demo would be subject to environmental review and requirements would be put into place to deal with any environmental effects.

  123. THis is off topic but worth spreading the word about:


    On Aug. 1, 2008, the California Department of Food and Agriculture
    plans to spray the San Francisco Bay Area from the air with a
    time-released pesticide in an effort to wipe out the Light Brown Apple
    Moth (LBAM). There will be continuous spraying every 30 to 90 days for
    the next two to 10 years. We can't leave town for the weekend and come
    back when it's clear; there will be no "all-clear" to come home to.

    The CDFA claims that the spray "should be" safe, despite that it has
    never been independently tested and no environmental studies have been

    We represent concerned families with children, pets, and loved ones
    with respiratory ailments. The more we research this proposal, the
    more upset and opposed we're becoming. Thus far we've learned that the
    pheromone pesticide, Checkmate OLF-R, is untested, contains known
    carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and is delivered in
    time-released microcapsules that can be inhaled and lodged in the
    lungs, causing respiratory harm.

    Here are some of the warnings on the Checkmate label:

    KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.... Harmful if absorbed through the
    skin. Harmful if inhaled.... IF ON SKIN OR CLOTHING: Take off
    contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for
    15-20 minutes. Call poison control ...

    The US Department of Agriculture announced emergency funding to combat
    the LBAM infestation in California, bypassing the normal safety and
    environmental studies, and asks us to take on faith that aerial
    spraying is necessary and safe. How many times have we been told
    something was safe only to hear a big "oops" a few years or decades
    later? Thalidomide, DDT, Agent Orange.... The most vulnerable
    populations include fetuses, pregnant women, and children.

    Biologists agree that aerial spraying will not accomplish the CDFA

    goal of eradicating the moth. Instead, they encourage focus on
    containment. Less invasive, integrated pest management solutions for
    the LBAM exist and are working for other countries such as New
    Zealand, whose climate and flora are comparable to California's.
    Aerial spraying is expensive, outdated, unsustainable, and —
    ultimately — likely to be unsuccessful.

    What is even more alarming is that the LBAM has not proven to be a
    devastating pest elsewhere. It has not caused crop damage in Hawaii
    over the past 100 years. Europe has no restrictions against it.
    According to a report published by horticulturalists Daniel Harder and
    Jeff Rosendale, the moth rarely penetrates fruit, does not defoliate
    plants, and at worst causes only cosmetic damage.

    We don't want to be the guinea pigs for this wasteful, thoughtless,
    and high-risk approach. Do not sit quietly.

    Get educated, spread the word, and contact our elected officials to
    say that we will not stand by and let this happen. Email your

    supervisor. Write to Assembly and Senate members.

  124. Way to kill a thread.

  125. There are lots of threads with fewer comments ;-)

  126. I for one, am pretty concerned about the spraying.

  127. How do we know that spraying post is even true? You can't believe everything ...!

  128. The spraying is very real. It's been in the news quite a bit...

  129. The spraying is very real and very alarming and outrageous. I did not mean to minimize the importance of the issue. However, there are lots of extremely important issues that need a call to action but I personally would not randomly insert them into other threads. I just thought it a tad annoying to insert the cause into a thread that already had two competing topics in it. My rant. I'm done.

  130. We are holding a spot at the new Stratford School.

    I admit that it was a last minute back-up plan to apply there. I toured the school and was impressed by the faculty and parents I met. Unfortunately they were from other Stratford campuses, since they have not actually hired the new teachers or even the principal for the SF school yet. The no BS admissions process was a definite plus. We did not apply to any other private schools.

    We were going through the interview process at Stratford when we received the news that we went 0/7 in the public school lottery. The admissions staff at Stratford were very nice, and made us feel welcome and appreciated (which was refreshing).

    We entered Round II listing only our top picks (all over enrolled). If we don't get Clarendon we will be happy to try out Stratford in the fall.

  131. Congrats on Stratford. I hope you'll update us once school has started.

  132. just curious (though none of my business) - did stratford offer you financial aid? i wonder if they will offer more to get people on board...?

  133. We did not request to be considered for financial aid. Stratford tuition is under $13k/year. This is less than we are currently paying for pre-K.

  134. I'm sorry, but there's just no way the private-school kids aren't getting a huge boost over the SFUSD kids in that process (even those whose private schools aren't faking their transcripts).

    Wow, glad my tuition dollars are clearly good for something!

  135. Yes, it's true. Going to private high school buys you access (better guidance counselors, etc.), especially to smaller private liberal arts colleges. I'm not sure how you could dispute this...

  136. Caroline's quote referred to the advantage that private middle school kids have in gaining entry to Lowell high school. But, yeah, I'll take it!

  137. After a week off, I'm just now catching up on the wait pool discussion and am really annoyed! I too was told I could not change my wait pool school after March 28. Did anyone go down there today and try to change their lists? Any updated information on the wait pools? Don't suppose anyone has any info on Lakeshore and Clarendon (I know, I know . . . )

  138. Hi, Stratford parent, if you're willing and have the time, I'd love if you'd share your application experience and what the overall feel/philosophy of the school is from your impressions. You can post at the link below if you like or just here if that's easier for you. Thanks!

    Kindergarten SF

  139. Don't suppose anyone has any info on Lakeshore and Clarendon

    each clarendon program has one open spot

  140. private schools waisted our money and time by taking our money and giving us interviews when they knew our daughter was not going to get in.

    public schools with large wait lists are moving MUCh slower this year than in previous years. Best move? get on marshall's, Milk's, Rosa Parks, Paul Revere's waitlist now!