Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Flynn/Alvarado update

For an update on the Flynn/Alvarado snafu, go to :

Friday, July 25, 2008

PPS-SF reports enrollment mistake

PPS-SF has recently learned about an error made by the school district in enrollment of English and Spanish speakers in the Immersion programs at Alvarado and Flynn. This is information we have as of this writing:

* The desired balance of English to native Spanish speakers in Spanish Immersion programs is 50%/50%, but due to an error in coding siblings in the system, a disproportionate number of English speakers were assigned to each school.
* 23 families will receive phone calls and letters offering to enroll them into a new Spanish Immersion program at Daniel Webster Elementary.
* Families who don’t choose this option are being given the option of priority in the waitpool for any other school.
* Spanish-speaking families who listed the immersion programs at Flynn and Alvarado as their first choice but who didn’t get assigned there are being contacted to offer them spaces in the immersion program at Flynn, Alvarado and Webster.
* Additionally, Spanish-speaking families from Marshall and Paul Revere may also be contacted to offer them spots at Flynn, Alvarado and Webster, opening up spots up for the displaced English-speaking families.
* The district is having an informational meeting on Tuesday, July 29 at 6pm at Daniel Webster to give more detailed information and to clarify any concerns or questions.

PPS-SF is hosting a forum:

Monday, July 28 at 6pm

The Women’s Building, 3543 18th Street between Guerrero and Valencia.

We recommend public transportation as parking is limited.

Please RSVP for KidsWatch and Spanish translation to 861-7077 or

The purpose of this meeting is to have a forum for parents to share their viewpoints around this issue. As there are many perspectives within the parent community, all viewpoints will be respected. PPS-SF is compiling and summarizing notes from the forum and all other comments, phone calls, and emails to share with the district. Please note that SFUSD representatives will not be present on Monday to clarify or answer questions.

Please help us reach people who are interested in this issue to invite them to this meeting.

Please address any concerns or questions offline to

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Francisco magazine wants to hear from you

K Files Community:

My name is Diana Kapp and I'm writing a piece for San Francisco Magazine on the city's public schools. Some of you may have read the story I did last year on private schools "Schools Gone Wild."

I'm now turning my attention to the public schools, and a new level of openness I sense about families considering public schools that may not have 5 years ago.
One of the areas I'm focusing on is the role The K Files played in this year's admissions process.

I know this was a supportive community for many to air their concerns and grievances, get information, and find support. I'd love to get your thoughts on what role The K Files played in your school admission/decision process this year? Was it a major factor in your decision making? Did anyone go public that wouldn't have otherwise? How did the blog change your view, for better or worse, of a particular school, the process, the option of public education? I think the blog is a really interesting example of the momentum that seems to be building for going public. It also revealed quite starkly some of the frustrations. If you'd be willing to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you. I'm at

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Extracurricular activities

A topic idea from an SF K Files reader:

"I was wondering if you could post a thread about extra curricular activities where people could weigh in. I am wondering what people have found for their kids in all areas: dance and capoeira, gymnastics, music lessons, martial arts (Tao Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, Jujisu--how do they compare), swimming, soccer, baseball, tennis, etc. Also it would be useful if commenters could note the location of the place when rating it."

Monday, July 21, 2008

New York Times Magazine: The Next Kind of Integration

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled certain types of racial integration unconstitutional. An article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "The Next Kind of Integration," looks at how some schools are adjusting to a class-based system of integration. The story is full of powerful data and information on how integration impacts kids from both low-income and middle class families.

"If Congress were to revise No Child Left Behind to encourage more transfers of poor students to middle-class schools, would poor students drag down their better-off peers? In the end, the prospects of class-based integration will probably rise or fall on the answer to this question. Socioeconomic integration may be good for the have-nots, but if the haves think their kids are paying too great a price, they will kill it off at the polls. Richard Kahlenberg argues that the key is to ensure there is a solidly middle-class majority at as many schools as possible. That majority will then set the tone, he argues. Kahlenberg says that more research is needed to pin down the percentage of middle-class kids that a school needs to have to serve all its students well. Maybe a school can go as high as 50 percent low-income without losing ground."

Read the story? Share your thoughts.

Do SF parents have chips on their shoulders?

The other day I was talking to a friend about schools in SF. She sends her kids to private school though she has lots of friends in public. She started to tell me about her friends' remarks against private schools. "They'll say these things right to my face and they know I send my kids to private school." And then she posed the question, "Why do so many parents in San Francisco have chips on their shoulders?" Of course, this works both ways. Public school parents have told me about comments from private school parents. It seems that parents are quick to judge the other side (anyone who reads this blog knows that).

Anyway, I'd like to throw the question out there: Do SF parents have chips on their shoulders? If so, why?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

California's High School Dropout Rate: 24%

Back from break...

Did anyone see the article in today's Chronicle reporting on California's staggering high school dropout rate?

Here are some highlights:

"Nearly 1 in 4 California students will drop out during high school, state educators said Wednesday, basing their prediction on what they said is the most accurate information about student attendance they've ever collected."

The new dropout rate is far higher than the 13 percent educators had earlier estimated using less-sophisticated counting methods they had relied on for years.

"Bay Area dropout rates vary widely by school district, but three have rates far higher than the 24 percent state average: Oakland Unified (37 percent), West Contra Costa Unified (40 percent), and Vallejo City Unified (42 percent)."

"In San Francisco, 1,052 high school students quit last year. Based on that, researchers believe that 21 percent of entering freshmen will quit before earning a diploma."

"California's dropouts cost the state $50 billion per year, said incoming state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat who quoted studies showing that over their lifetimes those who quit are more likely to be unemployed, turn to crime, need state-funded medical care, get welfare and pay no taxes."

Be sure to check out the article, which reports on the dropout rate for specific SF high schools: Leadership High is 46 percent, Abraham Lincoln High is 15 percent, School of the Arts is 11 percent, and Lowell is 1 percent.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Open forum

I'm out of town through mid-July. Feel free to use this post as an open forum area. I hope everyone is enjoying summer--and taking a break from the school frenzy. Best, Kate