Saturday, April 26, 2008

Round II

So we actually did receive a letter yesterday. I was confused by the mail because when I checked it in the afternoon there were several fliers in the mailbox and I thought that was our mail. It turns out the papers were election fliers and the real mail arrived later in the afternoon. Last night my husband noticed that there was stuff in our mailbox--and pulled out the SFUSD letter. We did get a school assignment. I wish that I could share the information but this has become a delicate issue and I have to think about our situation off-line. I will report back soon. This Web site is great in so many ways but in the past few months it has made it difficult for me to share my complete story. Please hold tight and hold off on your comments speculating our situation. I promise to get back soon. I'm not going to drag this out or hold onto a spot that I don't intend to take as I know that there are a lot of you out there who need a school. I'm so sorry for those who didn't get an assignment in Round II. Hang in there. Something will work out in the end; it's just so unfortunate that you have to go through all this stress and uneasiness to get to that end point. It really isn't fair.


  1. We just received it!!! We have no assignment. We had gone 0 for 7 in the first round, but our daughter was accepted at our top choice private school, so we listed only schools we would potentially pick over that private school. But still: we listed 8 schools (wait pool plus amended list).

    Well, now we have no decision to make.

    I can't believe that we went through the public school lottery and emerged with no school. Wow.

    BTW as a data point, we were in the Noe Valley 94131 HIllcrest crowd.

    I hope that others receive better news than we did.

  2. Wait, I just re-read the letter and it only talks about the waiting pool school. It said that they regret that they couldn't get us into our wait pool school But it says nothing about the amended list.

    Anyone know what gives? Was wait pool run first and then we'll receive a second letter later?

  3. we didn't get anything today - no letter.

  4. I am wondering if the waitpool and the ammended list letter are two different letters - run separately and notified separately? any one have data to share from past years?

    we have received out ammended letter and while it mentions waitpool it says nothing about regretting that we could not be placed etc. just that we will remain on the waitlist till it is dissolved.

  5. I am stunned that you can go 0/7 in the first round, 0/8 in the second round, and not end up with a school. It has happened to me.

    So this is why everybody moves from SF??

    I'm in shock.

  6. Does it say that you have an assignment? My letter says: No waitpool, no assignment. We re-read it now about 10 times and it seems pretty clear that we received nothing on our amended list, and we remain in the wait pool for our wait pool school.

    The wording is:

    "In the event that your waiting pool school does NOT become available, your child will not have an assignment for School Year 2008-2009."

    Then it says:

    "We still have openings at other schools. If you wish to find out about other available school choices, please visit the EPC..."

    Hm, wouldn't it have been nicer of them to include the list of schools with openings with our letter?

    Oh well.

  7. 0/8. And I put schools in the 2nd list that I wouldn't have dreamt o fputting on the first. Like McKinley, Sunnyside, Moscone.

    I got NOTHING.

  8. Has anyone here actually received an assignment yet?

    And are they going to hand out the assignments at the schools with openings on a first-come-first-serve basis? Will there be people camping out at the EPC Sunday night?

  9. We received a letter stating that we received a spot in one of our amended school choices - Flynn GE. This was our 7th choice, the safe choice. It says that we will continue to remain in the wait pool.

  10. We too went 0/7. No ammended choices, no waitpool. And I'd gone down there and switched our waitpool school from Alvarado ImmS to Flynn ImmS, but that apparently didn't take, as we're still listed as being in Alvarado's waitpool. I did register our daughter at J. Serra, her assigned school, but I have real misgivings about it.

  11. ps. this is the 3:24 poster. Our letter said all the programs we chose were at capacity. The other programs we listed were Marshall (ImmS), Revere (ImmS), Monroe (ImmS), Starr King (ImmM), Sunnyside. And I can't remember the sixth (we had Alvarado as wp and Flynn ImmS as #1 ammended -- though we'd thought they'd be switched around)

  12. my goodness. what will they do with all the 0/7...0/8 people?

  13. This is terrible news. I am so sorry to read this. It makes me so grateful we went through the process before people looked at places other than Clarendon and West Portal.

    Best of luck to all of you.

  14. It does seem like a cruel twist of fate that people aren't even getting in to the schools they don't want!

    Reminds me of five or six years ago when no one got anything, and finally resigned themselves to McKinley, Grattan, Miraloma, et al. Seems funny now, but at the time people were heartbroken.

  15. Our letter says that the "District regrets that we are unable to offer our child an assignment to your amended choice/waiting pool requests, the schools you requested are at maximum capacity.." We go stuck with the same school we had before, John Muir. We put less popular schools on our amended list in the hopes that we would get a school that was more to our liking. I would like to get another letter about the ammended school choioce like some people are wondering, but I don't think there will be another letter.

  16. Zilch. Zippo. Zero. I'm pissed off that we can actually participate in the system with good faith... AND HAVE NO SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT!

    We included Harvey Milk, and Sunnyside on our list.

    I'm certain that a lot of people registered at schools that have no intention of attending, so PLEASE let those seats go now that you've gotten your second round assignments.

    What next? I have no idea.

  17. We did a last minute switchero from Alvarado Imm to Marshall Imm and that is what we got. Are we happy? Well, happiness is such a relative feeling. This whole last week I was kicking myself in the pants for getting out of the Alvarado waitpool having gotten some strange idea in my head that we stood chance there and might have gotten Marshall from our amended list. But now that I see that someone here didn't get Marshall from their amended list, I feel a little better. See what I mean that the happiness is relative?

    So, here's a hot piece of news. My husband's co-worker whose kids go to Clarendon told him last week that he heard that Clarendon opened up a whole new JPPB class, so 20 spots were suddenly available there. I would love to hear from people who put Clarendon JPPB as their waitlist, did they turn out to be the lucky recipients of this incredible turn of fate?

    I just love how this lottery process is so fair .... not.

  18. yes, i heard the same about JBBP at clarendon. it pisses me off b/c jbbp was at the top of my original list #2 but i decided not to waitlist it since the numbers looked so dim.

    then, the week after it is too late to change your list, we hear this news. makes me furious b/c it probably worked in favor of those who could "afford" to waitlist JBBP - "afford" meaning they had a back-up in private or something from their original list. now those people will have a great chance to get JBBP when those of us who went 0/7 then tried to play it safe (with sunnyside or moscone or flynn GE) are screwed.

  19. I did a family hardship and got rejected. I am a single mother, whose ex is out of the picture. I got 0/8 too. I am in the J. Serra 94110 crowd. What a laugh this 'lottery' is. I wish I'd applied to private schools. When I called the EPC, they encouraged me to get a bunch of bernal parents together to 'turn around a school.' Of course, I replied, can you please read my hardship?? I can barely make a PTA meeting. Stunned, but I'm going to persevere right down to the 10 day count. After that, I guess I'll start thinking about leaving SF.

  20. we also went 0/7 and 0/8 - am feeling a little shellshocked - not quite sure what we're going to do.

  21. "Reminds me of five or six years ago when no one got anything, and finally resigned themselves to McKinley, Grattan, Miraloma"

    Even as little as 4 years ago. A friend of mine went 0/7 first round, second round she put Grattan #5 and got in. I just can not believe what I'm reading and feel terrible for everyone going through this.

  22. As far as I know, there is no way for a family to "release" their spot if they have decided to go private, or are moving.

    This has been a problem for years. That is why so many spaces open up at the 10-day count. It is really a waste of resources, as teachers prepare name tags, cubbies, and books for students who are never going to show up. Principals spend hours on class lists that include children who won't be there. People who have tried to release their spots in good faith STILL get phone calls at the 10-day count asking where their child is. And, then, finally their spot is released.

    Obviously, EPC can't release spots based on a phone call, because that could be open for debate later ("I never gave up my spot!") But it would be simple enough to create a form that could be downloaded and mailed in.

  23. release your spot by calling the school and saying "we are registering at such and such a school, not yours. thank you."

    We did NOT register at our assigned school, therfore opening it up to a happy parent who put it as #7 on their 2nd round and got in. I know two people who don't even know if they are sending kids to Kinder in SF in the fall, but are registered at both private and public schools (both of which i'm waiting for.)

    So, you can make your spot available if you are not sending your kids there.

    The 10 day wait after the first day of school is partially because they wait for people to be no-shows before they fill the vacant seats.

    So, again, please, open up the seat if you are not going there (ie, you're moving, or going to private.)

    Thank you.

  24. So I'm confused as well as being severely depressed. We went 0/7 in Round I and submitted our waitpool and amended list. Our Round II letter says we didn't receive our waitpool school but makes no mention of our amended list. I'm assuming we're out of luck but it seems strange to me that some letters mention the amended lists and others don't.

  25. Sorry Kortney, but you are wrong. It's a nice idea but there is no way the school can accept a call as anything more than a polite heads-up that the kid won't be there. It could not be taken as a binding release of the space. I know about a dozen kids who are attending K in the fall. I could easily call up all their schools and say "I'm the mother of little Katie Garcia and she won't be coming to Clarendon in August, so you can release her spot". It doesn't bear thinking about. Of course there SHOULD be a way for EPC to do this, waiting until 10 days after school starts is ridiculous, but a phone call to the school is (sadly) not going to work.

  26. OMG...I am devastated and angry all at the same time. We were 0/7 in the first round and today we are 0/8 in our waitpool/ammended choice list. Wes an intense 2 week effort to research Round II schools that could potentially have openings...based on last years numbers; (McKinley, Marshall, Sunnyside, H. Milk, Fairmont, Peabody, J. Serra) and once more we are 0/8...we didn't get our wait pool either despite being granted our family hardship priority. I feel like this is such a slap in the face for parents having ANY CHOICE in where their kid goes to school.....its like the SFUSD are going to stick your kid where they think he/she should go.

    I think we may have to stick it out for a year as we try to get our child into private or move from the city. Either way, our first brush with SFUSD has been an unmitigated DISASTER.

  27. If the rumor about a new Clarendon JBBP class is true, then I am the unluckiest person on earth. That was our waitpool choice, but didn't get a spot.

  28. remember round I, when all the 0/7s posted first? (i should know; i was number one crazy mad lady.) maybe we'll see a shift as the weekend goes on?

    soooo...i think we got lucky. we're in nashville, but my parents are staying at my place and read me the letter. my mother's inability to find the english text on the page did not inspire confidence, but she seemed to think the letter said we got our waitlist choice: flynn spanish immersion. how is that even possible, given the climate? dunno.

  29. Oh, that class is probably only for friends of the Mayor.

    Clarendon JBBP was second on our list (first on our original) and we didn't get it either.

    Instead we got nothing, and since we didn't register for our original assignment (Hillcrest), we still have no school.

    Is the EPC going to publicize which schools have openings? there's no way I'm getting there at 4 am on Monday if I'll just be told that there's room at, sigh, Hillcrest.

    BTW, if they give out the Clarendon spots on a first-come-first-served basis, how then does that differ from the bad old days where people camped out for 2 days?

    Has anyone checked to see if anyone is camping out at EPC now?

  30. (My post was in response to the Clarendon JBBP post 3 up.)

  31. 0/7 in first round
    0/8 in second......

    this really sucks....

  32. what about those of us who have no letter until the mail comes on monday afternoon? i guess i'd better camp out just in case?

  33. kim - i'd have her fax it to you!

  34. Elizabeth HalperinApril 26, 2008 at 7:15 PM

    I have no real knowledge of this, but I find it hard to believe that Clarendon is opening up an additional kindergarten classroom. That school has had kids crammed into it with a shoehorn for years, and I can't imagine there's room for an additional 20 kids there for the next six years.

    But I guarantee that there are many schools right now that DO have room, if you look beyond the immersion, top-tier alternative, and over-subscribed neighborhood schools.

    For example, Sanchez is a beautiful school in a convenient location to Noe Valley. Sheridan in the Ingleside is in a cool building and has a kick-ass principal. And, like it or not, I bet there is still room at Hillcrest, and that is a lovely school.

    You don't have to worry about whether you have the energy to "turn around" a school. Just by enrolling your child there, supporting your child and your child's teacher, and doing whatever you can to help the school as a whole, you will be an agent of change.

    Lately I've been thinking of myself as "patient zero" at Miraloma. Ten years ago, people looked at me like I was crazy when I said that my son was going there. His class was 80% Chinese immigrant kids. The principal was burned out and not welcoming to parents. There was definitely some dead weight among the staff. But there were also amazing teachers at every grade level, and he thrived there. There was no gardening specialist, but there was a third-grade teacher who took her class swimming at Balboa Pool. The PTA didn't raise money in the six figures, but the school qualified for Title I money that provided many of the services the PTA is underwriting now. Everything our family was able to contribute was so much appreciated and really made a difference. And the smallest amount of outreach snowballed in an incredibly short amount of time.

    It's scary to consider a school that "no one" would go to, but I really urge those of you still looking to consider all the possibilities.

  35. i heard that clarendon's jbbp is moving to a new location eventually - next year? maybe that is why they are recruiting a larger K class this year.

  36. I almost feel guilty saying that we did crack open a bottle of champagne when we opened the letter this morning. My wife shrieked a gleeful scream as she read that our daughter was accepted for a spot in Clarendon JBBP. (Actually, the champagne that early made the afternoon a little groggy on such a beautiful day). We were 0 for 7 in the first round but decided not "to settle." We kept our same list and kept Clarendon as our waiting pool option. Sometimes you gamble and win. I am not religious, but I thanked God out lout (just in case anyone was listening). We really had no other option except the 10 day nightmare. We are not friends of the mayor and we hadn't applied to any private kindergartens.

  37. About giving up one's slot... I don't know about elementary, but Lowell HS does have a form that you sign and send in if you decline the acceptance. We sent that in last year when my daughter opted for a private. If I remember correctly, you also had to register within a week or so..

  38. It is true about the Clarendon JBBP adding a 3rd kindergarten this year (at the last minute due to budget issues)--this also happened 6 years ago when the district added a third Second Community kindergarten class (after school started). My son was lucky enough to get a spot in that class 6 years ago. From what I heard, the spots in the 3rd JBBP K class were filled during this 2nd Round run--not before and not after.

  39. We were the ones who went 0/7 in round one, and got assigned to McKinley (which we didn't want)

    Round 2? Rooftop, hooray!

  40. bernal family living on a subprime mortgage, got 0/7 round one, assigned to flynn gen ed (prefer flyn immS), today's letter gave us 1/7: sunnyside, feel ok, we will make the best of sunnyside...or split town in the dead of night, leave the keys in the mailbox and never look back.

  41. I am still confused. Our letter just mentioned our waitpool school, (Sunset, totally full) but not our amended list (which included 6 schools we had not listed in Round I, and at least 3 we thought for sure would have space!) Is there still a chance that the amended lists will still be run and we might get one of them???

    I think we all will have to wait until open enrollment (which the SFUSD website and PPS both list as starting ON memorial day --odd) to see which schools have definite openings.

    I can't believe we're 0/7 and 0/8 with no back-up at all... I know that spots may open in the 10 day count, but I really, really, don't want to be sending my child to school somewhere across town and that I am not comfortable with in the meantime.

  42. We got an assignment in round 1 but decided to go with our top choice private school. We called our assigned public school to decline the spot and did not register there by the deadline. Now worried our spot did not open up for someone.

    Can anyone confirm that we've done what we were supposed to do in this situation? (I will also call EPC on Monday.)

    Fingers crossed for all of you. Can't believe how many are still without a spot after participating in round 2.

  43. 0/7 in R1 and 0/8 in R2. hardship appeal approved, but what does that REALLY mean if we haven't actually been placed?

  44. 8:53 - I am sure that by not registering your child at the assigned school after Round 1, that your spot was then eligible for someone else this round. We called everyone on our assigned list to remind them to register by the deadline. In the end we had 5 spots open in both our general and immersion kindergartens.

    And welcome new Flynners!

  45. Bernal single mom here. Went 0/7 on first round which included many of the most popular schools and Starr King Mandarin Imm. Registered at assigned n'hood Flynn Gen Ed. and would have gone at least for K (I know a lot of folks said it was terrible but I didn't see it that way. I think it's up and coming and potentially IB. Walking to school sounded great too). Today we got our wait listed Starr King Mandarin. Feeling tremendously fortunate. Will do what we have to do on Monday to release spot at Flynn.

  46. Now that so many of us are considering the 10-day count, does anybody have experience with this?

    How does one begin a child's school life, get him used to a new routine, teacher, classroom... and then yank him out after two weeks? It may be best in the long run, but how does one manage this situation?

  47. We are 0/7 and 1/8 (2nd choice school) round 2. Family hardship denial.
    Has anyone heard of twins getting a spot out of the waitpool after the 10 day count? Is it a pipedream to think that our daughters will both get off the waitpool?

  48. Silent K--My son started Kindergarten at Katherine Michiels School 6 years ago--I wasn't sure he would stay for the whole elementary program, but the Kindergarten was great. When the call came that he had a spot at Clarendon, I was shocked and really tortured myself about what to do. He is shy, especially so at that age. He, of course, handled the transition very easily, while I continued to agonize about the decision and whether I had damaged him with this sudden move. Kids are incredibly resilient. It was a great decision, easy to see in retrospect. He is off to Middle School next year. I, of course, am somewhat concerned about this transition, trying to keep it to myself, while he is really looking forward to it.

  49. Hi everyone - sorry to hear that the EPC letter is so confusing. I'll ask Vicki Symonds from PPS to post something about this on the PPS list when we're able to get more information (Monday, I expect) and xpost it here.

  50. we put starr king mandarin as our waitpool and got it. it wasn't even on our first list of 7. good luck to everyone. i work for the district and think most kids will be happy and fine at most schools, even if it is not their parents' ideal.

  51. For all the folks who submitted an amended list PLUS waitpool, i'm pretty sure that you had to choose EITHER a waitpool OR an amended school list, not both. A gamble for sure. I did waitpool, and got zilch.

  52. We're 0 for everything as well.

    I'm wondering if anyone who received an assignment in Round II to a school they wanted, actually went down to the office and "put a face to the name". We were told by the Parents for Public Schools that this was a good idea, but had no way to do it since we both work.

    I'm trying not to be bitter or disappointed, but this city I've loved for so long is sucking the life out of me right now...

  53. To the poster at 10pm. If you went 0/7 you could list waitpool school AND an amended list of seven. It was not an either/or choice. That is why it is so confusing for those of us who got a letter just mentioning the waitpool and not the amended list.

  54. Anyone could fill out an amended list and a waitpool choice, not just 0/7.

  55. I don't remember reading in any of SFUSD's literature that one needs to put a "face to their name" to get their school. I wouldn't be so incredibly furious right now if the District actually did the following:

    1. publicized the rules

    Apparently it does neither.

    I hope that a class action law suit follows. I'm ready to file it myself.

  56. We were 0/7 and now 0/8. Really discouraged and worried. Wondering about what folks said earlier about privates and movers not being able to release spots - if that's true, why even continue to have waitpool runs?

  57. I went down to the office....TWICE, I "put a face to the name", I submitted a hardship appeal which was granted and we are still 0/7 and 0/8. This whole process is transparency, no accountability, no fair!!

  58. Some curious facts were revealed in round I when people here compared actual lists (McKinley enrollment snafu. e.g.). I'd like to know for people who did get a school in round II, was the school a waitpool choice or on the amended list? And for the people who went 0/8, what did you list as waitpool and amended choices? And do tell if you were 0/7 in round I.

    I'll start: we got Marshall, it was our waitpool choice (we were 0/7 in round I).

  59. This has really tipped me much more in favor of going private with my son next year when he starts Kindergarten. I have no faith in SFUSD at this point. None.

  60. Regarding opening up a seat for a kid in kinder...

    i did NOT register at our assigned school for round one, hence opening that seat to a family who wanted it. It was a gamble, but i felt like we are playing fair. The one thing PPS told me was this "i think you'll find 7schools you like...but only put down schools you would actually send your kid to." That is what we did.

    The gamble didn't pay off, but we participated in round one, handed off our list in person(how can that possibly make a difference if it's random computer choice?)

    What i'm figuring out is, since everyone (mostly) registered at their assigned schools (even if they hated it) before they participated in round 2, then there were no spaces open for those of us participating in the second round.

    when can we go to USD and find out where the openings are?

    Is open enrollment our next bet?

    Isn't anyone going to post with their name?

  61. given the questions about whether the system is even working as it is supposed to, i think transparency among posters/parents is important.

    here is our round 2 list:

    waitpool flynn spanish


    paul revere spanish
    buena vista
    harvey milk
    sf community

    as i said earlier, we got flynn sp off the waitlist, apparently (have yet to see letter with own eyes, as am out of town and grandma fumbled through it, bless her heart).

    hope this adds to the data pool.


  62. oh, we were 0/7 in round I, got assigned j. serra, registered there by deadline and not only submitted our amended in person at EPC, but had several counselors over for dinner.

    okay, just kidding. but i did call every few days with a random question -- or the same, unanswered question, in the hopes that someone would eventually answer it. i think two of the counselors there knew our "case" by name. and i once spoke with the director, darlene, personally (because i asked to). she was kind enough to offer me a free psychotherapy session (as in, i was psycho and she attempted to therapize me).

  63. Does anyone know how the waitpool works? Is there any type of priority, or is it just random chance?

    We put Clarendon JBBP as our wait pool choice, but didn't get it. With my luck I was probably the only Round II wait-lister who didn't get one of those supposedly new 20 slots. Will I get offered a spot during the 10 day count before the 100 or so people who will rund down on Monday and change their waitpool choice to Clarendon?

    This whole system just seems so unfair!

  64. We were 0/7 Round 1, waitlisted Grattan, included three new schools on the amended list, included McKinley, Harvey Milk and New Traditions - that a USD counselor confirmed had no waitlist as of a few weeks ago - and now are 0/8. We did received a family hardship appeal but it looks like this will come down to the 10-day count. Unless we receive a clarifying letter from SFUSD that actually provides info regarding the amended school list. As of now, just received one regarding not getting Grattan.

    This is so painful.

    As for Clarendon, I had heard from a couple of sources (including an admissions director at a private school) that JBBP is moving to another campus and that they are opening another Second Community kinder. When asked in March, SFUSD counselor had no info. So who really knows?

    Congrats to those who received better news.

  65. Here's what I think must happen next: Since many people DID register at the assigned school following Round 1, and some of those people have now been offered a position at a new school, when they go to register their kid at the new school, the kid will automatically be taken out of the first school, and free up a spot.

    So Kim Green will go register for Flynn imm, thus freeing the original spot at J. Serra. While people may not be clamoring for the spot at Serra, the same scenario will play out all over with people having registered at a school they didn't really want while aiming for a school they did. Someone who registered at Sunnyside, hoping and maybe now having been assigned to West Portal; those registering at Milk but waitlisting (and getting) Rooftop.

    So I suspect the next phase here is for those of you who want your new assignment to register at your new schools, free up the spots you held by your earlier registration and then more movement will occur.

    I agree this is a sucky situation, and oddly I think this blog ends up multiplying and magnifying the distress rather than alleviating it. I would have expected the opposite.

    People with happy assignments and stories - pelase post!

  66. We went 0 for everything. No waitlist, no amended choice. I can only hope that those of you who received word that only the waitlist didn't come through, will get a choice from the amended list.

    Congrats to those who got better news (I can't believe my bitterness let me say that!)

    What I'm still wondering (and asked at the Parents for Public Education briefing, but no one knew) is "Is this system working??" Are families in the neighborhoods that really need a better education, coming to Clarendon and Rooftop? Or are a bunch of predominantly white, affluent people, fighting for the spots? I live a block from Clarendon. If my kid is losing his spot to a kid from Bayview or the Tenderloin, then I'd be happy, I'd know that our "sacrifice" is changing things for the good...If he's losing it to someone from Pacific Heights, then the system is broken.

    Or is part of it that we're supposed to go to Ortega, get super involved, and turn it into the next Miraloma? But putting that responsibility on my son seems pretty intense for a five year old, when we could move somewhere else and he could get a better education.

    I can't believe I might have to leave this city...

  67. Christian at 7:25am. Did your letter mention BOTH the waitlist and the amended list? I guess I'm trying to hold out some last vestige of hope that since our letter didn't mention the amended list we might receive a separate letter with an assignment. Improbable, yes....

  68. We went 0/7 and now 0/8. Our waitlist choice is Miraloma but our amendend list was:

    New Traditions
    Harvey Milk
    Fairmont SpImm
    Francis Scott Key
    Buena Vista SpImm

    We knew that our waitlist choice was a long shot, but thought we might have a chance at some on our amended list. I guess we just don't have good luck! A little frustrated now, especially since I am a public school teacher and really believe in public schools. Maybe it is time to move out of the city?

  69. we got our WL choice: Starr King Mandarin. Very happy and relieved after much trepidation.

  70. did anyone else NOT get a letter yesterday?

  71. I posted earlier, but wanted to add my amended list. We were 0/7 and now 0/8. We got a letter that only referred to our waitpool school. Our waitpool school was Sunset Elementary, and our amended list was:

    Dianne Feinstein, Lakeshore, Lafayette, Sloat, FS Key, Sunnyside, New Traditions.

    I can't believe how much the latest news is affecting me. I keep thinking about my son starting at one of the schools we toured but found unacceptable... I hope something clears up soon.

    By the way, I did talk to a school board member last night on the phone. They said a couple of things which I found interesting:

    1. It is not difficult to tell a school you wish to disenroll if you are going to a private school (there are, however, many parents that send their kids to a private school and don't even think about disenrolling).

    2. They said they had not heard anything about Clarendon adding another JBBP class, or about a potential move for the JBBP program offsite.

    3. They will check about the confusion over the letters/whether the amended lists were run and clarify this.

    I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I'll post more if I get more info.

  72. The school board members know less than nothing about the problems parents face. Only two actually have children in an SFUSD school.

  73. Sorry to carp, but I'm 0/7 and 0/8.

    How the hell is it possible that on the first list I included schools like McKinley, Milk, Revere and Moscone... And on the second list I included Sunnyside, Marshall, and a couple others that are so not in demand...


    How is that possible? I mean, really. How?

    I understand not getting Clarendon or Rooftop. But these other choices were real dog meat, as far as the throngs beating down the doors who have a private school option. Hard to believe that there were hundreds wanting a spot at New Traditions or Marshall or where-ever.

    How could a computer not assigned me anything?

    Screw SF. This sucks. For my family's sanity, I'm going to start looking for a house outside the city. I will move. No other options. And I'm not going to wait to September to do it.

    Going through a ten day wait, only to pull up roots and leave the city...that sounds crazy.

  74. What I'm "getting" from my 0/7 and 0/8 experience is that it might be easier to skip the whole kindergarten concept anyway, and try to get in a choice public school at the 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade level.

    Do they go through this too?

    I have a couple kids, so eventually, if my first got into a choice school in 1st or 2nd, it would pay off with the other kids who come along sibling entry, later.

    Does anybody know if it's this hard at the 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade levels?

  75. It's harder at those levels because there are less openings, and people like you thinking they'll wait and try in 1st, all applying for the maybe two spots that open in those grades in the following years.

  76. How many of you still believe the SFUSD propaganda that "81% get one of their choices"?

  77. I too am thinking about trying to get my daughter a spot in 1st grade. She could have gone last year but we decided to wait so she wouldn't be one of the youngest. While I don't like the idea of her starting school in "catch up" mode, our other options seem to be severely limited. Anyone have any experience with this?

  78. Well, they probably have a very loose definition of what they mean by "choice". Here's what SFUSD means by "choice": "Here is where your kid is assigned, that is your choice. Take it or leave it."

    After all this, I still cannot believe that most of you are against automatic assignment to your neighborhood school. At least then you would KNOW where your child was going to go. And they could lottery off the language school spots separately.

  79. To anyonymous who asked about my letter...YES, it did mention both our amended list and our wait list. Hopefully (I can't believe I'm saying it again!) those of you who only heard about wait list will get another letter with something from the amended. I have no idea, but who the hell does? It depresses me to no end to see/hear us all scrambling around like mad lemmings, looking for the next cliff from which to jump.

    If they told me to jump through a fiery hoop and eat a can of dog food and your kid will go to a school you could live with, I'd probably do it. What kind of messed up thought is that?

  80. It does seem weird that the letters had different wording. Our letter mentioned nothing about our amended list and only stated that we did not get a spot at our waitlist school. I also said we did not have a placement. You would think the letters would have the same wording?

  81. I'm confused about letters...and have a question about random-ness...

    It seems as if some one got a letter that told them about both their wait pool AND their ammended list. Our, however, only said "no wait pool" but it did aknowledge that we have no school assignment at the moment.

    What does it mean? Are some of us getting two letters? Why?

    Also, I was under the impression taht this was a random computer system. Now I'm reading that couselors can help people. Are you saying that the guy at SFUSD actually has a say in where my kid goes? That if I hang out there and bring cookies she will get a better school assignment?

    Please advise. I will begin advocating our her behalf if that is the case.

    The advocating sounds like private school to me...

  82. I know that at this point it is little comfort, but this is a process that often extends into the summer and sometimes past the ten day count. It is a fluid process with much movement and, unfortunately requires patience and a certain amount of emotional backbone, but most folks who stick it out usually end up with an acceptable assignment.
    This year does seem different, however and it's hard to know what will happen.
    I don't think that the situation is better in the private schools in S.F. (lots of folks on waiting lists), but at least there is a bit more clarity about one's chances.
    We are talking about a situation of hugely enlarging demand for a limited amount of spots. The reality is that not everyone can get into a school of their choice, not even with a list of seven (or two lists of seven).
    If large numbers of folks decide to opt for Transitional Kinder to cope, it may be worse next year, but then again it gives the district a year to improve the process.
    For those who are considering moving, hang in there (at least until summer). There is still hope, believe it or not.
    Best of luck to all!

  83. I don't know if it is wise to post the opposite story when so many of you are in such a bad place but this blog is really not at all reflective of my personal experience. Of my neighbors or friends who have gone through the process this year, I only know one person (actual person not blog contributor) who went 0/7 in the first round. I know a couple (three) who were assigned schools low down their list (6, 7 and 7) which they really were not happy about (one has gone private, one is going to red-shirt and one did round 2). Every single other person I know/have talked to has an assignment they are happy with and a very high percentage got their first or second choices. I live in Bernal, my friends mostly live in this part of town. In our group of friends/playground contacts we are going to Marshall, Monroe, Flynn, Fairmount, Sunnyside, Alvarado, Rooftop, Miraloma, Junipero Serra, Harvey Milk, McKinley, Hillcrest and one registered at Buena Vista who may not be going depending on work changes.
    Our lists were pretty similar, we wanted local schools, many wanted immersion. None of us were clamoring for the trophy schools. As a group we do offer some diversity in the index (messed up though I believe that to be) in that very few of our kids attend pre-school and several are bilingual, but I consider us to be middle class and economically I'm not sure that any of us would qualify for any kind of financial assistance.
    I'm sorry for anyone who has not had this experience, but I think it is important to put out there, especially to those who are going to go through this next year, that this blog does not necessarily reflect what is going on in the city as a whole. There are many, many people with a school assignment that they are very happy with. Most of my friends consider the system to be working, where as most on this blog, understandably consider it to be a train wreck. It depends on who you are surrounded by.
    I hope the remaining waitpool runs bring good news to those of you without school assignments, waiting for the 10 day count seems an unreasonable thing for the SFUSD to expect anyone to go through, there must be a better way.

  84. It sounds like almost everyone on this blog put "Clarendon JBBP" as their waitpool choice.

    This can't be true. It's a great program, I'm sure, but surely there are others.

  85. To Anon @ 9:14 AM
    "...on the first list I included schools like McKinley, Milk, Revere and Moscone..."

    Just want to check to make sure that you are aware that SFUSD stepped up after Round I re. the McKinley 'glitch' and offered spots for all families who had put McKinley as 1 of their 7 in Round I and didn't get it.

    I'm fairly certain you had to give them the go-ahead to make the assignment switch (and then register at McKinley) by the Round I deadline of March 21st (which is what I did). But, you could always still try, if you didn't.

  86. Kortney said: "That if I hang out there and bring cookies she will get a better school assignment?"

    Perhaps large amounts of money, in a plain envelope?

  87. It seems like things got harder from round one to round two (eg, now no spots at Sunnyside), because more people were submitting more cautious choices and waitpool requests. But things should only get easier from here, as movement occurs and information is released. Things will not look this grim a couple of months from now.

  88. Anon 5:39

    I don't enjoy talking with someone without a name. still...

    i was told that you can dis-enroll your kid.

  89. How do we participate in the movement?

    I understand our waitpool choice is active. However, how do we jump on a spot that opens?

  90. 10:25 - always good to get another, more positive, perspective. i happen to agree that we will see a huge shakeout in september. but i don't think people should have to wait till september.

    that said, since it is one of only a very few "diversity" questions on the application, i can only assume that attending preschool -- or not -- carries great weight, and is indeed a "dealbreaker" for getting a fair shake at a spot almost anywhere. but...sending your kid to preschool is a necessity for dual-income, dual-working families. an absolute necessity. i resent the socioeconomic inference the district makes based on preschool attendance. first of all, there is a big difference between attending the $20+/year trophy preschool and attending a co-op. many of us manage something in between. but do you know how some of us "manage" it? in our case, by giving every cent of my earnings last year -- and a little more, even -- to the preschool so i can continue to have some semblance of a career that, in a year when i don't have a baby, actually pays part of our family's bills. (plus, i believe that i deserve to work, and work hard i do.)

    i'm not quibbling with your experience, and i'm not saying the system shouldn't give disadvantaged kids a boost. just that the preschool and home language filters sometimes give non-disadvantaged kids a boost as well, and it makes other middle-class families even more frustrated.

  91. Pulling a kid out of school at ten days seems so wrong. That's enough time for them to bond with one or more kids. So, pulling them out affects not only them but the kids they've befriended, the parents, the teacher. It's a ridiculous situation. The process stinks and needs to be refined immediately. It's not like this lottery process hasn't been in place a while. They may have a surprising number of applicants this year, but I bet next year SFUSD will find they've screwed themselves out of a lot of new families.

  92. so... no one else is still waiting for their letter? am i the only one who is waiting for monday to find out? waaaaa.

  93. After going 0 for 7 in the first round (did not list only the most popular schools) and getting assigned to Sunnyside (which seems like a lovely school, though we really want our son to learn a second language asap), we were fortunate enough to get into our top choice private school. Two years ago, I never thought I would have seriously considered SFUSD, but as I learned more about the reality of many of these schools I did a 180. Instead of applying to a million private schools for fear of ending up anywhere but Clarendon (yes, I was that ignorant), I found many wonderful public schools and cut our private school list down to just three that I felt offered something truly unique and important for our family, not just a fancy name and the same old song and dance. I was able to do this because I found so many viable public school options...I thought. However, after experiencing what I perceived as intentional misinformation about the enrollment process (81%? oh ya, so sorry that we didn't bother to mention that the 81% figure includes siblings, 100% of whom get their top choice), chaos and lack of coordination (different EPC counselors giving totally different info to people), and the governator's budget cuts, there was no way I wanted to deal w/ SFUSD. PPS has done a wonderful job improving schools and getting the message out about how good many SFUSD schools really are. However, SFUSD is completely undermining these efforts be being so inept during the enrollment process (and why should I think they are any less inept in other situations?). Until the SFUSD gets its act together, many people who are able to opt out of this insane system will. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Most people do not have the option of saying bugger off to SFUSD. I hope the 10 day thing works out for people, and I cannot believe you're expected to keep your sanity through this whole ordeal. I hope you all find schools where you are comfortable sending your kids.

    Btw, we did not register at Sunnyside and are not holding a spot there, and we are not using our private school as a fallback. It turns out that I liked many SFUSD schools but that I cannot stomach the dang district itself.

  94. (and why should I think they are any less inept in other situations?)


    My sentiments exactly. I can't stomach the school district either. Even if you luck into a school you're happy with you're still stuck with uncertainty in budget and other important things.

  95. thanks for posting the sunnyside opening. LOL. where do i sign up?

    we applied to private and have the wrong gender aparently (only space for boys in all we applied to.)

  96. Kim said "i resent the socioeconomic inference the district makes based on preschool attendance"

    Kim, I know you have tried to work through the diversity index to explain what answers would work to ones advantage or not, I have done the same but concluded that there really was no perfect answer, they were looking for a mix, a diverse intake .
    Unlike you, I thought the Preschool question was not a socioeconomic one but a factor in how well kids acclimate and succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. Those who attend preschool (regardless of the type/cost/reason for their attendance), like yours are proven to do better than those who do not, like mine. So there is a diversity in expected achievement level. I personally believe that all the diversity questions are bogus and wish the system could be pure lottery but I don't think that the preschool question is any less appropriate than any of the others.
    We were assigned a school in the first round which we accepted and are happy with. (side note - I would have preferred Flynn SP and am thrilled for you that you have been assigned there). I have no idea what if any diversity my bilingual, no preschool, no financial aid family offered only that we must have been "different" from many applicants, "similar" to some and the "same" as a few.

  97. Elizabeth HalperinApril 27, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    The EPC does several computer runs between the second round and the ten-day count. They continue to send offers of enrollment throughout the summer. So many people who are currently without a school will have one by August, if not sooner. By the way, when my son started kindergarten ten years ago, he didn't have a placement until two days before school started, when I enrolled him at Miraloma. And I moved him to SF Community for 8th grade from another middle school, and got that enrollment offer a week before school started. In both cases it caused some anxiety, but we survived.

  98. I don't understand why the letters are different. I will call PPS and EPC on Monday to find out if we are still waiting for a letter or if the one that refers only to the waitlist is the only one we will get. Why does it have to be so confusing? even if the process was fair the administration leaves us feeling nothing but distrust and frustration.

  99. How soon will SFUCD/EPC have waitpool numbers available from Round I to Round II??

    Is it worth going down there to plead help if you are 0/7 and 0/8 with schools that were not even on last years waitpool list???


  100. To the folks at SFUSD:

    It would help if you did the following:

    1. CLEARLY explain in the letters you send A) what the letter refers to--waitlist, amended list, etc.; B) what will happen next--amended list will run again? When and how often? Another letter will be sent, etc.; C) what we should do next--change our waitpool school because we have no chance with the current one; hang in there; start packing up the house.

    2. Implement the "system" fairly and consistently.

    3. Figure out how to fix the system in the future so that SF families don't flee the city or the public school schools.

    4. Be honest about the pickle you're in with more families wanting spots that are currently available. What's the plan? Wait to see how many people you can scare away before deciding what to do?


  101. Is anyone interested in forming a group to come up with reform options for SFUSD application process?

    you can email me off list if you want. keep track of your ideas, and we'll meet up after school starts to discuss our plan.

  102. sorry--i forgot to post my email address.

  103. I have a theory about the different letters. Could you all answer these questions?

    Did everyone who got a letter that only referred to the waitpool school Go 0/7 and not register at their assigned school in Round I? (this is my theory)

    Did everyone who got a letter that said you were not assigned to your waitpool or amended choices register at your assigned school in Round I (as a back-up)? (this would support my theory)

    Did anyone who got a "you were not assigned to your waitpool/amended pool" note go 0/7 AND NOT register at their assigned school? (this would disconfirm my theory)

    Please let me know if you can confirm or disconfirm this theory!

  104. so, if we do nothing at this point we can still be assigned a school (even if it's not a waitlist school?)

  105. we went 0/4 in round 1, and did not register at our assigned school

    our letter said "no wait list" and "you are currently not assigned to a school"

    no mention of ammended list.

  106. To Parkside Girl:

    We were 0/7 first round, did register at our assigned school, submitted a waitpool choice and amended list, and did get our waitpool choice.

  107. Parkside Girl: we went 0/7 and did register at our assigned school (even though we were on the fence about it, now i'm wondering if that was a bad move ...). we got one of the no wait list/no ammended choices letter. what's your theory?

  108. Maybe the theory is that they didn't bother running the amended list for the people who didn't register at their school.

    We also (1) did not register; and (2) received the letter that gives reference only to the wait pool school and doesn't mention amended lists.

    That said, I'm guessing that the difference between the letters is that the people who registered at their assigned school orginally don't have the line I posted above which says that "if you don't come off the wait list, you don't have a school." After all, they DO have a school, even if it is Muir, Sunnyside, J. Serra or Hillcrest.

  109. i have to pipe in about this blog being a skewed sample. at my son's pre-k (many kids in bernal and noe) 6 kids got their first choices (alvarado sf community, buena vista), one got their 3rd, and 3 got nothing. just went to a bday party where, at least after the first round, everyone had a school they were at least ok with, and many seemed to have been very lucky and got their first choice first round (sf community, buena vista, alvarado spanish, grattan, starr king).

    so, i feel your pain everyone posting, but i don't think the system and district are really so terrible it is worth moving (or going private if you want public more). all this emotional anguish (and believe me i have it too)is related much more to the idea of having more of a choice/more power than we really do. some will get lucky and easily get their top school, others will work hard and stress and end up with something they didn't exactly dream about, but all kids will get a decent kindergarten education. if you really hate your kinder school, you can transfer, which it sounds like many people, even those with desired schools, do.

    good luck
    (we got our waitpool school but purposefully picked a low demand waitpool school so we didn't have to deal with the stress anymore)

  110. this seems accurate after reading through the 108 posts above:

    those who went 0/7 R1 and DID enroll in their assigned school got the dual letter WL and amended list results. those who went 0/7 and DID NOT enroll in their assigned school only got the WL results with no mention of their amended lists.

    mind you, i am going off of what you all are saying since i didn't even get my letter yesterday!

    is this fair? this is NOT what i understood would happen from the SFUSD and PPSSF literature. i did not register at my assigned school because it was in no way an acceptable choice for us (mainly for the location) if this is another lottery error, there are going to be ooodles of pissed off people tomorrow.

  111. 3:29 -

    which school did you WL? i am having a hard time imagining a "low-demand waitlist pool!"

  112. why dont we ask the city ,SFUD to make all schools great instead of a few, why is that most are bad.. It is so sad that our tax dollars are so wasted.That is the part that is broken..

  113. Our experience supports the theory - 0/7 in R1, didn't register, letter only mentioning the waitpool school and indicating NO ASSIGNMENT.

    Do people think the district didn't run the amended lists for those of us who didn't register or just that we got a different, poorly worded letter that is giving us some kind of false hope about a yet to be sent amended assignment?

    We need to find someone who didn't register who actually got something from their amended list. Actually, did ANYONE get something from the amended list or just from the waitpool?

  114. We also went 0/7, did register at our assigned school, and our "We regret to inform you" letter mentioned both our waitpool and amended list. If you did not register at your assigned school in Rd I, I believe you will not be assigned a school unless you get your waitpool school. The only way for you to have a backup is to go in during open enrollment and ask for an open spot.

    Anyone reading this a member of PPS or an SFUSD employee? Can you take an add out in the Noe Valley Voice, Chronicle, and other papers urging private school parents to please unenroll their kids and release those spots!?

  115. One of the problems with this year's kindergarten assignment process is that they had 358 more applicants in round 1 this year than they had last year.

    I found a presentation on the ppsf site that shows the number of babies born in San Francisco took a large jump from 2002 to 2003 (figure 2). If the board of education had read this presentation (or gotten the number of births from some other source like the office that issues birth certificates) they would not have been caught by surprise.

  116. i just poured over the SFUSD booklet and it doesn't tell you that if you don't reg at your assigned school you cannot participate in the amended list.

    i thought i was being NICE by not registering somewhere i would not go so that there would be space for those who want it.

  117. My guess is the District did run the amended lists for everyone (but remember -- you only can get something off your amended list if there are spots left after ALL the waitpool priority groups have been exhausted, so very unlikely), but that it carelessly omitted reference to the amended list in letters to those with no assigned school.

  118. Went 0/7 in round 1, didn't enroll at the school we were assigned. Got our WL choice, which is Starr King Mandarin. Extremely relieved. Did everyone who waitlisted SK Mandarin get it? If not, hang in there, and sorry. So sorry for people who went 0/8 in round 2. I have a question. I had understood that being granted hardship is incredibly rare, and I'm reading here that at least 3 people got it. Is anyone willing to annonymously talk about what the hardship was?

  119. We did not register at our assigned school (Cobb) and got the letter which only mentioned the waitlist. So, I think the theory that those of us that didn't register at our assigned school got a poorly worded letter is probably correct. The other possibility is that they did not run our amended lists if we didn't register. I doubt that the latter is accurate but it certainly opens this up to additional speculation and bitterness.

  120. The ideas that if you don't register at your round one placement you can't submit an amended list or that you have to choose between having a waitlist and amended list are both WRONG.

    We did not register at our assigned school and most definitely DID get placed at one of our amended list schools. We didn't get our waitlist school, but that is not a surprise to us since it was miraloma. Our placement is at Flynn General ed which was number 7 on our amended list.

  121. I'm also interested in the Starr King wait pool crowd. We went 0/7 on Round 1, wait pooled SK Mandarin, then amended listed 4 others: Jose Ortega Mandarin Immersion; Flynn Spanish; Fairmount; Miraloma.

    Re letting go of a spot: our letter says "this new assignmnet offer has replaced your previous acceptance of another school offer (if applicable)." Since we had registered at Flynn Gen'l Ed, I read this to mean our spot there has been freed up by virtue of this assignment. Any other interpretations of that?

  122. We went 0/7, but ended up with Sunnyside. So, I wait pooled for Miraloma, and we did not get it in Round 2. I was feeling a little down in the dumps about it until I read these posts. Now I am feeling rather lucky!

  123. 6:58 -

    i understood that in any point in the process when you accept your waitpool school you lose your spot in any previously accepted school.

  124. The idea that those who didn't enroll in their first assignments, some how get down graded or didn't get to participate in the ammended lottery isn't true (and doesnt' make sense.) They don't penalize you for registering, or not registering. I handed my application in person, and it was recieved as a correct form. I did not put over subscribed schools, and i have been playing with best intentions.

    i'm glad 1/2 of the participants are relieved and/or OK with their school choices, but that doesn't negate the clear fact that this system doesn't work well enough for the majority of people. Should 80% be happy? What about 90%?

    i read over and over the implication that those of us in this position only put popular schools on our list. I don't think it's true. Still, we have a right to go to a school we trust. Not only do we need to fix the schools, we need to put money BACK IN.

    Turn back Prop 13 and watch our schools soar...

  125. do we have to stand in line at SFUSD tomorrow?? isn't there an other way to get answers? who knows this stuff?

  126. There were 10 Open Houses for homes for sale today within a 4 block radius from my house in Noe Valley. I kept wondering if any of those have to do with the Kindergarten situation.

    How the Mayor and the local government could think this is not important kills me.


  127. I was told by a friend who is on the board of one of the all girl privates that it is overenrolled - in other words, like what is happening in public schools, more people accepted their spots than have in the past and they have a problem. He said that this seems to be a problem in several of the sought after private schools this year. Wonder what is going on - all trends from the past (private and public) seem to be different this year.

    Of course, because they are private , these schools are not letting people know (I'm not sure how they plan to solve it!)

  128. It's noticeable for those of us sending their kids to private school, too. We were told that there would be 22 kids in each Kindergarten class, but when we received the class roster, we saw that there are 48 kids enrolled in K for next year. Apparently only one person came off the wait list and the majority of applicants accepted.

    We feel like we dodged a bullet with this acceptance, particularly given that we didn't receive any of our public schools we wanted in either round. But still, I wonder, how will the schools handle this higher enrollment? Maybe things will shake out over the summer as more public school spots become available. But it has to happen soon, as we start paying tuition in June, and tuition insurance doesn't apply unless the kids have attended school for something like 2 weeks.

  129. It's not uncommon for private schools to have more kids enrolling than they expect or really want. There's always some variation in the class sizes. Sometimes the schools will work it all out by letting the inevitable attrition happen over time and not accepting any new kids until the class is down to the desired size.

  130. I know Burkes is over enrolled but they let everyone know right away and they are actually going to create a new class to make room for everyone...

  131. this is 3:29, in reply to your question, we thought starr king mandarin was a good bet for the wait pool, and i think it was bc sounds like most people who put it as waitpool got in

  132. 3:59 asked
    "why dont we ask the city ,SFUD to make all schools great instead of a few, why is that most are bad.. It is so sad that our tax dollars are so wasted.That is the part that is broken.."

    3:59 - You suggested that SFUSD make all schools good schools. I wonder what you consider a good school? I mean, scores are correlated with socio-economic status, parents' education level etc. So if a white middle class kid is at Rooftop, or in Flynn general he is likely scoring plenty high compared to his English-learner friend or his lives-in-the-projects friend. (Whether this same kid might score better if he were at Rooftop over Flynn is unknown, and maybe unknowable.)

    The schools with lower scores are typically deemed STAR schools which entitles them to more funding which arguably then makes those "better schools" than the ones where the PTA is scrambling to pay an arts teacher.

    You know what SFUSD is doing wrong? It's letting in all those poor kids!

    A struggling school is boosted by the increase of middle class families of whatever race. "White flight" or more accurately "middle class flight" has always hurt the public schools and this recent infusion of middle-class families back into the system is helping the schools.

    A general question to those of you panicked about these unknown schools. What percentage of people like you will make you comfortable enough about the school to go there? And how up and running does the PTA need to be for you not to feel you (unfairly) have to be the trailblazer? Very few SF schools have a percentage of caucasian kids of higher than say, 15%. You know how many kids 15% of a 20-kid kindergarten is? THREE. 20% is FOUR KIDS. Your kid is going to be in the minority!

    As several people have stated, all a school needs are parents to be involved in a very normal capacity for a school to begin to change. Your commitment to your child's education is all it really takes. And there are so many of you here, you could all just DO it.

    Sign your damned kids up already. What the SFUSD, and the schools themselves need, is YOU.

  133. What makes a good school?

    Not teaching to stupid tests.

    Music weekly.

    PE daily.

    Art daily.

    Adequate special ed help and attention.


    No one is blaming low scores. Come on!! We've all toured the schools. There is a gross underspending on extra curriculum, teachers are over worked, and students are not getting any special help,really.

    I for one want diversity in my school. I want my child to see people like herself with a paint brush in her hand, working out their wiggles in a PE class, learning to dance and sing with kids of all socio-economic backrounds, as well as reading, etc.

    THAT is what a good school looks like to me.

  134. We rec'd #6 of 7 in the first round (H. Milk) and registered there. We also put in a couple schools as well as Alvarado GE as wait pool in the 2nd round. Our letter mentioned both lists and said "there will be add'l waiting pool runs in June, August and September" that we will be a part of.

  135. i agree with 9:17. this is a good district with strong teachers and needs more middle class family involvement. i have been so surprised and, honestly (sorry, not judging, just stating my feelings), disappointed to learn how many of my acquaintances and friends are opting for private or moving.

    the entire state, however, needs to spend more money per pupil.

  136. P.E. and art daily? Dream, on I guess. That all went out the window after Prop 13 passed.

  137. I think it's pretty smug to judge 0/7 - 0/8 people for choosing private schools. In our case, we listed approx 12 programs we could live with, and got none.

  138. I'm 0/7 and 0/8 and I was extremely lucky to get a spot at a so-called top private, even if it was off the wait list. My understanding is, none of the so-called 'top-privates' went to their waitlists this year except one, and I got that spot.

    But I don't feel lucky. I wanted public schools for my child. I didn't get one.

    And obviously, Kate got a public school she might be able to live with, and that's why she needs to take more time. I was one of the ones who felt green with envy and then dismissive about Kate's choice and her process. But now I have nothing but empathy for her. It's difficult no matter how you cut it. At this point, I'm happy somebody got offered something of that stupid round two, because I didn't.

    I am extremely lucky to have a private school, and to be able to stay in the City, but more importantly, I feel extremely unlucky to love a City as much as San Francisco...and not be loved back in the same way. This is a city that obviously doesn't care enough about my kids to provide easy no-buillshit access to good public schools. Access for everybody.

    I got 0/7 and 0/8 and have been denied access. Okay, it was by lottery, so it was a fair denial, but it was denial just the same.

    I mean, what if the US Constition granted rights by lottery? And only 80% of us got free speech, while the other 20% got to exercise religion?

    As a taxpayer especially, this is not fair. I say we start paying real estate taxes by lottery. Every year, only 81% will have to pay their real estate taxes.

    We're a major great City, not some third rate mid-west backwater.

  139. "why dont we ask the city ,SFUD to make all schools great instead of a few, why is that most are bad.. It is so sad that our tax dollars are so wasted.That is the part that is broken.."

    April 27, 2008 9:17 PM comment

    I agree with the above, we live in the most expensive Sate with the worst schools...I went to public and my child will go to public. I did not apply for a private school because I feel little harm can happen in the first few years as I plan to get involved and give it a try.
    I Have enrolled my child in a school in a neighborhood that I do not live that some would consider not so safe and it is not one of the top listed schools here or on any of the list. I am going to try my best to change the school however the state/district needs to meet me half way with my property tax dollars. The teachers are hard working folks but the state is mishandling the money and not making every school great. I am not talking about test scores, but a place that is safe and where my child and all children can learn no matter what their economic back ground. Isnt that the American dream.. so sad that might not be the case for all schools. It is scary but I have to trust the teachers and my abilty . By the way the school I got was not my choice.

  140. 10:13. What private did you get?

  141. 10:13 - I am really sorry you did not get one of your choices, and I'm glad that the private route has worked out for you even if it was not your preference. But I'm not sure exactly who you are blaming or what solution you have in mind?

    The problems, as I see them, for people on this list are (1) the underfunding of our schools caused by Prop 13; (2) too few schools have parent groups that can make up this deficit by fundraising to provide the kind of resources/enrichment that all of us want for our kids; and so (3) there are too many people who want to enroll their kids at the same schools (albeit 20 schools now, not the 5 it may have been in years past), and there are not enough slots. There is NO POSSIBLE WAY to deal with this third problem in a way that will give everyone what they want. The school district has devised a system that many on this list view as unfair, arbitrary, etc. But given the demand patterns, any system will leave some people who don't get the schools they want.

    I don't blame SF or its officials. The SF voters passed Prop H to provide some funding for arts, music, PE, etc., and I hope we will pass Prop A to increase teacher salaries and accountability. The School Board and School District are trying to figure out how to keep parents happy, but parents not getting their school choices is one of many problems they have to worry about. And no offense, but other problems caused by underfunding of schools -- like kids falling below basic proficiency levels (this District has one of the biggest achievement gaps in the state) -- may be higher on their priority list.

  142. Yeah. I'm sure they're really losing sleep over it.

  143. Seriously. I think the fact that a large percentage of middle class (and up) families can't enroll in a public school of their picking, when they are willing to CHOOSE FROM 20, is a huge f'ing problem.

    And then to ask us to continue to fund the schools that other people get because they are either lucky, connected (YES connected; i think we should push for an audit this year), or make time to lobby themselves mercilessly is just pathetic.

    The only reason I am going to vote for these additional parcel taxes and other taxes to help the public schools is to protect my property values. But all in all I feel like the system is completely corrupt.

    Like it is really a surprise that Kate received a choice? I'll bet you it's AFY. Oh wait, we're not supposed to discuss Kate now. Whatever.

  144. Anon at 9:17pm, your post made me so angry!

    It is unbelievably dismissive to assume that those of us who find some schools acceptable and some schools not acceptable for our child --for whatever reason, including distance from our house and availability of suitable after-care programs --have this point of view because of some kind of middle-class fear or unwillingness to roll up our sleeves and work.

    I have worked in many public schools, here and in other parts of the Bay Area, and I think it is incredibly naive to think that one or a small group of parents can change any school and turn it around if it is not functioning well. It takes a good principal, solid teaching staff, other SFUSD staff and involved contracted non-profits, as well as an involved parent community to make a good school. Also, a school may have great scores and still not be right for your child.

    Schools with a higher percentage of children living in poverty need to have many more resources than additional STAR funding can provide. Of course they need to make up for not having the kind of PTA that basically subsidizes the "public" education at other schools, but also they need additional resources aimed at early intervention and support for children that may just need more, and for their teachers. In my mind, the district should be trying to dedicate more resources to these schools to try to create more equity in the district. Then we could all be happy in schools we could walk to --or at least get to easily!-- instead of being shut out of our neighborhood schools.

    I wonder why there is so much blaming of those of us that did not get any of our choices in Round I or Round II. It is easy enough to say it's because we must have only chosen high demand schools, or those in our comfort zone. How insulting to those of us that toured more than, say, 10 or 15 schools, didn't really pay attention to scores, created a varied list, then chose a low-demand waitpool school, created an even more varied amended list with schools that were supposedly quite underenrolled (New Traditions, Sunnyside, J Serra, H Milk etc etc etc.)!

  145. Just wanted to share my story w/ some of you. Two years ago, I was in the same situation as many of you. We were 0/7 in round 1 and felt depressed, hopeless and lost. We did not have a backup plan such as private school. We then decided put in an amended list and waitlist our #1 school choice -Clarendon. Of course, we did not get any of our amended choices nor our waitlist choice during the first run. That said, we had to find an alternative. We toured a few private and Catholic schools. We pretty much believed we would NOT get into Clarendon but still left it on our waitlist. Come beginning of the school year, we ended up starting at a Catholic school. We liked it and our child seemed happy there. After the 10day count, we unexpectedly received a call that we got into Clarendon. It was a tough decision since our child was making friends and feeling comfortable at the current school. Well, we decided to take the spot at Clarendon. The first day was uneasy and scarey for both our child and us but after the first day was over, my child LOVED it. The teacher was great and the children were helpful and friendly. It was the best decision we made!

    As for the rumors of the JBBP adding another Kinder class....yes this is true. It was decided just a few weeks ago. There is talk about the possibility of Second Community adding another Kinder class for the following year but that is not confirmed. The JBBP program is exploring the possibility of splitting from Second Community - whether it's JBBP changing sites or Second Community changing sites. All of this is in the exploring & talking stages so if this were to happen, it would not happen for at least a couple of years.

    On another note, I would encourage staying on the waitlist thru the 10day count. I know many families who were accepted to schools (not only Clarendon) this way. Believe it or not, there are many families that move or take private school spots and "forget" to drop their public school spot. Two years ago, there were 4 spots at Clarendon opened and last year there were 5 spots opened in one Kinder class alone and another 3 spots opened in the other Kinder classes. We know many families that were offered their #1 waitlist choice also. Many took the spots and others didn't which opened the spots to the other waitlist families. I know the whole process is discouraging but hopefully my story gives you some hope.

  146. "The only reason I am going to vote for these additional parcel taxes and other taxes to help the public schools is to protect my property values."

    It's that kind of self interested thinking that led to Prop 13 (though I'm glad it at least leads you to support rather than oppose public school funding).

    Whether their kids are heading public or private, I think most people on this blog will vote to support the public schools because they know it's important to care about EVERYONE's kids, not just their own. And even if some slots get allocated based on connections (and I'm not sure they do), the public schools in this City and the kids who attend them need money and support.

    I hope it was just your anger talking.

  147. This discussion has been going on for at least 6 years:

    As for the rumors of the JBBP adding another Kinder class....yes this is true. It was decided just a few weeks ago. There is talk about the possibility of Second Community adding another Kinder class for the following year but that is not confirmed.

  148. My anger versus your condescension; which is less attractive?

    It's so easy to be smug when you join a crowd that includes parents who withhold preschool for their children in order to gain priority in the public school lottery.

    And BTW you have no clue what got Prop 13 passed, nor the impact it truly has now.

  149. Yes, Kortney, I am interested in forming a group to come up with reform options for SFUSD application process.

    Here is what I've come up with so far (after the Round I letters I posted much of this. I've tried to improve on my original proposal by not taking up slots after Round I at schools which people don't want anyway, thus freeing them up for people who do for Round II, and who would probably put together a more attainable list for Round II):

    Sibling Assignment:
    Siblings apply two months before Round I lottery, and results posted on SFUSD’s web site. This starts a running tally of each school showing total number of slots and the number available after sibling preference given assuming all of them register.
    If a sibling does not apply now then s/he loses sibling preference and must participate in the Round I lottery.

    Round I Lottery:
    Applicants submit seven choices, in order of preference.
    Diversity index used.
    Assignments given to only those applicants who received one of their seven choices (this allows slots that very well might not be taken by unhappy applicants to be available in Round II Lottery). Applicants who did not receive one of their seven choices must participate in Round II Lottery.
    Results posted on the running tally started with the Sibling Assignment, showing number of applicants per school (this allows you to assess a school’s popularity, which will be useful in putting together your list of schools for Round II if you didn’t get one in Round I. It will also be useful for next year’s applicants when applying during Round I).

    Registration I:
    Register at assigned school, and results posted on running tally, showing number of applicants per school (broken down into sibling and non-sibling) and number of available slots left.

    Round II Lottery:
    Applicants submit seven choices, in order of preference.
    Diversity index used?
    Unlike Round I Lottery, even applicants who did not receive one of their choices is assigned a school.
    Results posted on the running tally.

    Regisration II:
    Register at assigned school.
    Results posted on the running tally.

    Only those who did not get one of their choices in Round II may participate in the waitlist?
    An applicant’s entire list of seven choices is used, although the order of preference is disregarded?


  150. The discussion may have been going on for the last 6 years but it was decided to open another JBBP Kinder class. Here's the letter from our Principle:

    New JBBP Kindergarten Class Next Year

    Parent Colleagues --
    As a means of addressing our long-term budgetary and school capacity issues, the School Site Council decided late Friday to add another JBBP kindergarten class next year. This issue was also a hot topic of conversation at the two parent meetings last week. There may very well be an extra Second Community classroom added the following year.
    The District's student placement office gave us a deadline of Friday to decide this issue, because they were doing the second round student computer run that day. Consequently, whatever students are being assigned to this new classroom has already been decided by the District, and the parents will be notified in the coming weeks. We will keep you informed of any further developments.
    Thanks, Mark Barmore

  151. Henry, these are good and practical suggestions. Of course the problem of too few "attractive" spots for too many applicants cannot be solved by any assignment system (there will always be unhappy people until the number of "attractive" spots meets demand), but these ideas would give parents more information to work with. Thanks. I hope PPS takes these up and promotes them.

  152. 9:17 here
    Ultimately I think the commitment to our schools and the additional funds need to come from the State. This is one frickin' rich State and it's inexcusable that our education spending is 48th or whatever it is. To that end we should all be protesting and letter-writing as well.

    Also Anon 10:18 - that quote from my post was actually the comment of Anon 3:58 which irritated me, not mine.

    Parkside Girl - I hear what you're saying that it takes more than committed parents to make a school great, but I also assume that some of these schools: J Serra and Paul Revere and Sanchez and Cesar Chavez and some of these other schools do indeed have exactly what it takes - good principals, teachers etc. and a closer look or conversations with a teacher or principal or parents at the nearby playground might be all it takes to be won over. I NEVER would have known that Flynn and Fairmount and Harvey Milk and Sunnyside would have made my list (this was last year) until I looked closer and liked them. In fact, schools I assumed I would love got bumped or low positions (Alvarado was 7th on my list.)

    And do we know if the schools with poor kids get more resources from the City? I would guess they do. (Where is Caroline when you need her?) And you are right that they SHOULD.

    Also, not all of you who didn't get anything actually did what you mentioned: "didn't really pay attention to scores, created a varied list, then chose a low-demand waitpool school, created an even more varied amended list with schools that were supposedly quite underenrolled". (Really, if you put J Serra on your ammended list then you are surely already among those willing to jump in and give a school (which seems to have the other things in place like strong leadership etc) a chance.

    I really am speaking to the ones who sound entitled and fearful and blaming.

    Who DID put J Serra on their ammended list and get it?

  153. Wanted to promote Marshall to those who just got a spot. I haven't seen it discussed here, but there is a great "Odyssey of the Mind" program in place now. Many wealthy and suburban schools do basically gives groups of kids the chance to compete at solving big, fun science projects. Very cool, and the kids learn a lot in a hands-on way. The Marshall kids did well this year. Also, Marshall's small student body means all the kids are known and needs can be met. Many very bright kids are thriving at Marshall (and speaking / reading / writing in two languages).

    Anyway, welcome.

  154. 10:13 -- Just a quick clarification: I'm not sure what "mid-west backwater" you're talking about, because the Midwestern states I'm familiar with use regularly assessed property values as a basis for property taxes, which then get pumped into the public schools, making them some of the best in the country. You know, what life would be like if Prop 13 were repealed.

  155. 12:25, agreed. At the very least, we should be splitting the tax rolls so that that the huge corporations that are sitting on grandfathered property from pre-Prop 13 days (these huge companies are not turning over their property every generation as individuals tend to do) are not paying ridiculously low taxes on their much-appreciated real estate.

  156. PS--by splitting the tax rolls, I mean individuals from corporations. That might be a (politically feasible) first step to rolling back Prop 13.

  157. 9:17 Question-
    You are asking everyone else what was on their list acting a bit high and mighty I have to say. I think you have it somewhat wrong , for many of us we are working class parents who of course want to help, roll up our sleeves and do right by our kids. We still need schools that are close enough to our homes that they do not cause a hardship to oursleves to work, ( how am going to drop off 2 kids and get to work in time), some of us have more than one kid, we need good safe after school care, and we want our kids to be educated in a safe place. Test scores are not what I looked at but for others it is important, that is their choice. Some of us did not apply to private schools or the "Claredons" Your general statements really bother me, where is your child going? Did you enroll in Daniel Webester or Star King GE or where? I know that when I built my list I had to look at how I was going to get to work first, sounds shallow but we can't live here in this city without my income, then I looked at the enviroment, the teachers, the diversity and last test scores..
    what school did you put on your list? People are unhappy about this (lottery/ choice) for some reason not just because of their economic reason that you assume.Our decison on what schools hit out list had layers and layers..

  158. " the schools with poor kids get more resources from the City? I would guess they do. (Where is Caroline when you need her?)"

    Sympathy to everyone who is still without a school and stressing...

    Yes, schools with more low-income kids get more resources from various sources (the schools aren't funded by the city except for special initiatives like Prop. H).
    Federal Title 1 funding is a big source providing extra money to schools with more low-income kids.

    Of course that's the way it should be, though you definitely hear parents at the schools with fewer low-income kids screaming bloody murder about it at times, since those schools are often also lower- achievign ("We're being penalized for success! They're being rewarded for failure!").

    Not leaping into the entire spat from which this comment came ...

    "...BTW you have no clue what got Prop 13 passed, nor the impact it truly has now."

    ... but I was a young (reasonably aware) voter when Prop. 13 passed. It was a combination of factors, but I would say that denial and short-sightedness were definitely among them. The squawking was that there was so much fat in government -- all we had to do was cut the fat, waste, bureaucracy and blah-blah. The irony is that the generations that really supported Prop. 13 (probably born, say, 1900-1335 or so) had their lives and fortunes transformed by the largest government program ever, the GI Bill, and bought their house with VA loans. So you can see how totally clueless it was to start yelling about waste, fat and fraud in government.

    The results are quite evident; our schools just basically had what they were perceived to need before that, and we can all see the situation now. In other areas you can spot the effects too -- often when you're on an interstate and cross a border into California, the surface suddenly turns rough and bumpy, for example.

    Off-topic, but since it came up.

    I hope the EPC (which is certainly not covering itself with glory) and PPS are providing some solid help and counseling starting today.

  159. Keep the ideas for reform coming! I'll keep track of them best I can.

    I think 7 choices to too many, honestly. I also have spoken with people who think it's a good idea to divide the city into 4 districts,and neighbors choose from one of their "extended neighborhood" schools. hardships and other petitions available.


  160. Before you panic, know that I have two friends who scored Spanish-immersion spots late in the game last year. If you can hang in for the 10 day count, the immersion programs often have openings from immigrant kids who move away and neglect to tell the school.

  161. other reform ideas:

    -- put schools into three tiers based on last year's enrollment figures (i.e., how many applicants per seat). let's call them grossly overenrolled, neutral, underenrolled. maybe you have to apply to two schools in each tier, but you are guaranteed a placement after one round. (this would force parents to tour off-the-radar schools instead of just name ones. if the prevailing idea is that people would be pleasantly surprised if they opened their minds, well, this might shift the tour focus to lesser known schools.) then...waitlist.
    -- i think maybe immersion and special foci like art or science or flynn's planned IBPYP program that offer something significantly different from the standard should be more like magnet programs and have their own lottery. don't know how to jibe the two.
    -- PTA fund-sharing/school-sponsoring. someone raised this idea earlier in a different thread, as well as the fact that it was resoundly crushed in palo alto. i think it has potential. i'm all for local site council leadership, but what if at least part of every schools fundraising effort (at least after it reaches a certain level), goes into a districtwide pot, with a big oversight committee comprised of members of different schools (again, tiered?)?

    i'm not very good at this stuff, but i feel quite desperate. the situation is desperate. i attended CA public schools my whole life. my elementary had greek, russian and spanish, for chrissake! i think i was among the first group to have both GATE and, later, AP classes (for what they were worth). and it was in a working-class tract in orange county (apparently, like dear caroline, i am from the middle ages, when orange groves flourished, irvine didn't exist and mastadons roamed the earth).

  162. i think the upshot of what i'm saying is, i understand that no system can promise every parent a spot at the most popular schools. but it CAN promise a spot at one of their CHOICES. as long as you have to rely on getting lucky and watching your chances decline after round I, people will not trust the system. i think this measure of control is not unreasonable. we may be a bunch of bobos but we're energetic, productive bobos. (can you tell i've been reading that new yorker article about bonobo apes? now that i've used "bobo," "bonobo" and "new yorker" in the same sentence, i am going to be enshrined in the bourgeouis hall of fame.)

    and, yes, i do think the city as a whole needs to wake up to what it really takes to have a middle class and families remain here -- housing and access to decent education. didn't someone famous talk about the link between a middle class and democracy? (so much for my excellent CA public education.) that, and i just want to be able to ride muni free and unmuzzled with regard to a sleeping child in a stroller (off-peak only!).

  163. I really don't buy that we 0/7 & 0/8 families are in this fix because of Prop 13 or funding.

    Of course money is an issue. But come on.

    Every other Bay Area County gets roughly the same money per/child, and nobody on this list can say that the schools aren't "overall" better in Marin, parts of Oakland Berkeley or Palo Alto or wherever. All due respect.

    I think the reason SF schools aren't better and more of an option than they are has something to do the fact that our city government is full of people who don't have children and don't see the problem, or there is some sort of obvious racial power structure problem where the leaders are out of touch with other communities.

    The lottery itself is such a rube goldberg construct that could only be born out of a government.

    And so many citizens just are not involved. It has to do with that. There is a disconnect somewhere, whereas there isn't one in more homogeneous surrounding communities. If any place can address and fix that, it would be SF. We need to get off our asses. It's not about money.

    And mainly, it has to do with the fact the system to enter the schools is so bizarre and scary and tamper-happy with some b.s. diversity index, nobody wants to go near it. I would honestly tell friends not to go through what I did. It's been a load of insanity.

    I honestly think that if we had neighborhood schools, the schools would be better.

    I am a single mom in the Mission. I want to send my child to a school that looks like my neighborhood. The Mission is chock full of children these days, of all colors, of all socio-economic means. Tons of us own our houses and pay property taxes. Many if not most could afford at least parochial school. But you shouldn't have to. That's what the property tax is supposed to be, a form of tuition. But if my neighbors just went to the damned school down the block, it would be diverse. There are very few neighborhood schools that wouldn't be MORE diverse than they are now, if the kids just went down the damned block and went to the school.

    I live in the Mission, so don't talk to me about the possible resulting token all-white schools that would exist in Pacific Heights. I don't care. That wouldn't be the majority. Most of this city would end up diverse and fine. Noe would be fine. Bernal. Potrero. Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Russian Hill, North Beach. The majority of this city's neighborhood schools would be very colorful, very economically diverse. Which is all we want, right??

    It can't be any less diverse than the all asian or all african american or all latino schools we have now. It's the perception of those non-diverse schools and that may be scaring many people away, which results in the the government not doing its job. If you had a couple mostly-white schools in Pacific Heights or the Marina, or wherever, it would take enormous pressure off the situation, and possibly bring enough families into the system to make it work all over the city for everybody.

    I'm ranting. I'm grasping at straws. Anything has to be better than this fercockt lottery. It isn't all about money.

    San Franciscans have the money, the success, the education to form an excellent base for public schools. Yet the schools overall are not excellent. Big deal, we're up to 20 schools, or 30. That's not enough.

  164. The tiered system makes sense to me. Cut the choice down to 6, and run siblings/hardships first.

    I also like the general PTA pot, first, but I can already imagine how the funraising will STOP at individual schools once it reaches the max amount before going to that general fund. Maybe a 5% of total fund raising goes to a gen pot? Oh, the controversy...

    And sorry for the typo's. I'm running around like a crazy woman this morning, blogging in between tantrums, old dog and laundry over flow.

  165. I don't know how many of you guys are experienced in fundraising -either as a profession or as a parent volunteer - but I really feel that PTA $ sharing isn't the way to go when there are MILLIONS of dollars that 'the system' could reallocate to schools to make things fairer. But it does take learning some of the more wonk-ish policy issues to educate more people/voters and hold our elected officials accountable.

    For example, it's less money, and more time, that studies show that PTA/PTOs bring to their schools. It's time making copies, helping in the classroom, even helping teachers check homework and put up bulletin boards that studies show provides the biggest bang.

    But what our Board of Ed, union and others won't address are things like teacher salary averaging which causes schools with concentrations of new (i.e. 'less expensive to the district bottom line') teachers in lower performing, higher minority schools to basically FUND schools with concentrations of senior (i.e. more expensive teachers who get to choose where they teach) in typically higher performing, high socioeconominc schools.

    This can leave a Bayview school 'funding' a westside school to the tune of $20,000 - $40,000 or more per year per teacher! Multiply that by 15 or so teachers and you see some real money.

    It wipes away any advantage of the SFUSD weighted student formula which gives more money to students that come from disadvantaged situations.

    But don't expect any politico's to tackle it because they won't get elected without union/labor support.

  166. I don't know how wise it is for the PPS to keep campaigning for the public schools. Look what happened when there were less than 400 unexpected new students. Imagine what would happen if the majority of SF kids actually enrolled here. Total disaster.

  167. Funny,
    When we only had 5 choices we clamored for 7. I don't see how limiting choices makes it more likely you'll get one of your choices! Think about it - the more options, the more your chances of getting a choice. And you don't know how many of those who got one of their choices got it from their 6-7th choice (something it'd be great for EPC to share for the future.)

    Superintendent Carlos Garcia noted that the assignment system is something they'll be starting to revisit next year. But don't expect it to solve all the problems or make everyone happy as there are things that have to be addressed and balanced for families who do not post on this blog. Equaly access for ALL kids - in the truest sense.

    While some 'poo-poo' the statement that 'we should make all the schools better' - in the end, I beleive this is really the answer. We wouldn't have a student assignment problem if EVERY parent percieved EVERY school as a viable option.

    And, as a more 'seasoned' public school parent, I certainly want choices and not to have to be forced to only one or a handful of options.

    The problem that happened this year is simply this: Demand increased faster than PERCEIVED supply.

    Just as in past years when this happened (when Miraloma, Grattan etc. suddenly came on people's radar) now we are seeing similar schools like Sunnyside, Ortega, J. Serra and Paul Revere come into the supply chain.

    People can't believe it when I tell them that 9 years ago parents at my preschool were whispering about a friend was sending her kid to Alvarado (a 'scary school'). The perception changed with parents getting the good word out about what was actually happening in that school. Now Noe Valley and neighboring families are clamoring to get in. A few years later it was Miraloma, then Flynn, then Starr King, etc.

    We have to keep expanding the perceived supply and it happens through real quality change at a school (principal leadership/teacher quality) and parent engagement and getting the word out.

    My heart goes out to all you at 0/7- 0/8. It IS an awful feeling. But please heed the advice of those that have gone before you and hang in there.

  168. I don't know how wise it is for the PPS to keep campaigning for the public schools.

    Hopefully you are joking.

  169. "Imagine what would happen if the majority of SF kids actually enrolled here. Total disaster."

    Surely the majority of SF kids DO enroll here - perhaps you are talking about white kids who only make up 10% of the school population - it's not the same thing.

  170. "... Look what happened when there were less than 400 unexpected new students. Imagine what would happen if the majority of SF kids actually enrolled here. Total disaster...."

    I have to think about this one. I have no doubt that think there would be short-term chaos in the enrollment process, but in the long run, we would be a lot closer to "making all the schools good" if most children in San Francisco attended SFUSD schools. And if the perception that there are only a few schools were erased, the stress-filled search-and-enrollment process would transform. Parents might have a preference, but they'd be much less likely to get alarmed over an assignment to John Muir or Cobb.

  171. 8:53 am. AMEN! Just a few years ago Grattan (my kids' school) was under the radar.

    The 3-5 grades are not filled to capacity. K-2 are. When my child was in Kindergarten, Grattan was on the school closure list.

    I found out about Grattan at my child's preschool, a parent had a child in K there, and urged me to check it out.

    I did and fell in love with the small community, the teachers, the technology lab, and the principal. We listed it first. Our friends and neighbors (noe valley) were aghast. What about West Portal, what about Clarendon, Alvarado, etc.? All had higher test scores after all and were the top choices.

    We felt Grattan was the right fit for our family.

    Just a few years later the same neighbors and friends are telling us we're lucky to be where we are. I thought so then, I think so now.

    Perceptions change so fast, it's amazing.

  172. "P.E. and art daily? Dream, on I guess. That all went out the window after Prop 13 passed."

    Trust me, I have serious issues with Prop 13, but at my school, it's not about the amount of art or p.e. It's about the fact that the PTA has to raise massive amounts of money to pay for it. Something not all schools can do.

    Really, I'm not sure how we could fit a separate p.e. period and a separate art class into every day. Our weeks feel pretty busy as it is.

    In my son's first grade class we have P.E. once a week and motor (kinda like P.E.)once a week. At recess the kids play organized sports if they want or just run around. It seems to be well supervised, but could probably use a "coach" or two. Many of the kids also play on a parent-organized and coached soccer or baseball team outside of school. We also go to the local playground once afternoon a week. Persoanlly, I'm more than satisfied with the amount of physical activity and I feel like they are learning good sportmanship and the rules of the games.
    As far as Art, if we lump together all of the arts (visual, music and dance) I'm not unhappy with the amount offered this year. We have an artist in residence who has worked with the kids on great visual arts projects. The kids just had a wonderful singing performance, which clearly showed that they are getting music opportunities. Our school participates in the AIM program through the symphony- which is my son's very favorite. He actually asked to go to the symphony the other day! (By the way, Is 7 too young for trumpet lessons? He really wants to take them but I'm just not sure.) His class has been taking dance once a week. I'm looking forward to the Bhangra dance they will be performing in the upcoming month. We also have had some really cool parent-led art projects as well. Also, Friday afternoons the kids get a free choice time, which includes as an option working with a table full of really cool art aupplies and scraps. Finally, art is incorporated throughout his coursework - for one example they illustrate the stories they write.
    Is it perfect, probably not. I remember drolling at the art studio at SF Day. But it's certainly not as bad as some make it sound, and to the contrary, I would say it's pretty darn impressive.

  173. anon 9:32:

    Just out of curiosity--what school does your child attend?

  174. anon 9:32:

    Just out of curiosity--what school does your child attend?

  175. Maybe, with the baby boom that happened sometime around 2002, the district needs to look at either opening more schools or adding more K classrooms to meet the demand for increased enrollment...just a thought. (I realize there is no $$ for this, but I don't see any other solution)

  176. there are already enough schools for all the kids in the district!!!!

  177. Anon 9:41:

    We're at Grattan. And for whatever it's worth, none of the 1st grade classes are at 20 students. I believe the Ks are filled up after the 10 day count this year (?), but they were not full last year when we were in K. We've had 18 students in our class both years.

  178. This year's kindergarten at Miraloma is the first time all 3 classes remained full. Upper grade classrooms are not full - despite increasing popularity and exponential kindergarten applications the last 5 years - and many transfers into the school in 1-5th grades.

    I say this to emphasize that in the fall, most of the kindergarten classes at most schools -even the most popular ones - will have an opening or two AT LEAST. (And the Miraloma's, Grattans, Shermans, McKinleys, Sunnysides, Ortegas, etc. will have more.)

    If only we could fine families that are holding spots and not taking them - I see an income opportunity!

  179. I just came back from a visit with a counselor at EPC. DO NOT GO DOWN THERE TODAY!

    They will not have any information or new numbers until tomorrow.

    However --they did not announce this, or mention it when people checked in. The result was that we waited for around an hour and a quarter (with my 3 kids! Finally my husband took my 5 year old to preschool and I stayed with the two , increasingly fussy toddlers!). When we talked to the counselor, he said that, in fact, none of our amended list schools had any openings (New Traditions, FS Key, Sunnyside), and Sunnyside even has a current waitpool!

    He would not give us even provisional #s on our waitpool school, but said to come back later in the week, when it would be calmer.

    He did say that they will run a "Round III", with only waitpools, the week before memorial day. You have until May 9th to change your waitpool for this round.

    I can't tell you how frustrated I was by the waste of time, my husband taking off 1 1/2 hours of work, nap schedules being seriously off (due to a catnap in the car), all to just have to do it again later this week!

    Why can't things be clearly communicated in advance!!!

  180. How does one begin a child's school life, get him used to a new routine, teacher, classroom... and then yank him out after two weeks?

    Don't. Just keep your kid home during the 10-day count. Whatever you end up doing it's just one school started a little late and your kid won't know the difference.

  181. We wait listed Rosa Parks JPPB and got it. I expect it's in an awkward location for many of the Noe/Bernal/Mission families on this blog (Japantown) but I think it's really worth a look if it can work for your family and it possibly might still have space. The JBBP program has amazing parents. The school has lots of extra funding because there are so many low-income kids in the General Ed strand. The new principal, Monica Nagy, is a turnaround expert. We live in the Haight and figured out we could get cheap monthly carpool parking in the Japantown garage and take the 38L downtown where we work. Buses take the kids to a number of available aftercare programs if you need that. We figure it will cost about $500 per month with parking and aftercare.

    We also had an unexpected financial windfall that will allow us to stay at Adda Clevenger for another year. It's a tough decision. Our son has grown quite attached to his teachers and friends there, the teachers have worked marvelously well with him, and the variety really suits his personality. It's tough to leave the known good (for him) for the unknown. Adda also works well logistically for the adults in our family with it's later start time and our ability to park free on the street and catch the J downtown. We've got a lot of discussion ahead of us before the May 9 enrollment deadline. Someone on another strand of this blog asked "What's so great about Adda Clevenger?" so I'll post more about that over there though it will be a "chacun a son gout" kind of post rather than "everyone should go there" kind of post.

    Ironic that we now have two good choices when a week ago, we were looking at selling our condo and renting in Mill valley. Heartfelt sympathy to those who are still anxiously waiting. It was just dumb luck that we are no longer in that place. I think that's the most frustrating thing about the school application process is that no matter what decisions you as parents make, you have no control. You can't choose to buy or rent in a neighborhood where you like the school because there's no guarantee you'll get that school. You can spend hours and hours on tours and try to get something in the lottery that feels good for you child and works for your family logistically, but so many do not get any choices. You can try for private school, but you may not get one or you may not get enough financial aid. Holding out for September has worked for some people, but that's an awful lot of anxiety to live with and again, it's a question of dumb luck.


  182. Here's an update from PPS:
    We want to let you know that we have received your messages and comments here and on the Kfiles blog. We have a call into the Educational Placement Center at SFUSD to learn more about high level information in this round and next steps.

    Issues we are inquiring about include:
    -Clarification about Round II assignment letter;
    -Next steps and contact information at the EPC;
    -Information about openings at schools;
    -Overall trends for assigned and unassigned applicants in this round.

    Hang in there – we will be in touch within the next couple of days or as soon as we know more.

    Lorraine, Ellie, Vicki and the staff at PPS

  183. This comment calls for a little elaboration:

    "While some 'poo-poo' the statement that 'we should make all the schools better' - in the end, I beleive this is really the answer. We wouldn't have a student assignment problem if EVERY parent percieved EVERY school as a viable option."

    Nobody would pooh-pooh the statement that we should make all the schools better if it were feasible.

    It's usually prefaced with "why don't they just...?" But it's like ending war, eliminating world hunger and curing cancer. No school district, state, nation anywhere has found a way to "make all the schools good" when they're serving a diverse, high-need, high-poverty population. SO, the question is "HOW?"

    If the comment is pooh-poohed, it's not because it's not an optimal goal; it's because it's not very achievable. I mean, maybe SFUSD can do it one day and be the first ever.

    Unrelated and off-topic -- I had an interesting discussion about that Oakland bullying story with a parent at that school. I'll post about it on the relevant thread.

  184. 10:33 - that's a dangerous game. If you do this then your kid won't be part of their schools 10 day count and their seat can be re-filled. If you do not end up getting your waitpool school you won't have your original place either - ?

  185. What original place? A school that still had empty seats after you went 0/8? It'll still be there for you.

  186. There were 2 kids in my son's K class who started at a different school and then moved to our school after the 10-day count, and both sets of parents said that it was really a non-issue for their kids to make this switch. It seems like this is one of those transitions that's a bigger deal for parents than for the kids. Of course, there are many kids who would be thrown by switching after the 10-day count, but there are also many, perhaps more, who would adjust very easily.

  187. My child's K class in Grattan has 20 kids, but a few people came in at the 10 day count.

    I'm sure there will be some openings next year in all grades, people move, people change schools. It's fluid.

  188. Has anybody tried Commodore Sloat? I heard it's a good school and pretty accessible for the upper Noe folks. Friends of ours have a kid in K over there and love it.

  189. 0/15!

    TOURS are a waste of time. That's all I can say. Don't bother taking time off and searching for the school that feels 'right' - you're not going to get it anyway.

    Apply for private. At least you feel like you have some control.

  190. I like Kim Green's idea of tiers based on last year's over-applied, neutral, and under-applied. Would force us parents to look beyond the same 20 schools. (Did everyone else see the same 200 parents on tour at every stop? Yet I did not tour J Serra or Sunnyside--and wish that I had noticed them back then, before they apparently filled up in Round 2.)

  191. Yes, this talk of Grattan or H Milk or Marshall being the "hidden gems" is craziness! Those are not safety schools on a list of seven. They were the gems three years ago, maybe. The new gems are Sunnyside and J Serra, Paul Revere and Ortega, and Starr King Mandarin. Maybe that will last for a year or two -- maybe -- but which ones are the gems beyond that? I know Daniel Webster is supposed to come online at some point with immersion and parent activism.

  192. I just got back from EPC and have a couple of answers.

    I was one that had the letter that made no mention to the amended list. It only said we didn't get our waitpool choice. The counselor confirmed with his manager, and supposedly this letter was given if you applied for a waitpool and an amended list at the same time. It means that you didn't get a spot from your new amended list or your waitpool choice, they just didn't want to send out two letters. Sorry for those hoping for another letter today (I know I was) I even started day dreaming that he was going to come back and tell me that there had been some huge error and I would get my original first choice (Grattan). Unfortunately that didn't happen!

    He also said that the waitpool lists will be available online and at the EPC tomorrow if you want to look at your choice and how many others are in the waitpool you can access that tomorrow. You have until May 9th to change your waitpool for this next run, which will be in the end of May. I also asked if the waitpool list was a random lottery and he said yes, but first it looked at hardships and medical requests, then the parents from Round 1 that listed 7 schools and got none went into the next priority group.

    He also offered to switch my daughters school original offer at that time to a school with open slots. We have Cobb. I asked about New Traditions, Sunnyside, Harvey Milk, and Francis Scott Key and he said they were all full. He was actually surprised that many of the "not well known" schools like Rooftop and Clarendon were full. He said that the only schools open were the less desirable or well known schools.

    I hope this helps clarify some questions. I know this is frustrating.

    Good Luck!

  193. I totally agree.

    Grattan,Miraloma, etc are not hidden gems anymore. Grattan was the 10th most requested Kindergarten this year.

    These schools were hidden gems 3-4 years ago. They've since lost that status. Grattan lost their title 1 funding last year.

    There were upwards of 50 people touring Grattan this year, every week. When we toured, there were maybe 10.

    Large crowds on tours means the school is on everyone's radar.

  194. 12:22 PM said:
    He was actually surprised that many of the "not well known" schools like Rooftop and Clarendon were full. He said that the only schools open were the less desirable or well known schools.

    I have no idea what this means. Rooftop and Clarendon are not well known?

    Can you clarify?

  195. I assume that was simply a phrasing error -- he meant schools that are not as well known as places like Clarendon and Rooftop.

  196. We went 0/7 in Round 1, were assigned to McKinley and enrolled to save our spot. We wait-listed Clarendon JBBP for round 2 (no ammended list). We got Clarendon JBBP from the wait list. I think that after May 9 (the enrollment deadline for Round 2), there will be another wait pool run and many spots being held from Round 1 enrollments will be opened up.

  197. "The new gems are Sunnyside and J Serra, Paul Revere and Ortega, and Starr King Mandarin."


    The district does keep legacy information on-line.

    If you look at Grattan's numbers for example you'll see the steady uptick.

    2004/05 : 125 total requests
    2005/06 : 172 total requests
    2006/07 : 227 total requests
    2007/08 : 351 total requests
    2008/09 : 508 total requests

    Miraloma's numbers show the same kind of rise in popularity.

    I wish the SFUSD would do what many here have suggested, and place siblings earlier in the year then make the information available to everyone.

    However, I can't stress enough, a few years ago (these kids are now in the 2nd grade and older) people were reluctantly taking spots at Miraloma, at Grattan, at Harvey Milk, etc.

    The Sunnysides and others will show the same growth. More people end up there, even if it wasn't where they hoped to be, and then decide to make the best of it. They'll realize it isn't all that bad. You'll see people getting involved and soon those schools will be over run on tour day.

  198. 12:59, such a lucky break for you, to go 0/7 but get McKinley, which is really a decent school, in the "McKinley Glitch of 2008," thus be able to enroll there to hold a spot, and then get your choice of Clarendon JBBP in the Round 2 waitpool. Congratulations! This was an odd example of a glitch benefiting someone, by chance. Although there should not have been an error, I'm glad it worked out for someone, in a strangely lucky way.

    You are absolutely correct that there will be lots more movement in the run after May 9, when more folks make their moves. (And people! please do tell the schools by May 9 if you will be dis-enrolling from a registered spot for whatever reason! Give everyone else a break!).

    Wanted to say congrats as well to Kim Green and Marlowe's Mom and all the anonymouses who got what they wanted in Round 2. And good luck and sympathy to those still waiting.

  199. I know there are those that may not want to hear it again, but being a part of a group that help raise up a school can be it’s own reward. I am a much older mom and felt like I did not really want to get too involved with the elementary school (figuring that I would not relate to the parents). I was wrong. Though I have had an ongoing history of volunteerism with other groups, rarely have I gotten more satisfaction or felt as much a part of a community as when I started to volunteer with the school. I think it is because of the driving nature of the task at hand, which is to have the best possible education for your own child. This feeling starts to translate to wanting the best possible education for your child’s classmates, then to all the kids at the school. You become as attached to those children as your own. Just like this blog took off because of the intense feelings the K applicants had for the task at hand, that intensity can work within the context of the school. I work full time, so my time is precious. However, I have no regrets about rolling up my sleeves and doing my best. I am a member of one of the now popular (not then) schools, and seeing it blossom will be a memory that I will hold forever in my heart as something worthwhile. Is it not the point of life to create value?

  200. The whole point is that not all of us have husbands who earn enough money to support the household, so we, ahem, HAVE to work.

    Would be nice to have the luxury to spend all day volunteering for causes I believe in, like improving schools. Maybe in my next life I'll get smarter and marry a rich guy who sticks around.