Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tout your school tour

Now's the time to tour schools for Round II. School's out for Spring Break after March 21, so take advantage of this time. If your school is offering a tour this week or next, please post details. Thanks!


  1. Aptos Middle School, Thursday, March 13, 11 a.m.! Meet in the hall inside the front door, 105 Aptos Ave. off Ocean.

  2. Hi Caroline, are you aware of any PTA plans for an open house that might happen outside of school hours? My daughter will be Aptos next year and would love to see it again; also 11am is basically impossible for me with work (though I appreciate the effort being made to do it).


  3. We're absolutely thrilled to have gotten our first choice of SF Community, so I encourage you all to come and check it out.

    SF Community is project based, inquiry-style, and teacher run, with grade blending and a great diverse population. I have been reinforced time and time again with rave reviews from the parent I have met.

    It's definitely lacking in the extras (art and music) but I hope as an involved parent to help to change that.

  4. Hi butterbean,
    I have been told by SF Community that they are over enrolled and that no one is welcome to tour or visit at all unless you are enrolled. (and I'm a very nice and polite person). I had been considering wait listing, but can't do that unless I can take a peek. Congratulations, though.

  5. I read somewhere about a tour of Sunnyside Thurs at 9am? Is this true- can anyone confirm for me ASAP?

  6. Hi Anon regarding Aptos -- I'm sorry to say I don't think we can make that happen in time -- we PTSA volunteers are just overwhelmed.
    But you will be notified about Step-Up Saturday, an orientation morning in late April or early May (date not set yet).

    I'm finishing my 6th year as an Aptos parent, and I'm happy to talk to anyone who wants to know about it. Feel free to e-mail me at

  7. I was surprised that SF Community would be turning away interested parents, and I looked at the demand numbers. I wonder if you called and got someone uninformed who happened to answer the phone, Anon. It would be surprising if they were so overenrolled that they could afford to rebuff interested parents.

  8. I think there is a Sunnyside tour this morning at 9am. They're very excited about more families touring the school and I know when I called them Monday morning for a tour they told me that I could come on Tuesday or Thursday. I went on Tuesday and really liked the school. Would love to hear your experience.

  9. Anon at 10:36 - I hear you.
    I am fed up with reaching "uninformed" or "overwhelmed" office staff at the schools I am calling - I too am overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated but I manage to stay polite, helpful and genuinely welcoming to people who make contact with me during the course of my work day, even when I have news that they do not want to hear.
    Schools may be over-enrolled and prospective parents unwelcome but some of the responses I have had from schools leave me worried and frankly sad about what the coming years hold for my family.

  10. Hi,

    McKinley is have a Welcome Coffee on Tuesday, March 18th from 8:15 to 9:15. 1025 14th Street at Castro. Feel free to contact me if you have any


  11. Anon at 8:31 and 10:36 - I totally agree it is just as easy to be polite as it is to be rude. And I have certainly encountered some rude office staff in my six years at SFUSD. But I've also volunteered in the school office (i.e., been there when the phone was ringing off the hook and the secretary was trying to xerox something for the principal while the principal was in the cafeteria taking lunch money). Once you have done this, you understand that whoever is sitting there just picks up the phone so it stops ringing. Sometimes it is even a student who is in the office for disciplinary reasons. They shouldn't be answering the phone, but if the secretary's at the xerox machine and the phone's ringing -- well, they pick up the phone.
    All of this is just to say that SFUSD administrative support staffing is so bare bones that most office secretaries are doing three things at once. Often a bystander "helps them out" by answering the phone, to less than satisfactory results from a customer service perspective.
    So while I think you have every right to expect politeness and professionalism when you call an SFUSD school, you need to be understanding of the likely situation on the other end of the line.

  12. Hello Blog Community,

    I am a School Fellow at J. Serra and led the recent tour Dana Woldow posted about. Eve, Ellen and I had a wonderful time speaking with those of you who attended and look forward to meeting anyone else interested in our community.

    We have the following tour dates lined up:

    Friday, March 14th @9AM
    Wednesday, March 19th @9AM
    Thursday, March 20th @9AM

    Our address is 625 Holly Park Circle, grab a Visitor's Pass from Lydia, our wonderful secretary.

    Of course, we realize schedules get complicated. If these times don't work for you, or you have any additional questions, feel free to send me an email at or Ellen at

    Next week all schools end at 1:30 for Parent-Teacher conferences.

    We are more than happy to have folks "drop by" but out of safety for our students ask for a heads up first ;)

    Thanks and hope to see you soon!

  13. Creative Arts Charter School !

    Applying to our lottery is a separate process; you can be on a waiting list for your regular SFUSD choice and still apply to Creative Arts at the same time.

    If you are not familiar with Creative Arts, it is another hidden gem of a public school in San Francisco. It boasts a unique arts integrated curriculum in a small K-8 community. It is really not to be missed.

    There are a few official tours left. One is this Friday, March 14 @ 8:45 am. You can sign up for tours directly at:

    And Congratulations to all of the Creative Arts Charter School winners (and other winners too) at the SF Science Fair at the Randall Museum!

    Out of 250 participating exhibits, Creative Arts students did very well!

    1st Place— 6th Grade: Randy & Elijah for "Caffeine Freaks"

    1st Place—8th Grade: Julius for "Do Green Tea and Garlic Promote
    Longevity in Drosophila Melanogaster?"
    Julius will be going on to the Regional Science Fair too!

    2nd Place—6th Grade: Tatiana & Rebecca for "Eggs, Eggs, Eggs"

    2nd Place—7th Grade: Ian & Dane for "Mr. Cheese Its and the Musical Maze"

    4th Place—8th Grade: Sam for "Organic vs. Non-organic". Sam also
    qualified for to go on to the Regional Science Fair!

    Honorable Mentions:

    7th Grade: Mollie for "What Oil?";
    Alexandra for "Bubbly Doom".

    8th Grade: Cicada for "Flava Flave";
    Lilla for "Salmonella Showdown".

  14. I just went to SF Community this morning to register my kids and found the rumors are true. They are over enrolled, which means they won't be replacing kids who drop. There is no waitpool and no round 2.

    Sorry for putting that out there.

  15. Over-enrolled...hmmm..seems to be a theme. Does the district specifically over-enroll certain schools, and if so, which ones? Just a bit curious on how it might effect the probability of successful outcome of waiting on a waitlist. Essentially it means that kids you don't take the spot DON'T open up space for people who have waitlisted the school. Will the district be up front about this as we submit Round II and waitlist applications?

  16. pinkcollargirl, thank you for the information and the welcome from J Serra, and by the way, I like your blog on how to make it as a pink collar girl (short as it is so far). I am very glad you are choosing to stay in urban education and hope that you and your colleagues will find your way to do that.

    in solidarity, public school mom

  17. Caroline, thanks. We'll look for info about Step Up Saturday at Aptos.

    Come tour this Hidden Gem!
    Expansive Facility | Extremely
    Diverse | Japanese Biligual &
    General Ed. Programs | Performing Arts Program | UCSF Science Collaboration | PE Instruction | Daily Morning Excercises | Healthy Foods Cooking Instructor | High Parental Involvement

    TOURS START @ 8:30 am in OFFICE
    Tuesday, March 18
    Wednedsay, March 19
    Thursday, March 20

    1501 O'Farrell @ Webster
    Call Robin Endres, Parent Liaison to schedule a tour at other times

  19. hi Caroline,
    Actually, I called 3 times, and was told that the head teacher had been asked about my request and had said "there's no reason why we would have to do that". wow. I think it's a fabulous school, and just trying to serve the kids, but OUCH.

  20. More on Rosa Parks JBBP -

    in addition to the tours mentioned above there is a PTA meeting/tour this Wed 3/19 at 6PM at the school.

    Here is a little blurb about the school and the program:

    JPPB is a unique, 35-year old Japanese language and culture program with strong community support and an active parent network. Students receive one hour of formal Japanese each day by Native Japanese-speaking "Sensei" who also work closely with credentialed teachers in each class to maximize delivery of Japanese through core content throughout the day. The curriculum also focuses on foreign language acquisition through the context of culture with activities ranging from "Undokai"/Sports Day and "Oshogatsu"/ Japanese New Year to "Kodomo No Hi"/Childrens Day and "Gakugeikai" /Performing Arts Night.

    ROSA PARKS is centrally located in a quiet cul de sac, across the street (Geary) from Japantown and adjacent to the Historic Fillmore Jazz District in the Western Addition. There are three programs on site: General Education, Special Education, and the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP) which was relocated from the Sunset in 2006. Our diverse school community is a warm, caring place, lead by dedicated faculty and staff with a shared committment to our students and their families. We are housed in a beautiful, newly-renovated 1930s school complex with ample outdoor assembly and play yards (no bungalows!).

  21. Great afterschool options at Rosa Parks Elementary School: school bus service to the Jewish Community Center, Pine Afterschool (outer Richmond), Nihonmachi Little Friends, Columbia Boys & Girls Club (Haight). Tours next Tues, Wed, Thurs, 8:30 am and Thurs eve, 6 pm. Call the school at 749-3519.

  22. At the urging of a mother I met at the EPC counseling last night, I toured Rosa Parks this morning. They're feeling the stress of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, but I was very favorably impressed with the Japanese Bilingual program. This is a friendly school with a lovely facility and small classes. The mother/employee who showed me around said not to be deterred by the test scores because the kids in the JBBP do really well. The general track is the result of a merger with another school and draws an underprivileged student population and they struggle more with the standardized tests.

    I also visited with a mother/employee at Harvey Milk for almost an hour today, and that sounds like another great Round 2 option. Harvey Milk is having an auction tomorrow night and it's a community event, so if you want to meet some families at the school, it's a good opportunity .

    I stopped by New Traditions and they're doing a tour next Wednesday morning. I stopped by Spring Valley and it was a little vague but I got the impression it would be OK to call and ask to see the school around 9:15 or 9:30 next Monday or Tuesday.

    Also, sorry my error, Sutro was not on the list of 20-most-in-demand schools that I got at the counseling last night.

  23. Jose Ortega school tours are Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. An additional tour is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th at 9:30 a.m. Translation services are available upon request. Call (415) 469-4726 for more information.