Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another round

Has anyone received Wait Pool assignment letters today? SFUSD mailed letters on Friday.


  1. No letter for us (as we suspected). We'll be at the EPC on Tuesday for Open Enrollment, for which I have a plan.

    I'm thinking that there hasn't been a lot of talk about that because people are trying to be a bit protective of their back-up plans? I'd love to hear about what others are doing (whether before Tuesday or afterwards)

  2. I've given up on plans since so far they have not proven to be fruitful. My only hope at this point is that by opening up our acceptable geographic radius, we may receive an acceptable spot, even if that means far more driving than I could have imagined when this process started. The notion of "choice" at this point is meaningless to me.

    Congrats to those who received good news this round.

  3. We received a letter, but it was a very odd letter as the letter stated that since we never enrolled at our assigned school we lost out spot and were given a list of schools with openings. We were an 0/7 family. Here is the weird part, we did enroll at our assigned school and have been trying to get a more acceptable school ever since. So I guess I'll be down at EPC on Tuesday to sort out what the heck happened. Makes me wonder how many other screw-ups have happened through the many iterations of this really special process.

  4. 3:18, I hope you saved your copy of original assignment sheet with the initials or signature or other notation on it of the person who registered your child at your assigned school. This can be proof that you did register. I guess this only means something if you will find it acceptable at all and don't get something more acceptable, but still, it would be nice to know you had something. Best wishes for this all working out in the end for you.

  5. Do you mind sharing the list of schools with openings? thanks.

  6. yes, please share the list of schools with openings!

  7. Finally got good news... We got our letter on Saturday and were thrilled to finally get a school we wanted. We were shooting for the moon with our waitpool schools in Rd 1 & 2 (though not our lists of 7) and were much more conservative with this last waitpool round. It paid off and we are truly relieved. Our very best to those of you who are still mucking through this crazy process.

  8. which school did you list and receive?

    congrats. we are now 0/16 but hanging in there. it is nice to see good news and some enthusiasm this late in the process.

  9. We got Fairmount, which had low waitpool numbers after Round 2 and is our attendance area school, so we figured this was our best shot.

    Hoping to hear more good news from folks on this and the next round.

  10. This is Anon from 3:18
    Here is the list of schools with openings. I don't know how many opening there may be:

    Bret Harte both GE and SB
    Bessie Carmichael Filipino Bilinguat
    Dr. G Carver
    Dr. W. Cobb
    Dr. C. Drew
    El Dorado
    Glen Park SB
    Hillcrest GE and SB
    Malcolm X Academy
    G. Moscone CB
    J Muir GE and SB
    J Ortega GE and CB
    Rosa Parks GE and JB
    J Serra
    Starr King
    Sutro CB
    Vis Valley
    D Webster GE and SB

    I hope this info helps!

  11. Two things:

    A request,
    and then the plan.

    Please let us know what schools you got into, and any info on schools with openings, or waitpool numbers.

    I will be going down Tuesday morning to EPC after dropping my daughter at preschool. I"ll bring water and snacks and prepare to wait, patiently.

    My Plan:
    I have a list of schools that may possibly have an opening, in order of our liking. I'll run down the list until the EPC counselor says "that one has an opening"--and we'll take it.

    Not sure if this info helps anyone, but lets keep each other informed.


  12. Thank you for posting the list! Of course, none of these schools are on my list.

    Oh, well. I guess I'll re work the plan...


  13. I'm surprised J. Serra and Rosa Parks still have openings. Both schools sound like they have a lot going for them. I don't know enough about the other to have any opinion.

  14. Rosa Parks JBBP, J Serra, and Sheridan all worth a look.

    Truly amazing that Rosa Parks still has space, as that program already has parent activists, a stellar principal. I know several happy families there.

  15. Drew, Moscone and Serra are all fine schools which should be on more people's radar. Good luck to all in the open enrollment phase.

  16. My old roommate taught at Moscone, and has high reguard for that school. It would have been high on our list if it was a later start school

  17. Moscone's a great school, and totally beats the achievement gap over many years. (Comparison to similar demographics puts it high on the scale.) It looks like the openings there are for those who qualify as Chinese bilingual, however--great for those in this situation but not so much use for everyone else. Unless it changes by tomorrow.

    Good luck, everyone!

  18. I'm frustrated with the lack of updated information. The list of schools with openings doesn't seem to be complete. I spoke with Principals during tours who claimed openings weeks ago.

    Does anyone have insight into how or when when we may have updated wait pool numbers? If SFUSD holds seats back for other reasons? Are they just unorganized?

    Who all will be at open enrollment tomorrow?

  19. for those of you really willing to explore options--there are spaces in the gen ed program at starr king. we were assigned to the sk gen ed program after going 0/7 round one and didn't end up there after round 2, but did feel that if we could just get over our unease at being a minority (middle class family) in the gen ed program our son would probably love it there if that is where the lottery system finally landed us. the teachers and principal all seem top-notch, the kids nice, and there are plenty of gung-ho pta parents in the mandarin strand.

  20. Kate
    When are you gong to tell us where you were assigned, and what you have decided? Did I miss the post?

  21. LOL - what exactly are you waiting for?

  22. i thought kate's situation was put to bed a long time ago. for me, i could care less (no offense, Kate.) what happened with her has nothing to do with my outcome, or anyone else's.

    i am 0 for however many we are counting now, and a very dear friend of mine is sitting on 2 schools I'd die for (1 private, 1 public.) they have the right to savor their choices, while I'm heading over to Franklin street before sun up.

    With the amount of flack she got after round one, why ask her about any hesitation?

  23. good luck to all of you still in this mad race.

  24. 5:59 - Your friend should make a choice and free up a spot for someone else. I don't see how anyone could sit on 2 schools in good conscience at this point.

  25. My husband left the house at 5:30am this morning to sit in line and EPC and enroll our daughter at J Serra, the best of the pack at this point. The irony is tremendous for me since many people who were assigned there Round 1 did not choose to enroll, and here we are fighting for it.

    To those of you who are holding multiple spots, PLEASE LET THEM GO! It is unconscionable at this point to hold, when so many people are still struggling for a decent spot.

  26. SFUSD is planning to post the new waitpool data later today or tomorrow.

  27. Some of you may be annoyed with Kate, but I am still interested to know which public they were assigned to and which school they'll choose. It's got to be a tough choice or she would have made the decision by now.

  28. FWIW,
    we gave up our McKinley spot last week. I don't think this helps anybody since McKinley had their own issues to sort out.

    I hear nice things about the new McKinley principal. Hopefully she will be able to continue the good work that Bonnie has done with the school.

  29. I am a parent of a Rosa Parks JBBP student. As of this morning, there are still a few spots available in the Rosa Parks JBBP Program at the K level for next year. The parent group of Rosa Parks will be developing the Green Schoolyard Project, the Rosa Parks Cultural Diversity Mural Project, and the Rosa Parks Science Discovery Project over the summer to enrich the children's education at Rosa Parks next year. We are looking to bring Taiko Drumming with Hip Hop to the school and bridge an alliance with Yoshi's Jazz Club located one block from the school.

  30. I don't see how anyone could sit on 2 schools in good conscience at this point.

    If it was you, you would do the same thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with that given the rules of the system and the gravity of one's decision.

  31. We were at the EPC this morning --I got there around 7am, and waited until a little before 9am. We feel very lucky to have gotten Rosa Parks JBBP! We found out about the school after Round II and I have now visited it 3 times (once for Kindergarten orientation!) It's a wonderful school with a very sweet, family-type atmosphere with a great principal, tons of funding for the next 7 years, and great kindergarten teachers. Plus, we're so excited about our son learning Japanese! I'm really excited about the education there (though it will be a 25 minute commute for us!)--please consider it if you are heading down to the EPC today. There were 12 spots early this morning, but when I left the EPC, just 6 were still available... and going fast!

    Hope to see some of you there!

  32. question -- has anyone still not received a letter today, tuesday? we didn't get one in the mail. we were still in a wait pool (though we did accept a spot at our assigned school). i just want to make sure i didn't miss something, and they automatically forfeit your place in the WP at this stage if you've accepted your assigned school. thanks much.

  33. To 10:36 - I most certainly would NOT sit on 2 acceptable school assignments/choices right now. At this stage of things there is really no more information to gain so what are they waiting for? There are many people who don't have an acceptable slot at all. It's almost June; people want to get their lives sorted out for next year. It's not fair to anyone - the schools, the other families, or themselves - to wait.

    And no, I don't have kids applying to K this year. So it's not sour grapes - just basic levels of consideration for others.

  34. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sutro in this list as a good option.

  35. At this stage of things there is really no more information to gain so what are they waiting for?

    That's a value judgment.

  36. I watched sunrise at EPC.

    You won't get a letter UNLESS you get your wait pool school, so don't wait for one.

    Regarding sitting on two schools...I think we have to realize that folks who have multiple school assignments are not likely to be obsessively reading blogs in hopes that some 'truth' will make itself known. Instead, they are going on with their lives, trying to decide what is best for their family/child. They may not be aware of our angst and desperation over here in the unenrolled side of things. So, although they should let go of a school seat they aren't likely to use, and do it now, they probably aren't aware of how much grief they are causing us.

    We signed up for J. Serra. Anyone want to tour together? I heard Google adopted this school, and I have a friend who works there trying to get relevant info for us. Please let me know if you want to form an alliance of new families for J.Serra!!

  37. There are a number of things that could sort out over the summer - like looking for a house near one of the schools (private or public) or waiting to see if a job change/improvement/offer comes through (to be able to afford private, or work closer to the kids' schools, private or public). So I do understand why people wait in good conscience. They had an abundance of riches - life isn't fair. It is what it is.

    Of course, I'm not one of those lucky folks. We went 0 for 15 in the public school lottery, and were accepted to a private school we love, wait listed at others. We remained in our wait pool choice, which we selected during the second round, and I guess in retrospect should have changed prior to this wait pool run, but didn't receive a letter on Saturday.

    If we don't receive that wait pool choice, we may change it again, maybe not. We start paying for our private school in a couple weeks, so at this point, we might as well just apply for first grade, since we'll be paying for private kindergarten anyway.

    I wonder if others (who didn't receive generous financial aid, I guess) feel that way as well.

  38. j. serra enrollees: for more info, you may want to get in touch with both the school (eve cheung is the very capable principal) and also dana woldow, the SFUSD parent of older children who toured with the group of original serra assignees who had decided to lend the school her time by volunteering. she has a wealth of knowledge and i'm sure she'll do fine things there. (among other things dana spearheaded the salad bar campaign and was certainly checking out the kitchen during our tour!) i think you can find her post about serra in the thread related to "hidden gems." i also emailed and spoke personally with their research fellow at the time; she and eve led our tour, in fact. anyway, serra staff are very responsive, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding out more.

  39. Note to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Graders:

    We still have room at Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program at Rosa Parks, located on a quiet culdesac on O'Farrell by Japantown.

    My son is going into the 2nd grade, and we definitely have room for up to 10 more children in the 2nd grade.

    This is a great school, my graduating 5th grader has been nurtured and challenged throughout the 6 years we've been with the program.

    Please call Nanayo at (415) 749-3519 for a tour or more info.



  40. we toured J. Serra with Kim, and I have to say, I too found it enchanting. What is particularly sweet is that 2 of the kindergartens have their own little school, with their own little playground. when I visited, one of those Ks was Spanish Bilingual and one was GE. I remember thinking how wonderful it was for the GE kids to receive so much exposure to Spanish! It's not like immersion, but still nice exposure. And what a sweet set-up. I would ask where the Ks are going next year.

    Another great thing about J. Serra, and to me this is important, is that it is located on Holly Park so the neighborhood is both (1) extremely low traffic and (2) filled with parking!


    Has anyone else heard positive wait pool news? I heard of one person getting into Clarendon JBBP (swoon!) but I know they had a hardship appeal that was approved. I wonder if only hardships moved in this round?

  41. Kortney-

    We registered at J Serra as well, and would like to coordinate on a tour. What is the best way to reach you?

    Thanks for the suggestion...

  42. good to hear positive feedback about rosa parks jbbp. We found it to be the best available option at this point and also took a spot this morning.

    I have visited the school only twice but was so very impressed by the teachers and admin staff. The nieghborhood is great - central, quiet.

    I still have only one reservation that maybe some of you might be able to chime in on. The two times I visited, I saw very aggressive behavior going unchecked at recess. Hitting and kicking both times with a group of boys. It really has thrown me off as I have toured more than 20 schools and have never sen anything like this. Is bullying something that is a current priority at RP? Is there a system of conflict resolution in place? Any input is valuable. I hate to react to a one or two-time incident. I do also know of someone who took their child out of RP because she was so afraid at school

    RP people- can you calm my fears? Thanks and good luck to all...

  43. We are 0 for how ever many at this stage and to be honest i am so over the whole process that i didn't even bother to go to the EPC for open enrollment ( which all open enrollment means is that only crap schools are left that no one wanted) i ask myself is that what i want for my child - no way. I am fortunate to be able to homeschool if i need to (so can you as Kindergarten is not a state requirement), not that my son will be in to that, but we are left with very little choice. I'm am mentally exhausted from this process, i wish everyone all the very best.

  44. We enrolled our child at Rosa Parks JBBP this morning, and were quite thrilled --but I'm worried about the poster who saw kids hitting and kicking on the playground. I would love a response from current parents! My understanding (based on questions I asked there!) was that there is tons of playground supervision. What's going on? Was it horsing around the poster saw, or true fights? I honestly can't see my son going to a school with fighting on the playground!

  45. To the person who got into the private school you love, and are waiting for your wait pool school to come in...YOU ARE ONE OF THE FORTUNATE ONES!

    For the J. Sierra enrollees, you can contact me directly at:

  46. I have a daughter in Rosa Parks JBBP 2nd grade. The issue of "bullying" has never come up with my daughter except for an aggressive former JBBP student in her class who left for a private Richmond District School. There were two other children who had major behavioral issues and they were pulled out and enrolled in other schools in the Sunset district. She has never encountered any issues on the playground with other children and loves the school and her current classmates.

  47. Hello, there.

    I have two sons at JBBP, one a dreamy 5th grader the other a rough and tumble 1st. Neither of them have complained about being bullied at school, not at recess or otherwise.

    Do you have a girl or a boy?

  48. I am a parent of a 5th grade boy at Rosa Parks JBBP. He is non-athletic, not very socially inclined, and someone who likes to read at lunchtime. In short, he's a dorky kid. He has not had any trouble at recess, in the hall, or in class at all. Now that I write that, I take that back: once, a classmate pal of his was goofing around at recess and kicked his book out of his hand and scraped the book cover up. My son reported the incident to the student advisor/recess person, who dealt with it immediately and had the kid apologize. My son was very happy with the outcome. Nothing like it has happened again.

    I myself am on staff at Rosa Parks, and I see the same kind of kid behavior that I've seen at other schools in my life and throughout the district. I do volunteer lunch recess duty once a week, and what I see is nothing but the usual: kids playing kickball, kids jump roping, kids socializing and giggling. The most direction I've ever had to give kids is to slow down. I've never seen hitting or punching.

    There are definitely troubled kids at RP and at all schools in SF and in the world. Here at RP we are spending some grant moneys beginning next school year on counseling/mentoring through the Omega Boys Club for that tiniest percent of the population that needs it. Our principal, large support staff (including counselors, nurse, social workers), and teachers are all committed to providing a safe and warm environment for all.

    My daughter is enrolled in JBBP Kindergarten for the fall, and she is as precious to me as all of yours are to you -- I know she will be absolutely safe at this gem of a school!

  49. i saw kicking and hitting - with fists. it was a group of three boys. there were two adults supervising but did not see it. they were engaged with individual children. the kids were about K-2nd grade (my guess) it was an 11am recess/lunch time. they may not have been jbbp kids - but that is irrelevant.

    i know bullying can happen at ANY school. i was just concerned b/c i saw rough playground time two separate times. it made me wonder if the amount of supervision is not working or if there is not enough talk about what is acceptable and what is no. some other schools are extremely clear on what is NOT okay.

    needless to say, we loved the school otherwise and won't decide not to go based on two incidents on two visits. i don't want to stir poop or start rumors, but do want to know if others saw the same type of behavior or know if the school makes it clear to kids that this is not behavior. i really want a school that has a clear set of rules for behavior and a system in place for dealing with conflict (ie tribes, etc.)

  50. We did not get a letter. We are 0/16 and also had an approved appeal, yet we still did not get our waitpool.

    One of the EPC people told me that the schools were heavily over assigned on Round one. So even if spots open up they are not released to the wait pool until their size is below capacity.

    I feel like we are in the third circle of hell!!!

  51. What was witnessed at Rosa Parks may have been normal boy play. I was surprised at the beginning of the year to watch my kindergarten son playing quite roughly with other boys at the playground after school. It was as if the boys (my sweet little 5 year old!) had suddenly taken a jump in their physicality which now includes lots of wrestling. I was the Mom who kept jumping in yelling "too rough, too rough!" So I started to ask the Moms around me to get a sense of what was rough and what was normal, and the Moms with older boys, or more than one son, and those who spent more time at the playground than I said that's the way they play, and I began to calm down. Later a friend with 2 daughters took Miles one afternoon to the playground and reported back being freaked out about how rough the boys were. She also was startled in what seemed a shift in normal play. When I say rough I mean they really do tackle each other and roll around, and sometimes while still standing their arms are tangled as they try to get purchase to take the other down.

    Several times I have intervened because smaller boys (younger 4 year old brothers) were in the mix too, and then after separating them I ask the little one "Is this game okay with you?" and they nod enthusiastic yeses! So I walk back to the bench and figure the play - while too rough for my liking - must have its own limits and that's the way it needs to be.

    A friend of mine with two high school aged sons told me the other day "you can't keep breaking it up, That's how they play."

    At a birthday party a year ago I noticed a group of Dads standing around watching the boys tackle each other. I whisked in with a sort of "what's going on here?" air - like "you dads are falling down on the job!" Later it was pointed out to me (yes, by my husband) that the Dads were all paying attention and would have jumped in had it been too rough. I had to rethink my own perceptions.

    Maybe the way to discern bullying from regular play is to watch to see if it all looks "consensual"! And know also that in any of these games someone will inadvertently get hurt and then you see something change in their eyes and they want to swing a real punch. That's when someone could jump in, but if there isn't anyone to jump in at that moment, typically the boys redraw the rules themselves and move on. It's how they figure out the boundaries and limitations.

    Can other Moms of sons weigh in on this??

  52. No letter, and our cohort has grown by 2. We're done -- I'm not up for drawing this out over the rest of the summer. Frustrating, but at least we have a private school backup.

    Good luck to all of you still in the hunt. Here's hoping for Lowell in 9 years.

  53. I don't blame you for being frustrated!!!


    When you say you are "done" does that mean you're releasing your spot on the waiting list?

    selfish, i know...

  54. on our letter (we chose a school today in open enrollment), it says to go register at the school the week of 8/12. is this right? it seems very late to me. it also seems unfair to those schools when everyone bails on them at the last minute. (sent husband this morning - so i could sleep in! - and his info is fuzzy...)

  55. also... those new waitpool numbers:

  56. "I heard of one person getting into Clarendon JBBP (swoon!) but I know they had a hardship appeal that was approved."

    What qualifies as a hardship condition? Can/must a family's hardship appeal be tied to particular schools (e.g., they really need to attend the school closest to their home), or does a family's hardship appeal give them carte blanche priority for any school? I'm looking at schools for K-2009 and want to understand all available options.

  57. The woman who helped me at the EPC today said that we could try to go to the school this week and enroll and they might be able to put our info. in. I sure hope so as I'm sick of being up in the air!

  58. My daughter is in Kindergarten at Rosa Parks (JBBP). She had a couple of minor incidents during recess - early on in the year a kid pushed her and tried to intimidate her on the monkey bars, and then more recently a girl that she knows (who has been verbally mean to her in the past) kicked her. Both times I contacted my daughter's teacher (and in the 2nd incident the girl's teacher) and both issues were directly addressed - and did not happen again.

    In my experience Kindergarten, and school in general, is VERY VERY different than preschool. At RP the K and 1st graders have recess in a separate area from the big kids, which is good - but overall, the kids are bigger, louder and more physical than they are in preschool - plus there are way more kids and not as good of a ratio. I will say that my daughter does feel safe at recess and besides those 2 incidents has never expressed any concern, fear etc about that time of day. However, as a parent, it is an adjustment.

    There really are a LOT more kids and it takes awhile, as a parent, to realize that there is an order to the mayhem. There are a lot of adults at RP - teachers, administrators, aides, who are in the halls, who know the kids, who are keeping an eye on things and keeping order.

    I guess I would reassure you that in my impression there is not a bullying problem at the school - but I do think that the boys sometimes get into it, though I have never seen serious fighting. I think that the administration is really responsive and would take anything like that really seriously and respond quickly. I don't know if that helps - but I've never felt that my daughter was unsafe or at risk going there.

  59. I too am curious about the hardship appeals and why there are so many.

    The one person I know who had one approved did actually "deserve it." Specifically, one of the parents was in a delibatating accident several years ago and is still in part recovered. I am fairly certain that this parent is considered 'disabled' under the law, and may even receive disability benefits (although I have certainly never asked). Perhaps there are numerous other parents in similar situations?

    FWIW, this family did receive a top choice school which is not near where they currently live, but they plan to move closer to it, I think.

  60. I have heard of a lot of random "hardship" appeals over the last couple years and usually think they sound an awful lot like entitlement. One family I know appealed saying they should get into Rooftop because they were 3rd or 4th generation San Franciscans and shouldn't have to leave the City. WTF?

    They were denied. You see, the SFUSD does sometimes get something right.

  61. For the Mother who saw fighting at recess at RP...Kindness, Respect and Safety is the code of conduct at Rosa Parks. Children who are observed demonstrating any of these qualities are given a "Dragon Dollar" to reinforce the behavior to continue.
    I have been taking my son to school at RP (he is finishing Kindergarten on 6/13) all year, and I have not observed unchecked fighting. I have observed the entire school performing Ragio Taiso, Japanese Exercises, together!
    If you have concerns, please contact our principal, Dr. Monica Nagy. Thank you!

  62. Vicki from PPS-SFMay 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

    Family Hardship appeals are difficult to get and most well deserved. A panel of folks review the appeals and try to come to a consensus. As you might guess they receive alot of appeals. Once granted the Family Hardship appeal priority cohort can be taken to any school.

    Vicki Symonds
    PPS outreach coordinator

  63. On the subject of approved appeals, I think it is interesting to note that the number of approved appeals is way, way up this year. Last year, there were about 10 or so approved according to the materials available on the SFUSD website. This year, there were 28 approved appeals on the April waitlist spreadsheet.
    I know that the total number of applications was up, but only by about 10%. So, WTF is up with triple the number of approved appeals.
    I asked at the EPC and the counselor confirmed that the number was surprisingly high this year, then shrugged and said that it's up to the committee. I expect that there is no oversight for the committee...and, anyway, this is the SFUSD, so why should this part of the process work any better (be any less F'd Up) than the rest. Given the numbers, I have to wonder if there is more going on here. Money changing hands perhaps...

  64. Just saw Vicky's post. I don't buy it. The number of approved appeals is still too high this year compared to previous years and not explained by the increase in applications. 10% increase in applications should equal 10% increase in approved appeals, if the process/criteria didn't change.

    Not to mention that the idea of an approved hardship appeal not being tied to a particular school or requirement just seems like lunacy. Does this mean that I can argue that traveling from my home in Potrero to Daniel Webster is a hardship, get the appeal approved and then use it to get into CL or FY?

  65. We are a family with a hardship appeal that was deemed unique, and it is unique. For us the hardship related to the school we were assigned not to the school we have decided to wait-pool too. I would be suprised if a hardship appeal was approved for someone based upon transportation issues. No money changed hands. We have no idea who the folks were that reviewed our request. The hardship didn't help us in Round II. We were an 0 for 7 family in Round 1 and a 0 for 7 family in Round 2 - even with a hardship appeal approved. The hardship appeal didn't do a thing for us to get in to any of the schools on the ammended list for Round 2, and no we didn't put the obvious schools down for the second round, we put less "known" schools down. It seems that the hardship appeal and the Round 2 process don't actually link-up. So we have a hardship appeal but it probably won't do us any good at all.

  66. I am sorry to hear that there are still so many people waiting and hoping. Perhaps you will find strength to carry on the fight after hearing of my success…or should I say good fortune. We snagged a coveted spot at Clarendon JBBP off the wait-list! No connections here. You will be happy to know I have released the spot we were holding at a private. Perhaps this will mean another happy ending somewhere out there.

  67. For what its worth, I am not sure that last year's wait pool spreadsheets are accurate in terms of the hardship numbers. I know two people who were granted hardships and received slots at schools that showed "0" in the hardship category.

    Then again, I know folks who clearly deserve hardships that did not receive them so the system is far from perfect.

  68. does anyone know the dates for the summer waitpool runs? and do letters come? or do they call you? or do you just go in every week and check in?

  69. All I know is that there is a waitpool run in June; you only get a letter if you get your choice. Waitpool runs again in August and September.

  70. The last day to change your waitpool choice for the June run is 6/13.

  71. What kinds of things constitute a "hardship"? It does seem odd that a hardship appeal isn't tied to particular school. I can't think of what type of hardship would be accommodated by giving a student preference at every school. Except maybe the "my parents can't handle the ongoing stress of this process any longer" hardship.

  72. I have been through two hardship appeals now and I know that the committee is looking for 'unique' hardships. so, even though i have a lot of hard circumstances in my life (single working parent) and needed/wanted to be in the same school as my sister's kids so that she can help me with pickup, and dropoff - that may be 'hard' but not 'unique.' sigh. I agree, it's strange that you can take that hardship to any school - the form clearly states that you need to explain WHY the school you were assigned to does not meet your needs. Anyway, i've pretty much given up. I'm enrolled nowhere. Going to wait for the 10-day count and hope I dont end up with a real disaster on my hands.

  73. Anon at 12:56 p.m. - which private?

  74. Re: appeals

    I don't know if they fall under the category of "hardship" appeals, but SFUSD teachers who were not assigned to the school they teach at are able to get in to that school on appeal if they desire. Maybe this year there were more district teachers appealing assignments.

    FWIW, it is beyond me why teachers' kids aren't just assigned to the school where they parent teaches if that's what the family desires. Why add them to the lottery confusion? Like siblings, this cohort should be broken out before the rest of us get info on the number of spots available at the schools.

    To the poster above who got a spot at Clarendon, congrats! Now, at what private school did you release a spot and do you have a boy or a girl?

  75. I know a family who had a kid at a "hidden gem" elementary school, before it was even on anyone's radar. The family took the plunge, got really involved in the school, loved it, etc. Turns out their older child left the school (graduated) a year before their younger would start K. Guess what? They got NO priority at that school after pouring in 6 years of community building, hard work, etc. That seems ridiculous. I think the system should accommodate siblings, regardless of whether the older child is still at the school (and I agree that children should automatically be assigned to the schools where their parents teach or work - if that is what the family wants).

  76. I've been present at some official discussions of whether to make sibling preference just for current sibs or in perpetuity.

    The thinking has been that making it in perpetuity basically makes the rich richer -- the lucky ones who've gotten into desirable schools then get a claim on it for even longer.

    That thinking was more applicable when there were fewer desirable schools, and also when the application process was more subject to favor assertive applicants. But that was the basis.

    Ironically, I've posted about a family in a similar situation, except that their school was already prized when their older child got it. Then the younger was one year too young to get sibling priority. They tried and tried and tried and could NOT get the younger accepted at the previous school. So they finally resigned themselves to parking her temporarily at the shunned, unthinkable school they'd been unwillingly assigned to. But the school, Leonard Flynn, turned out to be right on the verge of taking off, and they've been very happy there.

  77. I agree that all siblings should be given priority, regardless of the age gap. Once you've invested in a school and become part of the community, you should be able to count on all your children being able to attend that school. Also, at least at the elementary level, it seems to me that we would be talking about a fairly limited number of additional sibling priorities, given that most families probably don't have a 6+ year spread.

  78. BTW, someone posted on the sfschools listserv to ask opinions on a ballot initiative requiring neighborhood school assignments.

  79. We're in that same boat, too--my older child is leaving for middle school just as my younger is starting kindergarten--I can see both sides of it, and I've known the situation ever since I figured out their age split in school years--but it has been a royal pain to say the least. Now we're off to join two new school communities...with both excitement and trepidation.

  80. re: clarendon jbbp

    waitlist or waitpool? whats the difference? we had put down clarendon jbbp for round 1 and 2, and waitpool and still got 0/15! what gives??

    so to the person who got a spot off the waitlist, is that btwn round 1 and 2?

  81. People are using "waitlist" and "waitpool" to refer to the same thing. There are currently 15 people who went 0/7 in round one that are in the Clarendon JBBP waitpool, and so if someone got out of the waitpool but you didn't it is simply the luck of the draw. It's one of the five largest kindergarten waitpools in the district, so your chances are not as good as in some other waitpools.

  82. I just got a list of current K openings from SFUSD's Gentle Blythe for a post on I don't know if it's different from the one posted here earlier:

  83. I can see how the lack of sibling preference for alumni might particularly hurt middle schools. Your child is only there for three years anyway. It's tough to muster up the energy to get too involved (PTA officer etc.), knowing your younger child may not even get in.

    Granted, people generally get their first choice middle school, but there's no guarantee, particularly for smaller programs. I know that's in my mind as my daughter heads off to sixth grade next year. I feel really cynical admitting that but I've only got so much energy to put in to my kids' schools. I tend to get really involved in my community, and it's hard to put myself out if the rug will just get pulled out from under me in three years. I just don't want to go through that, so it's easier to stay at arms' length.

  84. Hmm - I think the comment about not wanting to get involved in your child's middle school because your younger may not be there is a poor excuse.

    You either support your child or you don't and believe me - middle schools and their kids need your help. If you have ever walked into a middle school you will know that it is teaming with kids on hormones and can be very stressful places. The more adult eyes the better. Just being present sets the right tone for your "temporarily insane" preadolescence child. It does wonders for their studies and behavior when you are on first name bases with the Principal even if you never step foot in the classroom.

  85. I know it's a poor excuse -- and I'm the one who made it. Just saying it's my gut reaction, not that's I'm right. No doubt I will get over myself by Fall! I'm just already spread thin, and wondering how I will add another school into the mix.

  86. Well the good thing is that it doesn't take alot of effort and the expectations for involvement at middle schools is lower than elementary schools. What's different is that at elementary school many parents are looking for a community as much as our kids are - at middle school there is less of a need to be apart of a community (or you feel you already have one). At middle school you do it for your kids and incidentally community happens.

  87. I am curious what parent involvement looks like in middle school and high school. Anyone care to share?

  88. You won't see many parents helping out IN class in middle and high school. The exceptions I can think of have been parents with specific expertise doing demonstrations -- like an Aptos mom who works in genetics doing some stuff with hatching chickens in a science class.

    At Aptos there are still the usual volunteer opportunities: PTSA board officers, attending PTSA meetings, chairing events such as the Car Wash, Beautification Day or the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, chaperoning on field trips (no parent driving at middle school level, though), helping in the office, etc.

    SOTA has all those too, except that SOTA has so many performance events that it does almost no additional fundraising events. Parents have lots of volunteer roles in the arts disciplines. Just in the past two weeks I've schlepped three congas (plus various kids) to a couple of offsite performances and a vibraphone to another. My husband chaperoned on the four-day band/orchestra trip to Southern California. Etc. A professional musician who's a SOTA dad (credit by name -- Jeff Cressman, trombonist who plays with Santana and others) does a lot of sound engineering work for SOTA and teaches our kids how to do it, as a volunteer task. A dad who's a professional videographer records performances and puts them on CD/DVD. And so on.

  89. A couple of things come to mind for middle school.

    Although your kids will tell you that they don't want you to be there - don't take that too literally. It's probably a good idea to avoid the classroom (with the exception of field trips where they will pretend you don't exist) there generally doesn't seem to be a problem with being at the school. Involvement takes the form of all sorts of things -
    - helping in the office to xerox material,
    - contributing or coordinating a teacher appreciation lunch,
    - being actively involved in 1 or 2 of the big school events - usually a fundraiser but also maybe a Science Fair or a beautification day.
    - volunteering to write the school newsletter
    - being on the school site council or PTA or PTO board.
    - going on field trips.
    - being coordinator of scrip or escrip
    - updating a school bulletin board
    - Writing a marketing brochure for the school.
    - Creating a website.
    - Driving your kids friends home after school.
    - Get out of your car and walk into the school, know where the library is, and the names of the administrators and key staff members.
    - Stop by and chat with your child's teacher rather than wait for parent-teacher conference.
    - Suggest and run a new fundraiser.
    - Suggest and coordinate a program for the school.
    - Help out during lunch in the library.
    - Help during a scholastic book fair.
    - Contribute $

    That's a few off my list.

  90. Oh a couple of other things:

    - Come to a few PTA/PTO meetings
    - Do come and contribute to the site council community meetings in Jan. and/or Feb.
    - Help the site council gather comments
    - Help with passing out granola bars or other nutritious snacks during testing (yes kids come to school without breakfast or with twinkies.)

    Also, my general feeling is that 6th graders are too young to take the bus home. Either have them in an aftercare program or pick them up or arrange to pick them up. Some kids do ok but MANY do not and the problems I have seen come with kids unsupervised after middle school.

  91. 2:33, by taking the bus do you mean MUNI or are you including the school bus? I am planning for my soon-to-be 6th grader to take the school bus to and from Aptos, the one that runs from the Mission. I take BART to work, so we would walk over together in the morning, and in the afternoon meet at the 24th/Mission library. This would all make much more sense than having to pay all the costs of driving to work and then doing a pick up on the other side of town. Any thoughts?

  92. Here's my new favorite way to be involved in middle school/high school: volunteer to create or update the parent handbook. It's a great way to REALLY know what's going on.

  93. I think like so many things, "it depends on the kid." Plus, where are they going? Do they have to transfer? My seventh grader's bus is a straight shot from down the street to her school, so we've had very few problems. We did a few trial runs in the summer before school so we knew how long it would take, and exactly where she should get on and off.

  94. To May 28 8:18 pm and others that have brought up the alumni/younger sibling item.

    Our tale of woe to add to all the other sad ones. Our daughter, now a 6th grader at our first choice middle school, used to attend a school that was not even a hidden gem when we first started there. It was just our neighborhood school and we LOVED it - so much that we signed up to help: Site Council, becoming PTA officers, volunteering in the class, the whole 9 yards. Over the years this school became a hidden gem, and we were so proud of that. We wanted people to know how great our school was too. But the school is not just a school to us, it is where we made very dear friends, and became connected in a very profound and deep way. So of course when it came time to apply for K for our son, there was no other school for us but our beloved school. And we didn't get in. There is one other alum family that couldn't get in either.

    We knew that the school was much more popular, but becuase we lived in the neighborhood, we had kept our hope alive that we would get in. Anyway, not only did we suffer the pain of "losing" our beloved school, we then had to deal with being assigned to a really, really sadly underperforming school that I doubt any amount of volunteer time would do any help. Not to mention I don't have alot of time becuase I work full-time, and I do also try to be involved with my daughter's middle school.

    I do believe that the district's sibling preference should be expanded. I am less concerned about a sibling preference at the middle school or even high school level, but for elementary school, the place you and your chilld will spend the most amount of time being educated, it is important to keep the connection alive, if that is what you choose to do.

    I do wish the district could consider revising their policy on this matter.

  95. A poster asked: "2:33, by taking the bus do you mean MUNI or are you including the school bus? I am planning for my soon-to-be 6th grader to take the school bus to and from Aptos, the one that runs from the Mission."

    2:33 hasn't been on to respond, but it's apparently to me that he/she meant Muni. Kids from K up routinely take the school bus, and barring some horrific outlier situation, I can't imagine a normal parent worrying about that. 6th grade is the point where Muni starts to become an option, and many parents feel it's borderline whether their kids are old enough.

  96. Does anyone know anything about the district cutting out school buses?? i heard a snip-it on the news a few nights ago, it seems like its costing more money than they have to resources for, my question is then what happens to the kids that have no other way to get to a school that they were assigned to, half way across town??

  97. I was wondering that too. Some kids will need to change schools, but I haven't heard any plans for that. Many busses go directly from school to childcare centers. How would the kids get there without the busses?

  98. "my question is then what happens to the kids that have no other way to get to a school that they were assigned to, half way across town??"

    What happens is the schools will become even more segregated, children from Bayview/Hunters Point will have to stop going to Harvey Milk and Lilienthal and other schools that has bus routes, because they won't be able to get there, and so they will be forced to enroll in the schools closest to their homes. So much for the district's new "Social Justice" mantra.

  99. Gosh, kids forced to go to their neighborhood schools. Sounds like a Green Friendly approach to me.

  100. Perhaps if your neighborhood school was Carver Elementary, you'd think differently. If all the schools in the district were of similar quality, I'd be all for neighborhood assignment, but you know that isn't the case, and making flippant snippy comments about "being green" is just idiotic.

  101. I guess social justice is not an idiotic comment? You seem to be rather judgemental. There are lots of great neighborhood schools, maybe not Clarendons and Rooftops but good nonetheless.

  102. "There are lots of great neighborhood schools, maybe not Clarendons and Rooftops but good nonetheless."

    True, but there are also lots of not-so-great neighborhood schools. And schools will become even more segregated if they stop giving bus service to kids in the Mission, Tenderloin, and BayView/Hunter's Point.

  103. How about...

    Neihborhood school lottery (fill 75% of something like that with neighborhood kids) then for other neighborhoods who want that school there are left over seats. Priority given to folks who will diversify. After round two, if seats are still left, then neighbors and whoever can fill them.

    Or something like that.

    I don't see a lot of diversity in schools myself. I mean, they are either 70% one race or the other. I have yet to walk into a school that is 1/4 this and 1/4 that. So, not sure the lottery is doing it's job better than a neighborhood zoning would do (mind you, my schools would be Flynn, Moscone, Fairmount, Paul Revere.) As long as seats were left over for those in Bayview, Hunters point, Tenderloin, etc who had the resources to get to an other school.

  104. Interesting...

    I think I understand the concept. Would each family have a choice of which neighborhood school? You mentioned you had 4 schools in your area.

    I think, personally, that 7 schools that are all over the city is too many. I would have preferred a choice between 4 in my "area" and then been guarenteed one of them.

    It would have been a similar lottery rush/nightmare but on a smaller scale, with no big surprises. I mean, you would know the 4 schools you were up for, and you'd get one of them.

    Anyway, it's those of us who the lottery isn't working for who are motivated to change it...right?

  105. How about if you could list more than 7 schools on the lottery form? We could think of 15-20 schools we would be happy with, but only were able to list 7. If we opened it up, more people could hopefully receive choices?

  106. Re buses, I think the proposal is to charge for them except for low-income families, rather than eliminating them. I'll be looking into this and blogging about it.

    meanwhile, please vote Yes on A today!

  107. My cousins in suburban Massachusetts pay a LOT of money per family for their school buses. I myself would not mind paying a reasonable sum for the wonderful freedom of not driving every day, but I wonder how much money there is to be made if low-income families are excluded (which they should be). At least at our elementary school bus stop, I'm pretty sure we are the only non-low-income family, and that's been true for the entire six years my kids have been riding the yellow school bus.

    Caroline, I hope you do pursue this topic for your blog.

  108. 7:11pm, I'm with you on sibling preference. I think it's important to feel a real connection to a school even if your older child no longer attends. Just knowing that the younger sibling will be guaranteed a spot and that we're there for the long haul would make me want to be that much MORE committed. I also feel strongly that children of faculty should get first choice. When we toured Clarendon, some of the teachers we spoke to were saying how they wish their child was able to get a spot there. Seems really unfair!

  109. I agree on sibling preference. Even though it's killing me, currently, as we watch our wait pool getting longer with siblings (where are they coming from so late in the process?)

    I think it would encourage folks to stay with S.F. Unified if they new that the younger sibling could go to the school the older sibling went to. Maybe give it a 5 year gap window or something.

    Now THAT is a selfless opinion, given that I'm a parent with NO SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT 3 weeks before school begins.

    Am I the only one? Who else isn't in a school yet??? I need my own blog at this point...

  110. For those of you paying attention, we did get a spot at JSerra, but have yet to register (our notice says wait until August.)

    Didn't love it, I have to say. am hoping for a spot at my neighborhood school.

    What I need is REAL NUMBERS. I need to know how many of you are sitting in a wait pool, hoping to get in, and give up your current spot?

    What spot would you be giving up?

    If Kate started a new link for that question, would I be the only one posting there?

  111. To 5:55 on June 9 and Kortney

    Thanks for your words on the sibling/alumni preference thing. I thought the new cohort for siblings in the 2nd round waitpool was kind of odd too at this late date. It is amazing that they are not ahead of the hardship appeal folks. I don't even want to hear the stories for those poor souls. I also thought the movement within the waitpool was interesting too - lots of changes within certain cohorts. I think the waitlist will be run again, soon?

    Kortney, I have gone and registered at the school that is a much better choice for us even though we were told in the letter to wait until August. There have been so many screw ups with our personal situation I just couldn't bare to wait until August. Just make sure to get a copy of your assignment letter (as you have to give them the one you have) with the initial of the school secretary as your proof that you did show up etc.. I even went to far as to call the school to make sure my son was entered into their system. Crazy, but I have peace of mind.