Sunday, August 31, 2008

Any 0/15s out there?

Here's an excerpt of an email from a parent who is 0/15. She hopes to connect with others in the same situation:


"I would love to have a thread for us 0/15's out there. I am in such a desperate situation, paying month to month at a TK that I can't afford, and I'd love to have a place to share what other 0/15's are going through. I dont even know how many of us there are, and what everyone is doing. It seems like the advice everyone offered me (just hold out and you'll get a spot during then ten day count) isn't going to work this year, and that means I am losing some real money potentially for the rest of they year. The inequity of the situation has me extremely depressed, and naturally it is taking a toll on my child, my job, and my life in general."

83 comments:

  1. I'm here. We're at the school we signed up for in Open Enrollment (we are actually quite happy there!) We also have been told that we have a good chance of getting into our waitpool school in the 6 day count (next week).

    What is your waitpool school? What's your info about potential open spaces there?

    If you look at other threads, you will find some schools that may have open spots right now or next week (Paul Revere, Daniel Webster, Rosa Parks JBBP, Sunnyside). Have you thought of any of those?

    I don't mean to minimize what you're going through. I DO think there will be less movement this year than in other years...

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  2. I am 0/15, and I switched my waitpool from Clarendon, then to Harvey Milk, then to Yick Wo. No movement, no hope, nothing.

    My daughter is at a private which I can't afford. But it would be okay for kindergarten.

    I didn't like any of the open enrollment schools, so I'm going to hold out. If that fails, I'm going to try it again next year. If that fails, it's bye bye San Francisco.

    This system sucks. I hate it. It has totally changed the way I view my beloved city of San Francisco.

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  3. Sunnyside has no spots; I would be fine with them. I liked the principle a lot, put it on my second round list, and still came up nothing.

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  4. you should call Sunnyside on tuesday. they had a few spots last i checked.

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  5. Reading these comments makes me think that 0/15s from this year who remain 0/15s through November, should have first priority in the first round next year. No one should have to go through all this stress and not get at least some advantage next year.

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  6. Hi - apologies for reposting this here, but it seems that someone on this thread might be interested in a TK spot at The Little School. We dropped our daughter's spot at The Little School on Friday, and they are looking to fill the spot.

    Ideally, they are looking for a girl with a 5-year-old birthday between June 08 and February 09.  If they do not find a girl, but do find a boy they will fill it quickly.  If you're interested, call 567-0430 or email admissions@littleschool.org asap. 

    I can say nothing but glowing things for the Little School. Our daughter attended the TK summer school in July, and they worked wonders with her in only one month. The teachers are wonderful, as is the director, Leslie Roffman. Their TK program is unique in that it has an arts focus -- the kids explore all sorts of disciplines like photography, capoeira dance, ballet, drama, literature, even Chinese brush painting! It was with a very heavy heart that we gave up our daughter's spot, but we couldn't turn down our #1 public school (Miraloma).

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  7. LIttle School raises a *lot* of money each year for financial aid, so don't be afraid to ask.

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  8. Did you try McKinley? Steadily rising test scores, top notch programs, phenomenal principal. I think they still have some spots open.

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  9. It works this way for LAUSD's coveted magnet schools:

    <<< Reading these comments makes me think that 0/15s from this year who remain 0/15s through November, should have first priority in the first round next year >>>

    My nephew was able to maneuver that system into easy access to a popular magnet high school, or school-within-a-school, due to a really fortuitous set of circumstances.

    There are no guaranteed, but 0/15s, don't forget that the waitpool is basically stopped dead the first week of school, and then things happen when no-shows' seats are released next week.

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  10. If you are 0/15 - please remember that the 10 day count hasn't happened yet. In addition to what's happened to date, there is a great deal of movement at that point. Happens the beginning of the next week (9/8)

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  11. I'm here, too. And I have a lot to say, so just ask me :)

    First...

    Can i start by requesting that folks name the schools they are talking about? I think it helps us all.

    Next...
    Even though we are 0/15ers, we are fortunate enough that we got a spot at Katherine Michiels School at short notice. Unfortunately there is no more financial aid, but they expanded their elementary school so kinder is still open (it starts this Tuesday. 9-4pm. Lunch served there!)
    I know that this works for us because we can afford a year there if we don't get a school in the 10 day count. Not all of us are in this same position.

    I can tell you, also, that we like this school better than our original waitlist school (Flynn GE), and may keep her here for kinder, regardless of our waitpool results. We are waitlisted at Lakeshore. When it started to look hopeless we've moved things around in our budget. If our daughter loves it at KMS, we'll stay for the year and try again in 1st grade.

    I can also tell you that a dear friend of ours who H A T E D her assigned school but put her 5 1/2 year old there until the 10 day count comes thru for her. (J Serra) It isn't convenient or a good fit in her mind AT ALL. The good news is her daughter is enjoying herself and comes home happy everyday. They feel ok enough that if she stays for kinder, it's ok for them.

    If you're at all tempted to put her in a school with an opening until something else comes along, or until you can try again in 1st grade, perhaps there is some inspiration in her story.

    If it helps at all, I loved the principal at Sunnyside, the campus, and the kinder teachers. And there will be openings there and Flynn GE after the 10 day count (i have spies all over the place. :)

    I also believe that if your waitpool has fewer than 4 people per kinder class, you have a decent chance of getting your kid in. More than that? Not so sure this year.

    I'm sorry so many of us have been in this position all summer. I think it sucks and i wish i could do something about it. In fact, I haven't given up on the idea of being part of the EPC next year so that I can do just that.

    Best of luck all.

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  12. I'm a K teacher at a SFUSD school that ALWAYS has a waiting pool. I must say that currently our school has a few slots open. I had a few open slots throughout the year last year the district overlooked as some students moved away. I would suggest to go downtown in person and get an update on the situation at your desired schools. Don't sit and wait with the district. Good luck!

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  13. There's at least a couple spots at Grattan (1 in my child's class for sure because the nametag next to my child's has gone without an accompanying kid all week). So far, we love it -- strong principle, extremely active parents, very community-focused. The gardening program is really wonderful -- a focus that threads through the entire curriculum, and the technology guy is this amazingly charismatic guy who personally opens every car door during drop off every morning, greeting the kids with a big smile and loud friendly Brooklyn (?) "How ARE YA??" And my child is loving it. Comes home happy every day.

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  14. 9:16, at this point, it's ridiculous not to name the school.

    NAME THE SCHOOL, people! Please!

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  15. I am on a waitlist and want to change it before the end of the 10 day count. Is it too late to switch before the phone calling starts for open spots?

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  16. Last day to change waitpool before the most recent run was Friday. You can change it now, i'm sure.

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  17. I hear John Muir has room.

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  18. i think Daniel Webster GE and SI, Sunnyside, Flynn GE, Harvey Milk, John Muir, Jose Ortega GE, J. Serra will have room at the end of the week, if not sooner.

    EPC will tell you where spaces are. Of course no one can predict what will shake up after the 10 day count. Since Kinder has until Nov. 7 to waitlist, there is hope of starting late. The original "waitlist" section of this blog has a poster from PPS who gives a waitlist change timeline.

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  19. 11:07 - LOL!!

    on the serious side, 9:34 is right - there are some unclaimed spots at Grattan, but I have no idea how long the waitlist is.

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  20. Last I checked 25 people were waiting for a K spot at Grattan.

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  21. Dumb question, but I have to ask.

    Do we actually have to go to the office on Franklin to find out this information? They aren't supposed to call us?

    I was told they would call us. Because if there are spots and I'm not getting one, I really want to know about it. I'll be down there right away.

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  22. They are supposed to call you if/when your name comes up. Whether or not being there in person (squeaky wheel) makes a difference is debatable.

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  23. We were 0/15 and assigned to Sunnyside. After 1 week, we are loving this school. My child is very happy, and eager to go to class every day. There is a great group of new families this year, many who have already volunteered for classroom participation, yard duty, etc.

    All 3 of the K teachers (2 are new) seem wonderful. Our teacher said she is speeding up the curriculum this year because most kids in her class have obviously had preschool, and the learning curve is much faster than last year. Nice to know she noticed, and is adjusting the class to compensate.

    Sunnyside has a sweet, neighborhood feel to it. There will be some work involved to get more fundraising dollars but it is all do-able. Good luck to everyone with no school and I would encourage you to consider Sunnyside if it works for your family.

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  24. 4:28PM -- Do you mind me asking which teacher your child has? Thanks.

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  25. I changed our waitpool choice to Grattan last week. The top 5 are supposedly getting the open slots that ARE available there if they are still interested...this is all per EPC.

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  26. We are here too! although i hope not for much longer i joined a waitpool that was very short and with no appeals ahead of me!!!
    I'm very tired of the whole process and hope it ends tomorrow or wednesday.

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  27. 5:55 - Our teacher at Sunnyside is Ms. Plack. The other 2 K teachers are Ms. Converse & Ms. Yee. I have heard good things about both of them from parents in the other classes. The 2 older K teachers at Sunnyside retired, so Ms. Yee and Ms. Converse are new.

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  28. Still here and just waiting to see if we clear Grattan's list next week. It looks surprisingly good for us in the first cohort considering the popularity of the school. Good luck to everyone.

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  29. Question about waitpools -

    I changed our waitpool choice on Friday but am now feeling unsure about it (desperate scramble for a better waitpool).

    Can I go in and change it again tomorrow - Tuesday? Or is it too late for this coming week of calls offering those no-show spots?

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  30. According to this doc from EPC, families are called only on these three dates: Sept 3, Sept 26, Nov 7.

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/placement/WP_KEY_DATES.pdf

    Is this accurate? Seems weird to leave spots open in between these WP runs and call dates.

    Help. So unclear - leaves so much room for hokie-pokie.

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  31. 6:20 - which waitpool did you join? short and no appeals? wow!

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  32. We are on the Grattan waitpool also, i'm hoping that everyone didn't change to Grattan at the last minute, otherwise thats more competition for the spots, I'm really hoping and praying that we get a spot, i'll let you know hopefully by Wednesday.

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  33. I know what you mean 6:42 pm. I've been assuming we're in pretty good shape based on where the list stood as of Wednesday but if several people jumped on we may be looking at worse odds. Hope to see you at the school on Thursday!

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  35. I have a question as someone who will have to go through this process in the coming year... it sounds like there are people on wait lists, but others are also just going down to the EPC and getting spots. Are the spots people are getting at schools with no waitlists or is it because they are just going down to the office... sorry if this sounds dumb, I was just confused!

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  36. EPC adviced me to go on Grattan waitpool...now I'm very worried that we have no shot....
    this process is so stressful...

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  37. 8:31 - fantastic question. i have been in this process since oct 07 and still have no answer for you!

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  38. At this point, if there is no waitpool at a school, you can sign up in Open Enrollment (anytime). So I think that is why people were able to take spots that just opened up at Sunnyside, for instance. It may well happen that as the waitpools clear for other schools, and people shift out of schools when they get their waitpool choices, spots open at other schools as well.

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  39. 8:31, as someone who has been to the EPC every other week since we received our first round letters, I can assure you if there is a waitpool, you will not be granted a spot just by going to the EPC office. If people were granted a spot, it was during open enrollment, and it was probably at a school that had a spot and no waitlist, approved appeals or siblings.

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  40. FYI, tomorrow I start my daughter at a private school, transitional K/K program. I have to say, I feel so much better doing this than sending her to a public school that I am not wild about, where I can't be in the classroom in the first week, or at the aftercare program to see what that's like. I can't imagine choosing a school like John Muir at the eleventh hour and then having a normal work week. My fingers are crossed for something short of a miracle and we get a spot at Miraloma before Christmas. However, if we don't, I've got a loan to fall back on if I can't make the monthly payment and I'm eligible for aid in January. So crazy, this whole experience.

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  41. Good luck, Jessica B. You deserve a bit of R& R after such a load of stress...I hope you can fit in a massage.

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  42. Best of luck, Jessica B! You're doing what is best for your daughter. Hang in there, girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  43. I am going into this process this fall - soon. I was wondering how the waitpool works.

    Say my kid is waitlisted at a school next year - how are the waitpool kids ranked - first come, first served? Or does the space that opens up need to be filled by a particular "diversity" type? If my white kid is, say, first on the list, will she get that first open spot, or does my white kid get skipped over b/c she isn't "diverse?"

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  44. The last couple comments from this upcoming year's class of mildly stressed and perplexed applicant parents signals the passing of the torch -- can you believe that almost an entire YEAR has passed since we all started doing this?

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  45. 12:06 new parent to the process:

    First off, welcome! And good luck, of course.

    Now, your question about waitpools requires a few answers:

    1. Race is NOT a factor in diversity. Not ever in this process. Seriously. There are other diversity factors that are considered, like is the family very poor versus not very poor. Some of these correlate strongly to race or ethnicity, and people use race/ethnicity as shorthand, but race and ethnicity are never, ever, considered. Dual immersion schools do consider primary language as a way to balance the classes by language, but again, not race or ethnicity.

    2. The waitpools do not consider the economic factors. That only happens in Round 1. To repeat: after Round 1, the diversity index is not used.

    3. What does happen is that the waitpools are run on various different dates and a list order of applicants are generated for each priority cohort. So in one waitpool run you might be the #1 family in your cohort; in another waitpool run you might be #5. Then EPC compares available spots to the list and starts calling the families to try to fill the slots, starting with the top priority cohort, #1 on that list for that waitpool run. If they don't hear back from a family in a certain amount of time, they move onto the next name on the list, until all available slots are filled. After that, the folks go back into the waitpool for their cohort until the next waitpool run generates a new list.

    Hope that helps. Clear as mud, right?

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  46. Yes, good luck Jessica B! FYI, Jessica found us our K/K spot at a the same private school, and we've since had a few play dates. Our kids like each other. I'm both rooting for her to get her kid into Miraloma, and hoping she does not so we can stay at school together.

    we are on a waitlist, too, but with little hope.

    Today is our first day and we'll be posting OUR first day of school photos, darnit!

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  47. Aren't there more options than just Miraloma? Why wouldn't you choose a school with a shorter waitlist if you don't have a school assignment? I am confused.

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  48. It's a long story but I am a single mother who works in an industry that often calls for long hours (60+ week) and my sister is my support system, picks my child up and often feeds her dinner. Her child goes to miraloma and her other toddler goes to daycare nearby that school. I tried to get my child into schools close to her house (fairmount is right down the street) but that was impossible due to Flynnarado. Picking up kids all at the same time in different locations is logistically impossible. Yeah, if I had other support or didnt have to work these kinds of hours to make ends meet, I might try another school. But so few exist on my side of town with decent aftercare. Believe me, as I've toured over 15 schools.

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  49. Did you try to get a hardship appeal? Seems like you would qualify.

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  50. jessica did not get a hardship appeal, even though she applied. that is also something that needs to change. folks who got appeals got them for strange things--simply because the hardship was unique.

    more bullshit if you ask me.

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  51. Someone asked so I will answer since I toured: Yes there are a few white children at John Muir, though so few that they are not statistically significant enough to have their test scores broken out in the SARC. The kindergarten kids of all races appeared energetic and engaged to me. If you are considering John Muir, drop by one morning and see if they have time to show you around. The principal, Ms. Wheaton, was very warm and welcoming to me. By the way, the correct spelling for a school principal is princiPAL, not "princiPLE."

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  52. Thanks Marlowe's Mom for the spelling reminder. I learned a tip in second grade that stuck -- the principal is your pal!

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  53. Jessica should not have to justify her desire to get her child into Miraloma. That's what she wants. You don't need to know her reasons.

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  54. FYI -- I think the diversity index IS used after Round I, but doesn't have as much impact because of the sheer numbers of students already at the school.

    Anyone receiving offers today?

    Please, when you get a waitpool call tomorrow (or today???) post so we know they are calling...

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  55. Hi Kortney and everybody (I have my fingers crossed for you)...

    Re appeals, in the past they were very flexible and just based on how good a case you could make, grasping at anything. Ours was based on the fact that the principal of our assigned school, Miraloma (this was '96), had told us he couldn't guarantee that we wouldn't be disappointed in Miraloma. We enclosed a barrage of our son's artwork etc. to demonstrate that he needed more than that -- you get the idea. Of course it was really to demonstrate that we were determined and wouldn't leave them alone till we were satisfied.

    Other educated, assertive, empowered families were doing the same kind of thing. I know one that cited their child's respiratory problems and took scientific pollution measurements outside the assigned school and the preferred school -- obviously not an option easily available to the uneducated and disadvantaged. (So convenient that a trophy school had lower pollution measurements than an unpopular school.)

    So then when the system was revamped, appeals were supposed to be based STRICTLY on documented medical needs. Perhaps that has been made more flexible, but you can see who wins and who loses, overall, in an appeals process based on how good a case you can make. It's unfortunate that families with truly genuine needs are now at a disadvantage, though.

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  56. I like to think of myself as somewhat educated and empowered. However, I was completely unable to persuade a group of people that despite a grueling work schedule, travel up to 3 times per month, and a documented case of extreme seperation anxiety(in my daughter), that I had any kind of hardship. The fact is, there is no due diligence done on these appeals. People can write whatever they like - there is no fact-checking. Seems like an exercise in creative writing. And then people with approved appeals can take their priority status to any waitpool - it is not tied to a particular school.

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  57. Jessica, I don't know what the parameters of the process are now. I was very familiar with it at the time we applied, of course, and then also in the revamped mode that supposedly STRICTLY allowed for doctor-authorized medical hardships. I hadn't realized that latter had changed, but maybe it has gotten more flexible.

    In recent years, I haven't done the face-to-face volunteering as a peer counselor that I did a few years ago. At that time I got training from the EPC.

    But is there any chance the process actually hasn't changed, and your appeal wasn't even considered because the only appeals allowed are still those medical hardships?

    I'm sure that back in the day, yours would have been granted.

    Hopefully this will all be a moot point as you'll get a call in the next day or two!

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  58. NOTE TO EPC (for consideration in revamping your system):
    If a family is awarded a hardship appeal, they should not be allowed to switch waitpool schools throughout the process. It only seems right as their argument for the appeal would be geared toward the school of their choice.

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  59. Family hardships are separate from medical hardships. The latter needing supporting documentation from a doctor.

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  60. Caroline - there are two kinds of hardships. Family hardships and medical hardships. The family hardship is for non-medical reasons why the assigned school can not meet the family's needs. (In my case it had to do with proximity to my sister and lack of extended care options.) Here is a link to the form which explains it better. A seperate form is used for strict medical appeals:
    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/FHAEnglish.pdf

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  61. As you can see, they were much more loosey-goosey about the hardship appeals in our day. Practically everyone we knew got in either with the zip code preference or an appeal under the "how bad do you want it?" system. Since the system was overhauled I don't think I know of anyone whose official appeal was granted -- but many, many, many who have gotten in from the wait pool.

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  62. Literally - everyone I know who filed an appeal got theirs. More were handed out this year (26) than many years in the past. Some were legit; others weren't. Anyway, onward. I whined plenty about this over the summer and now am just focusing on minimizing the financial burden until I get the school that works for us.

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  63. At 4.47 i got the call that we got our waitpool and we get to go to school tomorrow!!!
    We got Grattan, my number 1 school way back in the first round!! we are delighted and very excited!!!
    THE END

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  64. Congratulations! I'm feeling a little nervous now that we didn't get the call today. Anyone else get a call?

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  65. 5:07 here again. We DID get the call for Grattan at about 5:15pm. Whew!!! A happy ending to this long, crazy process. We're switching from a parochial and my daughter took the news much better than I expected. Best of luck to all those still waiting!

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  66. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you well wishers! I have to say, it's worth being non-anonymous to get the support. Didn't get a call today, but my daughter did have a great day at her trans-K. I'll be keeping my hopes up until we get that spot but at least she's happy and she had her first day of school. I'll be posting her picture on the blog shortly.

    Congrats to the lucky folks who got the call.

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  67. Mazel tov to those who got the calls, and my fingers are crossed for the rest of you (Jessica and Kortney are the identified ones that I know of).

    Jessica says: ... everyone I know who filed an appeal got theirs ...

    In that case it really sucks that you didn't.

    That's not quite the same as the comparison I made, though, which is that everyone I knew (back when) who got a school got it with the zip code preference or by appealing. Everyone appealed then, and it was usually successful. Now I assume that only people with really clear-cut cases appeal.

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  68. I hope you ultimately get Miraloma, Jessica. It's an awesome school. (Was #1 in our first round, too)

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  69. "...Now I assume that only people with really clear-cut cases appeal."

    You'd think so, but we have friends who desperately needed before and aftercare (they both work 7-6pm intense jobs) and kept getting assigned schools that had neither. They tried for a family hardship appeal and were told that "lack of childcare is not really a hardship".
    If that's not a family hardship, then what is?

    The good news is that they eventually got a school they really wanted 2 days before school started off the wait pool. They just got lucky.

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  70. To the folks who did get a call re:grattan-
    any feedback from the EPC regarding number of spots still out there?

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  71. Those of you who received good news about Grattan - welcome! We are excited to have you as part of our community.

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  72. I hit go before I had a chance to add that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of you - hopefully you'll receive good news tomorrow!

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  73. A friend of mine just got offered a spot at Claire Lillianthal this evening (who knew they would call in the evening???)

    Anyone else out there get a call? What school?????

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  74. Actually, I think they called her this afternoon. I guess they got a head start on the phone calls...

    Here's wishing everyone good luck tomorrow!

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  75. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  76. 4/5 splits are a world apart from Kindergarten - please give her a chance!

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  77. I am trying to understand why the administrator of this blog would remove two postings dissing an elementary school (on another thread), yet allow unsubstantiated attacks on a teacher to stand. Could you please explain your thinking??

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  78. 11:08 -- its unfortunate that your daughter was unprepared for middle school but I guess as an outside observer, its difficult to understand why you would allow the situation to continue. So although you may have meant the post with good intentions, it would be helpful to clarify what was so terrible, the outcomes for the entire class (ie 80% of the class were unprepared as evaluated 5 different middle school teachers, etc-- that would lend much more objectivity). It would also be helpful to explain why you had no options to remove her from the class. None of us know the situation except for you, the teacher and your daughter -- clearly the mix did not work.

    In any case, your point is well taken that one of the dangers of these split classes is that if you end up with a teacher that does not work for your child, you could be STUCK for 2 years if you (as in parent) permits it to happen.

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  79. admin - thanks for taking 11:08 down!

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  80. I have a question:

    if we are on a waitlist for a school and DO NOT get assigned there this year, do we just STAY on the waitlist for next year?

    or do we re-apply?

    i heard rumors about being able to remain on the list all year...

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  81. to 8:17:
    The one benefit I see to a 4/5 split class or any split class is that the teacher really knows your child and knows how to work with your child even better in the 2nd year and knows what level your child is working at. so if you have a competent teacher, there may be a benefit to having two years with that teacher. Of course, if you have an incompetent teacher you really lose out.

    In my daughter's case, three of her six years at Argonne she was placed into split classes, twice with good teachers, once with incompetent one. However, she did not get the benefit of the good teachers for two years b/c in each case she was placed in the split class in the class's second year. When she finally got into a split class in the first year, the great teacher she had took sabbatical for my daughter's second year. All of the parents were up in arms with the long term sub after the summer session (Argone is year round school) and let the principal know about it. Several parents withdrew their kids from the school. I myself had my daughter apply for a private school which she was admitted to for Dec., but the pain it was causing my daughter not to be able to spend the last 6 months with her school and graduate was so great that I let her stay and started tutoring her in every subject. It caused a great deal of stress in our house. The principal was not proactive in the situation despite all the complaints.

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  82. 1:36 - not all schools keep the students in split classes for two years. One reason is that many teachers do not want to teach splits, and the turnover is significant. Sometimes the student numbers just don't work out.

    It also takes more than a "competent" teacher to make a split successful. As you note, the less-than-responsive principal may be part of the problem. Ideally, the students will be carefully selected for their ability to work independently, and the school will offer the teacher (and the class) the extra support necessary to succeed. All too often, splits just aren't this well thought out.

    Please don't call a teacher who takes a one-year assignment a long-term sub! They are tenure track with the same employment contract as any other "permanent" teacher!

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  83. We got a Kindergarten spot today at McKinley, and opened one up at Sunnyside! McKinley was #3 on our 1st round list, so we were happy when the counselor at EPC told us over a week ago that we were the only family in the prority cohort on the waitpool list at McKinley. When we didn't hear anything last week, and some friends at the school said they knew there were some spots, I went to the EPC and was told they needed to hear from the school. I spent 2 hours driving back and forth between EPC and McKinley, until I had the assignment letter in hand. I know there are at least 2 other spots at McKinley, and several at Sunnyside, which we liked a lot. (McKinley's location is much better for us). Moral of the story- Don't be shy, talk to school secretaries and principals and bug the EPC counselors and Director Archie Falkin until you get the service you deserve!

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