Thursday, August 21, 2008

Final wait pool run

Please feel free to share your news if you got into a school in the final wait pool run. And then we'll move into the 10-day count.

406 comments:

  1. I posted this on a different thread, but I just want to beg anyone currently holding a waitpool or kinder seat that they know they are not going to take - please call or better yet, go to the EPC and remove yourself! School starts monday and some of us are still hoping for a miracle.

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  2. I was at the Alvarado K welcoming night, yesterday. I had read some posting saying that one of the SI teachers of Alvarado might be the new teacher at DW. It is not the case: Miss Shafu (not sure of the spelling) has been promoted as Science and Language coordinator in Alvarado, which is why they are looking for a new SI teacher (which they have not find, yet).

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  3. We were one of the lucky ones - after a grueling process of waiting, we heard in this final run that our daughter has a spot at Grattan. Needless to say, I am relieved and grateful. I hope for the sake of our fellow 0/15ers that those holding spots and not intending to use them will take the high road, spend a few minutes sending a fax and letting those still hoping for placement finally sleep better at night.

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  4. when was the final waitpool run? last friday?

    9:09am - did you get a letter in the mail from EPC or did they call you? were you dilligently calling every day and that is how you got the spot? or was it a true waitpool run? we are all curious as to how the process is actually happening at this point.

    DW has only one SI teacher hired at this point. the second is in the works - checking credentials, etc. not sure if there is still space at DW for SI or if there is a WL. new paint on the school looks great! and they are re-doing the floors too. hopefully it will lead to a great start.

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  5. 9:26 -

    They did do a true waitlist run but I'm not sure how many schools besides Grattan and Dianne Feinstein actually had open spots. We met with Archie on several occasions in person - I never had much luck calling except in the case of asking very rudimentary information.

    The District did not call us - I called them the day the waitpool run was done (Friday 8/15). We are away from home but apparently the letters did not arrive in the mail until Wednesday. Shameful considering that all of us are waiting for news with bated breath.

    I will say that we did have an approved appeal which meant that we had first priority for the open spots at Grattan. However, I did hear of another family who got a call this week from the District - also for Grattan - but I believe they were on the 0/7 waitlist. So perhaps the District is now filling spots as the open up. I would say that the process overall continues to be less than transparent.

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  6. We gave up our seat at McKinley yesterday, after an agonizing decision-making process. We really love the school, but we took a spot at a K-8 instead.

    I don't know the wait pool situation at McKinley, but call EPC to check on the open spot.

    Bon chance!

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  7. @8:39, new parent to Alvarado--do you think the former K teacher who is now the Science and Language coordinator is Jenny Chaffo? She is so great, very dynamic. My son had a total kindergarten-boy crush in on her back in the day. I hope she still has a frontline role with the kids.

    And, welcome to Alvarado! Hope you will attend the PTA breakfast after morning assembly on Monday.

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  8. this is a stupid question but here goes:

    If you have a spot a a school you feel good about and get a call saying you got your waitpool school do you HAVE to take it? Do they automatically disenroll you from your other school and give away your spot?

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  9. No, you do not have to take a new spot. If you don't take it within a set amount of time, it will be offered to someone else on the WL. If you're certain you don't want the spot, it would be generous to tell the EPC this so they can offer it to another parent.

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  10. We just got a call and are being offered a spot at a great school that is a pain to get to. We are currently registered at a good school (up and coming?) very near our house. I have to discuss the decision with my husband. He's going to want to stay at the close one I want the one thats a pain to get to - but a great program.

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  11. Can folks share the name of the school that they are being offered? For us waitpool groupies, every bit of information helps.

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  12. Anyone know how many spots at Feinstein opened up? We're on the waitlist in the 0/7 cohort

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  13. does anyone know anything about EPC filling vacated spots at immersion programs this year? as in, will there be a magnifying glass on everything? testing of all incoming spanish speakers? if there is an existing imbalance, will they try to rectify it with wp draws (in both directions, or only if it's heavy on english spekers)?

    obviously, one wouldn't expect as much attrition at immersions anytime, but this year particularly, i guess. but there's always got to be something, right?

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  14. YES! you DO have to take the spot. If you get your waitpool school, you are automatically disenrolled from your current assignment.

    That is what I've been told over and over.

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  15. You have to take it in all previous runs, but once school starts (or is on the point of starting?) they give you a choice, I think.

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  16. You have to take it in all previous runs, but once school starts (or is on the point of starting?) they give you a choice, I think.

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  17. I was told by my counselor, Hans Gong, that:
    You had to take the spot if you got it in the waitpool runs that happened before school started. This is because they automatically transfer your kid and fill in the spot your kid vacated, when they do the run and send out the letters.
    It is different for the waitpool runs after school starts. Then they contact you by phone and give you the option to say yes or no. I guess they realize that jerking families around after school starts really is a bit much.
    Of course, the fact that I was told this doesn't mean that it is remotely true.

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  18. Something to keep in mind you can NOT change your waitpool school after the 29th Aug, your in your chosen waitpool from the 29th till the very end Nov 7th!! keep that in mind! its looking very much like we won't be starting school any time soon

    disappointed with SFUSD

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  19. In response to requests for details:

    we are in Flynn General track and have been working hard to get our selves and our child excited about the school and the program. This has worked as there is alot to get excited about!

    this afternoon we got a call from Miraloma saying that we have a spot. It was our #1 dream pick but its a pain to get to and we had gotten everyone (including our kid) pumped about Flynn.

    In the end I think we are going to (and are required to anyway) take the spot at Miraloma but it has been more wrenching than I would have thought.

    If someone had asked me to choose between Flynn's General track and Miraloma 6 months ago I would have laughed at them. No choice to make! but now....well anyway I think the choice is made by the restrictions of the system so its moot, and I am sure we'll be really happy at miraloma.

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  20. I don't actually think you're required to take Miraloma at this point, but you certainly can ask the EPC. If you aren't thrilled about it, and would prefer Flynn, why not leave the Miraloma spot for someone else on the waitpool list who is dying to have that spot?

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  21. I am dying for Miraloma. I have been on that waitpool since Round I. I am a single mom, whose sister's kid's go there. She is my support system and aftercare provider. I have been to the EPC every week since Round II. I no real options except transitional k. I would love that spot.

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  22. We are deciding what we want to do. We're entitled to that I think, no? We probably would have landed at Miraloma even if we weren't required to take our wait list choice (given this situation) I am, however, surprised that my feelings are even a little ambivalent.

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  23. Of course I understand, and that's fair. I'm just a little desperate, exhausted, sad.

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  24. Wow, so that means the single mom that has been to EPC many times begging for the Miraloma spot, (jessica b) has made no impact. The spot was given to someone who is ambivilent- Did you have a hardship appeal, are you one of the original displaced Flynnerados? Again, just an interesting turn of events...

    I am like Jessicab, have been to the EPC weekly trying to get any info, begging for a place in a school, - we don't have one. This is truly depressing

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  25. We did not have a hardship appeal, which is not to say this process was easy for us. We worked HARD to commit to Flynn General. it was our LAST choice second round school and we did not start out excited. We primarily put it down thinking it would give us a foot in the door and that we could transfer into the immersion program down the road when the numbers thinned out (on the advice of a current flynn parent)

    we all know how likely that is NOW.

    I dont think its fair to say we are ambivalent about Miraloma , more that the "commute" gives us pause and that we had invested in Flynn.

    Boy howdy - it feels like I have thrown Chum in the water.

    I feel for everyone who has not gotten a spot and wish you all the best of luck.

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  26. So far, I have heard of people getting calls for spots at Grattan, Miraloma, Lillienthal, some of the top requested schools in the city. Nothing about the less requested schools.
    What's up with that?

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  27. Again, getting in to Miraloma, if you have a choice is surprising as the August 1 waitpool has the number of Round 1 no choice - 21 !!! So, , just shocking, can't figure out the system!

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  28. not sure what you don't get--anon said she went 0/7 in round 1--she keeps that cohort status throughout the process. Just luck that she was the one who got it out of 21 people in that cohort.

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  29. we were round 1 no choice

    and even if you get a choice in round 2 you stay in the round 1 no choice cohort.

    so, not so surprising after all.

    the logic behind this, I think, is to get people to broaden their round 2 choices. It worked that way for us.

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  30. Here's what I want to know. With this last 'lottery' - are we now assigned a number? I was at the EPC today asking about Miraloma. There are now 19 on the round 1 no choice pool. Are we in some order to be called? I mean, if anon had chosen/or still chooses to stay at Flynn GE, is there an ordered list? Is the EPC checking things like...well, this person did do what we want and they broadened their choices in round 2 so let's offer that person this slot? Or is the next person chosen a random choice?

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. In an amazing twist of fate, we got into our top choice school YESTERDAY. The EPC left a msg on my cell phone yesterday, requesting a call back the same day. (We were out of town, so this was dicey) After a massive scramble, we enrolled today, just in time for the "meet and greet." We are over the moon excited, as this was our top choice since we first heard of the program and cannot believe our luck at getting in.

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  33. I think that the most requested schools usually end up having more spots in the 10 day count (and now, I guess), because more people just list them without seeing them when they are just creating a back up list and intend to go private if they can. Then they get a private choice and don't let the school know until the last possible moment (if at all). The less requested schools have more families tht really wanted the school in the first place, so less drop out.

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  34. Anon at 5:15: care to tell us where you got in and what spot you'll be leaving?

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  35. This is 5:15 p.m. again. I forgot to add that it was the Claire Lilienthal Korean Immersion program. I still can't believe it. We had already started him in a pre-K for lack of any better options.

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  36. <<< The EPC left a msg on my cell phone yesterday, requesting a call back the same day. (We were out of town, so this was dicey) >>>

    Good reminder: BE MONITORING YOUR PHONES RIGHT NOW, FOLKS! If you are out of cell phone range, have someone else trustworthy doing it.

    Two different years our assignment letters came when we were out of town, but we had friends picking up our mail, authorized to sign and return the forms if we got our choice -- we did and they did. I think this was for both kids' Aptos assignments -- must have been during spring break both times.

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  37. **Hey**, just like everyone has been saying along, things will start to work out in the end. There will be a tremendous amount of movement from the waitlist pools over the next two weeks, as schools document "no shows" and inform EPC. Good luck all!

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  38. I released our spot today at McKinley, or at least I 'think' I did. They requested a signed, faxed letter, and I did that, but based on what we all have heard, oftentimes, the EPC still doesn't drop you.

    However, due to the McKinley 'glitch' this year, I believe they were still over-enrolled, so not sure if this would become an available spot, or if they're still trying to just get their numbers back down to the 20 range per class. But, the EPC person didn't tell me when I asked, so really not sure.

    I loved McKinley and it has been a difficult decision, but ultimately decided to stay with the parochial school where my son has been at preschool. FWIW, I know a family with two K-ers that are also releasing their McKinley spots.

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  39. Is it true that we have until Aug. 29 to change our waitpool...and that is it?

    i'm going down MONDAY to do just that.

    Good bye Flynn GE. I'm moving to a school we love without the drama.

    Easy to say now that we have KMS in our pockets.

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  40. Jessica B...

    Stay with us! Lets hang next week.

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  41. Jessica B., was your situation not grounds for a hardship appeal? I really hope you get Miraloma in the end. This just SUCKS.

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  42. 6:07

    a few people got calls, but that doesn't mean that it's working out for the hundreds of people who are in schools that don't work for them.

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  43. Anon at 8 - thanks. My hardship appeal was denied.

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  44. We gave up a FIRST GRADE spot at Miraloma this week. So if anyone knows anyone on the waitlist for that spot (I believe there are 2 on the list posted on the SFUSD website) please have them f/u with the school if they haven't heard anything.

    It was heartbreaking to do. Feel very mixed about it.

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  45. OMG off topic x-post, but I am having a panic attack:

    I just looked at the SARC for our neighborhood school, and under Mission Statement I see this disaster:

    Alamo Elementary School is truly an extraordinary place of learning. Our talented staff provides each
    student with a quality education aligned to rigorous standards,high academic and behavioral
    expectations, equity and a solid foundation and preparation for successful lives as productive citizens.
    The tradition to uphold excellence is a prevailing driver of the Alamo culture. Alamo School's vision is
    to bring our culturally diverse students a life-long love of learning and promote the whole child. Parents,
    staff and students, working in concert, have made Alamo a twice-recognized CA Distinguished as well
    as a NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL. Through equity, integrity and vision, Alamo continues to
    demonstrate its proud tradition of solid results, high achievement and academic excellence.


    At the high school I went to, this would have been handed back with no grade! How can I even think of sending my child into the SF public schools!!!!! Am I the only one who is shocked by this?

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  46. I have this on good authority, though second-hand: Grattan had several spots open up yesterday (Thursday). A neighbor of mine got the call (on her home phone, which she said she practically forgot she owned -- more advice to check your messages!) offering a spot. After much consideration, she decided to stay the course she was already on - keeping her child in pre-K another year (very late birthday). What she told me was that the school told her that these spots were left by kids that went private. I personally know 3 families that got into Grattan and enrolled last Spring, but then ultimately decided to go private. One of them tried in June to send a letter to EPC declining the spot but when she called after being out of the country for most of the summer, the EPC said they never got it. Great, huh? Anyway, maybe all the good deeds of those not taking the spots are finally being delivered to the mailbox of the EPC in one fell swoop. In any case, if you're looking for a Grattan spot, there may be some floating around right now.

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  47. Natsmom, I fail to see why you're so upset. I would guess English is not the first language of Alamo's principal, but the statement is not horrendous. Some of the sentences could have been clearer and more succinct, but so what?

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  48. 12:34, I think you're probably right. EPC needs a complete overhaul IMO starting at the top. While it's great that some parents are getting spots at the 11th hour, this process could have been done much more efficiently and saved many parents much angst.

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  49. Well, today (Friday) has been crazy. I got a call on my cell this morning from Archie Fokin offering us a spot at Miraloma (to date I have not received any letter -- only a phone call). That was our 1st choice in Round 1, and we've been on the waitlist ever since. My husband and I barely got to talk until he got home from work this evening, and then I whisked him and all 3 of our kids to the Miraloma open house tonight.

    Unfortunately, now we're really torn. We are excited about Miraloma -- it was our first choice, after all. But since we had no public spot we were happy with and no private option, we found our daughter a spot at a wonderful transitional kindergarten (TK) program. She even went to summer school there for a month. At this point, she loves her TK teachers and has made some good friends. I think it would break her heart to hear she's not going there after all. Plus we've had no time to get her excited about kindergarten or Miraloma. On top of this, if we take the Miraloma spot, we lose a hefty deposit at the TK school.

    My daughter has a late Sept. birthday, so she's young, but not so young. We think she's ready for kindergarten, but we also know waiting a year would do her good, and certainly couldn't hurt her (could it?). From a family perspective, we have twins 18 months younger than her. Miraloma is a wonderful option and seems to suit our family overall. But I'm not completely sure that sending her as a young not-even-five-year-old is the best choice for her. It's impossible to know.

    Would we be completely insane not to take the Miraloma spot and wait another year to do this nonsense again?

    My apologies to jessicab for tormenting you with this. I will post here the second we make a decision, which will be no later than Saturday night (I think we should give our daughter a day to prepare for school!).

    Also, FYI, we've been in the Miraloma waitpool all along, but we have not been calling or communicating with the EPC at all. We have no EPC representative. I haven't made any calls asking about the waitpool or emphasizing how much we want the spot. It's true we wanted it, but I wanted to believe that they run the waitpools like a straight lottery. And at least on that count it does seem to be nothing but luck.

    We are going to the Miraloma playdate tomorrow (Sat), so any Miraloma parents -- please say hi and help us out with this tough decision.

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  50. My advice? Take the spot at Miraloma. You love the school and stayed with your first choice for the whole process. You feel your daughter is ready for kindergarten. There's no guarantee that you'll get the school next year either and you'll be in the same boat without a TK option.

    I wouldn't let the deposit on your TK school make any difference in your decision. Amortized over 6 years times 3 kids (your daughter and her younger sibs) it's probably not a lot of money. Think of the month she's already spent there as a really great summer camp that has helped get her ready for kindergarten!

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  51. 1:23
    For what it's worth, having never met you or your child and knowing nothing more about your situation than what you have posted here, I would say go with your gut feeling. It really sounds like you want to take the Miraloma spot, and I think it would be foolish to believe that lightning will strike twice and that you get a spot there again if you wait until next year. Your daughter may take a few days to adjust, but she will, and a month from now you won't even remember why you were torn. If she seems happy at the Miraloma playgroup and makes a friend, then that will be all the indication you need that she is ready to join the Miraloma community.

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  52. NatsMOm: That Alamo statement was clearly written by a committee (not someone for whom English is a second language). Writing always suffers when it is done by a group.

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  53. I agree with the take Miraloma advice. Ask yourself, is it worth going through this again? There is no guarantee you'll be this lucky next year.

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  54. Miraloma is a great school. Take the spot. It will be even harder next year and your twins will automatically get in when it is their turn. What will you be wearing at the playdate? I'll try to find you in the crowd.
    Best of luck...

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  55. 8:39 -
    Mom of three with a Miraloma spot here. I am wearing jeans and a grey tunic sweater over a blue shirt. I'll probably have a black jacket on. You won't be able to miss us -- we're the ones with three blonde girls. Looking forward to meeting some more Miraloma folks! I'm learning that, no matter how hard you think about this and how much time you spend pondering it all beforehand, you still need time to process everything when you're actually presented with a choice, as we are. Thanks everyone for the great advice. At this point we're leaning towards taking the spot.

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  56. because of the lame system we're working with, lots of kids are going to have to endure multiple transitions to land somewhere this year. i think we all want to spare them that, but, looking back at my own childhood -- we made three major moves to new cities/schools during elementary alone -- i really have no bad memories of any of it. it was hard for a few weeks, then you got over it. you have to do what's best for the whole family over the long term, i think.

    if you can do anything to spare yourself going through SFUSD enrollment again, i'd do it.

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  57. 1:23: I say take the spot at Miraloma and run. I am in a similar situation with a late-summer birthday boy who will not be quite 5 when school starts. But we got our #1 choice and there is no guarantee that we will again. With another sibling to place in a couple years, a few weeks of adjusting seems like a small price to pay. My son is going to miss his TK bunch, but we are trying to use it as an opportunity to teach him about managing change and adjusting to new situations.

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  58. Anon at 1:23, you're a sweetheart to be concerned about tormenting me. It's no torment. If I were you I'd take it - or I'd negotiate in writing that if you give it up this year, that you get a spot next year.

    What is the real 'torment' - or rather the utter disllusionment I have with the system, is that I have put such effort into communicating to the EPC (Archie, Shem, Darlene, the hardship committee) what I need for my child and me so that I can go to a public school. And at every single step of the way, I've been given something that does not work even in the least. I've done everything that everyone has said and there is not even one single option that is right for us. Our only option is a private TK at significant financial cost (home equity loan).

    And while I am a grown up and I know life is not fair, to be shelling out cash that I had hoped to put toward something crazy like retirement - while my tax money gets allocated who knows where - it just sort of makes me want to give up altogether.

    I appreciate this blog so much right now. Thanks for hearing my rant.

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  59. I too feel tormented, in many ways. Have done all the right things, gone to the EPC every week, twice a week for the last 2 weeks and nothing. In having no control over this whole process have turned to an old old habit, controlling and restricting my diet. I feel like i have nothing else to do, i'm at the mercy of SFUSD.

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  60. We just got into ROOFTOP! I've heard that all 3 hardship appeals got in yesterday.

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  61. Take the spot at Miraloma and then have your kid repeat Kindergarten there again next year, if they were too young and need more time to develop.

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  62. So much for the advice that calling every day has any effect on an EPC counselor giving you an open space.

    Jessica B's story is THE example of why this lottery doesn't work.

    There are lots of folks who don't work the system like we do. At the auto mechanics, one of the women working there is a hard working single parent who had no idea that the EPC was holding court down at SF Unified daily, for example. Her kid was placed at an inconvenient school (to say the least) while she has to bus around town for school and work. A mediocre school is steps from her, and she should be able to place her child there.

    I gave her some tips, but the truth is, this system requires too much work on the part of the parents (and even then doesnt' work out.)

    I'm glad 3/4 of the team got a school they are OK with--but it should be EVERYONE or at least 90? of us.

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  63. Has anyone gotten into Lakeshore??

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  64. Another perspective for mom deciding about Miraloma: a child from my daughter's preschool who had a Nov B-Day got into Buena Vista a few years ago. His parents were torn as they felt he wasn't quite ready for Kindergarten, but BV was their first choice, and they didn't want to risk the EPC lottery the next year. They ended up enrolling their son in BV, he wasn't ready, and he ended up having to repeat Kindergarten. They are happy their son (and now younger daughter) got to go to BV but said if they had to do things again, they would have waited a year before having their son start kindergarten.

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  65. Totally agree with the BV perspective, but this Mom said her September daughter IS ready for kindergarten. She didn't sound like there were any lingering doubts. I would definitely wait a year no matter what the school if I thought my child wasn't ready.

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  66. This is obviously no guarantee, but my point has just been that it's worth doing based on the possibility that the call might happen at the right time. Most people will just never know if it had any impact:

    <<< So much for the advice that calling every day has any effect on an EPC counselor giving you an open space.>>>

    When we were waitlisted for Camp Mather -- a whole different situation, of course -- I went in (though just once) to visit the staffer who handles the waitlist, using the need to make sure she had our various cellphone numbers etc. as an excuse. We have no idea whatsoever if that had an impact. If it did, it was totally worthwhile.

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  67. Take the Miraloma spot. We have friends with a daughter who has a late November b-day. They were torn when they had to make the same decision you are facing several years ago, but went ahead to K at a school they liked. All is well for them and their daughter, who is entering 3rd grade. She's thriving, happy, not behind. If you had a son I might have different advice.

    What if the chaos at SFUSD is WORSE next year?

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  68. ited if you get a call from SFUnified today. i got a recording reminding me of the start of school on MOnday.

    how rude. just kidding. sort of.

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  69. Kortney, that might imply that they mistakenly have your child registered for a school. Maybe it's worth pursuing, just to find out (your originally assigned school or what?).

    It's also worth pursuing because what if they are somehow showing that your child is registered and thus the computer is not seeing your name in the waitpool, or something like that. I would assume it's a red flag and be asking. Or are you honestly no longer in the waitpool?

    I know of a past glitch like that -- the family had been homeschooling and applied for an SFUSD school (just one kid, going into 3rd), and somehow SFUSD registered/coded the case as "applying FOR homeschooling," which meant they got no assignment and also got incomprehensible communications from the district. It was rapidly fixed once it got onto the right radars.

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  70. I'll inquire, but last week my waitpool status was confirmed. my counselor, Shem, has yet to talk with me this month.

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  71. "What if the chaos at SFUSD is WORSE next year?"

    I don't suppose the District does anything as organized as look at population projections and guess how many incoming kinders they will have next year ...

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  72. Does anyone know what schools if any have actual openings right now? Or schools with only one or two kids in the waitpool? I think Sunnyside was one at the beginning of August, but I know these things shift around. I know a 0/15er who may have to take the plunge on something that is out there (long story involving work and needing to move out of preschool after all) She would like to know what might be a decent if not wildly popular option in the next week or so. Something that would be okay for the K year at least. I told her Sunnyside might open up, maybe Rosa Parks JBBP--any others to think about?

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  73. 4:08, even if the SFUSD enrollment folks were on the ball, there would be confounding factors like how many families go private (maybe fewer these days with a rocky economy and static if not declining home equity); and the perception among middle class families that more public elementary schools are worth checking out. As frustrating as the *enrollment* process is, it is clear that more families are seeing more viable options and want a shot at them--hence the continuing gridlock even with so many more than five "acceptable" schools.

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  74. Hi - Can anyone tell me what the birthday cut off date is? My daughter will be 4 on November 23rd. Will she be eligible for Kinder in Fall 2009 or fall 2010?

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  75. Also of note: After we got the call last week offering us our waitlist spot, the voice mail said to call Darlene by end of day and gave a different number than the main line. The voice mail on that number did not have Darlene's name. So we phoned and phoned like crazy both the main number and new number to tell them we wanted the spot. Finally my husband got through and we completed the process at the school itself. Also, we received conflicting advice from EPC and the school as to what paperwork needed to be provided at enrollment.

    My point is that, even at this point in the process, there is still disorganization and inefficiency. I can't imagine that this situation will improve at all in 5 months, when next year's applications are due.

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  76. December 2 is the cut-off. We have one girl in my kid's class who was born on December 1 and so will always be the youngest in the class. She is also one of the more academically advanced (high-level reading group, etc.) and fits in just fine socially.

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  77. 4:26: The cut off date is 12/1. Your daughter will just make it under the wire for fall 2009.

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  78. @4:26, your daughter will be eligible in 2009. Cut-off is in early December (I believe if you are born on December 2 you are too young--December 1 is okay).

    You could elect to red-shirt, though. Good news is, if it seems like she might be ready next year, you could try for a school you like in 2009 and then try again in 2010 if it doesn't work out. Nice to have the option.

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  79. Kortney, it's a long shot, but if I were you I would still ask. What if Shem's brain knows the situation but the computer's brain thinks you've accepted an assignment? Based on what happened with my friend who was trying to move her daughter into school from homeschooling, that seems just possible.

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  80. Seriously, does anyone who has been in regular touch with EPC know what schools might have openings, or very very small waitpools right now? I have a friend who will be at EPC on Monday morning seeking a K spot and would like to have a sense of what is out there. John Muir would be stretch but she will certainly consider Rosa Parks, Sunnyside, possibly J Serra, maybe Glen Park? The latter three being geographically better, Rosa Parks okay as accessible to downtown and work. Anyone know anything about Redding (also close to downtown)?

    This is for one year only, unless it really works out--she'll be trying for again for her first choice for 1st grade. Off-the-radar schools with some bright spots (good principal, sweet location, etc). She is not afraid of high numbers of free lunch kids for this year, but wants a reasonably organized program and decent teachers.

    Sorry to go on, just trying to describe what is needed here. I would love to let her know which schools are most likely to have openings or possibilities of ones, so she can think about them over the weekend. And yes, she knows Clarendon and Rooftop and Alvarado are not going to be on the list.

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  81. Caroline, my point was that our waitpool place was confirmed by someone other than Shem, as Shem has been unavailable to me. He hasn't returned any of my calls or emails. I was mad and now I've lost him.

    Relationships are fickle that way.

    anyway, I also think it's fair to say that this year the squeaky wheel is not getting the grease. Perhaps EPC feels more closely scrutinized..? But i think that all we can do at this point is confirm our children's names on our the right list, confirm dates of wait pool runs, etc, and hold our breaths.

    No, wait, don't do that.

    B R E A T H

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  82. has anyone gotten a reminder call? maybe it's just those of us without a placement are getting calls...

    that would actually make some sense.

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  83. Kortney, I'm a parent of two kids who are continuing in the district, one at the same school and one at a new school. We got one call, a recorded message from Superintendent Carlos Garcia.

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  84. We got the recorded call too. Made my heart lurch when I heard them say it was the District calling, since we're desparate for a waitpool move. Just one more 'gotcha' in this oh so relaxing ride.

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  85. Kortney
    Shem was on vacation for 2 weeks in Aug, he came back last Monday!

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  86. We got the call (enrolled students in high school).

    Maybe it went to every family with a kid in the computer system at all, assigned or not. Just thought there was a chance, having seen enough errors happen before.

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  87. I can't believe that we are here.. at the final wait pool run! after all these months of anxiousness and now school starts on monday. We have no school and i feel very sad for my daughter. She doesn't know that school starts on Monday and i hope i can keep it from her for a couple more weeks. We go away for Labor day weekend so that should be a nice break, my son starts at his new preschool thursday week(4th) don't think i will be able to hide it after that. I'm very sad for her. She is going to be homeschooled twice a week and i'm really looking forward to this process again next year!!!! NOT.

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  88. Yes, I know Shem was on vacation. We were on speaking terms then. He has yet to be in touch, or even available to me since his return. His voicemail box was full for a while, and he's returned no calls to me. I'm going in Monday to say hi.

    J.Serra has openings and is a sweet school, so I"ve heard.

    I guess we all just got the reminder call. Funny how on top of that they are.

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  89. I am fairly sure that Rosa Parks JBBP has (or will have) some spots open.

    Please tell your friends to come join us in one of the two sweet kindergarten classes with the amazing JBBP kindergarten teachers. My son is so excited to be going and so excited about learning Japanese!

    There is a breakfast for parents at 8am monday after the new kinders start school...

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  90. Last year, we made the decision not to start our November birthday child in kindergarten, which I still believe was the right choice in terms of his readiness for kindergarten. Still, it has left us in a much more vulnerable position than those who had the choice of a transitional kindergarten this year.

    I can't tell you how many families I know who just took a chance and applied for their 4 year olds this year and got into highly requested schools (Rooftop, Clarendon, etc.) and so decided to go. The result: many kindergarteners who may be starting too early because their parents (rightly) fear they will never get their plum spot again, and other kindergarteners who must start K but have no option because places have been taken by children who do not yet need them!

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  91. Is there a reason why the remaining families with no school are not jumping on the Rosa Parks and other options mentioned (Junipero Serra might be dicey but better at least for one year than NO option)....or are folks holding out for the 10-day count or until November? Or is it childcare options? Transport? At least in the case of Rosa Parks, it seems clear that there is a strong leadership in place and active parent community, so it is "up and coming" -- and the commute is as central as to many private schools.

    No judgments here, realizing every family's situation is different, just wondering why those spots are going begging while folks seem so desperate at the same time. Am I missing something?

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  92. Rosa Parks sounds great in theory, but an acquaintance of ours had a disappointing experience last year and is enrolling her daughter in SF Day for this year. We don't know the family well enough to ask for details, but they were *so* excited about Rosa Parks last Summer, that we were kind of shocked to hear through the grapevine that they had pulled their kid out.

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  93. Check this out:

    http://tinyurl.com/68sde9

    I wonder which 12 schools they are talking about?

    "San Francisco school district officials have pledged to evaluate a dozen schools for seismic safety and to make improvements if they are found to be necessary."
    "

    Also, it is interesting that Private schools built before 1986 don't have to meet seismic standards. That is scary.
    Think of China.

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  94. Is that true?

    Quite a few Catholic schools closed after the earthquake because they couldn't afford to retrofit their buildings. St. Paul's had to sell off its convent to demolish and rebuild the seismically unsafe elementary school.

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  95. The article says that schools have to adhere to the 1933 FIELD ACT law "requiring that school buildings adhere to the codes in existence at the time they were constructed. But that does not mean that all schools meet today's seismic safety standards."

    "The Field Act also does not apply to private schools."

    However, separate state laws enacted in 1986 mandate that newly constructed private schools meet current building codes. In addition, the laws demand that all local governments direct a structural engineer to review school building plans.
    "

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  96. Those schools closed because they were condemned AFTER the earthquake.
    I don't think anyone is going around checking the ones that didn't sustain any damage, that probably should be condemned because they aren't safe for kids in earthquakes.

    Yeah, I wonder which 12 SFUSD schools are on the list.

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  97. it is an important question. For us, early start is a huge consideration. Focus of school is an other, along with extra-curricular.

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  98. With all this talk of sadness and unfairness, about who gets picked, and the poor moms schlepping to the SFUSD every week...


    Can we just remember that this is a lottery? And nothing matters? And all the blah blah blah about diversity and everything went out the window months ago?

    Either your number comes up or it doesn't. It's like a car wreck on the Golden Gate Bridge. Wrong place, wrong time, someone looks down at their cell phone and BAM, head on collision. Your number came up. Or it didn't. Whatever.

    It's a lottery. Ain't it just a grand way to run the schools?

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  99. I think people wouldn't mind the lottery so much if , in fact, it were a TRUE lottery. It is all the ridiculous caveats attached to it that give it the semblance of unfairness.
    Also, if SFUSD were more upfront about actual spaces available at schools, after sibling preferences and after other hardship appeals, that would be fairer.
    To suggest someone has an 81% chance of getting a school of their choice, when , depending upon the schools, the odds are actually less than 5 percent, spinning it to make people more hopeful is just mean and dishonest.

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  100. I am a 0/15 family. Two kids, and I really can't afford private school.

    Still, my child started school last week at Notre Dame des Victoires. I have no idea how I'll afford it, and I say that knowing that this school is the deal of the century, about 1/3 the cost of the other superdupergreat private schools in town.

    I have to say that the school is amazing. It runs like a fine Swiss watch. It was so organized, so positive, so welcoming, so totally...together. I am amazed to know that my child will be getting this experience.

    How could I possibly give this up to throw my child to the wilds of a disorganized out of control dysfunctional public school system like here in SF?

    Money.

    What if the news comes that I got my waitpool list? What would I do? I thought I'd grab a spot, but after seeing what NDV is like, how amazing, I'm not so sure. But it leaves me sad.

    The caste system for our society starts right here, right in the schools. We are separated from the haves and have nots. I admire the families for wanting to be part of the public school system, but when you have a first hand look at what you get at these private schools, I can't see how you'd want to ever go public.

    My experience. It leaves me sad. It makes me crazy wondering how I'll pay for two kids. And I really wanted to believe in the publics.

    It's not an option to move to the burbs, either, because that would make me so sad I wouldn't be able to function.

    Just venting. 0/15. Maybe it will be different when I get that call from SFUSD.

    NOT! NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!

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  101. 9:51

    I can relate. My public school teacher friends who all assure me that my daughter will be fine ANYWHERE, look at the private we've enrolled her in (because we don't have a public yet) and say thing like: I love that approach! This will be so good for her. Exactly what a starting Kinder needs, etc. Even, "i want to observe her in class" and "i wonder if they are hiring."

    I've been their roommates throughout their schooling and new teacher jobs. There is nothing working well at public schools because we don't prioritize our spending on our schools.

    In short--public needs us, but it feels like a sacrifice to put up with it.

    For you--on affording private--get financial aid. They all offer it. And good luck giving your kids the best!

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  102. I agree. You might be quite surprised at how much financial aid you can qualify for at private schools. Once you see it you can't deny it: as much as I believe in public schools in theory, there is really no comparison. And not all privates are snooty hotbeds of privilege. Some are actually full of really decent people! Thanks, 9:51, for telling the truth in a forum that prefers to spin it.

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  103. anon at 11:31pm,

    There are plenty of individual reasons why families are not jumping at Rosa Parks or J.Serra or any remaining schools that are open. For me, in Bernal, Rosa Parks is in Japantown at a 7:50 start time. J.Serra is a Reading First school with an aftercare situation that ends too early for me. I can run down the list but in general, it's a matter of what fits for a certain family.

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  104. Having had the experience of both public and private, I'd say the reality is more complex. This isn't spin, but something I have thought about a lot as we have moved back and forth between the two over the course of two generations.

    Private schools have many bells and whistles, but that does not per se equate to education fundamentals. They also have a population that is easier to teach in many ways, so it is hard to compare apples to oranges. However, you can get a good education there, most likely. And you also pay for it--with real money, even with scholarships. I have also seen the underbelly of a culture that (to a greater or lesser degree depending on the school) does skew toward the wealthy and there are certain values that go along with that. There is a sense of entitlement that goes along with paying for something.

    Learning how to be part of the wider city, in the public schools, is an education in itself for most parents and kids, and brings its own value in terms of life learning. And some of the best teachers my kids have ever had, bar none, have been in public schools. We have also experienced a student body that (esp in the honors classes where my kids have been) is extremely motivated to succeed and very hard-working--there is very little sense of entitlement evident, and very little laziness. Still, it can feel sad to see the comparison of resources, facilities, organization with the small private schools.

    I understand the feeling of seeing what a private school has to offer and wondering why anyone would send their kid to public if they could afford private. I guess I would just say that we have made that choice for significant portions of our kids' educations, and for reasons that extend beyond a sense of civic engagement in building up good public schools for all. Our kids have been provided a good academic education as well as an important social one that works with our values. It has taken our involvement and advocacy to make it work, though. Of course, we were also asked to volunteer a fair amount at the private schools as well!

    I don't think the public versus private debate is a particularly useful one if it becomes "they are all snobs" versus "they are all sub-par schools." It is just more complex set of issues and facts than that.

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  105. 11:19 what does "Learning how to be part of the wider city" mean, exactly? I have been part of this city my entire life, thanks. So have my kids.

    Here's a clue about reality. My neighbor teaches at sf state. He has been saying for years that sf public school kids are the ones who need remedial help, far more than recent immigrants, who only need help in English.

    My sister's kids go to a fancy private school. The have been excelling in French & Latin since 3rd grade, and the eldest in going into 11th grade, and is looking forward to her class on chaos theory & fractal geometry.

    Now spin THAT. Plus, my niece & nephews have never been beaten up at school, threatened, or had their school "locked down."

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  106. Lock down?

    I had never heard that term until an old roommate of mine taught at James Lick. After she had 2 teeth knocked out by a 7th grader, took weapons away from 6th graders, and endured "lock downs" because of race riots, she quit teaching & went to law school.
    I know, I should stop being an elitist, and send my shy, blond child into this.

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  107. it doesn't matter so much WHY private can generate better academicallly achieved kids, just that it can. Still, i believe public is as good, if family is supporting cultural and extra curricular activities.

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  108. 11:19 great post ditto. Its very easy to generalize and draw lines when in fact much is quite gray.

    I have not experienced private school per se except when I went to an Ivy League college straight out of the doldrums of NYC public schools. I experienced a bit of a culture shock. I had roommates that spent summers in Florence Italy, had cars when they were 15 and goodness knows what else, and went to all the best schools. They were nice people, well nice enough anyway, but I definitely felt the class difference. Working grub like myself. And as an aside, the interesting thing was some of these kids were really really cheap, as in they would stiff you in a heartbeat on splitting the telephone line!

    Anyway, it was a good experience but it made me realize as a person how I still have not come to terms in feeling comfortable to be around really wealthy people -- in the sense that if my kids went to school with them, we would not experience the same type of summers, my kids (the fin aid tagged ones) might even be the token few to help the school make some sort of quota or whatever (though as an Asian, it would probably never happen).

    But thats me - I always have to remind myself we all put on our pants the same way, all eat and poop the same way, so I shouldn't feel intimidated!

    I'd love to hear how others overcome that feeling of being a have not amongst the "haves" -- is it just growing up with parents and relatives (and religion) that instilled in you that we are all equal, regardless of the material goods, etc etc?

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  109. different strokes for different folks. since no one satisfied our quest for a school, i hate everybody.

    :)

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  110. 2:58 PM - It's true, really rich people can sometimes be clueless about other people's reality, but not wanting yr kids to go to school among rich people -- funny, if you'd written you don't feel comfortable around really poor people instead, the diversity police would hunt you down!

    Funny how white people can be routinely insulted & discriminated against, but if i said I don't want my kids going to school with rough kids from the projects, I am EVIL.

    How is that ok, that tolerance & cultural respect go one way?

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  111. I have a problem with sending my kid to school with rough black kids from the projects, AND rich entitled white kids from Pacific Heights (or Menlo Park). Somewhere in the middle (mixed level economic status, mixed races, mixed languages and cultures etc.) would be my ideal.

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  112. Hi all -

    1:23 am here -- mom of three with a Miraloma spot. After what seems like a ridiculous amount of discussion and soul-searching, we are taking the Miraloma spot for our almost-5-year old daughter. Thanks everyone for your comments and support. And we'll be there tomorrow on the first day of school, bright and early. I have to admit that I still feel shaky in my stomach -- I think at this point it's mostly lack of sleep and anxiety. This is such a gut-wrenching process, even when you get exacty what you wanted.

    Good luck still to jessicab and everyone else still in this situation.

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  113. 1:23 again
    Yes -- I know that should have been "exactly". Typo. Lack of sleep.

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  114. "I have a problem with sending my kid to school with rough black kids from the projects, AND rich entitled white kids from Pacific Heights (or Menlo Park)."

    I don't have a problem sending my kid to school with either one of those groups, but I wouldn't want a school that is entirely made up of very wealthy kids, or very poor kids. Each have their own set of issues. I guess that's why I love my public school -- we've got families who couldn't definitely afford to go to expensive privates, and some who are living in the projects. And, mostly kids somewhere between those two extremes.

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  115. Sorry, I don't even have lack of sleep as an excuse. I meant "definitely could afford expensive privates..."

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  116. re: public vs. private...

    My opinion (having gone to SF public schools K-12 and then a private college) is that public schools in San Francisco are mostly adequate with some exceptional parts (truly amazing teachers sprinkled here and there, some schools having great programs in one thing or another) and some inadequate aspects (some truly bad teachers who never get fired, awful unpredictable bureaucracy that can undermine achievements by teachers or a school, some schools with discipline problems that prevent many students from learning).

    There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to each private school as well, but that's really not the point.

    In my mind, the point is: what can be improved about public schools and what can we do to improve them? I think what most people are speaking to on this blog is:

    1. changing the assignment process so that it doesn't leave so many families out in the cold and has some aspect of control, predictability and transparency.

    and
    2. changing the things about SFUSD that leave us with substandard aspects to schools or with inequity. What bothers me most is when the public/private debate polarizes into people saying we either should turn our backs on public or be relentless apologists for SFUSD and public schools as if there weren't a lot that could stand to be improved!

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  117. Can private schools really take credit for the academic success of kids when they got to pick the cream of the crop to begin with?

    If private schools had to teach the children of newly arrived, illiterate immigrants, would they achieve the same rate of success?

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  118. I get accused of this, so I assume it's aimed at me, but it's unfounded.

    ... relentless apologists for SFUSD and public schools as if there weren't a lot that could stand to be improved! ...

    Note that I posted several sharp slapdowns of the EPC and the Flynnarado fiasco on my examiner.com blog, including Kim Green's strongly worded commentary. That's the most public forum I have access to, and I could certainly have chosen not to mention the fiasco.

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  119. 3:10 Rough kids can be white too. They come in all colors, all socioeconomic backgrounds.

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  120. I feel extremely cranky right now so pardon the lack of subtlety. I wish that there were more of the schools that 3:26pm attends so maybe my kid could get a shot at one.

    I grew up in NY and attended my share of rough schools. I've been counseled by the EPC on several occasions to attend schools where the majority are underpriviledged, on free or reduced lunch and most likely, rougher than I'd feel comfortable exposing my kid to in kindergarten. Are the K's kept seperate enough? who knows. A very good friend of mine had her kindergartener brutalized at one of these schools last year. I know it takes a few brave souls to begin the 'gentrification' of a school, or whatever you want to call it, but christ, I am so burned out that the last thing I want to be counseled into, at the 11th hour, is a rough school where I can't be around and where my kid will likely be till at least 5:30 every day. But that's exactly what happens every time I see a counselor at the EPC.

    Friends of mine with a sixth grader have just chosen a private school for middle school, mostly because they were afraid that their children were beginning to associate people of color with being economically disadvantaged - ironic, since they chose public in the beginning to avoid such stereotyping in their kids.

    I know the answer to turning more and more schools around is to remain committed to public schools, and encourage more of the middle class to do the same, but damn, after my summer I am really having a hard time believing in the public school 'opportunity' for my child in San Francisco.

    Glad for Miraloma mom at 1:23am; introduce yourself to my sister (email me for her name - burdmanorama@gmail.com) as she's very involved in the school. I hope I get to see you there in the future unless I've figured out how to be happy in Orinda.

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  121. We have a mixed race family
    and fear that our child will
    eventually, inevitably, start to
    associate color with socio-economic
    and disadvantaged reality--as well
    as the stereotypical city smart and
    perhaps roughness folks are talking
    about.

    It's not a bad thing because there is some reality here. But in Kinder, i wish we had more choice. And i wish we would all vote to send more money to schools so that they didn't have to cut back so much that they hide behind their beurocracy.

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  122. Diversity in all forms is inevitable. But isn't that a good thing? What I don't like is the institutionalized, kids are either smart, normal, or slow mentality of the public schools. You can argue that privates don't necessarily have a strong curriculum, and you'd be right. But, they do have the CHOICE to provide a more interesting, creative, and individual learning experience for our kids, if they want to, and can get away with charging enough.

    I also was told at the few private schools we applied to (and who rejected us) that they try very hard to recruit families of other socio-economic backgrounds for their schools and provide scholarships and financial aid. The truth might be a cultural span, or just basic life--who wants to travel to that private when the public is right here? Whatever people's choices (and i respect the all) privates attract a more middle to upper class parent.

    Oddly enough, this working class broad is choosing a playful, affordable private for Kinder over an inconvenient, reading first public for her daughter. And, the middle class father is ok with that. We will try, perhaps, for a public 1st grade assignment--or just keep moving on in private.

    I sure hope that the City understands why it potentially lost us to this system.

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  123. aren't the 'middle class' folks who are heading to Flynn in droves being accused of gentrifying their school--accusing them of stealing their spanish immersion seats--saying it's a bad thing?

    maybe schools like JSerra, that remain a neighborhood school with little money, and mostly ESP kids, WANTS to stay that way.

    i'm not willing to go there and ASSUME they want my fundraising skills to 'turn around' their school. it works just the way it is for a specific population of kids. let those parents form a PTA if they feel they need more.

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  124. ESL kids. sorry.

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  125. Hey, do they have a school for kids with ESP? (smile)

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  126. "We have a mixed race family
    and fear that our child will
    eventually, inevitably, start to
    associate color with socio-economic
    and disadvantaged reality--as well
    as the stereotypical city smart and
    perhaps roughness folks are talking
    about."

    Thanks so much for writing that, my family is Caucasian but I find myself worrying that my son will start forming those awful stereotypes too, based upon how he sees the rough kids acting in his class. And then I started telling my son "not all African American children act like that" but it felt sort of racist to do so, but I really don't want him developing that attitude.

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  127. So I am a racist for NOT wanting my child to a school that has "lock downs?"

    Ha ha ha

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  128. Is it any better to send them to a school where there are only 1-2 African American or Latino's per grade?

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  129. I miss New England. Mega-rich people there have a very low-key attitude toward money. San Francisco is quite flashy in comparison.

    We know of kids who have never flown "commercial." Oh, the horror.

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  130. 6:02 PM - Hell, yes, infinitely better! Gee, violence, fear, mayhem, no learning, versus not many kids with different racial backgrounds. You are being sarcastic, aren't you?

    Oh, and please learn how to use apostrophes.

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  131. 6:04 PM - So very true! Most people with $$$ in SF are nouveaux from the midwest. New money people are hilarious, they have to brag endlessly to strangers...in front of children! Too tacky for words, as Granny used to say.

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  132. FYI most of the middle class families i've met via preschool are pro public, and went for immersion, although not all.

    i don't know any super rich people i guess.

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  133. Can I just say that stereotyping is stereotyping. Lets just agree that the lottery & our school district sucks ass, and leave it at that.

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  134. (am i the only one who is eating dinner at the computer?)

    I would like to utilize one of those ESP kids, please. You know, regarding waitpools and such. :)

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  135. 6:07 I think you would agree with me that you are willing to attend any school with any racial mix as long as the students respected the value of education, and had families that valued education.

    I guess I may be elitist, I don't know, and I hope I don't come off that way... education to me is the equalizer for the majority of people unless you are gifted musically, physically (think sports) etc. And had the opportunity to explore and develop those gifts -- wonder how many musically gifted children may have been lost in the projects. Anyway such is life, its not always fair nor equal.

    And I know all races have kids who do not respect themselves let alone others, who come to school to make trouble only, and who do not value education. So its not really racial. Though, I keep hearing that blacks in particular have developed within their culture (and maybe as a defense mechanism against the "white" majority) that education is for whites, Asians, etc and to be good at school is not cool at all. In fact, you may very well get hurt for it.
    If that is the case, and only AA can really say, then I really ask where is the black leadership in this country. Thank goodness for Barach Obama and his wife (regardless what you think of their politics), they showed good education is possible. And they worked hard for it, nothing handed to them. Of course, I'm sure there are quite a few in the black community who consider them to be oreos. (And Barack is only half black, so he may lose a little creditibility there). Any non-black person that brings up this issue will be accused of being a racist, patronizing or simply not credible because they have not lived the black experience.
    Bill Crosby tried to talk about it and seems he did not get very far, at least not at the level that is needed for AA's to turn around their scoring at only 24% proficiency!
    This issue also seems to be endemic (is that a word) to native born blacks. Do not see the same problem amongst immigrant blacks from Africa or Caribbean (generally speaking).

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  136. We'll be going through the lottery this year for kinder in '09.

    I'd like to invite the folks from PPS to our preschool to give a presentation on enrollment, but worry that their views may be unrealistically optimistic given this year's outcome...

    Thoughts?

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  137. 6:57 - next year, the process may actually be much improved given the fiasco this year.

    Bottom line it is still a lottery, so folks shouldn't get their hopes up high.

    Unless your index is such that you bring the opposite to the profile of the class.

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  138. I think the gentrification thing is a factor at Flynn, but it's still only about 8% caucasian. The thing is if the school is supposed to be a "neighborhood school", note that the attendance area is largely Bernal Heights, not the Mission, and Bernal is crawling with white famiilies with small children. So if the neighborhood shifts middle class, so does the school...

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  139. Our good friends just found out Thursday that they got Claire Lilienthal from the wait pool. They had gone 0/15 and none of the schools they had been assigned worked for them logistically.

    Just wanted to share some good news for a change ;)

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  140. anon at 5:34:

    Here's the thing about J.Serra, my 'attendance area' school. Yes, you're right, it serves its population of non-native english speakers. Yes, many families there I would bet feel very comfortable there, and probably don't want a lot of middle to upper bernal whatever-color infiltration. In fact, a counselor at the EPC said to me that it is a bilingual, reading first school because it serves its current population - so why is it an attendance area school? Shouldn't an attendance area school teach the curriculum of a standard GE program?

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  141. To 4:22 PM (yesterday) - would your friend consider Daniel Webster GE or SI? I assume that there might be some space since they opened a new K class so late in the summer. Does anyone know if all their K classes are full?

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  142. 9:21 Jessicab.. what is a "Reading First" School? Is it the methodology they used to teach reading, but the curriculum standards are still met?

    In San Ramon East bay, one of the best school districts in CA, I recall the elem school also used the term Reading First and the kids came home with books every night for reading. I didn't sense that the kids were behind in other subject areas.

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  143. poor schools with low test scores are overly academic in that they are teaching the kids to test better.

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  144. From what they told me at EPC, 'Reading First' in San Francisco means that the school tends toward the very basics of literacy and reading. It's not a bad thing but it generally tends toward that program because the population needs special help in learning and reading english. As a result there is absolutely no other money or energy spent on any other kind of enriching course of study.

    Of course, this could all be BS. this is just what I have been told. I have no personal experience with a Reading First school other than what I know of J Serra (a bilingual education school).

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  145. That is what I've heard about reading first schools, too. it is also why we decided not to register at JSerra and try our luck on a waitlist.

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  146. BTW, i'm going to EPC tomorrow, Monday, the first day of school. I hope it's not a madhouse--but that would be an oxymoron, wouldn't it?

    If anyone wants to know what it's like there, feel free to text me at 415-370-8534 and I"ll give you the skinny.

    We're just securing a waitpool spot somewhere else. We're giving up on Flynn GE--there are 3 siblings on the list that ruin our chances of getting a spot.

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  147. Have a great first day of school, if you have one!

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  148. Kortney 9:59
    So while you are there, any chance you can get the skinny on what happened at Alvarado, if the class is now full?
    I believe someone posted the Flynn GE replaced 7 of the 8 or 6 of the 7.
    Just very curious.
    Good luck, I hope you get some resolution.
    (By the way, how would Flynn siblings not get in, unless their parents did not list Flynn as 1st choice?)

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  149. 9:47 - interestingly the rich school districts such as San Ramon and in So Cal, Aliso Viejo teach to the test too. But since they are much wealthier districts, in the sense that PTA very active etc, they have money to also hire music, arts or other enrichment teachers.
    But the magic formula in high test scores is teaching to the test. Personally, I feel if that means the kids get the basics and then some down solidly, I'm not opposed to it entirely. Oh, except its probably not joyful learning.

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  150. I was the original poster about the awesome NVD school experience my child is having. When I say I cannot afford it, I am saying that the roughly $7500 I spend per year could go to so much else. In the real world, $625 per month per kid amortized over the year is about right.

    And no, parochial schools don't have scholarship money except in an emergency. You're thinking about the $30,000 per year and up schools, who spend that to get diversity.

    How parents pay $30,000 per child or face the aid game every year is another crazy debate.

    I think my point was comparing a school like NDV and public is closer to apples and apples. I have no doubt that the education my kids would get in most publics is comparable, but it's the whims and crazy moves from the SFSDU that scare me. Nothing works like clockwork, it can all be changed in a second, and it seldom seems about what's best for the kids. Go to Marin or other parts of the country where you have great schools and great diversity and guess what? It can be done.

    It's that special brand of SF administrative whackness that I want to protect my kid from, not the public education.

    All the other points were great in the thread.

    Oh, one final thing. I adore the diversity at NDV. That school looks like San Francisco to me. Only three or four public schools I toured looked like San Francisco.

    Segregated schools are just a buzzkill for me, either racial or economic.

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  151. The words "Marin" and "diversity" don't belong in the same sentence.

    <<< Go to Marin or other parts of the country where you have great schools and great diversity and guess what? It can be done. >>>

    And I would challenge you to name one. School districts that have high populations of low-income students (of color or not) consistently face the same challenges SFUSD does, or similar ones. There are no high-poverty diverse school districts in the nation or the world that have solved those problems.

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  152. I am so amazed at caroline & do many others - a good school (safe, clean, very strong academics, no "lock downs") can't be truly good if it "lacks diversity."

    WTF?

    We live in San Francisco. We have diversity everywhere. From the moment my son was born: my Chinese-American OB held him first, his babysitter is AA, our neighbors and friends are all "diverse."

    I want my kids to go to a good school TO LEARN. ACADEMICS. How is my son going to learn anything in a "lock down?"

    What happened to school = academic learning?

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  153. I had experience with "diversity" in the 70s.

    My family lived in England for a few years when I was a kid. Yes, I went to a girl's school in London - 99% white. No violence, never threatened in any way. Except for being made to stay after class for giggling too much.

    I learned so well that I skipped a grade when we returned to the US.

    But then we moved again & I was bused to an inner-city school. First day: "I GOHN KICK YOU BUTT." This is before I'd even opened my mouth. That was the best day there. Six months later & a few stitches along my eyebrow later, I was back in private school, where by grades shot back up, I began eating & sleeping normally again.

    Nothing I've seen, read, or heard leads me to believe it is any better nowadays. Because of political correctness taken to an extreme, I think it may be worse.

    I hope I am wrong.

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  154. Our ES, like many in the SFUSD, is safe and nurturing with high test scores, experienced teachers and many extras (art, music, PE, poetry, field triips) due to parent fundraising. And it's not super-popular either. I strongly recommend parents going through next year's lottery look beyond immersion programs and and other overhyped programs. In particular, don't be afraid of schools, like ours, with a majority of Chinese students.

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  155. 12:43 AM -- With a majority of Chinese students, is there any language problem? Just wondering if that is an issue. One of the schools near us is over 70% Chinese (gee, that diversity index is doing a great job) and I've been curious.

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  156. I have never said a school can't be good if it lacks diversity, though I definitely view diversity as an asset. What I said is that Marin schools do not have diversity, in response to a misinformed poster who claimed otherwise.

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  157. And by the way, the primary reason schools do lockdown drills is because of the remote possibility of an invader from outside coming onto campus, as is unfortunately not unimaginable with a public building.

    Yes, we occasionally hear on the news about the kid who comes to school with the uncle's gun in the backpack. But in real life, there was such an alarm at my kids' elementary school once -- it was the mentally unstable grandfather of a student on campus with a gun (removed without incident). The grandpa was white and middle-class. I've known of another one in an SFUSD school -- noncustodial dad in angry divorce trying to grab his kid -- also white middle-class. These were not ghetto incidents.

    Columbine, as you surely know, was an upper-middle-class suburban school.

    These are scary incidents, but statistically our kids are far, far, far more likely to get killed in a car accident driving to school or crossing the street. There was a memorial along what was my driving route for years to a 6-year-old boy who was killed crossing Monterey Ave. with his dad to catch the bus to school -- private school for the record; it happened to be a public-school holiday -- which always reminded me of the risks of merely crossing the street.

    And I think of a horrible case in Palo Alto a few years ago -- a teenage new driver on the way to school struck and killed two young children -- whom she had babysat for -- who were also on their way to school. And the one in I think San Mateo where Grandpa picking up granddaughter lost control of the SUV and hit several kids outside the school, though I think none died.

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  158. The "good" schools in Marin are in lily white, rich neighborhoods and have kids that reflect that. The "bad" schools in Marin are in poor, immigrant neighborhoods.

    Remember: In SF, less than 20 percent of school-age kids are white... so if you are white and your school (public or private) has more than 20 percent white kids, you are, in fact, self-segregating. Your school may seem diverse (and it is!), but whites are way over-represented if your school is even 30 or 40 percent white.

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  159. My understanding is that there *is* tuition assistance at Catholic schools for large families. I believe that if you have four or more kids, you pay the equivalent of three tuitions, regardless of the number of kids you have (or something like that). So your cost-per-kid goes way down if you have a large family.

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  160. 1:14,1:23,1:26 -- not sure if you are being sarcastic or serious, but I would take a look at the test scores for the schools with high Asian populatons. In general the Math is tops for the district and the English may lag behind, brought down by the ELL kids which is to be expected.
    However,if you kid is not ELL, then you have nothing to worry about right.
    As for the staff and/or Chinese parents speaking in Chinese amongst themselves, well, it may be a good opportunity for your child to pick up another language, if you keep a good attitude about it and engage those parents. Even learning a little bit of a foreign language at young age helps in later years in other areas as well as studying another language in HS.

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  161. 1:14 - also 70% Asian is not surprising, if 40% of the school age population is Asian. Also,the Asians are not applying for schools in the Mission district across town and the Latinos are not applying for the "Asian" schools in the Richmond. So spaces for everybody.
    Additionally, since race is not in the index, I'm not surprised at all. Many of those Asians are immigrants who are considered low to low low income.
    I'd pick a school where the parents value education, where the culture values education. Couldn't care less if they are Asian, Latino, Black, green or orange. Unfortunately, cultural education values fall somewhat along the race line, which then confuses people when I say I don't want my child to go to a ES that has low parental appreciation of education and turns out the majority of population is black or Latino or whatever.
    (By the way, the reverse is true too... you could theoretically find a school in rich "white" neighborhood where the kids are basically drug dealers too (recreational or whatever), have nice cars when they are 16, and do not value education because Daddy's going to get them into college anyway. I wouldn't exactly want my kid to go their either, though in general I'd prefer that environment to the "beat you up" inner city school.)

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  162. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  163. anon at 7:13
    "Rosa Parks sounds great in theory, but an acquaintance of ours had a disappointing experience last year"
    -----------------------------

    Could you elaborate? I'm really interested in the JBBP programs for next year. I was seriously considering RP JBBP. I'd heard good things, but I'd like to hear the other side, too. Also, I believe it is a Reading First school. Is that true for the JBBP track, as well?

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  164. I would take anything you read on a blog about a particular school with a large grain of salt. The information this person can provide will be a) second hand information about her neighbor's kid, not her own, and b) 3 years out of date by the time you apply.

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  165. I always take things with a grain of salt. I still want to hear from those willing to share their experiences, even what they've heard from others.

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  166. i believe there are still spots at webster SI for anyone interested... FYI.

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  167. Ok, that story about Earthquake upgrades needed at 12 schools left out the actual list of the 12 schools ...

    here they are now, on sf gate:
    http://tinyurl.com/5db9og

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  168. thanks 11:04.
    Just great, my children's school is on the list.
    The only good news is that there will be an inspection and hopefully fix whatever is wrong before the next big one.

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  169. I'm the person who posted yesterday about having experience over two generations with both public and private. At this time my two kids are in public, and we are happy, but we continue to have many friends whose kids are in private middle and high schools in town and who are doing well.

    I was trying to say that the realities of both public and private schools in this town are much more complex than many posts here would indicate. Several responses to my post just made my point about how over-simplified the comments can be on this blog.

    We have certainly not experienced "lock-downs" at our kids' schools. My kids have not been beaten up. My older child will be applying to an array of colleges ranging from New England Ivy and Little Ivy to UC Berkeley, and she has the grades and SATs/ACTs to be considered a reasonable shot. She is also articulate and a fine writer. The honors and AP classes from 6th grade on have been rigorous and competitive. This from an all-public high school education in San Francisco. It's not spin; it is our direct experience. The experience has mostly felt quite normal, and at times, exciting (there are some great teachers out there....some that have been just okay, but none bad, so far).

    That is not to say that other kids, in other schools, have not had that experience of lock-downs or whatever. We chose schools that have honors programs and grouped our kids with others who were motivated and bright. However, even these groups were more diverse than any of the privates we attended, both in terms of race and income. We got the best of both worlds.

    I have seen for myself the remedial needs of many first-to-college immigrant kids from our schools who are headed to SF State and City College. I don't disagree that this is a problem. The fact is that family education and culture really counts for a lot in terms of predicting outcome. Maybe if those same kids went to a one of the good private schools, or good parochial schools, they would have done better; but I bet that those same schools, faced with large populations of students from not-well-educated, poor families, would do no better.

    Along the lines of one of the posters, I too do not want to send my children to high-poverty schools. Nor do I want to send them to high-wealth or even upper-middle+ schools. I was a scholarship kid at a country day school back in the 70's, and was tagged as such by my clothes (knock-off Izods didn't cut it, I guess), and the social scene was a nightmare for me. My kids were not scholarship kids when they went, but they still felt odd about the mix of kids (or lack of mix, I guess). Our friends are really happy at places like Friends and Live Oak and Synergy and NDV (parochial tends to have more diversity), though. Really happy. I don't discount that.

    My ideal school is an economic and cultural mix, and one that at the upper levels (not so important at the lower) provides rigorous academics to those who are ready to go for it. I do understand that not all schools in SFUSD offer this, and I understand why parents shy away from the (currently) high-poverty schools and seek out ones with a crtitical mass of middle class families. And I respect very much those pioneers and visionaries, like the PreFund folks at Daniel Webster, who are working to create better schools, one at a time.

    Again, sorry for the long post. I think there is broad agreement on this blog about wanting the lottery system to be more transparent and simple, and wanting more schools that meet the ideal described above. I wish people wouldn't imply that all who go to private school are snobs or anti-diversity, and I especially wish that others wouldn't imply that all our public schools are rough places filled with violence and remedial learners. Neither stereotype is true, and it is unhelpful to put this out to anxious parents. There are private schools with lovely communities that may fit your family (can't speak for your budget, though....) and there are some wonderful public schools where your kids can thrive and get a strong education. Don't believe the extremists.

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  170. Caroline, Marin and diversity DO belong in the same sentence. At Wade Thomas Elementary where my sister's kids go, a third of the kids are non-white, and the majority are working class or middle class (hardly any rich kids), and the test scores are SKY HIGH and put SFUSD to shame.

    Also, that sentence you dissed read
    "Go to Marin OR OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE GREAT SCHOOLS AND GREAT DIVERSITY and guess what? It can be done."

    Capped emphasis mine. So it's not like the post wasn't stressing other parts of the country anyway.

    Caroline, get over yourself. You drive me nuts with your myopic bunk. You may have drunk the KoolAid when it comes to SF schools, but a little reality checking on occasion would be nice.

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  171. 11:48, you are my hero.

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  172. No offense, but according to Great Schools, Wade Thomas is 81% white, 8% Asian, 6% Latino, 4% multiple or no response, and less than 1% Filipino, African American or Pacific Islander. Only 10% of the kids at the school receive free or reduced school lunch, and only 8% are English language learners. There is no school in San Francisco that comes close to those kinds of demographics. So whether or not that meets one's definition of "diverse" in a state like California, a comparison of the test scores of this school to SFUSD's doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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  173. So, is there one more waitpool run? Or are we now in the 10-day count? And how does that work? Can you try to get your kid into any school with open slots? I'm thinking our WP school is a no-go at this point (heard through acquaintances that everyone showed up today), and I should do a last-minute dash to change our school, if there will be one more run. thanks.

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  174. The catholic schools typically discount for the second child. Our school discounts the second child's tuition by apprx. 30% and the 4th child is free tuition. So you could have 4 childer in a catholic school and be paying 10K in tuition.

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  175. so what, i'm having 4 kids now!!

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  176. 12:42 - ha, ha! I've thought about that too for some of these privates!! Five or six would be an even better deal!! (but you need to have them grouped close together in age, because they have to be attending at the same time)

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  177. Anyone know anything about Presidio Hill or The San Francisco School?

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  178. What about them?

    Opposite sides of town, for starters.

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  179. Has anyone heard anything today? any changes with anyone?

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  180. "a little reality checking on occasion would be nice."

    Done. I accept your apology for the abusive language, 11:48.

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  181. I believe the "10 day count" will last thru the first week of November. You must get on your waitpool of choice no later than Friday 8/29.

    I'm going tomorrow to remove my name from the Flynn GE waitpool and add a school we have a chance to get into.

    We start Kinder at a local private next Tuesday. They wear slippers there. Quaint.

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  182. Just in case the next steps aren't clear to anyone:

    This is the point at which what Darlene Lim told me for a blog item some time ago looms, assuming the EPC has it together to follow its own process.

    In the past, no-shows' seats were not filled till after the 10-day count. Very considerate of the no-shows, but that meant that not only were families left hanging in the wait pool, but also a school with open seats at the 10-day count lost the funding for those spots -- a hit to the budget that really hurt.

    Lim said that this year the seats will be vacated and filled from wait pools at the six-day point. That's to give families who assumed school started after Labor Day a chance to still get their spot (I know what you're thinking and I am too, but we should remind ourselves that kids shouldn't lose out because their parents are idiots).

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  183. Diversity is over-rated.

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  184. I disagree that diversity is over rated, but i will say that no matter what school you go to in S.F. you are exposed to diversity. You are exposed to diversity simply by living in the city, but also there are few schools that are 95% one thing or an other.

    Our new kinder teacher is a dark skinned man. That, for us, is as important as her mixed classmates.

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  185. Thanks for clarifying the system, Caroline.

    Sorry we're missing out on public this year. I bet we end up loving our private school and have a hard time diving back into the lottery madness next year.

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  186. There aren't *any* public elementary schools in SF that are more than 50 percent white. NONE.

    The whitest of them all are only 45 percent white (Creative Arts Charter and Grattan)...

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  187. ok.

    And as folks have pointed out many times, there aren't 50% white kids in the city/public school system. Diversity means a gaggle of this, a gang of that, a pile of those. 12%, 20%...but 1/2 white would make all other races a gross minority. wouldn't it?

    My point is that no school is all white, asian, or latino. I would hesitate to make that argument for a Hunters Point school, but we don't talk about those on this blog.

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  188. Politically IncorrectAugust 25, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    Our pediatrician is dark skinned. Our dentist is Asian and gay. Her teacher is Hispanic. Really, the message is that these are people we respect so who cares what ethnicity they are?

    I did not choose these professionals for the color of their skin, but for their credentials and personality. We live in a cosmopolitan city so of course our child will be surrounded by diverse people and families.

    I think it's more important for my child to get a great education with a class of kids whose families value education. If this means that she's surrounded by more middle class white or asian kids, then so be it. However, I know plenty of families who value education who are Latino, African American, Filipino, gay, divorced, single parents, etc, etc, etc....

    That's why I say: education first, diversity second.
    I think there's too much emphasis on racial balances and trying to be so politically "correct".

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  189. I **wish** the school year started after Labor Day (and ended later in June). This week, combined with the long Labor Day weekend, is a fabulous time for one last family vacation.

    SF schools used to start after Labor Day. Someone told me they start in August to give teachers holiday pay, which they wouldn't get if school started after Labor Day. Someone else said it’s to guarantee that schools end before July 1 (new fiscal year). Hello! It's not like we need snow days in SF!!!

    Does anyone know the genesis for this crazy August start date?

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  190. so, caroline, based on what you understand straight from darlene lim, people on waitpools will be getting calls next monday or tuesday? is it only possible to get calls this week if enough families were to actually disenroll at EPC?

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  191. i agree with you. and i was pointing out, perhaps poorly, that it's a no brainer because ALL SF public schools are diverse.

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  192. Expect calls Tuesday, cause Monday is Labor Day.

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  193. 5:17 -- great post!! Now maybe you should run for the Board!

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  194. some one on the school board needs to be personally participating in the public school system. from what i understand, if they have school aged kids, they attend private.

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  195. Hurrah for 5:17 PM!!!!!

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  196. Wow, today was rough. The EPC was a madhouse. No movement anywhere. I agree with Kortney, I think the days of being squeaky have passed. I actually have grown fond of the people who work there. This is clearly stockholm syndrome setting in. I talked to someone today who got into their school of choice in November so I guess now the next step is just waiting and coping. Is there a 12-step fellowship for this yet?

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  197. Kortney, that's my understanding -- seats left empty by no-shows will just sit there till Tuesday, which is when they turn into a pumpkin. I don't know how rapidly EPC will start running the waitpools and making the calls, of course -- I would HOPE Tuesday! They get pressure from the schools to move fast too, of course.

    Re the school year calendar, I know it's negotiated by the unions with the district, and I've heard that it also involved coordinating with state university schedules so teachers can do their continuing education.

    We've always liked the early schedule because we go with a large group to Camp Mather, and used to be able to get Week 2 with no sweat, since that was just unusually early, even though of course many (most?) Mather applicants have SFUSD students. The SFUSD year actually shifted a bit later in the past 2-3 years, and we and our friends have had more trouble getting in for our Mather week.

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