Saturday, March 8, 2008

The big day: SFUSD assignments

I just received the mail. We didn't get any of our seven. We were assigned to Junipero Serra Elementary. I'm in shock! And I'm so sorry for those who are in a similar situation.

384 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Sorry Kim to hear that for your family. I totally understand how you feel as we sit here waiting for our mail to come. This is truly no way to live. I ask my wife why we are living here sometimes as it is far to expensive of a place to live (both cost of living and taxation wise) to be putting up with this kind of crap. Good luck in your process for round two. You have my empathy.

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  3. Don't panic!
    Don't panic!
    Don't panic!

    Sorry this had to happen to you. It'll work out!

    There are two newly posted heartening stories from last year on the PPS listserve right now -- both families who didn't get any of their 7 choices, got great schools in the end and are very happy. I know that doesn't make you feel any better because I remember how pissed I was in your situation.

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  4. we got j.serra too ... :-( time to gear up for round 2.

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  5. caroline, i do appreciate the encouragement, and i want to believe that, as you have said before, everyone who waits it out gets a decent place to attend school. but a system that requires hardworking middle-class people to shoulder this anxiety for up to six months is not a system that is working. also, the numbers this year are frightening: there ARE more applicants, and i fear the waitlists will be, well, too big to accommodate everyone.

    i know i sound embarrassingly bourgeois, and that there are people with much, much more serious problems than these, but i need to get nice and pissed for a few days before i can be constructive again. i mean, like a lot of people here, i toured 20 fucking schools. i'm self-employed, so if i don't work, i don't get paid. i took a big hit on that. but that is what is supposedly required to participate in the "choice" system. all it got me was three months of scant invoices and a sad sack assignment....

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  6. perhaps there is a district plan afoot to force a middle-class invasion of j serra? all well and good, but those fuckers promised me access to language immersion or at least a clean bathroom, and i want, i want!

    seriously, though: i feel like i'm getting my own private (public?) therapy session -- for free! you guys rock. i feel pretty happy again already, although san francisco, SFUSD and any cheesy song that contains the words "san francisco" are on my shitlist.

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  7. Kim, can you remind us what your 7 were?

    And I'm so sorry to hear your result! I was rooting for you!

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  8. Kim - what sad news indeed and a depressing start to the day of announcments! (I, for one had hoped you'd be assigned to Flynn, and btw you might still, in Round 2 if it's on your list again - or if you waitlist.) As Caroline says, try not to worry too much. It, of course, would be nice to be done and know where your child will be, but so much gets shaken out after people begin to enroll. Some people will get into their private school choices and free up spots and it'll all trickle and shake until there's a good spot for everyone.

    Looking forward to hearing the other placements.

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  9. and your postings are always so damned amusing!

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  10. i thought my self-absorption might be amusing too ;- ) .

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  11. yes, quite enjoyable! You really have me laughing.

    ok, I have to go something else. I understand it's beautiful outside... ;-)

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  12. CRAP! If Kim Green with all her well deserved positive karma can't get one of her 7, then we're very likely screwed. We were dumb. We just drew a big circle on the map around our house and commute route, and put those schools down. Half them are VERY popular, and half are somewhat less popular, but by no means undersubscribed. We weren't obsessing over test scores or anything. We just wanted schools close to home or on our commute route and with a start time/afterschool program compatible with work. Unfortunately, after looking at the stats released today and hearing from Kim, we are standing here awaiting the bad news. Between the assignment process, recent layoffs, the state budget crisis, and employers that seem to never be satisfied, maybe it's time for us to leave the state... Born and raised here. Hate to contemplate the idea, but we're tired.

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  13. ah, yes. truly, i was hoping for fairmount or flynn so bad i could taste it. embarrassing admission: in a fit of enthusiasm that we were going to attend our neighborhood school next year, i tried to join fairmount's listserv, and was politely told that only current parents are allowed (obviously). i was like some sort of institutional stalker or something.

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  14. This stuff actually happens organically in some cases:

    ***perhaps there is a district plan afoot to force a middle-class invasion of j serra?***

    Lots of the schools that were viewed with horror in my day that are now popular changed because of the overflow from the really oversubscribed schools.

    I know this is not what anyone wants to hear right now. Sorry...

    But also I just saw a list of schools ranked by popularity, so bear with me again:

    We requested Lakeshore -- then (1996) one of the "only five decent schools." We got Miraloma -- then viewed as unthinkable. We appealed successfully. When the appeal letter arrived (on a day just like today, with parents frantically waiting at the mailbox), I was waiting in the driveway for the mail carrier. When I opened the letter rescuing my child from the horror of Miraloma, I sat down in the driveway and cried.

    Just to reiterate that perspective.

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  15. there's still hope for y'all. my karma is not positive. in fact, i was sort of hoping this would happen to the other guy....

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  16. I'm still curious what was on the list of those who got nothing.

    - my mail hasn't arrived yet!

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  17. oh, sorry, got a phone call and hit "publish" too soon. I forgot my key point: This year, Lakeshore is No. 13 on the list and Miraloma is No. 12.
    (Fairmount and Flynn? In my day we'd rather have sent our kids to prison! More perspective.)

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  18. Well, we got nothing, too. Based almost solely on location (except for lakeshore), I put these schools and got nothing:

    Fairmount
    Flynn spanish
    Alvarado spanish
    Rooftop
    McKinley
    Miraloma
    Lakeshore

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  19. I got my #6 choice. Harvey Milk. I am relieved I at least got something on my list

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  20. Kim,
    Please don't feel discouraged. This is the first hurdle in a multi-step process. For some lucky folks the journey ends here, but for most getting what you want is still possible, but just takes more effort. If you are patient (and it might even take until after the 10 day count), you can and will get a placement that will work for you. I know that you know others who have gone through this. It is difficult to have to gear up for another round (or two) of waiting, but it will work out!
    Don't lose hope!

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  21. We didn't get any of our seven choices. We were assigned to Sunnyside. At least I think Sunnyside might be an up and coming school. Any thoughts from people who toured there/have kids there?

    Kim, I hear you! And I second you!

    Caroline, thanks for all of your encouragement. I have to say, though, that I agree with Kim that a system that puts parents through months (and months and months if we wait until Sept) of anxiety and uncertainty is seriously flawed. While I believe Sunnyside might be a viable option (showing definite improvement in aforementioned broken system), I worry about wha will happen to schools on the brink of becoming truly great with the budget cut issues. This is just too much anxiety to put people through. Why oh why can't we repeal Prop 13! Yes, I do know the answer, but I'm a homeowner and would vote to repeal Prop 13 in a second! And I do hear you about the process not being over, but I so want it to be (and my mental health needs it to be!).

    We applied to three private schools, and, quite frankly, I really hope we get into one of them. I don't want to get into a debate about public vs. private as I'm not new to this blog and have considered all that has been said. Before reading posts from folks like Caroline, public school wasn't even an option in my mind. I had fallen for the "There are only three schools to even consider" misinfo. The fact that I found seven schools (well, strands really) that my husband and I felt comfortable with was really encouraging. Of course we didn't get any of them...grrrr. Our list was Clarendon Second Community, Clarendon JB, Alvarado SI, Alvarado GE, Grattan, Flynn SI, and Jefferson. Oh well. I will go tour Sunnyside.

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  22. how about those projects!!!!!! thats where we were assigned too! I got NOTHING on my list and i am pissed beyond pissed. So mad can't even write about it. Its a shit system!

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  23. We were leaning private anyway but didn't get any of our seven either.

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  24. Nada out of 7 for us too! I also did not put all over-requested schools:

    Alvarado Spanish
    Alvarado Gen
    Fairmount
    Flynn Spanish
    Clarendon Gen
    McKinley
    Miraloma

    And, we were assigned Hillcrest (on Silver Ave).

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  25. I do believe Sunnyside is one on the brink. The benefits as I saw them when I toured last year were: it's a small school (fewer than 300students), the building was bright and pretty with notably clean hallways, diversity - they had a really good balance of all SF races, scores in the 700+ range, new play structure and growing PTA. Parents for Public Schools can set you up to talk with some of their school ambassadors. www.ppssf.org

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  26. And Greatschools.net has parent reviews and such.

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  27. We have friends whose child went to Sunnyside a couple years ago for kindergarten (and later moved away). They were pretty happy and would have stayed there if they had not moved. Her main complaint was that the pool of parent volunteers was too small and trying to take on too much. That can change pretty quickly. I noticed the Sunnyside requests went down a little this year and I have no idea why. They have had some principal churn. We were assigned there but never attended as our waitlist did come through. I do recall that Sunnyside did allow you to request teachers and my friend definately took advantage of that - she thought two of the three kindergarten teachers that year were great and the third, a new teacher or maybe a long-term sub, not so good.

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  28. we didn't get one of our 7 choices and were assigned to william cobb elementary. have never set foot in the school, but everything as far as test scores, rating, etc. are a big fat NO that we will attend. one of my best friends didn't get one of her 7 either and was assigned to rosa parks in the tenderloin. i think the newspapers report that 63% receive their first choice is bs...i feel very flippant about the whole thing-seems like one big joke of a system after investing lots of time thought into tours and trying to pick schools that seemed like we might have a chance of getting into...

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  29. We're in the "unlucky 19%" -- didn't get a single one of our choices.

    We'll tour (again) the school we got assigned to (McKinley), but we didn't like it on our first go through...

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  30. Ok knowledgeable public school peeps: How is it that we have a system where someone who didn't list McKinley got assigned there when others, listed McKinley and didn't get it? I mean, I get that there's the whole diversity formula, but, after going through that, if there are slots available, shouldn't they go to people who actually requested the school instead of being assigned to families who don't want to send their kids there??? What a complete and total joke. And the joke is on us.

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  31. my two cents to the families with these assignments: i toured both mckinley and sunnyside and really liked them. there was a lot to like about them. they didn't make our list because they were too far (or so i thought -- now martinez is looking pretty good).

    i took a private audience with sunnyside's principal, and she is one tough cookie (in a good way). it is true that the active parent group is small (the parent who led the "tour" -- me only -- admitted such). but the school is safe, clean and the staff has been purged of bad seeds. it's a good place to be, and i wish i had gotten it.

    mckinley: really loved it. really regretting not putting it on the list now, in spite of the 7:50 start time that would require us to be at the bus stop at the buttcrack of dawn. the school is baked, i think. nice location, nice programs, nice parents, great principal. nice kids, too.

    it occurs to me that the news may seem disproportionately negative presently because only those who need to vent are posting. the others are flouncing around the farmers' market with their acceptance to rooftop in hand. but they'll have to admit their good fortune eventually. ;- )

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  32. We, too, received McKinley despite not listing it as a choice. We were in the 19 percent as well who didn't get one of our picks. I think it is ridiculous that there are people who REQUESTED this school and did not get in and yet we did. I feel absolutely terribly for those families. It just plain SUCKS. But I think we will be going the Private route so there will be a space opening up at McKinley if that helps!

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  33. sure sounds like the lottery software needs an audit!

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  34. Kate, where are you? I think we're all dying to know if you got AFY or any of your choices.

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  35. We didn't get any of our seven. We were assigned to Junipero Serra.

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  36. We didn't get any of our seven. We were assigned to Junipero Serra.

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  37. Hi all,

    Reading all the posts, it sounds like we are one of the lucky few: we got our first choice: Alvarado Spanish Imm. We are quite suprised as we never thought we'd get it.

    For those who got Mc Kinley, I really liked it. I think Bonnie, the principal, is fantastic. We did not list it because we only wanted Immergent programs.

    Good luck for those looking for the second round...

    Fabien

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  38. Didn't get any of our seven. Got John Muir!?

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  39. Kate i was sure that you would get at least one of you're 7, i'm shocked. We didn't get any of our 7 either, not very happy. We were assigned to John Muir ES. So much for being committed to staying in SF!
    hope you enjoyed dinner in Park Chow last Friday! A.
    PS has anyone gotten their top picks yet???

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  40. We got our second choice, Flynn general ed... would have preferred immersion somewhere, but decided to list it second because the proximity (its walkable from our house) and start time, and general reputation, outweighed immersion for us.

    Sorry to hear about all of you who got something not on your list, but we did tour and liked McKinley, the start time would have been a challenge, but I can see our daughter being happy there.

    Now we just have to decide to send her or not... her bday is at the end of Nov....
    MCL

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  41. We also didn't get one of our seven. We got William L. Cobb . . . no thank you. Hopefully, one of our privates will come through. I've expended way too much time and energy on this public school process that is sorely in need of some help. Good luck to those of you who are going through the second round . . . more power to you.

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  42. This is my first posting on this blog but I wanted to express my frustration-- we also did not get any of our seven and got william cobb. A school that didn't even state growth standards!

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  43. I'm a bit of a voyeur here since I won't be going through this until next year, but I feel for all of you as if it's happening to me right now. (really, I have a knot in my stomach as I read all your post).

    I agree that the system doesn't make any sense to not give a chosen school on someone's list to someone who didn't put it on their list. A question to those who got schools they did not chose (which is almost everyone). Is the school really far away from where you live? That's one of my biggest concerns. For my 5 year old to be going to school on the other side of the city.

    It seems from what I thought I read that round 2 and maybe 3 take into consideration of where you live? Can anyone validate that?

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  44. j. serra assignees: CLEARLY they assigned everyone who lives in outer/upper noe and didn't get one of their seven to this school. CLEARLY this is a deliberate decision and not some random algorithmic result (i mean, what about paul revere, glen park, sunnyside, chavez...). dare i say...let's do a final count at the end of this and see how many families we have who are willing to tour this school (just tour it, nothing more). the district can damn well give us a group tour with someone in a position of authority from EPC present and we can decide en masse what we think of its potential -- and have someone to express our concerns to personally if it has none. caroline does have a point: both flynn and miraloma, among others, had as sad a rep at one point in time. maybe we can recruit a new...whatever?

    if they are going to use our families as part of a larger demographic desegregation effort without our knowledge and input instead of giving us the "choice" they promise so vociferously, then they can damn well deal with us as a group as well. it is important to act together, i think. i am tired of being pitted against my neighbors just to get into a decent school. this is, quite frankly, retarded social engineering.

    i have to say, being honest on your application really bites you in the ass (as, in, yeah, my kid went to preschool, because i have an f'ing career, even though i made 12K last year and spent 3/4 of it on the f'ing childcare).

    kate -- i'm disappointed for you. i think a lot of folks kind of made you their locus of hope, as in, "if kate gets one of her seven in round one, then i can still believe in this stupid system."

    grrrr.....

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  45. Hi again,

    I just went on the SFUSD website and found out that they have listed the requests per school for this year. Here is the link:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/Demand_5yrs%2008-09.pdf

    For those going to the second round, I understand that if you did not get any of your first 7 chices, you will go on top of the list for the second round and that the odds of getting a better choice is pretty good.

    Fabien

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  46. Sorry, the link does not show in it's entirety:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/
    data/epc/Demand_5yrs%2008-09.pdf

    If you Cut and paste, there should not be a space between: edu/data...

    Fabien

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  47. poster applying next year: if you get none of your "choices" (forever in quotes as of now, as is clearly misnomer based on numbers of disappointed), then you are (supposedly) automatically assigned something within some short distance (a mile?) of your home that has openings. i wonder if there is always something that close with openings? anyway, last year, i had the strong feeling that people in my 'hood (outer noe/baja noe) who didn't get anything were assigned to sunnyside. this year, i'm getting the sense it's j. serra.

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  48. Kate, I'm really sorry you didn't get any of your choices. I hope you're not discouraged. I think you are what is keeping everyone hopeful. I know you're absorbing all this now, but I do hope you will continue to let us into your SF school experiences. Thanks!

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  49. I really liked McKinley but it was too far with a 7:50am start so did not make our list. I don't understand how people who listed it did not get it, I thought the system did not work like that? Anyway to those allocated to Sunnyside you should tour it. We had it on our list and we would have been very happy with it (hands down best library I saw). I think it is a real hidden gem.
    So we won the lottery! having just come back from dancing around the Farmers Market (not really) we find we got our first choice - Fairmount, sorry Kim I was really hoping you would be there with us (and still hope you will see out the waitpool to get it) - I'm sort of in shock, I was not expecting to get any of our top 3 (Fairmount, Flynn and Buena Vista) and was gearing up to decide whether to go through the waitpool if we got anything lower down. Now, reading the options, I know I would have been happy with any of our 7.

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  50. I just looked at that list on SFUSD - I'm obsessing while the mailman is coming down the street. Alvarado GE has 40 spaces available, and only had 40 first choice requests?? I thought that was a really popular school. ????

    Kathryn

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  51. Our kid got into Serra too. Catholic school, here we come.

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  52. please excuse...still angry...not wholly rational...just my process (new-agey californian till the myocardial infarction hits)....

    i want more than just a half-assed counseling session where some functionary tries to make me feel guilty for wanting my kid to learn how to read and have an art class once in a blue moon. i think those of us who participated in this social experiment at great expense in terms of time, money and resources -- don't even get me started on the schools that wouldn't allow me to bring my youngest to tour so i had to get a babysitter -- deserve more transparency. how does it work? what is the logic behind the diversity index? how can they design a system that promises you a choice and not give you any of yours? whafu? i know garcia's a busy guy, but i want answers! i'm prepared to work very hard as a parent within this system, but i do not believe i am qualified to BUILD a system from nothing. anyway, if the system has failed a lot of us -- more than a reasonable number -- then its administrators are morally obligated to explain its failure to us, and also work with us on what to do about it (beyond handing us a list of crap schools and saying, here, pick seven more from these!).

    that said, don't worry, guys -- we'll do better in round 2. right????

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  53. We got our first choice, Alvarado General.

    If we hadn't got one of our seven choices, we would have signed up on the wait list. I've talked to a few people in the know (e.g., principal at C. Sloat) who assure me that your chances of getting in from the wait list are high, even if you choose a popular school. So please do that if you're unhappy. Yes, it's stressful, but for us, at least, it would have been worth it.

    If you want to get an idea of what your chances are of getting in from the wait list, the SFUSD's web site (and I think Parents for Public Schools also) has a spread sheet with the numbers of people who placed themselves on the wait list last year. It would be even more helpful if they listed how many slots opened up. Whatever the nnumber, though, they do happen. During our tour of Rooftop, the tour guide told us that even there they have openings from people who move for job reasons or who use the public school system as a backup for parochial or private.

    If we had not got into our wait list school, we would have let our son attend his assigned school for kindergarten and applied to a different school for first grade. We wouldn't like the idea of yanking our son from a place where he had already made friends, but that might have been worth it, too.

    As an aside, I'll point out that according to the SFUSD's web site, this year 11% (4,330 vs. 3,972) more people applied for kindergarten than last year. That makes it harder to get into one of your schools, however much we like to see a rise in popularity in public schools.

    To the poster who questioned the veracity of the 87% figure of families who got one of their choices last year, you should know that they include applicants with siblings. 87% was an average of families with siblings and without. So if your child has a sibling in the school you apply to then your chances are just about 100% while if he doesn't then of course it's lower.

    While my wife and I are happy to get our choice, our hearts go out to you all. We are rooting for you, so stick it out!

    Henry

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  54. I'm the person who was assigned to Sunnyside. We're in Glen Park near the Canyon. Glen Park Elementary is closer to us than Sunnyside, but maybe it filled up?!? However, Sunnyside is also not far from us but not really. walkable

    After finding out that siblings are included in the figures re: how many applicants get one of their choices, I feel completely misled. I'm especially sad for you, Kate, after all your hard work, and for Kim and others who have consistently fought for the public schools. It's so true that you can make numbers say whatever you want, and it's so damn crappy to feel misled. For heaven's sake SFUSD, tell people what these numbers really mean when you put them out instead of using them as propaganda.

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  55. we also got none of our 7 choices and were assigned to starr king gen ed. i feel like hitting myself in the head with a brick. just got home from my son's 5th birthday party and received this wonderful gift. we did not list all oversubcribed schools. i guess we will do all the waitlists and waitpools but the anxiety level is getting too hard to handle.

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  56. Well it is possible...though I did not believe it. We received our first choice, West Portal. We did not have a private school back up. If we did not get our choice, we would have followed the process through, even sticking it out through K in an assigned school and hoping to get in during 1st grade.

    I feel very fortunate that the process is over for us (until middle school) :)

    Best of luck to you all. I hope you will see the "process" through and continue to support the public schools.
    Thank you Kate for the blog and keep us posted!

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  57. We didn't get any of our seven choices either and were assigned to William Cobb, no thanks! Luckily I teach on the peninsula and my daughter can commute there with me. So much for going to school in SF.

    Our seven:
    Grattan
    Rooftop
    Miraloma
    Lawton
    Lafayette
    Buena Vista
    Claire Lillienthal

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  58. Boy it sounds like everyone should meet at the bliss bar for a late afternoon drink!

    I'm so sorry so many of you didn't get any of your choices. Hopefully round 2 (if you decide to go through it) will be a better experience.

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  59. you should do a new poll, 'how many people got their first choice, how many got one of their 7, etc.?'

    Really hating san francisco right now. Not only do I want to give up on public schools, i want to give up on the whole city.

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  60. We actually got one of our 7 - Argonne, which was our number 4. I'm pretty happy with it, at least I got one of my 7. I was totally shocked, I almost fell over. Good luck to everyone for Round 2.

    Kathryn

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  61. Does anyone know what the percentage of those getting one of the 7 choices and/or their first choice drops to when you take out the sibling population? Just curious.

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  62. Count us in as another family that didn't get any of our choices and was assigned Cobb.

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  63. i got nothing.

    we put -
    west portal
    clarendon
    flynn
    bv
    miraloma
    alvarado
    starr king

    we were assigned to bessie carmichael filipino education center. (and hey! i think that beats junipero serro! i actually thought jp looked good and heard great things but didnt make it to tour since i barely had time to tour the OTHER TWENTY FOUR schools i saw.)

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  64. We did not get any of our 7 either... We were assigned Daniel Webster!

    What is this system? Sounds like so many of us are disappointed, after all that time touring schools and putting so much into choices!

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  65. Sounds like there are going to be a lot of angry parents in SF this weekend. It would be a good idea to avoid the parks for a few days.

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  66. Well, I can't really believe it, but not only did our letter arrive in the mail today, but we got one of our top choices, Diane Feinstein. We're definitely leaning private, so our spot might open up for someone else. Our list (we live in the Sunset) was a mix of really popular, popular and not-in-the top 20 schools:

    Grattan
    Diane Feinstein
    Sunset
    Clarendon GEN
    Clarendon JBBP
    West Portal
    Lafayette

    I don't think order really has anything to do with assignment unless by luck of the draw the computer selects your child for more than one school. I'm sure there are people who listed Feinstein first and didn't get it, for example.

    Sadly effort also has nothing to do with assignment. With 10 percent or fewer applicants having a shot at any of the 20 most requested schools, it seems like it was a really tough year.

    Much as I disagree with Caroline on a number of things, I think she is right when she says hang in there. Things will shake out. Folks will move, go private, make other selections opening up spots for others who didn't get them in the first round. I know more than a handful of people who have gotten if not exactly what they wanted then something acceptable in the second round. Some are staying put after a great K year. Others took a shot at the lottery again this year for a switch in first grade. The process is a supreme pain in the butt, though.

    Good luck to everyone!

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  67. This is Paul. We toured a lot of schools and ran into Kate often on the tours. We have twin girls.

    We didn't get any of our 7. I thought I had built a list that didn't include all the popular schools. Miraloma was our first choice and Grattan our second, but I was hoping that we would get Dianne Feinstein, our fifth choice, if the others were too popular. No such luck.

    We were assigned to New Traditions Alternative. I have to admit, I had never heard of it. It's not ridiculously far from us. We live in the Inner Sunset and it is North of the Panhandle. It seems that the assignments have something to do with geography if you do not get one of your seven choices. The computer must look at the schools that need kids that are within a certain distance of your home first, because it sounds like a lot of Noe Valley folks got put in other unpopular schools.

    ANYWAY . . . we'll be going to private if we get in. I was one of those people, too, who had his opinions changed by reading this blog over time. I felt like there were a lot of good choices in the city, and I was more than willing to give public school a fair shot.

    I'm just so struck by the fact that Kate didn't get one of her choices. When I opened the letter, I really thought that we were one of the unlucky ones, but reading this list makes it clear that a lot of the readers of this blog are represented in the 19%.

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  68. new poll: how many of you have a drink with you right now?

    yes: 1

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  69. We got none of our choices as well. My husband and I thought we would get at least one of our choices - or get something near our house in the Sunset. No, we were assigned to Jose Ortega. I 've never heard of this school! I have a bad taste in my mouth. I know we need to ride it out through the summer months...but the stress of it all is frustrating. This is why people leave the City.

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  70. This year 82% of applicants got 1 of their 7 choices, down from last year due to an increase in applications. Word on the street around private school admissions is that there was a bumper crop of sibs this year -- 50% or more taking available seats. Might be the same for public. I'm not a mathmatician, but wouldn't that make the 82% look more like 41% for non-sib applicants?

    Also keep in mind that many families do actually apply for schools like Serra, so they are included in the district's "happy stats"...

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  71. We live in upper Noe and got into NOTHING. We were assigned to Hillcrest also! I am also flabbergasted that we actually listed McKinley as a choice and didn't get it while others who didn't list it got assigned there!! Insane!

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  72. We got our 6th choice. McKinley. We liked the school but put it lower after we learned that Bonnie Coffey-Smith is retiring. We know her personally and she retired early in the year so that she could be part of the selection process for a new principal. Will find out what she thinks about the prospects for a good new principal and post it for everyone. Also really worried because McKinley is due to lose lot of money because they are doing better - so all the enrichment programs etc.. that we really liked may go by the wayside.

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  73. Paul - I never heard of New Traditions either, so I just took a quick look to see what parents said about it on greatschools.net and it seems that it's a pretty good school (unless these parents are just delusional). We live in the Inner Sunset also (which is a popular area for popular schools) so I'm bracing myself for next year (when my son starts K)and looking at some schools that are a bit beyond my 1/2 mile radius. I'll have to do more research on that one, but it sounds like a real hidden gem. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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  74. Feeling a bit doomed. Got none of our 7. Our list:
    Rooftop
    Buena Vista
    SF Community
    Starr King mandarin
    Alvarado spanish
    Grattan
    Fairmount
    I'm wondering if other people used Adam's spreadsheet? We calculated a VERY high chance of getting one of our seven with this particular list. Many of the lists I've seen so far would be calculated at a not so high likelihood. As someone who was careful about this, I'm so bummed!

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  75. poster above -

    i put SK too and didnt get anything. i thought for sure i would get SK. looks like there were 80 reqs for the 40 spots = so 50/50 chance. but with the sf community you should have done better, i'd have thought. go to a counseling session. i bet those two schools will have good chances with the waitlist option for you.

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  76. anyone know what they do with twins and the wait lists?

    did any one with twins get one of their choices?

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  77. I would guess that the 19% that were 0 for 7 were exclusively diversity index 0 applicants. SFUSD should publish the % with no older siblings who got one of their choices and they should break that group out by diversity index - but they won't because it would be too depressing.

    The good news is that a lot of people will get their waitlist choice in Round 2, some through the summer months, and then many more after the 10 day count, but it's not a process for the faint of heart.

    Hang in there ...

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  78. None of you folks are good at Math, eh?

    Did you actually believe the "87% got one of their 7 choices" propaganda?

    You have to take it on a school by school basis ... look at how many people applied to the school last year that you listed first ...

    then DEDUCT sibling preference

    when they say "63% of kindergarten applicants got their first choice"

    The 63% number is OVERALL

    and it all includes sibling applications

    so for instance,

    Rooftop had 60 Kindergarten openings, 30 of those openings went to siblings,

    Clarendon had 40 openings, 27 of those went to siblings

    Lilienthal had 60 openings, 25 of those went to siblings

    so, yes, while it is not untrue to count siblings as amongst those who received their first choices, since they have an edge, it is deceptive to include them in the overall percentage


    the "odds" of getting into one of the more coveted schools is more like 4% or 5%,

    even the not-so coveted schools have more applicants than spaces, for instance, McKinley had 203 requests this year for 60 openings and I'm guessing at least 20 of those openings went to siblings ... so you would have about a 19% chance of getting in.

    I agree, the system sucks. I am sorry for what you all are going through. I got my first choice of Kindergartens a few years ago, but it wasn't a popular school by any means, but it was a great little school.

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  79. Question - How much does racial diversity play into assignment? We did not fit into any other "box" so to speak (both of us have advanced degrees, English speaking, son went to preschool, income, etc.) but our son is AA. We did not get into any of our school choices but did get into McKinley and we live in Noe - we only live a block away, though, from Alvarado and were not assigned there. McKinley seems to be a very diverse school - would this be taken into consideration somehow or is this not a part of the equation? Also, could this be why we were assigned here and others who didn't receive their choices were assigned to Junipero Serra? Just curious. We are very new to SF so we kind of flew by the seat of our pants on this one.

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  80. From the SFUSD Website:

    Highlights of Round 1: 2008-09 School Year

    Prepared by the Educational Placement Center, March 7, 2008

    APPLICATIONS

    For the 2nd year in a row more kindergarten families are applying to the SFUSD.

    358 more kindergarten students applied to attend SFUSD this year

    * We received 4,330 kindergarten applications compared to 3,972 last year
    * We received 2,985 6th grade applications compared to 3,144 last year (159 fewer applications)
    * We received 4,347 9th grade applications compared to 4,238 last year (109 more applications)

    CHOICE

    Overall (K-12), 82% of applicants (10,853) received one of their choices, compared to 87% last year (11,303)

    * 81% of kindergarten applicants (3,502) compared to 87% last year (3,438)
    * 92% of 6th grade applicants (2,753) compared to 93% last year (2,938)
    * 91% of 9th grade applicants (3,967) compared to 94% last year (3,964)

    Overall (K-12), 63% of applicants (8,328) received their first choice, compared to 67% last year (8,691)

    * 63% of kindergarten applicants (2,721) compared to 69% last year (2,734)
    * 80% of 6th grade applicants (2,373) compared to 81% last year (2,548)
    * 68% of 9th grade applicants (2,953) compared to 67% last year (2,838)

    Overall (K-12), 18% of applicants (2,394) did not receive one of their choices , compared to 13% last year (1,666)

    * 19% of kindergarten applicants (828) compared to 13% last year (534)
    * 8% of 6th grade applicants (231) compared to 7% last year (206)
    * 9% of 9th grade applicants (380) compared to 6% last year (274)

    Overall (K-12) 82% Assigned to a School of Their Choice

    In clear for us applying to K:
    63% got their first choice.
    81% got one of their top 7 choices.
    19% were sent to the moon.

    Fabien

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  81. Keep in mind that when you do finally get in somewhere your next kid or kids will have nearly 100% liklihood of their/your first choice. Small consolation?

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  82. We also got none of our 7 choices. They were: Clarendon, Miraloma, Sunset, West Portal, Dianne Feinstein, Lafayette, Rooftop. Clearly some popular ones and some not. We were assigned to Sheridan, a school I had never heard of, in Ocean View (FAR from us, we're in the sunset) with a 7:50 start time and compulsory uniforms.

    I toured 15 schools (two of them twice) and we did not apply to private. My husband and I are both SF natives, I went through public school here K-12, but I have to say, the thing that's bothering me the most right now is how I really felt encouraged to put a huge amount of work into the tours, the research, the talking with other parents etc., all the while thinking I had a real choice about the best match for my son and our family, when really the choice was totally out of my hands. And I keep thinking about all of the wonderful things that some schools have that are funded by the PTA that we won't be getting unless we get lucky in Round 2, and it just feels so inequitable.

    I think you're right, Kim, I need to have some time to be angry about this before moving on. Anyone else going to the Round 2 counseling session Thursday night?

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  83. I also got none of my seven. I was assigned to McKinley which is actually close to my house. However, I've applied to seven privates and will go that route if I can.

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  84. racial diversity doesn't play in this. A few years ago the district was sued for using race. So it's all based on socio-economic diversity (class based).

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  85. Add our name to those who got none of their seven either. We got assigned to Hillcrest, which isn't even very close (we live in Noe).

    Guess we'll be seeing lots of you at the SFUSD counseling event this Thursday (3/13) evening at Jose Ortega.

    Very disappointed, especially after touring nearly twenty schools in the fall! I just wished more people I know got something on their list.

    We applied to one private (CAIS), which we will hear about this coming week.

    Sigh.

    Our list was:
    Alvarado Spanish
    Alvarado English
    Rooftop
    Miraloma
    Lakeshore
    Grattan
    Clarendon Second Comm

    Not great odds to begin with, i know. Using Adams' spreadsheet with LAST year's data, we had something like a 59% chance. With THIS year's data, it dropped to a 39% chance. And we were just not that lucky.

    Ughh.

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  86. i will be there thursday night. hopefully it will be civil. i spent an unreal amount of time on this. 24 schools - some twice, some three times (yes, i am slow.) huge spreadsheets. talked to everyone. read everything. i agonized over the choice of seven. and i got nothing. i have no private back up and the school is assigned school is not acceptable. what to do? plus i have twins - nice situation for waitlists. i feel like my life will be on hold for another few months until it is sorted out. it is a half-year wasted, really, with this at the forefront of my mind all the time. what are we going to do? do we move? i am so burned out. the thought of a round two and trying to strategize on what to list vs. waitlist... come on.

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  87. Does Adams' spreadsheet account for sibling preferences? It didn't used to.

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  88. poll: did anyone who lives in noe valley and/or the 94131 area code get any of their 7 choices? 'cause i'm not feeling the noe-love here....

    p.s. we're going out tonight with child-free friends with cats. should lend perspective....

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  89. According to Adams' spreadsheet we had a 98% chance of getting one of our 7 choices, and we got none, so it was even more of a shock to us.

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  90. The 18% does appear to be full of middle class paretns, the very ones the City doesn't want to lose to the burbs of privates. For the first time I am realizing that as we'ce been touting so many up and coming schools, that talk brought new peopl to the table considering public. But now the equation shifts againand there are not enough spots for everyone. And then the next batch of schools starts to come up - which is a good thing. It would be awesome if this forum allows you to find eachother and jump together if possible to bring up the next set of schools (Serra?)

    I am still heartened with how many different schools have been mentioned. And honestly all the schools need is committed parents and teachers, and good leadership.

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  91. The spreadsheet did not take into account sibling preferences or neighborhood preferences in the diversity index. You only have to look at the number of seats available to see that the chances for this year were significantly reduced than suggested on the spreadsheet.
    Also those who selected immersion also reduced their chances - ie 40 seats with say 10 going to siblings leaves 30 but with a 30%-30%-30% class make up you really only have a chance at 10 of those seats (regardless of whether you are English or Spanish speaking or bilingual) then you look at the diversity index. Those 40 seats dwindle away quickly.

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  92. We live in Noe. We listed the Clarendons, the Alvarados, AFY, Miraloma & Rooftop, and the only reason I expected one of them is bc I tend to do well in lotteries AND we applied to seven private schools.

    We were assigned to Hillcrest.

    Caroline, I am NOT the type of person who will make phone calls compulsively. Although I do work full time and have two children, the reason for that is not due to time. It is because I am not the type who does well with uncertainty.

    If we get into any of our six privates, and I profoundly hope we do, we'll accept and commit. I actually feel like a fool for thinking we had a shot at public school.

    ANYWAY, I also think that there needs to be an audit of the lottery. It is statistically impossible for a non-diversity family to get into McKinley without listing it if families with the same (lack of) diversity who listed it did not get in.

    My guess is that geography played a more important role in that equation than it was supposed to. I think we need to take away the block box. This is not okay.

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  93. Like Robin, we too were assigned Hillcrest. We will go take a look and then decide, anyone know anything about this school, it is not one I toured. We loved Mckinley and put it up there in our top 3, so I am a little bummed that it was assigned to people that did not actually request it. To the person that got assigned Daniel Webster, this school has an amazing group of local parents behind it, all who intend to request the school next year.www.savewebster.com
    Oh well, my mint never got planted, I have just ripped it out of the pot and added the rum!

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  94. junipero serra has small class sizes. good location. a nice sized spanish speaking population - might make for an immersion program in the future. clearly they are not meeting the demand for SN. approach the district - 20 of so JS-assigned parents and ask to have an immersion teacher assigned? who knows? better than leaving.

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  95. While you are waitlisting, also check out Creative Arts Charter School,

    http://www.creativeartscharter.org

    it's a small K-8 public school but has a separate admissions procedure, applying there will not affect your waitlisting.

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  96. Hi Kim,

    We live in the Upper Noe/94131 area and we got our first choice, and our neighbors got their second one. With both families, however, our home language is Spanish. I don't know how much that tilts the odds in our favor.

    Henry

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  97. I know you are all thinking about elementary school. We are heading into high school. Our daughter got her third choice or should I say our third choice. she is going to be heart broken. she so wanted to go to Lowell. Worked her ass off at Hoover and that takes work. Got straight "A"s. Test scores in the high 80s and 90s. Plays two sports. VP in student council. Spanish immersion. Plays in the band with the instrument I used in middle school 30 years ago. I now feel we are letting her down because we didn't spend last year living in our car or on public assistance.
    I know we are not alone in our disappointment but feel it none the less.

    Also been through this before with our first daughter who did end up going to Buena Vista on appeal.I do believe we will prevail in some form. Stick with it those who can. If we give up on the system where will we be then.

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  98. I'm shocked and saddened that so many people didn't get one of their choices. I think you should to be able to get into a school if you wait it out. Please don't give up..the district needs you. Sunnyside is an absolutely lovely place. Hillcrest is rising. Serra has potential but it looks bad...I think no one there thinks about aesthetics. It needs a core group of parents to bring it up.

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  99. Just got home and opened "THE LETTER". We got our #3 choice--Jefferson.
    Our list was:
    AFY (ImmC)
    Lawton (GEN)
    Jefferson (GEN)
    Sunset (GEN)
    West Portal (ImmC)
    Lakeshore (GEN)
    Robert L Stevenson (GEN)

    Jefferson is walking distance from our home. We put the other two first because of family heritage and the desire not to go through this again until high school. Still, we feel lucky all things considered.

    We feel bad for all of you who put your faith in the system and got NONE of your 7 choices, particularly when so many of you toured, researched, and tried to find those now nefarious "hidden gems". That's awful. There is nothing intelligent I can say to comfort you all, other than ask whether anyone knows if we can consume wine in SF public parks? If so, perhaps we should all gather somewhere on Sunday afternoon and drink--heavily. Those us who got one of our 7 should offer rides and child supervision for those who didn't.

    Just a thought...

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  100. We also got none of our seven and were assigned to John Muir. If we get into a private school we'll take it - I'm just not prepared to wait this out. I'm astonished by the number of folks here who didn't get even one of their 7.

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  101. Everyone I know has gotten into one of their choices (except us), so this group is not representative of SF at large. We are mostly the bummed people posting today. One of my friends emailed that she got into one of her top choices because of "positive thinking". Lovely. Seriously though, this group has always been mostly parents who are interested in VERY popular schools. Take that into account.

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  102. Re. Creative Arts Charter School, the initial deadline was 2/29/08. However, I believe they do accept later applications although they will take lower priority since they run their initial lottery based on the Feb. deadline applications. I toured it and loved it, except for the location.

    Re. 94131 zip code, we are located there (Noe Valley rather than truly up in Diamond Hgts) and got Hillcrest. We are also one of the ones who listed McKinley but didn't get it (while others got it who did not request it).

    Adams' spreadsheet was updated last year to account for siblings at 30%. PSS-SF has the latest version.

    So far, I personally know families who received Rooftop, Grattan, and McKinley as one of their 7 choices. Conversely, I know those who got Hillcrest and Daniel Webster, not of their 7.

    And, in response to the 'new poll' from Anonymous at 4:50 pm...
    yes: 2
    (+ an entire roll of Girl Scout Thin Mints)

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  103. Hillcrest is "RISING?" where do you get that idea? The SFUSD site seems to consider it a 'dream school' - hours are 8 am until 4 PM? On greatschools.net, it gets a 2 out of 10. APIs 600?

    under what measure is this school rising?

    frosting on cake: 3 miles from our house. no public transportation there. population of 1 percent non-minorty - making our child the only white child in the class (DON'T SHOOT ME; THAT IS NOT DIVERSITY). Doesn't have any good after school program. I'd rather go to the catholic school down the street, and mind you, we are NOT catholic, not even Christian. Palo Alto looks good right now.

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  104. I'm so sorry for everyone who is stressing -- I remember it well. (I put aside a budget for regular massage during that time... alcohol also an excellent option.)

    For any of you who is at least faintly considering the school you got, PPS has "parent ambassadors" at almost every (if not every) school whom you can talk to. Whoever it was who got New Traditions -- there are many New Traditions families at Aptos Middle School with my daughter -- smart, savvy, middle-class and very happy with the school. Unless it's egregiously inconvenient, I would recommend checking it out. It has hit the radar of many middle-class families.

    I would also be asking why some families who requested McKinley didn't get it and some who didn't got it. PPS is more likely to explain pleasantly and coherently than the EPC. There ARE errors in the process at times, I'm absolutely certain (computer inputting?) (But those who got it are lucky and should check it out, based on ample reports from friends and other savvy parents.)

    Kim, you are hysterically funny even when you're dejected (or especially when you're dejected?):

    ***It occurs to me that the news may seem disproportionately negative presently because only those who need to vent are posting. the others are flouncing around the farmers' market with their acceptance to rooftop in hand. but they'll have to admit their good fortune eventually. ;- )***

    Also, I strongly recommend that you all Google Sandra Tsing Loh and read everything she has written about LAUSD and her kids' public school. At least it'll make you laugh!

    My heart goes out to everyone who was disappointed, and you already know what I'm going to say next!

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  105. Since it sounds like so many interested/good/enthusiastic parents got assigned to Hillcrest and Junipero Serra, why not attend those and turn those schools into the next 'hidden gems'? It wasn't so long ago that the schools that got 400/500 applications this year were the ones that no one wanted to go to. All it takes is a few parents that really care on the PTA. This is San Francisco - lets do it.

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  106. I have to add what Orla O'Keeffe, highly respected former head of the SFUSD EPC, told me about your initial placement:

    "It's an offer -- the start of a conversation."

    Hope that helps a little.

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  107. we did get our first choice. i am in a state of shock because we are supposed to go look at some open houses tomorrow, convinced we were going to need to move out of sf(we can't afford private, so there was no back up plan).

    i am horrified to see how many children didn't get any of their 7, with your requests being great schools that had space. i just took a look at that spread sheet from sfusd. there was room. this is not a lottery...i can't believe that it is having seen your lists and what had space.

    fight for your space during round 2 and 3. it sucks to have to do it. i did go to see mckinley, flynn...if you got that school and it wasn't on your list, don't be upset. really liked those schools.

    good luck to you all. what a crazy day. have a drink

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  108. "It wasn't so long ago that the schools that got 400/500 applications this year were the ones that no one wanted to go to"

    No kidding. A few years ago my friends were crying because they got Grattan. They're singing a different tune now!

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  109. Re: people who got one of your choices, PLEASE tell us what school that was and what was on your list! I'm dying to live vicariously.

    Re: turning around Hillcrest, I would consider it if it were remotely convenient to my home, my work and/or the preschool of my other child. But it's not convenient to any of those places, a 15 minute drive away - forget about it.

    I am actually jealous of those who got Junipero Serra and Sunnyside (much less McKinley!) as all three of those schools are vaguely convenient to me. What is the word for it? Princes among paupers?

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  110. It makes NO sense that people who had McKinley anywhere on their list (let alone at third place) did not get it and others who did not have it got it as an allocation - this is NOT how I understood (trusted) the system to work - there must have been an error that HAS to be looked into. I have looked back at the info we were given and NOWHERE does it say that people who requested schools would be rejected in favor of allocating to people who did not. The system needs to be more transparent, that said -we got our first choice but feel unable to rejoice because so many got none of their 7 and that sucks for all of us.

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  111. please tell us what your school is!

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  112. I second the request, please share the good news, what did you get?

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  113. our list,
    claire
    grattan
    clarendon gen
    alvarado sp
    miraloma
    rooftop
    alvarado gen

    we got grattan.

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  114. how do we find out how many spot were given to siblings?

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  115. anyone else assigned to starr king?? know anything about it?

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  116. WRT some parents getting schools that they didn't pick that were picked by others who were denied: under the diversity index, slots are allocated by demographic groups. If one group didn't select the school much, it's possible that some members will be assigned to the school to balance it out, even if other groups oversubscribed to the same school. That's how the diversity criteria are satisfied.

    Still, I wouldn't mind seeing the assignment data released in an anonymous format. The process should be random, but not secretive.

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  117. 94131-er here. I am the one that got our #6 Harvey Milk.
    I have read 50 of these notes and no one has listed it yet as one of their options so maybe that is why we got it...

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  118. we got our first choice school
    clarendon gen

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  119. Re. kwillets' post and the diversity index and the fact that families received a school like McKinley which was not one of their choices over families who did list it as a choice...

    right from the SFUSD website:

    "If a student does not get assigned to one of their choices through the Student Assignment System, SFUSD designates the student to a school with openings. SFUSD considers the student’s home address as well as SFUSD’s transportation infrastructure when selecting a placement for students who did not get one of their choices. The Student Assignment System is not used to assign students to schools they did not list on their application form."

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/?page=policy.placement.process

    So there you have it...according to the SFUSD itself, the lottery/diversity index (although I'm currently thinking of some other choice names for it) is NOT used when assigning to a school not of one's 7. Only schools still with openings are used. So, what the hell happened???

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  120. We're extremely upset and add us to the list of people drinking--and we're not supposed to be because we were already in treatment for stress-related depression! Both self-employed, businesses struggling in this declining economy. Like Kim, I missed a lot of billing and income to invest in the tours and the rest of the process. We listed Clarendon Gen, Lilienthal, Grattan (live in neighborhood), Alamo, Rooftop, West Portal CI and Jefferson (admittedly all popular but we figured list what we want). We got assigned to John Muir. No f--ing way are we sending our kid to this school. He's already been in private kindergarten for 6 months and really kicking into gear with reading, writing, spelling and math (he was instigating spelling-out-loud games with me in the car while we ran errands today so I know he's not just getting grade-inflated marks), but in public school he'll have to do K again due to his birthday. I had a lot of confidence that all the schools we requested would keep him challenged, but John Muir's academic plan sounds like it's mostly remedial, as an institution it's suffering declining test scores (and they weren't that hot to start with--will they even stay open?), he'd be totally wasting his time, and we'd be hopeless cultural misfits. Our one parochial school hope did not admit him due to his inability to sit school, and we can't afford to keep him where he is even though he's happy, challenged and thriving. Given our current psychological state, six more months of anxiety as we go through Round 2/wait list is NOT what we need. Where do we turn? Grandparents are willing to help but not as much as his current school costs, and we've blown the less-costly church-affiliated school app deadlines. As I learned in my oh-so-rigorous Convent education that I can no longer afford for my own child, "prie pour nous, pauvres pecheurs, maintenant et a l'heure de notre mort.

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  121. We got our first choice, Miraloma. My next door neighbors got their second choice, Chin in Chinatown area. We also have a preschool friend who got Miraloma as a first choice.
    Reading the previous posts is so upsetting, but I felt I needed to post this to give some perspective. I think that there are many others who did get their choices, but are not posting yet. I do feel very lucky, but also frustrated for the rest of you.
    Hang in there. I think that this blog is taking many of you on a journey and it may lead to something special. The idea of being the pioneers who turn a school like J Serra or Sunnyside around sounds very promising. It wasn't that long ago that schools like Miraloma, Fairmount, and McKinley were in the same category and it didn't take very long for strong parent groups to turn these schools around!
    The great thing about public schools is that strong parent groups do have a lot of power within a school to bring about change (much more so than in a private school). Just something to think about...
    Best of luck!

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  122. Regarding someone who got McKinley but it wasn't one of their 7 choices over the person who had McKinley for one of their 7 choices.

    Perhaps what happened is that the person who got McKinley had a low lottery number and their other 7 schools were full, but McKinley was close to their home and still had spots available when their number came up, so the system assigned them McKinley. Then, the person who had a later lottery number, when their list was run, with McKinley on it, did not get it because it was full at that time, so the system assigned them the next open school that was the next closest to their home. Does that make sense?

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  123. Also got none of our seven. Live in Cole Valley, was assigned to John Muir. I can't fathom that at least 3 people posting on this list who didn't request McKinley got it, because it was one of our top choices, and is certainly closer to our home than the school to which we were assigned.

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  124. We got our #3. We listed:

    Fairmount
    Flynn SN
    Monroe SN
    Marshall
    Alvarado SN
    Buena Vista
    Paul Revere

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  125. To anonymous at 8:02 PM:
    Your hypothesis makes sense, however, the assignment process doesn't work that way. There is not a concept of a lottery 'number' per child. The process is run per school, factoring in all people who listed the school as one of their 7 (with no regard to their actual ranking). They do this per school until all schools have been run. If a child comes out of all of this with more than one "tentative assignment," only then is the family's ranking used to assign the highest ranked choice. What I'm not sure about is what then happens to the other tentative spot(s) that are now open? I cannot find specifics on this anywhere. Perhaps this might have had something to do with this supposed glitch...

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  126. We got our first K choice - Rooftop and our entire family is in total shock! Mind you, this was our second year of trying - I guess persistence does pay off sometimes. In any event, most of my Noe Valley friends are in the same position as most bloggers and my heart goes out to you all who have to go through round two. Hang in there.

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  127. For those that want the details, we got our #1, we listed:

    Fairmount SI
    Flynn SI
    Monroe SI
    Marshall SI
    Buena Vista SI
    Alvarado SI
    Alvarado GE

    ..and no, the McKinley explanation still does not make sense. Places go to people who request them. Places are only allocated to people who do NOT GET ANY of their choices at schools where there ARE places. Why were there any places left at McKinley to allocate?

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  128. The system is broken. I'm voting with my feet. Or, my kid's feet, to be exact.

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  129. Gee, I'd love the opportunity to 'turn around' a school that's in the bottom 20% in California.

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  130. Anybody apply for inclusion? We listed West Portal, Clarendon, Lilienthal and Argonne. Got Argonne. It's an up and comer, but really wanted WP...

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  131. We got #6 of our 7 but are NOT happy - (and I realize that for those of you who got zero this sounds awful). After submitting our list, I had decided I should not have listed Harvey Milk. And of course that is the one we got. Our list was:
    Flynn Sp
    Alvarado SP
    Fairmount
    Miraloma
    McKinley
    Harvey Milk
    Starr King

    Since we have twins, our chances of getting in anywhere on 2nd round or wait lists is virtually zero. Those of you with one kid who got none of your 7 have a good chance of landing somewhere you desire. I wanted to "pad" the list so as to get a better shot on the 2nd round, but my partner refused to do this. So here we sit with a school we don't want and a lousy chance at something else. Ugh. Time to reconsider moving away.

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  132. Did not get any of our 7- We got William Cobb.

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  133. For those of you assigned to Harvey Milk, whether or not you listed it, I know two families from there who really like it. For one family (not in first grade) it was their 5th or 6th choice and they say they've been pleasantly surprised by how much they like it.

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  134. To those of us who got William Cobb (not by choice), what area of the city do you live in? We are in the Inner Richmond - 94118. Just an informal poll.
    Thanks!

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  135. And, I have counted 3 families here who got McKinley who did NOT list it. HOW in hell does that happen when so many of us listed that school? That sucks.

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  136. William Cobb-we are in 94118 also. Another friend placed there lives in 94123.

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  137. While we didn't get any of our 7 either (Rooftop, Miraloma, Clarendons, West Portal, Alamo, Claire), reading this blog tonight has provided me with some chuckles, commaraderie, and some hope for those potential "hidden gems." We live in Glen Park and were assigned to Sunnyside. I have not toured this school but there has been enough positive feedback about it that it seems worth touring and possibly accepting the offer while we waitlist at our top choice. I would be very interested in beginning a dialogue with any parents who also got Sunnyside and are interested in evolving it into a shinier gem. Maybe it's premature right now but there's something exciting about joining together and making this school the next Miraloma (I also like the 8:40a start time).

    All you Noe/Glen Park/Bernal/etc. parents out there who are unhappy with your assignments... how about considering Sunnyside in your second round... if we all came together at one school we could make a huge impact... just an idea.

    Best to all of you and this zany process. Trying to stay in the flow. I'll be staying tuned in to this blog to hear more.

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  138. Cobb is 70% African American, I guess the District is trying to desegregate it, forcibly.

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  139. Who is going to spearhead this investigation into J. Serra? If there is a tour of this school and a possibility of the bilingual strand going dual immersion, I'd be very interested in it!

    Although their focus on test scores makes me fear that the curriculum might be dry and lack content or creative/critical thinking skills, I've heard that the school is a calm place. It's also small which counts for so much. Yes, the location is sweet!

    I've witnessed first hand as a teacher the major difference parent involvement can make in turning a school around.
    When Harvey Milk first started it was a crazy place! Of course, w/o the buy-in of a dedicated staff parent involvement wouldn't have mattered as much.

    So what I really want to know is what the people are thinking at J.S. and if the district would even consider such a notion of allowing it to have immersion.

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  140. Have noticed that some folks assigned to Junipero Serra or Sunnyside seem to be thinking "maybe it could be turned around" but nobody seems to be expressing a similar sentiment about John Muir. Any insights/facts about why that might be? Maybe it's just that this blog is more geographically focused on the southeast of the City?

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  141. We too got none. Our list was

    Alvarado SP & GEN
    Clarendon JB & GEN
    Rooftop
    West Portal CH
    Fairmount

    Assigned to Harvey Milk, it is the closest school to us (Eureka Valley/Castro). In fact, I think Harvey Milk is a good school to consider if it suits one's taste. I'm pretty liberal and left, Harvey Milk makes me feel conservative. We did not apply to private. We will of course go for the waitlist but we are considering the unthinkable: to leave SF. My family has been in SF for 5 generations and I didn't think I would be one of "them", the ones who leave when their children become school age. But, here we are.

    It truly is outrageous that people who requested McKinley did not get it while others were assigned it against their will. I am willing to accept in my case that the odds were not in my favor, I was not lucky, etc. But this matter with McKinley is simply unfair.

    Beer alternating with herbal tea is working for me.

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  142. There should be a way to get some of the parents together that got each of these so called bad schools. For example if 20 got a bad school, that means you 20 could turn it around if you all said yes to that school instead of frantically disbanding to find that so called great school out there. The schools that get turned around are about good parents and good kids getting into them and making them better. The parents will make or break a school.

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  143. Sibling data for the top 20 schools is posted on the ppssf.org website in a handout given out at the press conference. For Clarendon GE, there were 959 requests for 13 spots after siblings = 1.3% chance of getting in. Insane.

    I think the overall average for sibling spots is around 33%. Not sure if I'm doing this correctly, but that makes the 82% getting one of their choices down to around 49% after siblings and the 63% getting their first choice down to 30%. I have to admit those are not great odds but it seems to me that everyone is picking the same schools. When I look at the 5 year demand comparison chart, it seems like the most popular schools just got more popular and that the "hidden gems" are not so hidden.

    Also, in response to a couple of posters above, I'd hardly call Argonne and up and comer. And re: Cobb, it's just about the only undersubscribed school left near the Richmond, therefore the only school that still has a lot of spots after the lotteries are run.

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  144. Just read through this whole strand VERY carefully. I'm one of the Noe Valley moms (94131) assigned to Hillcrest (met one of them in the new Noe Valley branch library today - hi! if you're reading) and I'm completely flummoxed.

    It's not just that we didn't get any of our 7 -- I kinda figured that would happen -- but it's that the school we were assigned is so completely off the map for me. From all of my research and hearing from someone who teaches there, Hillcrest is not a school that would be a good fit for my family, nor is it a school ripe for a turnaround. Perhaps most quizzically, it is a school no where convenient to me, which makes me even more sad, since Harvey Milk, J.Serra or even Sunnyside would have been pleasant commutes in neighborhoods I frequent.

    What probably scares me most of all is the popular response I have been reading that now the parents are going to go private. We applied to private school too -- and I was under the impression that private school waitlist movement depends on families opting instead for public school. If, as seems at least from this blog and the statistics published on the PPS and SFUSD site, more parents were shut out from their desired public schools this year, that means that more parents will accept private school offers.

    That means that many parents will be shut out of private schools as well, since they won't come off the private school waitlist. And they will be forced either (1) to wait it out in the stressful 6 months/2nd round/10 day count process; or (2) leave the City.

    Can anyone give attribution to this rise of applications? I really don't think it can be attributed to a lessening in private school applications. In fact, one of our top choice private schools said that applications have risen by 30% this year, combined with the fact that all of the privates to which we applied said that there was a preponderance of siblings, including many twin sets, this year.

    So what is happening? Are more families staying in the City?

    I want someone to point Mayor Newsom, whom I do admire greatly, to this blog. I don't know any solution other than improving ALL public schools, which I know he (and everyone) is trying to do. But to be shut out of both public and private schools is simply unthinkable.

    Thank you for letting me vent. I'll try to stop now!

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  145. This whole "band together and turn it around" thing is really getting to me. We live in a rich country, in a rich state, in a rich city, why should we have to do this? I went to public school, and I wanted my kids to go to public school, but that's not going to happen, not at the school we were assigned to. I work full time, as does my husband, we don't have the time or energy to "turn around" an underperforming school, fundraise like crazy just so my kids get art, music, PE, computers, even green grass and trees at their school. I think it is pathetic, depressing and something must be done. Clearly not enough money is spent on the public school system, as our entire country (not just our city) is SO far behind the rest of the world. Our kids deserve better. We are shooting ourselves in the foot with this thing. Sorry to rant . . . just REALLY frustrated. By the way, I'm sending my kids to private school, come hell or high water.

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  146. Regarding question of why public and private school applications have increased. Totally unscientific hypothesis: about 5 years ago, a large population of women in SF in their 30s and 40s who spent the last 15-20 years focused on their careers decided it was "do it now or never" on the childbearing project.

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  147. Here was our list:
    West Portal CI
    West Portal GE
    Claire Lillienthal GE
    Alvarado SI
    Miraloma
    Rooftop
    Claire KI

    We got our #2 West Portal GE and I still have not picked my jaw up off the floor. I am so thrilled since it was really the only school I was comfortable with. Also, we are living in subsidized housing, so that may have helped. And I take offense to the comments from people saying they should have explored this option to up their chances. Subsidized housing is not a fun place to live, especially with kids, and I am feeling very lucky that my kids will have a safe place to go to school. I thought I would get none of my choices, get assigned to our unsafe neighborhood school and have to homeschool.

    I hope once the anger wears off, people will realize that things do work out in the end.

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  148. To the comment above about tired of hearing about the band together and turn it around comment, you seem to have made the financial committment to private school. Perhaps if you looked at your priorities, and took all that time you will work to pay for private school into your kids life and thier school, you would turn things around. The facts are the facts abour our education system here. However it is people like you with that attitude of oh I will just go to private that makes the problem even worse. People like you just add the problem here.

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  149. For anyone who listed Starr King mandarin immersion and didn't get in, you may also want to look at the Jose Ortega mandarin immersion program.

    We looked at both schools, and although Starr King has a head start on their program, we found the overall vibes of both schools to be similar.

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  150. Congrats to the poster above who got into WP GE. Just curious - what school would you consider your "unsafe neighborhood school?" I hope it is not one any of us are assigned to!

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  151. We live in Bernal. Didn't get any of our 7. But were assigned to Paul Revere -- just down the hill from us.

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  152. Another one to add to the list of those disappointed families who put in the research effort and got nada out of our seven picks -- Clarendons, West Portal, Miraloma, Rooftop, Alvarado Sp Imm, Fairmount (through reverse logic, we figured we'd heard of so many people not applying for the most popular ones that it might be worth doing it!) -- and were assigned Sunnyside, which is at least close to home.

    At this point we're undecided as to what to do. We have no private/parochial back-up as yet but will obviously take a look at Sunnyside, if only because of the positive things said on this thread. We have a young five and that may be an important consideration in light of today.

    Of the many people above who speak of falling back on private, though, I am very curious to know, which privates they applied for and are hoping to get.

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  153. Got William Cobb, which makes me 0 for 7. Live in the Richmond 94121, not exactly a neighborhood school.

    Congratualtions to all who got one of their seven, I'm sure it must feel incredible. At the same time, could you please hold your tongue on the comments of people banding together and taking the unwanted school they were offered to "turn it around"...you may not be singing that tune if the shoe was yours to wear.

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  154. We also got Junipero Serra. We are in shock. I just looked up the stats on GreatSchools, and I really don't think it looks like somewhere I could in good conscience send my child. Sure, I'll tour it and see if I can stomach the risk, but right now I don't think so. We put many of the usual suspects on our list:

    Miraloma
    Rooftop
    Clarendon
    Alvarado Gen
    Alvarado Imm.
    West Portal
    Flynn Imm.

    We applied also to three private schools but were already rejected from one. I'm not feeling the luck right now. Somehow I'm not experience the surge of anger -- just intense sadness and frustration. Anger would perhaps be more productive. I guess we're in for the long haul. But to those of you encouraging us to hang in there -- it feels awful to know that we'll be competing with all of these other equally frustrated families for a spot.

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  155. We got none of our 7:

    Grattan
    Rooftop
    Clarendon JBBP
    Flynn SI
    Alvarado SI
    Clarendon GE
    Buena Vista

    We were assigned to Hillcrest. We're planning to go through the wait pool process.

    Of the four other families I've heard from today, one other got nothing and three got one from their list (Marshall, Buena Vista, and McKinley).

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  156. I am just curious if anyone is considering leaving The City now that they did not get one of their seven choices, we are. Go North or South and rent for less than SF and get a much better school for your kids.

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  157. or east! Orinda is looking lovely right now.

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  158. I second the question about what is the "Unsafe Neighborhood School" -- please, please tell!

    FWIW, to the Paul Revere poster, I used to live across the street from Paul Revere for 5 years, and it looked fine, and the teachers seemed dedicated and enthusiastic. For a backup option that is walkable, you could do much worse, IMHO.

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  159. STARR KING MANDARIN IMMERSION PROGRAM

    If you applied and did not get in, I encourage you to try again in Round 2.

    The Mandarin Immersion program is a dual immersion program, meaning 50% of the slots are reserved for Mandarin speaking students. Chances are pretty high that those 20 slots reserved were not filled by Mandarin speaking students.

    Thus during the round 2 process those slots not filled by Mandarin speaking students will be allowed open for native English speakers.

    Hang in there, it is a great school, and if you could hear my kids you would say it is all worth it.

    renjtan@yahoo.com for any questions.

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  160. i put starr king and didn't get it. i assumed they'd filled the slots with non-mandarin speakers after the first rounds came in. they didn't? are you sure? i am so concerned with "wasting" my waitlist option. i didn't get any of my 7 choices and am trying to strategize which would be the best choice to chose to waitlist.

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  161. We are one of the families who got McKinley but did not have it on our list. We are in the 94114 zip code. Also, we only listed 2 schools on our list (Rooftop and Clarendon). This was suggested to us by our preschool director. She said to only list the schools you really want to send your child to and no others. We were only really interested in these two and then applied to 6 privates and one parochial. It does not make sense that it would be geographically based because we were not placed at Alvarado which is a block away or at Harvey Milk which is also very close. It looks like Alvarado general didn't even have as many requests as McKinley, right? So it just makes NO sense and I am extremely upset for those of you who requested this school and did not get it. It is ALL KINDS OF WRONG.

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  162. Having just read this entire thread, I would love to see the following polls, Kate.

    *Did you apply to
    - public school only
    - public and private (including parochial)?
    - private only

    *For those who applied to public and private, which did you consider your "back up"?
    - public
    - private

    It seems to me that the chance of getting shut out completely is pretty high. Scary!

    Also, as there do seem to be a fair number of people here hoping to go private, what have you heard about siblings at privates this year. I have heard that the following schools are will have more than the typical number of siblings in the 08-09 K class:
    - Friends
    - Burke's
    - SF Day

    Any others to add to the list?

    Now off to set the clocks ahead!

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  163. We got our first choice for MIDDLE school, Aptos. We were at an elementary school function tonight and everyone I talked with from the 5th grade cohort (the buzz was definitely on) got their first choice: these included popular Presidio, edgy but up-and-coming James Lick, and very-much-up-and-coming-if-not-arrived Aptos. I guess the stats about middle school apps being easier are true. Anyway, we are happy--and would have been fine with any of the five choices on our list.

    Good luck to all. The process sucks but there are good choices out there, many more than when we were starting out six years ago. I wonder if the recession is having an impact on greater numbers of public school apps as well.

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  164. please excuse me if i babble a bit; it's late and i have enjoyed several G&Ts and put them on SFUSD's tab.

    if anyone assigned to j. serra wants to approach touring there as a group -- or just share intelligence of its merits or potential -- email me offline at kim@kimgreen.com. i'll keep a list of you all and contact you if it seems possible/sensible to discuss.

    in theory, i'm amenable to the idea of "bringing a school up," whatever that means, exactly. on the other, just as a previous poster suggested, i find it outrageous that hardworking taxpayers in one of the biggest economies in the world (california) should have to shoulder this additional responsibility.

    but, ultimately, i'm a realist. or trying to be one. we all know we'll waitlist and submit an amended app, people, but perhaps we should also talk strategy and see who we could attend with next year if we wanted to -- and meet teachers and principals. if they are woefully substandard, well, fuck 'em -- i'll see you at the strip mall!

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  165. Oh, and one more poll:

    Did you get
    - your top choice
    - one of your seven
    - none of your choices

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  166. Hi There-

    I just came upon this blog after reading a post on the Bernal Heights list serve.

    I have worked at Hillcrest for the last 4 years and am happy to give a tour to anyone who would like & to answer any questions as candidly as I am able(e-mail me at StefanieEldred@comcast.net).

    Hillcrest is a beautiful school physically and is full of lovely, dedicated families, a strong principal, great staff and a vision for the future. It is not a Dream School. Its hours are from 7:50 to 1:50 and its after school program is good and getting better. We have an up and coming arts program, a new PTA, a school garden and yard greening project that will happen over the summer and much more.

    Since you are all so candid on this list I will tell you that, no, the SF middle class that all (including me) on this list seem to be a part of, does not exist at Hillcrest. This does not translate into a school full of rough kids whose parents aren't involved. It just looks different than what you are used to & that difference isn't necessarily a negative one.

    My girls attend Monroe Spanish Immersion and got in far before it became popular (although it doesn't seem to have made anyone's list here, so maybe it is still not that popular). It still doesn't score high on the state tests and the vast majority of kids still come from ELL families and my girls are still the minority & it is a great school.
    They are challenged academically, loved socially and are completely invested in and excited about learning.

    I feel for all of you that didn't get one of your choices and absolutely believe you should feel comfortable and excited about where your little ones attend school. I know you've had about as much perspective as you can stand for one day, but it was truly a small group of parents from Miraloma Co-op who didn't get any of their choices 6 years ago and decided to give Miraloma Elementary a try, that got the ball rolling at that school. Word spread amongst the co-op parents and until two years ago a spot there was virtually guaranteed. I just attend the Miraloma co-op auction tonight and all my friends with siblings entering Miraloma this year were heaving a sigh of relief that they got in on the early side of the school's popularity. Now I see Miraloma on people's lists w/ Clarendon and Rooftop.

    Enough for tonight, but I'd be happy to talk to any of you Hillcrest assignees off line.

    Stefanie

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  167. Hi There-

    I just came upon this blog after reading a post on the Bernal Heights list serve.

    I have worked at Hillcrest for the last 4 years and am happy to give a tour to anyone who would like & to answer any questions as candidly as I am able(e-mail me at StefanieEldred@comcast.net).

    Hillcrest is a beautiful school physically and is full of lovely, dedicated families, a strong principal, great staff and a vision for the future. It is not a Dream School. Its hours are from 7:50 to 1:50 and its after school program is good and getting better. We have an up and coming arts program, a new PTA, a school garden and yard greening project that will happen over the summer and much more.

    Since you are all so candid on this list I will tell you that, no, the SF middle class that all (including me) on this list seem to be a part of, does not exist at Hillcrest. This does not translate into a school full of rough kids whose parents aren't involved. It just looks different than what you are used to & that difference isn't necessarily a negative one.

    My girls attend Monroe Spanish Immersion and got in far before it became popular (although it doesn't seem to have made anyone's list here, so maybe it is still not that popular). It still doesn't score high on the state tests and the vast majority of kids still come from ELL families and my girls are still the minority & it is a great school.
    They are challenged academically, loved socially and are completely invested in and excited about learning.

    I feel for all of you that didn't get one of your choices and absolutely believe you should feel comfortable and excited about where your little ones attend school. I know you've had about as much perspective as you can stand for one day, but it was truly a small group of parents from Miraloma Co-op who didn't get any of their choices 6 years ago and decided to give Miraloma Elementary a try, that got the ball rolling at that school. Word spread amongst the co-op parents and until two years ago a spot there was virtually guaranteed. I just attend the Miraloma co-op auction tonight and all my friends with siblings entering Miraloma this year were heaving a sigh of relief that they got in on the early side of the school's popularity. Now I see Miraloma on people's lists w/ Clarendon and Rooftop.

    Enough for tonight, but I'd be happy to talk to any of you Hillcrest assignees off line.

    Stefanie

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  168. Brandeis also filled an entire K class with siblings. Live Oak always has few openings, and has committed not to over-enroll this year (as opposed to last year).

    We have lived in the City now for 15 years, and I have lived in the Bay Area on and off for 22 years. I cannot imagine being shut out of school options for my children -- but now as I approach Thursday, I fear the worst. Big shudder.

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  169. Thank you, Stephanie, for that Hillcrest perspective. Huge relief there!

    Also I personally am pondering putting Monroe SN on our list for 2nd round. I was hoping for some sort of enrichment program, ideally language.

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  170. Luck!
    Yesterday we won the lottery, got our first choice, Flynn immersion.
    We had no advantage from the diversity formula or proximity, just really good luck.
    Best of luck in round two and on the waitlist to those of you who were not lucky that day.
    There are further chances for fortune to turn your way. It seems that those who stick with the waitlist until mid September get their lucky day eventually.

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  171. we did not get any of our 'top seven' which is a ridiculous number to begin with! top seven! if you can not come in at the top three you consolation prize. it just illustrates how politically and ecomically motivated sf is, if you joked yourself into believing middle class or sigh, lower middle class was acceptable here is your wake-up call.

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  172. I have a daughter at Sherman Elemenetary in K - last year I saw over 10 people get in after the second round...even into October! It IS a flawed system and no one, not PPS, not the BOE and not the superintedent will take it on and make serious improvements. The BOE is so worried about having ANOTHER lawsuit slapped on the district that we have been in a standstill for years.

    I do hope that you will all encourage the powers that be to MAKE SOME CHANGE to the system. It is tough, because once all of the 19% have found a school, they are ususally so exhausted that they don't have the energy to fight for whats best for the district.

    It is pathetic that you can have schools with a huge applicant pool, end up with 1/4 of the seats unfilled come September! But who has any incentive to fix the system? Not the parents that finally get their spots at coveted schools, not the BOE, because they want to stay out of lawsuits, and not the Superintendent, because, quite frankly, a smaller district is easier to manage...and with an assignment system like the one we have, the district will continue to shrink!

    Those with a choice will opt out...and most likely never opt back in!

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  173. yes, it is so incredibly counterproductive to force people to squander their energy fighting the system instead of working for it...it does make me feel like i've been a fool to defend SF as a place where middle-class people can live. i actually realized yesterday that part of my anger over the percentage of people who got nothing was not getting a bad school assignment per se, but this feeling of being a rube for sticking it out here.

    as a middle-class person and, particularly, a middle-class family, you get attacked on all fronts here: chris daly (who has a lovely condo himself) and his ilk going after the entry-level TIC "home"owner; SFUSD and the state hanging us out to dry educationally; muni categorically making life harder for parents to travel freely by blocking us from disabled ramps, etc. it's really, really frustrating.

    gavin and the supes: are you listening?

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  174. since this thread is getting long, and i don't want to miss anyone: if you were assigned j. serra and want to band together as a group to both give it a look-see and receive counseling by EPC people on what it would take for us to bring the place up to an acceptable standard, contact me offline at kim@kimgreen.com. i will keep a list. i am tired of being pitted against my neighbors; let's approach this together.

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  175. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  176. Parents of nothing in Round I -- I too received Nothing in Round I last year and was crushed (and yes we put in a balanced list)...flash forward, we got an offer into our choice school, Sherman, after Round II and before open enrollment in June (someone moved to LA and we were the first placed famlily off the waitpool). And, as it happens, Sherman (which is a popular school on this side of town) had something like 6 open spots when school started (you know -- my kid's still too young so we're going to wait a year, etc.). I know two friends who got into Lillenthal after the start of the year (and the list goes on and on of success stories and very happy familie). This happens every year -- this year will be no exception!

    The process is not ideal (trust me, I was there and without an option and joking around about Homeschooling), but it will work for you. I don't know a single parent that didn't get a great choice by the beginning of October. Including a parent that opted for a 4th year of preschool and then got Miraloma (because the Miraloma parent wanted Sherman and was waiting for the Sherman spot to clear). Stay focused and positive. Find that great counselor at SFUSD (don't just take the first one you talk to -- they are not all created equal). Your counselor has up to the minute info in the computer -- I touched base with mine every other day or so between Round II and June.

    You have more power than you know by being in the Priorty One Waitpool -- YOU WILL GET A SCHOOL THAT YOU WILL BE HAPPY WITH, IF YOU STAY WITH THE PROCESS (SFUSD want's you to be in a school and be happy, really -- they don't want unhappy families). Please come to a counseling event at PPS -- see their website for detials www.ppssf.org -- this will help.

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  177. thanks previous poster. this leaves me to ask you -

    how does this work? do we get assigned a counselor? someone's actual phone number to contact regularly? or do they make this difficult too? is there like 1 counselor to every 1000 unhappy parents?

    i am so sad,

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  178. I have also heard many stories from my neighbors about getting into their choice schools a few days or weeks after school actually started in September by being on the waitlist. We can't give up on our choice school.

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  179. Can someone who already went through this explain if it is better to waitlist your first choice, which is a very popular school, or waitlist a school in your neighborhood that is okay, because it is more of a sure thing...or waitlist your 1st choice, the highly sought after school and also do the ammended new list of seven, placing your neighborhood, easier to get into school, at the top of that list.

    The difference between something you really want...and something you can live with!

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  180. I am in the fortunate position of having a private school assignment, but private was our back-up...public is our first choice. So, now, since we did not get any of our seven, I will have to put a down payment of nearly $2000 to hold my spot at private (we are a lower middle class family)...hoping to jump ship by waitlisting. I would much rather take that money and donate it to the PTA at my public school assignment, but I will not attend the public school the district assigned me. This just really sucks!!! And I'm sure many of you would be angry that I am holding a coveted spot in a private school with no intention of sticking it out...but the same goes to all those parents who applied for public with no intention of going, whereas public was your backup.

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  181. How many of you got one of your top 3 choices and do not intend on going because you want a private school instead?

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  182. We didn't get any of our 7 choices either. We were assigned Flynn GenEd. It is our local school and we had Flynn Sp down as our 2nd choice. They got it half-right. So we're in an interesting situation. Do we accept Flynn GenEd, but waitlist for Flynn Sp? And enter round 2? Guess I need to go to one of the counseling sessions. i'm still in shock.

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  183. I tallied up the responses reported here since yesterday and blogged about them on www.sfschools.org -- I'll just re-post the item rather than making you click, those who are interested in reading it:

    The SFUSD lottery results arrived in mailboxes all over the city yesterday, prompting joy and relief or bitterness. I know the background and I understand the complexities, but I agree that this process needs to be fixed.

    The wildly successful blog TheSFKFiles — run by the pseudonymous Kate, an incoming kindergarten mom, at this moment has 178 comments on it since yesterday, almost all from parents about their kids' school assignments. Lots and lots of them are disappointed and angry. "Kate's" family got none of their seven choices and were assigned to Junipero Serra Elementary.

    I tallied the results posted on that blog. Some of them prompt questions that I urge Parents for Public Schools, because it has access, to ask the SFUSD Educational Placement Center.

    One obvious one: of the posters on that blog, some families who had McKinley Elementary on their lists didn't get any of their choices — but three families who had NOT listed McKinley were assigned to it. To me that appears to be a clear-cut glitch. Am I correct that it's a glitch? If it isn't, the process definitely need immediate fixing. And if a family gets messed up by a glitch, can they get immediate attention?

    Another who had not asked for it (or heard of it) was assigned to New Traditions, an alternative school that is not supposed to get default assignments, unless the system has suddenly, silently changed. Glitch?

    Some posters are bitter and angry about getting schools that many families (in their demographic) view as just fine and/or up-and-coming. The one who got New Traditions and at least one of the McKinleys were in that category.

    Over the course of the discussion, a number of parents evolved from unbridled outrage to "let's get a group of us and go check out the (assigned) school." Junipero Serra and Hillcrest prompted that discussion. We'll see. I keep reminding everyone that many of the schools they now view as oversubscribed and impossible to get into were viewed as pits of danger and illiteracy not long ago. Those include the middle school from which my daughter will graduate in June, following her older brother, Aptos class of '05. Both thrived in middle school and had a much happier time than I did in junior high (Edna Maguire Junior High, Mill Valley, 1965-67).

    I counted up the results reported in those blog posts. Here's a very rough and unscientific tally.

    Parents who got one of their seven choices and are happy got: Harvey Milk, Alvarado general ed (2), Flynn (2), Fairmount (2), West Portal (2), Argonne (2), Dianne Feinstein, McKinley, Jefferson, Grattan, Clarendon 2nd Community, Miraloma, Monroe and Rooftop. Another parent listed Harvey Milk, changed his/her mind, got it and is unhappy.

    Parents who didn't get one of their seven choices got: Sunnyside (3), Hillcrest (7), William Cobb (7), Rosa Parks, McKinley (3 -- glitch??), John Muir (6), Starr King General Ed, Bessie Carmichael Filipino Education Center, Daniel Webster, New Traditions (glitch?), Jose Ortega, Sheridan and Paul Revere. (I thought Paul Revere was now a Dream School and that they were by request only, but I could have that wrong. Possible glitch?)

    Most of those parents are pissed off, though a few even initially were willing to take a look at the assigned school, especially those assigned to Sunnyside.

    So far every family I've heard of has gotten the middle school they wanted. The fact that Aptos and its fellow former pariah James Lick are now considered acceptable has helped that situation a lot, I think.

    Even though I have an 8th-grader myself (a SOTA-bound trombonist), I haven't heard that much from fellow 8th-graders yet. We dropped off my daughter's friend at her house after a sleepover yesterday and went in to watch the celebratory opening of her assignment letter to Lowell. Others, heartbreakingly, just missed out on Lowell (as most of you know, a magnet high school that admits based on a combination of grades and test scores). That leads to another question for PPS to ask SFUSD: What is the wait pool/second chance process for Lowell? If there isn't one officially, what about unofficially? Just like any school, Lowell gets openings all along the way, and it does fill them — so, how?

    Condolences to everyone stressing and congratulations to those for whom it worked out. Please don't forget that I have never, ever met anyone who stuck it out through the process who hasn't gotten a school they were happy with. Hang in there! And once you're in the wait pool, I do advice you to make regular, brief, polite calls to the Educational Placement Center, 415-241-6085, to remind them that you want a spot promptly if it opens.

    A bit more about high schools in a later post.

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  184. For all of you assigned to Juniper Serra, check out Sunnyside. We got into Sunnyside our 5th choice. It is close to Bernal, Glen Park, West Portal, has great diversity, has an active PTA (new playground equipment), nice principal, etc. I really liked it. Plus it starts at 8:40. Let's make Sunnyside the next "Miraloma", it is already most of the way there except in name recognition.

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  185. To the parent who already got a private school assignment, what school? I thought those letters were going out NEXT week!

    Count us among families who got one of their top three but are hoping for private.

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  186. We did not get one of our 7 program choices either - our child got assigned to some school farther from our house than the ones we listed in an area I have never been - the school is called Cleveland. Very annoying - oh well - we shall move forward with other options.

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  187. Caroline, thanks for this. I agree, if there were glitches, EPC should address those right away; it's only fair. I believe there were glitches last year with Marshall Elementary.

    I'm one of the happy (soon to be) middle school parents. I have been assuming that the increase in public school applications this year has to do with the economy, but seeing that the numbers of applications for middle school have dropped a bit (compared to K which is way up, and high school which is up), I wonder if there is a demographic bust for my kids' years.

    I've been hearing about the huge stresses on this year's crop of college applicants, as it is the biggest pool in many, many years, but the demographers are projecting a drop in applicants, and therefore competitive pressure for spots, in the years upcoming. Guess that benefits my kids who may be in a bust cohort (just as I was as an early Gen-Xer who attended college in the mid-80's...we don't get a lot of respect as a generation--or at least we didn't until Obama came along--but at least we had college spots!).

    Sorry, I know these demographic reflections don't help the specific situations here, but of course it would be good to know if one's kids are in competitive boom or an ignored bust, demographically speaking.

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  188. The private school I received an acceptance letter to is for PreK, PreK letters go out before K letters.

    What did you get into in your top 3?

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  189. I'm sorry to read all these stories, I was pulling for all of you.

    I just wanted to offer my 2 cents wrt turning schools around. The key is to find schools with dynamic principals and teachers. Fairmount and Grattan for example (there are others) have outstanding leadership & staff.

    Both leaders have fostered a deep sense of community in their respective schools.

    I know there was a discussion earlier about how important principals were to schools. For the hidden gems, in my opinion, it's key. You need leaders who can provide focus and direction to the troops.

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  190. For 9:31 a.m. anonymous, today's N.Y. Times has a story on the upcoming college applicant bust! I blog at www.collegeadmissionsbeast.com and just posted it there.

    This post from the PPS listserve is from a mom who is truly one of SFUSD's most dedicated volunteers; it's about high schools and middle schools, but pertains to elementary schools too:

    I'm old enough to remember when Galileo and yes, even Lincoln HS were
    considered unacceptable. Even 5 years ago, people were not clamoring
    to get into Galileo as they do now, and Balboa had 178 first choice
    requests this year, up from 138 last year and 79 just two years ago.

    Being an urban pioneer, going into a school which was not one of your
    top choices and working to help turn it around, can be easier than
    you might think. As a veteran of two such campaigns (Aptos and
    Balboa), I can tell you that 90% of it is just PR. Every school has
    strong points, but many of them don't have anyone to tell the world
    about it. Teachers and Principals are busy with, you know, educating
    the kids...and that is how it should be. It isn't their job to get
    out there and let the world know how great their school is. That job
    falls to the parents, and some schools just don't have the parent
    power to get the job done. Even a core group of just 5 parents,
    determined to help their new school no matter what, can make a huge
    difference to a school.

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  191. I'm definnitely up for checking out Sunnyside. I like that it's so small (300 students), clean, well cared for, pretty close to our house, 8:40a start time, new play structure, and seems to be getting a lot of positive feedback on this blog. Does anyone know about their afterschool program? Hoping they have enrichment programs similar to what Miraloma offers.

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  192. We got assigned to Cesar Chavez, not on our list. Did anyone else get this school?

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  193. Caroline: I agree PR is important, but you also need the raw ingredients. You need leadership at the top, principals and teachers willing to work together with the PTA (no matter how large or small). Everyone has to be on the same page when setting priorities. For example if you raise X amount of money, where do you invest it? Science? Art? PE? Afterschool? Class reduction?

    All schools face this, but the up and coming schools have bigger hurdles, the infrastructure isn't in place so you're building from the ground up.

    The small PTAs need not only strong leadership but the skills to work with the school and find the right balance.

    I think it's an exciting opportunity but it also takes a lot of work beyond PR. Fundraising (including grant writing) joining the SSC and working on budgets & priorities with the school is also essential.

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  194. The comment about PR wasn't from me; it's the quote I was posting. It's from a veteran (most involved SFUSD parents will immediately tell you her name) who was truly key in turning Aptos from a "dirty and dangerous" pariah to a respected, sought-after school, and then doing the same with formerly terrifying Balboa. She's speaking from very extensive experience -- and with secondary school, too, which is really a different ballgame.

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  195. Sorry, but some of us do not want to have to build a school, some of us have jobs already and do not have the luxury of being able to hover around the school all day.

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  196. Having attended somewhat-dangerous public schools, I'm seriously wondering how schools can be "fixed" in such short order. I don't see how that could happen without kicking kids out.

    Am I missing something?

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  197. Caroline, agreed: secondary school is very different ballgame.

    With all due respect to your friend and her vast experience, it's simplistic to suggest 90% is PR, it's more complex than that.

    And now with the budget crisis looming, even more so.

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  198. A few comments.

    We're a zero sum gain family, too. But we approached differently.

    We applied for one private back up (have not heard from them) and put the 3 schools we liked on our lottery. We did not get any of our 3. We were instead assigned to Flynn GE (only interested in immersion.)

    1. I don't think it's fair to blame folks for listing "popular" schools. What if it's a better fit for kid and family? We have a right to choose our schools.

    2. It's a shitty system. Race does not factor in, either. If you don't get one of your choices, then you are dumped into a school nobody wants. It's forced clean up. In other words, the State won't adequately fund our schools, and the City has no way of fixing this, so the entire burden is on parents.

    3. We will take our private school option if it comes thru. If not, we'll participate in round 2. It's a shame that people can pour so much energy into the search and not be guaranteed a school that works for them. Some kids won't thrive where they are assigned.

    *note: my old roommate taught at Paul Revere and told me not to apply there. sorry.

    4. i am willing to join a group of lottery system reformers!

    5. Sorry for the list. It keeps me organized while I have a million things happening around me right now.

    Thanks for the place to vent. I feel your pain, Kim. See you today at 1:30. Too bad we can't hit a bar afterwards. Sheesh.

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  199. Anyone interested in starting a charter school? I teach kindergarten in Daly City at JFK School. Some of my colleagues and I have been discussing starting a charter school for the past few years. In discussion we have envisioned a school of dedicated families who create a nurturing environment which embraces art, technology, personal expression, gardening, etc. I have attended a conference on how to go about putting together charter request. But we would like to work with a group of dynamic families to help drive the process. If interested please e-mail me at k-arm@sbcglobal.net

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  200. Got none of my seven and am ready to move on to the next stage. I hope Kate's next entry sparks a string of discussion specifically about waitlist and 2nd round.

    Questions out there are: Do you have to only list schools that still have openings? Do you have to list 7 more schools? Is it foolish to relist your original schools? Is there really a counselor assigned to those who ask, and can one choose amongst the counselors? Is it urban myth or a truth that there is a significant human factor involved in picking people off the waitlist? Does calling the school itself have any impact?

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