Thursday, June 12, 2008

New poll: Do you know where you're sending your child to kindergarten in the fall?

I thought it would be interesting to see how many people at this point know where they'll be sending their child to kindergarten next fall. Please answer yes only if you're entirely certain. The poll is to the right.

54 comments:

  1. anyone know which day EPC will send the next round of wait pool letters?

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  2. The next round of letters (sent only to those who receive a spot) will be mailed June 20th. Today is the last day to change your waitpool choice.

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  3. Do we know where our daughter is going to Kinder this fall? No. I would like to know how many of us are still un-assigned or un-happy with our assignment.

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  4. We have a school assignment (to a school we chose in Open Enrollment after going 0/15) that we are more or less happy with, but it is (very) far from our house, with an early start time, and in some other ways not ideal. If we get our waitpool school (close to our house and more likely to open up in the 10 day count, 5th on our Round I form) we will take it.

    We know quite a few families by now who are enrolled in the same school our son is, but all of them have their name on one waitpool or another, so it all feels a bit provisional... I keep imagining the Fall both ways.

    We showed our son the school recently and told him that it would "probably" be his kindergarten, unless there was space in a school closer to our house.

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  5. We're wrestling with our waitpool school. The school we are waitlisted on is not a top tier school (are we still using that term?)--but it has a bloated waitlist.

    We have a less popular school in our hood that has a good start time and is walking distance from us. The waitpool exists, but is very small.

    Should we chance it on our chosen wait pool? Or do we change our waitlist school to the one nearby, cause we have a better chance of getting in?

    Our assigned school is too early and far away, too.

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  6. Without knowing the downsides (as you see them) of your local school, and how it compares to the school you already have or to the current waitpool school, it is hard to say, but: If it is an acceptable option for you, my 2 cents is, switch to the local one. Your chances are much greater of getting it, and there is an awful lot to be said for how an easy commute can benefit family life.

    We go around a see all the seductive bells and whistles at some wonderful schools, but much of day-to-day family life is lived in the details of getting out the door in the morning and getting home to family dinner at night. If you think the local school actually would work for your child, then focus on building up your family life (including your marriage or partnership if you have one) with a low-stress commute.

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  7. Yes - our child will be going to one of the two secular all-girl's schools in the city. We are more than thrilled with this decision. We went 0/7 in the public school process. We have purchased uniforms already, met many of the wonderful families, and she already indentifies with the school and can't wait to start in the fall. She is more than ready for her kindergarten year to begin. My hope is that all things work out and she's at this school until we must apply to high schools. It was a long road to get here, but it feels so great to be done with the process.

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  8. To respond to Anon at 3:31's comment,

    I would second that getting out of the house in the morning and commuting to school can be BIG drags. ON a different thread I posted about why we left our school, and the 7:50 start time is not WHY we left, but it really really SUCKED. It was so hard for us as a family. Already in the 2 days we have been out of school (school year ended June 13) the mornings have been a relief b/c we have way more flexibility now.

    I am an early riser, but I found it nearly impossible to get to school on time. Granted I had 2 kids to get up and out of the house, but it was a struggle every morning - and evening too, as we both work full time and trying to make dinner after work and get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour so they could wake up at 6 - yes 6! KILLED ME.

    So all other things being equal, and not knowing the details, start time can have a big negative impact - it did for us.

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  9. We are happy with our public (Rosa Parks JBBP) but are still trying to find aftercare and HATE HATE HATE the 7:50 start time combined with the awkward drive from our house. If things fall into place with the aftercare, we'll set our alarm clocks and drag our son to school while he's still asleep, but it's HARD.

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  10. Just in the past week i have met many parents at play grounds and swim lessons. The amount of Families that are either going private, moving out of the city or had no intentions of ever sending their kid public is large, also all of them are still holding onto public spots and what is worse is that they are all spots in decent elementary schools, so i have decided with no school assignment that i am holding out for my waitlist (bloated waitlist)as their is a lot of serious movement with only more to come. Hang tight if you can so many places are going to come up.
    Ashley

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  11. I'm with you, BigandTiny.
    We were actually RELIEVED when we didn't get our first 6 choices as they were all 7:50 start times. #7 was a 9:30 late start school.
    LOL...our kids sleep until 7:30 every morning.

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  12. We are not morning people but our kids have been attending a 7:50 start-time school since 2000 (Alvarado). We love the school, so we sucked it up. I will say it's gotten easier as all our sleep habits have gradually shifted to a new "normal." I just naturally wake up early now. Still, my eldest is thrilled to be going to a middle school with a 9am start time and a bus time of 8:30. No regrets at all about the choice, but it's one downside we'll be glad to leave behind in a couple of years.

    I know of others who never even considered 7:50 schools. We all have our own considerations--only you know your family and what will be doable (if not perfect) and what is a deal-breaker.

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  13. I wish they could all start at a reasonable time (say 8:30?) and provide before and after care for those who need it. That would be a dream...!

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  14. Some of us asked our principal why our 7:50 school couldn't switch. He sighed (he's not a morning person either) and said it was about the school bus routes--schools share buses and they need to stagger start and end times in order not to have double the number of buses (at twice the cost). I don't know if that is the real or only reason for staggered times, but that's what he said. He said he would have to get another principal to switch with him--and what were the odds of that happening?

    Of course, 7:50 works for some families, especially those who have to be at work before 9am and have a commute to boot. A change might be traumatic.

    I do second the idea of universal, high-quality before- and after- care.

    And I wish I could leave work early most days to pick up my kid when school gets out, even though he actually likes afterschool. I just miss the downtime, and I think he does too. But I have to work. Divorced mom here, no choice. :-(

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  15. I love my 7:50 start time! One one the hidden benefits is that b/c there is no before-school care, everyone drops off at the same time so you get to see a lot of the other parents. Good time to check in on playdates, pta stuff or even grab a quick cup of coffee together before heading off to work. I think it adds to the community building.

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  16. I've heard the bus schedule reason too and I think it sucks. It's an example of one of the many types of decisions made by those in charge of education that have nothing to do with what's best for the kids. I understand the necessity of using the buses to the best advantage, but 7:50 is just way too early for many kids to start school.

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  17. Well, we decided. We could not find an aftercare we liked with with openings, partly my fault for not acting quickly enough. We could not go through the stress of the aftercare waiting lists; this process has already sent me into psychiatric treatment. We had a modest but adequate financial windfall. We cannot trust ourselves with a 7:50 start time. We were not sure our son needed to go through kindergarten again but due to his birthday, the law would have required it.

    We just committed to stay at Adda Clevenger for another year. Although we delayed committing far past the re-enrollment deadline, they saved our son's place in his class. Ours may not be everyone's experience, but our son has learned so much there and they have been so good to our family that we are happy and at peace with this decision.

    My son can continue teaching me ballet after school. We can continue our cheesy emotionalism at the musical performances. We can look forward to knowing which Harry Potter character or creature the class will be named after next year. And our son will continue to work with teachers he loves who are patient with his jump-on-the-desk activity level and short attention span and still manage to get an awful lot of information into him.

    We will, with very mixed feelings because we can't say enough good things about the school, the principal, and the parent community, be giving up our spot at Rosa Parks JBBP. We extend our sincere thanks to every teacher, administrator and parent at Rosa Parks for their warmth, kindness and encouragement. We will continue to support our City's public schools by voting for every bit of funding we can, by voting for politicians who are committed to quality public education, and by participating in our public school friends' events and fund-raisers.

    This whole public-private issue doesn't have to be an either-or thing thing, people. "The sphinx must solve her own riddle. If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience." --Emerson

    Once again, thanks to Kate for providing this wonderful forum.

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  18. Congratulations on figuring it out, Marlowe's Mom, and on that feeling of peace. Also thanks for letting everyone know there is spot opening up at Rosa Parks.

    I'm an advocate for public, and you have done exactly what I hope other folks will do--consider the public school options seriously, even if you don't end up there for your own reasons, and also commit to supporting the public schools no matter where your child is placed (for now). Thanks for that! Also thanks for your many fine contributions to the comment section on this blog.

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  19. "this process has already sent me into psychiatric treatment"

    OMG. What melodramatic nonsense.

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  20. It is amazing that there continue to exist such snarky haters, especially in response to Marlowe's Mom, who has posted only thoughtful, honest and wise comments throughout this blog.

    Thanks so much for sharing your decision with us. No doubt, your son will continue to thrive at Adda Clevenger, and if for some reason you decide to transfer to public in the older grades, hopefully it will be an easy process!

    We have decided to hold out for our waitpool choice. So we probably won't have definitive news until late summer.

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  21. "OMG. What melodramatic nonsense."

    Truly.

    Next she'll have to be hospitalized because her kid didn't get to be line leader on Wednesday.

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  22. Well, how nice for you that figuring out a school for your kid has gone so smoothly. I changed my kid's school during K, and it was, to date, the most stressful time I've had as a parent. (My kid is now in 5th.) I didn't seek out therapy, but it might have helped.

    What Marlowe's Mom was considering was more of a school switch than picking a school, and that is a very hard choice to make when your kid is thriving.

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  23. 5:39 and 9:07: Perhaps both of you should have paid more attention in English class. Marlowe's mom was speaking in hyperbole.

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  24. Not that a response will necessarily contribute much, but actually I was not speaking in hyperbole. There had been a lot of issues going on in my life prior to the school enrollment process. The time, energy, stress and then the disappointment when the Round 1 letter came was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. At the time paying for more private school was out of the question and moving would have been a very unhappy financial proposition. I've been in weekly classes that have been quite helpful and our financial situation has unexpectedly improved.

    As to the comment about my child being line leader: If you ask any teacher I've dealt with for either of my kids, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most helicopter parent, I'm maybe a 2. I sat in on my son's classes one morning to observe how he was behaving and interacting with the other students and teachers. I volunteer if I'm asked. If a teacher asks me to back him/her up on a behavior or academic issue, I do it. Otherwise I stay out of the way and let my kids work out issues with their teachers and other kids on their own. I want my kids to know that they have to deal with all kinds of people, things are not always fair or easy, the world does not revolve around them, and they won't and should not always get their way.

    I value my own education highly and it's my top priority to do my best by my children in this area. I'm high-strung and a bit of a control freak. The feeling of being utterly powerless was overwhelming. If you're stronger than I am, good for you.

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  25. "5:39 and 9:07: Perhaps both of you should have paid more attention in English class. Marlowe's mom was speaking in hyperbole."

    Smug know-it-alls often know nothing.

    The ability to comprehend what one reads is oh-so-handy, ain't it? Perhaps you appeared to pay attention in English Class, but didn't quite manage to understand any of it.

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  26. "Hyperbole" is a 4 syllable word!
    Use it with caution :)

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  27. Apparently smug self-satisfaction is highly contagious and especially so on this blog. The level of discourse in the comments has sadly deteriorated... it's too bad that the trolls have basically taken over.

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  28. don't waitlist letters come today? Anyone have news?

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  29. No news is bad news, in this case, huh?

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  30. Marlowe's Mom:

    I'm sorry in a selfish way that you won't be at Rosa Parks next year: we'll miss you!

    If it helps: we signed up on the first day for the JCC afterschool program and still didn't get in. We still have no after care option, either. I structured my work schedule to be able to pick him up 2x/week, my mom can pick him up once a week, and the other two days I'm either working or home with my napping twins at 1:50. Who knows what we'll end up doing? I still can't understand how you can have a school with a 1:50 ending time and no available decent after care options.

    Anyone want to reveal the schools that parents are keeping spaces in who don't intend to send their kids
    there???

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  31. Theres one spot going to open up at Grattan as my neighbor is moving to Europe at the end of July.

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  32. Do you know if your neighbor has gone down to EPC to relinquish the spot? There's probably a lot to be done to move a family to Europe, and going down in person to 555 Franklin may not seem like a top priority, but otherwise that spot stays filled until the end of the 10-day (or is it 6-day now?) count. It would wonderfully considerate of him/her to take care of this detail.

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  33. i have asked them to take their names off but its 'not their top priority'! which is where i feel the districts assignment process doesn't work too well.

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  34. What could the district do about it though? If you run the assignement process in the spring (any later into the summer and the parents would freak, right), and then you have people register to secure the spots, what can the district do but trust that people really mean it? At least until the kid doesn't show?

    Okay, I guess they could send a letter to every new, registered parent asking for confirmation, or, probably better, a paper offering a way to "opt out" of a slot besides heading down to 555 Franklin. But that would be pretty expensive, and more opportunity for error.

    Still, yeah, it sucks that this family isn't making the effort to dis-enroll from Grattan. Arrrgh.

    You can see why EPC is telling folks that the big movement will come in August and after the count. It's not the EPC people's fault--they've just seen it before. There *will* be movement when all these double-offer (public/private) and move-out-of-town folks just don't show up. I hope our current "group of 21" or whatever the # is with no school can take heart from that, and try to think about something else for awhile.

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  35. I called EPC to relinquish our K spot at Rosa Parks JBBP and they told me to fax a note. It's not necessary to go down there. The fax should list the name of the parent or caretaker who enrolled the child, the child's name, the name (and strand if applicable) of the school, and the grade they were scheduled to enter. The fax number is 241-6087. A lot of people can send faxes from their computers. You could also mail something to EPC if you don't have time to go there and hang out. Probably a good idea to copy the school as well to facilitate communication among EPC, the school and the people in the wait list.

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  36. well that sure seems like a bad idea to accept a fax. I could go down to Kinkos and unenroll your kid to make space for mine...

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  37. Who would be evil enough to do something like that?

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  38. Does it say anywhere on the SFUSD site that the 10-day wait will now be 6-day? I've read it in this blog, but has it been 100% confirmed, in-writing by the SFUSD/EPC?

    We were actually very lucky and got our top choice (and we have no "connections" - the lottery is not rigged), but I have a good friend who is 0/15 and waitlisted at an in-demand school so I'm trying to keep on top of what's going on to support my friend.

    Good luck to everyone still waiting -- I am so sorry that people who know they are not attending a public have not (or will not) release their spot.

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  39. 2:21
    Saying the lottery is rigged does not mean everyone who gets a sought-after school pulled strings. It means those who have strings to pull get a sought-after choice. (Presumably with little angst.) Anecdotes like yours do not refute the allegation. Sorry, but happy for you for your good luck.

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  40. "Does it say anywhere on the SFUSD site that the 10-day wait will now be 6-day? I've read it in this blog, but has it been 100% confirmed, in-writing by the SFUSD/EPC?"

    EPC head Darlene Lim told me this on the record for the Examiner.com education blog. That may not count as 100% confirmed in writing.

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  41. My EPC counselor confirmed with me that they will be looking at a 5 day count (first week of school) or6 day (following monday) for clues of who is not showing up. They may make phone calls a week early, in other words. Nothing official, but folks may get some spots in school after 5 days, vs. having to wait 10. Still, a 10 day count exists, as the last of the seats will be counted, and filled, at 10 days.

    RE: RELINQUISHING SPOTS
    I wonder if people can volunteer at public school this summer to call the list of enrollees to confirm they are attending this fall. The family I know of who isn't, but refused to deal with it, may be moved to removed their names from the top tier public school if they get a phone call.

    Something like "hello. i'm a parent volunteer from XYZ school. you are currently enrolled here. we are deciding on classrooms and want to confirm that you are still coming."

    That is all.
    I bet that would open up some seats.

    WAIT POOL LIST:
    BTW we are giving up our spot on our waitlist. 25 names, and we're in the second cohort. Even my counselor doesn't think a space will open up at this very large school for us.

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  42. my apologies for the sloppy note, typo's et al. i was making breakfast and typing. hopefully my point comes thru.

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  43. kortney - my guess is that TFT does not have children!

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  44. Thank god he doesn't, he's a CREEP!

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  45. Not really. He is very sarcastic though, and not everyone can take that, even when directed at a serious of anonymouses. I find his commentary interesting even if the tone gives me pause sometimes. It is more interesting, for sure, than one-sentence name-calling. Reminds me of the time I admonished my son to "use your words" instead of screaming incoherently at my daughter to return a toy, and he immediately said, "waaaah--POOPYHEAD!" ....

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  46. Well, I think that TFT's assumption and accusation that hovering parents are all some sort of idiotic neurosis driven helicopter parent with no clue is similar to "you are all poppyheads." My 2c

    I still don't know where he teaches, as he doesn't respond. It's almost as if he's anonymous. No, wait, he IS anonymous!

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  47. I think I read in one of his posts that he has a son.

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  48. "It means those who have strings to pull get a sought-after choice. (Presumably with little angst.) Anecdotes like yours do not refute the allegation."

    Well an anecdote like this does nothing to reinforce the allegation either. I would love some REAL proof of strings - I find it really hard to believe. I think that this lottery process (and entire K application process, including private) can be so disempowering - and the people on here aren't used to feeling disempowered - that it is easier to believe the system is rigged.

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  49. TFT has said he teaches in the East Bay, and that he has a son. He is indeed sarcastic, but when engaged by less defensive parents who take his underlying message seriously (which I take to be frustration that there is so much distrust of teachers; and a wish that parents would lay off the teachers, let them do their job, and please--not directed at all parents, but some in every class, no doubt: do your job as parents to prepare your kids for school.

    I don't think that is unreasonable. I have seen many, many hyper-critical parents calling out and second-guessing the teacher; there is at least one in every bunch. I have seen many nervous nellie parents as that is a hallmark of our generation's parenting, for better AND for worse, and there are downsides to it in terms of hovering and creation of anxiety where it need not exist.

    Most importantly, I also perceive a growing distrust of teachers and I hate this. They are under a lot of pressure and blame with NCLB, and they have a super-hard job, and most are, in my experience, really great in SFUSD. There are some lemons but they are rare.

    Teaching is an art. Have you ever had the pleasure of walking into a first grade classroom that is humming with busy-ness (but not chaos) of kids doing several interesting tasks as the teacher runs a reading group? I have seen this. It boggled my mind how she could keep an eye on all the kids while teaching a small subset to read at the same time. Her lesson plan was obviously great, as all the kids seemed happily engaged with one thing or another. I am pretty certain that I would not do well with 20 kids in the same situation. Could you? Would you have the patience, stamina, perseverance, and creativity, every school day for 180 days?

    I would just say, other than the few obvious lemons, and you WILL know who they are, support your teachers like crazy, and trust them to do their jobs. That's one of the most important parts of working as a team (parents-teachers-students) to make education work.

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  50. I would love some REAL proof of strings - I find it really hard to believe. I think that this lottery process (and entire K application process, including private) can be so disempowering - and the people on here aren't used to feeling disempowered - that it is easier to believe the system is rigged.

    I'm with you on this. I'd like fact, not rumor. The old system was very much about pulling strings and filing appeals, benefiting those with know-how and time. I am in position to hear a lot of war stories about the lottery, and yes, it does need work, but I have yet to hear or see a credible story of someone gaming the system in its current form. There are those who figure out the next up-and-coming school, so to speak, but that is more like being good at counting cards in Hearts or Blackjack than cheating.

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  51. I like TFT, but I like dark humor, and I think he's pointed in a good way. Maybe some parents are oh-so-sensitive because they recognize themselves in his posts?:) If TFT did not care, he would not post. I could not do that job. If your child has a truly rotten teacher, do something about it, but until it's been proven to you that it's necessary to do otherwise, give your small children's teachers your trust and support--they deserve it. And I'm sorry, but I have a five year old. I love him and I think he's a sweet kid, but I would not put him at the top of my credible witness list. His sense of injustice is, well, let's be polite and say "immature," and don't even ask about his sense of reality.

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