Tuesday, September 9, 2008

10-Day Count

There should be some movement after the 10-day count. Please post if you receive some news.

268 comments:

  1. We got 0/7 1st round but were assigned to Daniel Webster, where we didn't register.

    We ammended our list & put down schools all over town (we live in Noe Valley & had only put down nearby & pretty desirable schools for round 1...) including Peabody, Sutro, Sunnyside...filled all the spaces though I guess that's not required. I was terrified we wouldn't get something even safe or slightly decent.

    We were assigned Sutro (it's in the Richmond) after the 2nd round & we snatched it up though it clearly wasn't ideal.

    We were at Sutro for a week and a half & got the call that we got into our waitlist school: Miraloma. I was dazed. We were adjusting to Sutro. The K teacher there is spectacular. I already felt loyal to friends there & to the school. But Miraloma was the dream school to us, & it's so close to home.

    We switched over last Friday. I really worried about my son's reaction but he's taken it very much in stride & I think we are happy yet still daze & adjusting (...though he just told me, "it wasn't the dream school for me, mom." I think after 3 days he's feeling the strain of beginning again at another new school). I'm aware we hit the jackpot...or at least we feel that way. I hesitated to write in because of that & because so many are still struggling to find a school. Though in the (almost very) end we got what we wanted, we did experience the stress & strain of the process & still think there's got to be a better way.

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  2. Congrats to you.
    I am very jealous...
    still with no school
    and frustrated beyond belief at the EPC...

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  3. 6:14 - well you freed up a spot at Sutro for someone elso, so it all works out in the end too. I'm glad it worked out for you.

    But its too bad you/your child had to suffer the stress.

    If the EPC/Garcia is looking for feedback of how to improve, be accountable and form better relationships with families - step 1 -- send out a written notice and make a positive contact with families (Telephone, email, etc) to CONFIRM before school starts whether the family intends on enrolling in school. Just like your doctor or Dentist reminds you of your appointment the day before. Bet that cuts down on alot of no-shows. And believe me, there is a cost associated with those confirmation calls, so they obviously think the cost is worth the benefit.

    Most other school districts do not even register you until two weeks before school starts. Talk about positive confirmation -- they probably have a 100% attendance rate (though not to say a few won't drop out because they are waiting for private school, etc).
    However, they are not waiting for some 6 day or 10 day count to clear a wait pool. And certainly they are not holding seats for some misinformed parents who think school starts after Labor Day.

    This will enable a positive count on day 2 or 3, and clear the waitlist much much sooner, before kids have to go through attachment and separation anxiety etc.

    If the District really cares about children, they would not make the child go through this process.

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  4. 9:12 again -- I correct myself.. by registering parents 2 weeks before, the school district actually clears the waitlist even before school starts. The stragglers, Johnnny come lately's get to pick from what is left.

    Of course this goes against the BOE Progressive Agenda which has this misguided notion that only the middle class is able to take care of themselves and show up and game the system etc etc. They do not give low income people enough credit. Any family that values education takes the time to find out when school starts, make sure they enroll their children (whatever the process). The SFUSD process is more confusing then ever, with the multiple application rounds etc etc. Perhaps it would behoove the District to study the neighboring districts to see what works and emulate their best practices, because certainly the system as it is today, is broken, or creaky at best.

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  5. I'm 0 for 15 and no waitlist. Guess we will be staying at a private school, whcih wasn't our plan. I work full time so I can't really go plead my case non-stop down at the EPC (I work outside the City, so it's not like I can just pop over and pop back like I guess Caroline types can). I'm sorry, but this is just insane. Sometimes I really wonder why I live here.

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  6. 10:36, let me assure you that going down and pleading a case will not work as I've tried it myself. I'd be happy to pick up a form for you the next time I go there so you can get on a waitlist. That way all you need to do is fax it in. THe good news for you is that come november, you'll be able to enroll in a school with any openings (you just have to call every week to find out where they are). Others who have enrolled in SF schools won't be able to transfer. So that cuts out a lot of people on the waitpool. Of course, that means you have to wait for an opening but they do come up. I'm in the same boat as you.

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  7. Thanks. I am on a wait list, I just have not come OFF it. But thank you.

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  8. The schools did make calls to parents the week prior to school starting to confirm registration. I was at home to receive the call. A friend of mine was also told by the EPC that calls would be made.

    But, if no one was at home or the call was not returned, I'm guessing they keep the registration.

    In my child's class it was 18/20 -- two no shows. By Day 4 one of the two finally came; turns out the child was on vacation when school started. The last spot was a cancel, and filled by a waitlist during the second week of school.

    Good luck to everyone still waiting.

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  9. Our kindergarten class has only 18 kids who showed up so I know there will be at least two people coming in off the wait list.

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  10. 10:20am --what school are you in????

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  11. 9:42, what school is your child in???

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  12. For the working Mom... I switched my son's waitlist and eventually took him off it over email. I was emailing with Alana Ramirez, who was very responsive and also Nicole Danielle. They just asked me to include his full name and date of birth.

    Winford,Danielle Nicole [WinfordD@sfusd.edu]

    Ramirez,Alana
    [RamirezA@sfusd.edu]

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  13. 9:42am here: Dianne Feinstein ES

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  14. 9:42 --any idea if there are any more spots at Feinstein in any classroom? We're desperately waiting in the waitpool!

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  15. I heard no movement at Feinstein

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  16. clarendon jbbp nugget: a 21st kid was just added back to my daughter's kinder class yesterday. (they'd had one no-show, per the teacher.) still overenrolled by one, i suppose. if memory serves, the parents of said kid told me he's one of a set of twins that was waitlisted (their older sibling attends parochial). i think they said they were hoping for movement by november so they could get their other twin into the same school. can you imagine the stress?

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  17. I guess if you get into your waitlist school Kim (which I understand has at least 3 seats unfilled), that would free up a seat for the other twin. Good luck to all still waiting for movement.

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  18. Personal question Kim, but are you still holding out for your waitpool school? Or has Clarendon worked it's magic on you and your kid? I wonder in general how many people are becoming settled in their schools and would find the decision to move to their waitpool school a difficult one (if the call did come). Of course there is no such tough decision to make for those with no school or those struggling to pay fees.

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  19. OK. Now I'm mad. Twins not getting into the same school, at the same time, is ridiculous.

    I have to shoot back at the charge that the SFUSD incompetence is progressive.

    It's not progressive. It's incompetence. If anything, the lies and lack of transparency is conservative....but i digress.

    I don't think most people would advocate for a system that didn't take diversity into account. However, if the district was able to place the correcty amount of students in each school, taking into account both diversity index AND neighborhood, as well as special circumstances, then the diversity index could fall by the way side for the waitpool.

    But instead EPC over enrolled schools, offered folks school they did not want, while others who wanted it didn't get in, and disenrolled families a few weeks before school started. And that is to name a few errors.

    The lottery isn't great, and the incompetence is adding insult to injury.

    It's not progressive. It's stupid.

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  20. we're in a situation where we've started our fragile daughter (because of the stress of no school...) in a private school which she loves, and i like.

    our waitpool school has no hope for us.

    EPC returned a call to me (finally) and told me of a school I was once interested in for 5 minutes that has 1 spot. 1 spot. But, i have to change my waitpool if i want it. that means i'm super enrolled and it's done.

    do i rock my daughters world and change her to a school because it's a little closer, has a few friends, and is free (free? hardly...but you know what i mean.)

    or do we let her stay put...which means I have to let go of the community of parents in public i love so much.

    after all, this is all about me now...

    waaaaah!
    i have until Friday to decide if we want to change our waitpool school.

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  21. I know you probably don't want to hear this but I'd stay put for now, Kortney. Why add more stress with another new school that's an unknown? I'd try again next year for your dream school for 1st grade. I know it's expensive, but at this point you are paying for some level of stability for both of you.

    -My 2.5 cents

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  22. Is it a school you would try for next year? If yes, then grab it now!
    kids are more resilient than we think...

    My son is in a parochial right now...which was NEVER our plan...if we had / have a chance at ANY of the schools that are on our list - we'll pull as soon as the offer is given...even if it happens in November!

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  23. Post 3:47 what parochial are you in and aside from it not being your original plan - are you warming to it?

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  24. Don't even get me started on the twins thing. The "choice" system has absolutely no way to accommodate twins and Darlene Lim expressly told me to my face that the system does not accommodate twins and they will not guarantee me placement in the same school. Then in the next breath she told me that I nonetheless had to put down all seven schools in exactly the same order on both applications. Well screw that. If they are doing nothing for me to guarantee any kind of sane outcome, I am not following some rule designed solely to prevent me from getting as many chances as I can to get my kids into a public school.

    So there.

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  25. I agree, if this was a school that you would have accepted at any part of the process, Round I, Round II, open enrollment or if will make any of your lists for next year then why would you not take it now? There are kids coming and going in all classrooms, your daughter will have a rough week or two but then she will be settled for the next x years. I have a lot of sympathy for your situation but it sounds like you have now decided that there is only one school you will accept and I am sure that was not how you felt earlier in this debacle. If however you really are only willing to accept your one waitlist school then you don't need to do anything but keep in touch with EPC (and your friends at the school) and as soon as a space opens up through the school year you (as an outsider) are allowed to bag that seat. It would be ironic to me, as a long time reader of this blog if you went down this road, but we do what me must, non?

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  26. look, total transparency: we're waitlisted at fairmount (the closest thing to what we had in flynn -- an immersion program we like in our neighborhood). yes, with each passing day it becomes more difficult to imagine switching. but not because i have hard data about clarendon per se (although it seems perfectly pleasant and certainly packed with enrichment thus far). it's because of the little things -- like the way my daughter was holding hands with another kid as she lined up after school today. and more kids said bye to her by name (and she them). THAT's what's killing me.

    that said, it is probably moot. i, too, was told fairmount had 3 no-shows, but all of them were spanish speaking. EPC has been ordered by the mucky mucks to restore the 50/50 balance before it draws any english speakers from the pool. although fairmount's imbalance is small, that would still require more english dropouts than can be expected to occur. it ain't gonna happen, i suspect. honestly: because of the politics, they would rather leave spots EMPTY than worsen the imbalance, even by ONE KID. this year? i find that -- i'll sanitize -- ridiculous.

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  27. ok, i realize this is probably akin to thread hijacking, so if no one answers, i'll understand. but ... if you were to move to another U.S. city (could be small) that's a) more affordable than sf, b) got some kind of cultre and diversity and c) has decent schools, were would you move to? our son is headed to K in 2009, we don't own a home here (and really can't afford one, unless it's a TIC or something), and can't afford private. As much as I like SF in a lot of ways, part of me can't help thinking, what are we doing here?? of course if mccain-palin win, we may be looking to move abroad or at least up north. help us god. any tips on canada?

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  28. Wow, that 50/50 thing is rather ridiculous, simply because is the EPC doing anything to recruit the Spanish speakers? The District maintains the Spanish bilingual program at a very high cost which is yes, very different in intent but still draws from the same pool of available students. So in future years, will they disenroll the non Spanish speakers and only enroll as the Spanish half of the house gets filled?

    There are many different ways to run the immersion class. Being off balance is not ideal but certainly do able. And the value of such program is too great to forego for simply being out of balance (ie, 60/40, 70/30 would still be ok practically speaking).

    Anyway -- folks in this District do need to ask why money is spent maintaining bilingual programs that only serve a very targeted racial/ethnic group (Cantonese, Spanish, Tagalog) and no other. At the same time, the District is bleeding money, hitting up parents for money to pay for supplies, toilet paper, art teacher, PE teacher etc.

    Russian native speaking kids are expected to go to Gen Ed and figure out how to speak English (yes, there may be a resource teacher to pull them out for extra tutoring). So why can't the same be done for the Spanish/Cantonese kids? I only mention this from a cost and facility perspective -- the moment you commit to set up a bilingual class, you have designated one full time position and classroom at the school, whether the class is filled or not.

    Some schools merge 2 years together and still can't add up 20 kids. Talk about a waste of resources. I'm not sure the outcomes for these kids are that much better than if they went the Russian kid route, which is jump right in with the Gen Ed kids.

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  29. Kortney, I'd go for it. Unless you have unlimited funds, it's a good shot for you. Sounds like you have friends there. It'll be fine.

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  30. 4:18 PM - Russian kids are expected to buck up and learn English because they are white, so automatically are very privileged.

    Seriously, its because of politics & political correctness. When the Russian immigrant community is a powerful voting bloc, and can make a lot of noise politically, all sorts of goodies will come their way.

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  31. Kortney, is this offer for a school with NO waitlist? Are you guaranteed the ONE spot? I thought if there is no waitlist, then you can have the spot. Or is it that there is a waitlist, but not in your 0/7 cohort?

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  32. Kortney - Why do you get until Friday to decide? I thought you had to decide on the spot (like the woman wrote about last week who had the cell phone conversation with her husband while sitting at EPC.)

    Unless you plan to donate to the public school the equivalent of the entire monthly amount of tuition you spend now at KMS, the public IS going to save you money!! Save for private middle school or high school (or college or retirement.)

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  33. kortney- you aren't going to tell us the school?! How could you not know what to do by this point...

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  34. Kortney, think back to when you were interested in this school for 5 minutes.....what was it about the school that interested you? Was it near home with neighbors attending? Or a bit far but sweet and a good fit for your child? Or even farther but a nice setting, enthusiastic teachers, a gung ho Principal? Or were you interested in it for 5 seconds because you were already so desperate at not getting your higher priority schools that you finally had lowered your sights enough that this one looked like maybe it would be okay if you squinted at it and if the only other choice was John Muir....If the former, go for it. If the latter, maybe not....

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  35. 5:17:
    Flynn GE is the school. It has spaces, but also has 3 late applicant siblings, and 3 others on the waitlist. Looks like they are all accepting spots. It was our waitlist school for a while, when we gave up on Lakeshore. truthfully, the GE program is not one we love, but it's close to our home so we settled on it. Once we got a spot at KMS, we put Zoe back on Lakeshore's waitlist.

    So much has changed for our family this summer that i can't give it to you here--but at the beginning of this process, we were gonna plant ourselves here for the next 5 years. Now, we may likely move.

    rmsf:
    That is the rub--i'm not on the waitlist at Flynn, and it has a waitlist. I wasn't offered a spot. I was told that, after the waitpoolers accept the spots, one will likely remain. So in order to qualify for the one spot they say will be open, i have to move our name back on Flynn GE's list. It doesnt' seem fair, but that is how they are presenting it to me. if we put our name on the list for Flynn GE by Friday, we will most likely get it.

    I hope that answers your questions.

    My issue is more about the community at Flynn GE that I love. But that is the only compelling reason to move her, and that, again, makes it all about me. Mommy dearest.

    We'll probably move next year, if not to Spain, at least across town. So, committing to a public school on this side of town seems silly.

    We're staying with KMS for kinder because Zoe loves it there, even though she just lost her best buddy at school to a 10 day count call.

    Anyone want Flynn GE? Go to EPC and make it your waitpool school before Friday.

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  36. Zoe's best buddy was noneother than my daughter Callie- we got the call today and got into Miraloma. THANK GOD! I am so relieved!! Finally an end to the madness for us. Thank you all for hearing my story and offering your support - it meant so much to me.

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  37. Both happy and sad...this mom sends off an other warrior to public school. Jessica--i solute you!

    Lets hit the bar together real soon.

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  38. wow. miraloma is hot right now. should i switch waitpools :)

    congrats jessica!

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  39. Mazel tov, Jessica! I hope and trust it was worth all this!

    Those blond teens you'll see slouching down Teresita as you pass by on the way to Miraloma (boy with trumpet, girl with trombone, probably causing traffic hazards crossing the street) are mine...

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  40. Wow. I have more Typ-0's on this blog than a blood bank.

    Let me try this again, for the sake of dignity:

    Both happy and sad...this mom sends off an other warrior to public school. Jessica--i salute you!

    Let's hit the bar together real soon.

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  41. Oh, Jessica B -- I'm so thrilled for you! I literally got teary eyed when I saw that it finally worked out for you!!! Hurray!! Obviously I don't know you, but I've been following your story here and have been truly touched by the grace you've shown through this whole horrible process. I was raised by a single mom, and looking back I so appreciate all the efforts she went through to get me a good education through SFUSD. I know Callie will one day appreciate all you've done to make sure she's in a good school w/ a good support system. Congratulations again!!!

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  42. jessica - I have been following tis thread in part to see if you get a spot at Miraloma. Hooray for you!

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  43. Most Russian immigrant kids have college-educated parents. That is a huge advantage and difference compared to most Spanish-speaking immigrants. You can't really compare.

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  44. So... I hear PPS is now charging preschools $100 to send someone to do a presentation on enrollment.

    That might be a drop in the bucket for larger preschools who charge high tuition -- though those schools will probably pass since most of their kids go private.

    But it seems like a lot of money considering they are using volunteers.

    Has it always been that way?

    All these stories about folks *still* waiting for spots after the 10-day count has us all in a panic and wanting to get as educated as possible on the enrollment process. But $100 seems like a lot, no?

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  45. Congrats Jessica!!

    Is the Miraloma waitpool still huge?

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  46. Jessica, I am soooo happy for you!! Wow! And I do not even know you.
    Wonderful!!
    Now, hopefully many of the other parents will get good news too and things work out over the next few weeks!!

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  47. 7:51 PM - What does a parent's education have to do with language immersion/ bilingual education?

    PS - I know plenty of Russian immigrants putting themselves through City College/SF State at night...

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  48. jessica b --

    Hooray! I too have been following your story, and I'm thrilled that Callie will be at Miraloma. For someone, at least, the right thing has finally happened. Look for me there -- my daughter is in K1 (with Ms. Howard). I'm the one with the wayward blonde 3.5-year-old twin girls running around the blacktop during morning circle.

    Congratulations!

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  49. 7:51 -- I was only using Russian as an example. Substitute any language other than Tagalog, Cantonese, and Spanish. For Tagalog only 2 people requested the bil. program in the last few years and interestngly in the Philippines, believe it or not, English is the other national language. So its odd to maintain such a program when you have folks coming from Eastern Europe, Africa etc etc who have no English exposure.

    If the issue is a parental education issue that causes these kids to lag and need special attention, then I would say that we have good old non-ELL kids born right here in USA that have the same issues and need special attention. Yup, think African Americans and their 23% proficiency rate. And these kids get pushed 20 to a class, then 35 to a class from grades 3-5. They can certainly use a smaller class size. That's all -- just the allocation of resources is skewed. (By the way, the Cantonese bilingual program kids seem to kick-a-- on the math portion of the tests, and eventually on the English portion. So their achievement does not seem to correlate nec with low parental achievement as to why they need to have special bilingual classes).

    Maybe once upon a time, there was a need for these bilingual classes. But these programs need to be evaluated in terms of enrollment, outcomes, cost/benefit analysis, other alternatives to achieve similar outcome etc.

    But this is OT... I just thought of it when one poster mentioned that there were empty spaces at an immersion program but could not be filled because of language issue. I hope that is not the trend of the future. Because then the District better start setting up OW immersion programs like AFY to accomodate the demand.

    Getting off soap box now.. just gets me mad when I see empty seats in high demand programs, and ultimately a loss of funds to the District, funds of which they need so desperately to help the very kids of parents with low education levels.

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  50. Yes, I get mad too, considering the high, high taxes I pay to subsidize immigrant's kids, but no spot for mine!

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  51. Congrats Jessica B! I'm still hoping for that kind of ending to my story!
    You gave me a bit of hope.

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  52. 8:36 - yes, that's the perversity in the system when you look at the big picture. Not to say everyone doesn't contribute in their own way, and we all know that. And when it comes to education, it is in all of our best interests that even one is educated for democracy to work down the road.

    But really, I must stop being gracious when an illegal immigrant felon is likely to get a pass for selling crack while I have to go to jail because I happened to be born here! Honestly, I do not know why all the juveniles who are citizens do not protest or rise up and claim disparate treatment. Yoyo gets to go to a group home while I get to go to one of those wonderful juvenile centers where I get beat up by the prison guards? Very odd system indeed.

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  53. Congratulations Jessica B. you made it!
    Look forward to meeting you at Miraloma....we are also in Ms. Howard's class and I teach second grade.

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  54. 7:53

    Large preschool's don't have extra money to spend on PPS info, any more than their families go to private schools. Zoe went to a large preschool and the vast majority of us tried for public.

    PPS was super helpful in explaining the lottery process to us, and have been good counselors. However, someone who has posted here from the beginning can probably do a better job at not only giving facts, but a reality check.

    PPS were overly optimistic, and basically touted the SFUnifieds bullshit for them.

    My 2c

    Don't pay for the information. If they are for public schools, they should be promoting public schools for free.

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  55. 8:54 PM - Thank you! When I see the crime & murder rate going up, the filthy streets, smelly, late buses, NO TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT of any kind (I almost get run over daily by drivers who only slow down a bit for stop signs) not to mention the state of schools, it makes me wonder why we don't take care of our own citizens first. The City is deteriorating in many ways.

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  56. 8:54 -

    Sorry to hear that you got beat up by the prison guards. Maybe you should just stop dealing crack.

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  57. Congrats, Jessica, on getting the spot that really works for you. That is so great. Kortney, it sounds like you've made your choice between KMS and Flynn. I'm glad you have finally reached closure, if that is the case.

    On another note, I really hope this thread does not deteriorate into immigrant-bashing. Our country was built on immigrants, who continue to work hard at jobs others won't do. The vast, vast majority are as hard-working and honest if not more so than anyone here, and the fact is that most of the kids are already American citizens. Citizens who will grow up here, people we should want to be educated. And by the way, lots of undocumented immigrants pay lots of taxes and also into Social Security (but won't see a dime of it down the road). The roots of immigration are complex, and immigration reform is complex. Can we please not use immigrants as scapegoats in all this? There are more useful avenues of discussion for a schools blog.

    Finally, 9:56, I share many of your frustrations with city living, and no doubt the school enrollment process needs fixing--starting with better communication with parents about sibling enrollments and so forth--but it's not true that the schools themselves are bad or getting worse. The fact that they are improving is one reason why so many middle class families are being drawn back for a look, and why applications are up at a wider range of schools. Schools are one area in which San Francisco has by many measures improved in the last ten years. Realize that is small comfort for those who had a hard time in the lottery, but I think it is important to distinguish between the process and the schools themselves.

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  58. Jessica B, hurray for you!!!!! My heart skipped when I read your good news!!!!! Yippee!!!!

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  59. 10:17

    Thank you about the immigrant statement. It's so true. And anyone who doesn't want everyone as educated as possible, is an idiot.

    As far as increased enrollment or applications at SFUnified, lets not forget there is a baby boom here, and that explains some of it.

    The fact is that some of our public upper grade schools have bathrooms that are not usable. Our schools have a ways to go, albeit improved from 10 years ago.

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  60. That is great Jessica! Gives me hope for the next year when I'll be in the game...

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  61. Yes, I'd like everyone as educated as possible - but a lot of people shouldn't be here in the first place. We don't have the room/money/water to take in 1000s of illegals anymore. Tighten up the border & pump more $ into INS - the schools will have more $ to spend on the kids that are already here. Legally. The kids whose parents pay 90% of the taxes.

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  62. 21 kids in a kindergarten class at Clarendon JBBP? I thought the max was 20 students? How is that possible?

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  63. "Yes, I get mad too, considering the high, high taxes I pay to subsidize immigrant's kids, but no spot for mine!"

    Guess what, at some point in American history your ancestors were also immigrants that somebody's taxes helped out. You sound like a conservative bigot.

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  64. 11:15, the rule is there must be an AVERAGE of 20 students/class in K-3. So if i.e. one 2nd grade class has only 19 students, it's ok to have 21 in one K class.

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  65. i too heard about kid number 21 in the jbbp/clarendon k class. he's not a twin - confirmed.

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  66. 2 other 'hooray' stories, 2 different families with 0/15 got Grattan off their waitpool.

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  67. THe pilgrims were illegal immigrants, as were most of our ancestors who first arrived here.

    As are many of hte folks who care for your kids, cut your grass, wash your dishes in restaurants and harvest your fruits and vegetables. REally willing to pay double for all that? REALLY?

    Educating immigrants from the most disadvantaged backgrounds has to be a priority if you also are interested in alleviating some of the other social ills you complain about. Otherwise, you perpetuate an underclass.

    Though I agree, bilingual programs should be scrapped in favor of immersion for those groups. They simply work better.

    Finally: Very few Filipino immigrant children can speak to their parents in Tagalog. Sad but true. Language loss is always sad since we know there are so many advantages to being bilingual.

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  68. 0/15 family here with nothing still...

    Advice on where to waitpool? I am desperate and becoming very open-minded.

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  69. I have twins and was told by EPC management yesterday that twins do not get sibling preference. One gets in, the other stays in the waitpool with no preference. FYI.

    Are these calls coming in for Miraloma, Grattan, etc. from the 10 day count or the 6 day count? Will there possibly be more spots?

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  70. Wow, sounds like there's a bunch of Sarah Palin fans on this blog. (shudder)

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  71. How can a twin not be considered a sibling? That's ridiculous! Will those families at least get sibling preference next year for the first grade lottery in the worst case scenario? Or will twins forever be thought of as not siblings by the EPC?

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  72. Jessica B-

    Congratulations-I too had been logging on every morning and afternoon to see whether you finally got in to Miraloma!

    On another note, I am a Single Mom by Choice of Twins and based on SFUSD's current policy regarding twins, I (a public school educated California native whose mom was a public school teacher) will be looking to go parochial/private. What an idiotic policy.

    Jeanine

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  73. 7:12

    That is outrageous. Darlene Lim told me the opposite at the JCC Kindergarten night last May. She told me that although the system did not accommodate twins, you would get sibling preference during the second round and waitlist process.

    These people are unbelievable. All parents of twins please e-mail me. We have to be able to do something about this immediately.

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  74. Congratulations, Jessica!
    Looking forward to meeting you & Callie.
    Charlie's in Mrs. Simmons class.

    7:15, We got our call last week, on Wed., so day 8 of the 10 day count...?

    Sounds like there's still movement going on. Hope this could mean good news for more people.

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  75. Yikes. Should've written "Mrs. Simmons' class."
    Anyway, looking forward to meeting you
    & good luck to all.

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  76. Jessica! Fantastic. I am so happy you got into Miraloma as it's ideal for Callie and Samantha to be in the same school and you and Elena too. Whew!

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  77. 11:21 PM - You are wrong. My grandparents fled the Nazis & came to SF with a little money and some help from family. The government didn't give them a penny. They worked their asses off 6 days a week until they were in their 70s. But they payed plenty in taxes. Their great-grandchild was assigned to John Muir. And is now in a private school.

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  78. 6:26 AM - Language loss is not the problem of the public school district nor the taxpayers who fund it.

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  79. 6:26am -- the Tagalog bilingual program is not set up to help them maintain their heritage language. It is to help them transition to learning English. A Tagalog immersion program would be the way to go if you want those kids to continue to be literate/etc in Tagalog.
    But then, why not Russian (sorry to pick on Russians), or Swahili, or Greek or Hindi? Isn't it sad those kids do not maintain their heritage language.
    I'm looking at it strictly from a perspective of limited resources and how to best allocate those resources. And if there were 20, 30 Tagalog speaking kids waiting to get into these programs, there would be a need. But that's not the case. Just a thought for the Board, administration to consider.

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  80. Jess, we are thrilled and relieved for you and Callie. A happy ending after a painful nine months :)

    Yet I can't shake a nagging feeling that even though things do seem to be falling in to place for most people (and hopefully will for other 0/15ers), the system remains ridiculously broken.

    Families deserve more assurance and predictability from their school district, whatever the admissions system looks like in detail. And I do hope that PPS, the School Board and SFUSD take this year's situation seriously as they return to the drawing board for 2009-10.

    As for the immigrant/bilingual education bashing, enough already. Let's focus on constructive solutions and changes, not xenophobia.

    I am one of those Russian immigrants with college-educated parents who was plunked into school in the middle of 1st grade speaking no English and expected to fend for herself. At LAUSD, not SFUSD, but that is not crucial. In any case, it was tough but I did learn English fairly quickly, and was able to maintain Russian fluency into adulthood. I can't say that all immigrant kids should follow this approach or that worked out for me can be translated into the experience of others. But disproportionately allocating resources to ineffectively serve specific immigrant communities cannot continue to be the solution.

    It seems that so many of these attempts to deal with deep social challenges are approached by the School Board and SFUSD from a political standpoint, not from what is most effective from an educational perspective. There are plenty of data and alternative models out there, no doubt. I wish I had time to analyze it myself and be more specific in my comments, but even more so, I hope that our newly elected Board Members will take a look at this issues of bilingual education seriously and strategically in the coming years.

    We can't afford to spend precious budget resources on weak programs that seem to be doing to close the very real achievement gap this district faces in many schools.

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  81. Jessica B: I was in my son's kindie class at Miraloma this morning and saw a new little girl! Hoping she's yours. Congratulations.

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  82. 10:20 am - thank you.
    And this is not an immigrant bashing issue. We are all immigrants. Some of from descendants who came here legally (after the gov't was established), some not. And stop the guilt trip, every country is made of immigrants to some degree - who can prove which tribe lived where and when? Wars go back to beginning of time re territory.

    I agree that something needs to be
    done to accomodate the needs of those illegal immigrants that are here already. But then as a country, we need to set up rules and ENFORCE them. There are many people who play by the rules and come here LEGALLY. They wait 10 year. They wait for the H1 visa to work in Silicon Valley.

    And it is true to say all benefit to some degree by these illegal immigrants who work for peanuts -- our costs for gardening, nannies, lettuce everything is lower. But as a society is that what we want? A permanent underclass that can be subjected to abuse. Illegal immigration helps no one. Other countries have guest worker (I'm think Germany) programs. Maybe racism is involved. Who knows. But there is something to be said about playing by setting rules and enforcing them.
    I agree with the poster that said the line MUST simply be drawn when we actually coddle the illegal immigrant felons, but we do not do the same for the US born felons. What's that about? Any other country says give me your felons, delinquents? Highly doubt it. Except for Switzerland, if you bring a few million bucks with you.

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  83. I continue to struggle to understand why there seems to be lots of movement for popular schools (Grattan, Lillienthal, Miraloma). We were in the first cohort waitpool for RLS with 2 other families. Based on information gleaned from EPC (whom I don't trust) and the RLS ASP (I sort of trust), one spot was open and went to one of the other families. We are still waiting, while our son is increasingly settled at JOES. I just don't get how there can be so much movement at the schools with big WPs and so little at others. It just adds to my feeling that this whole (poorly communicated) process is somehow rigged or not really being followed.

    BTW I could have shot the couselor last Friday when he confirmed that the one spot was being offered to another family and they were on the call list, but hadn't been called yet because...well...just because...but they would get to it eventually. No sense of urgency, no reassurances offered. Just the usual indifferent, insensitive crap.

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  84. And what does kindergarten enrollment have to do with illegal immigrant felons?

    If you see non-English speaking kids sharing a class with your kid, why assume the parents are here illegally? There is certainly no reason to believe the parents are felons.

    If these kids were born here, they are certainly here legally and they might one day even become president of the country.

    I say we should give them an education.

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  85. I am literally in tears (at work, yes i really don't do anything here it seems but read this blog...) over all the well wishes from you gals (or guys). Thank you all for your support!

    In the end, my daughter took the 9th opening at Miraloma - that is a huge amount of openings but i guess not unusual which is what the school secretary told me. I wanted to share something that senior (and nice) person at EPC told me, and that is that openings happen well into November, which is why they are keeping the waitpools open. All kinds of things - some kids just not are ready for K, people move, people get disillusioned, a spot in a private opens up...I was prepared to keep Callie in KMS until a spot opened up where I wanted it.

    I have heard that there are spots open at Flynn GE (which is vastly different from last year, many moms on this blog have contacted me thanks to the efforts of kathy b) and it sounds really good. In fact yesterday I was thinking of changing waitpools even though that meant my hopes for miraloma would be gone. There are spot(s) at McKinley which is amazing. There were spots at Grattan. I know this just from going to the EPC and asking directly for waitpool numbers. In fact there is a waitpool run from 9/3 circulating. email your counselors and ask for it. I will try to get it also.

    I do believe that spots open up - I met someone today whose daugther got into miraloma at the 6 week point. I would say as advice to those not enrolled anywhere - stay that way so that you can get something if it comes up past november.

    And, I met Miraloma Mom Tanya today with her beautiful girls. Thanks for introducing yourself to me! We are in Miss E's class, which is where my niece was last year. Whew, so relieved. I can't wait for the rest of the families on this blog get what they want.

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  86. 10:20 - Your grandparents were illiterate?

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  87. Is anything else considering going through the PPS training to become a volunteer enrollment counselor? After all that we've learned this year, I am compelled to pass it on.

    My hesitations include balancing existing work and other commitments, as well as not having a clear sense about how helpful the PPS volunteers really are in the admissions process. Especially since EPC holds the cards in the end.

    Did any of you turn to PPS for help? Was it useful? Did it make for an easier experience? Or it is enough post comments on this blog and become an unofficial source of info?

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  88. Sorry, I meant "anyone else", not "anything"... not getting enough sleep these days with that wonderful 7:50 start time.

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  89. Lena and everyone, I've been a PPS enrollment peer counselor in the past and I really enjoyed it. I really encourage you to do it if you can! My head will explode if I do it this year -- I'm PTSA co-president at my kids' school -- but I learned a lot and it was really rewarding. I felt like I got to help both stressed-out parents and public school.

    One year at a session, a stressed-out single mom came to my little table to say her son had been assigned to (horrors) Aptos for 6th grade (instead of requested trophy school Giannini), and what could she do? I said my son was happily finishing 8th grade at Aptos and my daughter would be enthusiastically starting 6th with her son. Light dawned. Stress vanished. Our kids went through Aptos together and the mom was a great volunteer. Obviously it's not always that easy (far from it), but that was a nice moment.

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  90. 11:01 am - read the original post. The person said they agree that education should be for all.

    The poster was bringing up a point that the City's funding priorities are screwed up when it gives illegal felons a break (juveniles) but then citizens born here go to juvenile hall for the very same crime. Doesn't that strike you as bizarre?

    The person said that it is in society's best interest that every child here (legally or illegally) receives an education - thats the only way democracy can survive.

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  91. Wow - congrats Jessica!

    This is a little off-topic, but I know of at least 3 families (indirectly) that do not live in San Francisco....but send their kids to public school here using a parent/grandparent mailing address. Really? Is it really that easy?

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  92. 10:49 poster at JOES in waitpool for RLS: I believe the reason that the waitpools move more at popular schools like Miraloma, Clarendon, and Grattan is that more of those folks use them as back-up for private school. When they get into private, they just don't show up and the spots sit there until the 10-day count. I would bet that most of the families at RLS are not seeking private school, but see RLS as their main or only option.

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  93. Non-SF residents who work in SF can send their kids to SFUSD schools via intradistrict transfer. Our school secretary does this with her daughter. I've heard (but not verified) that Daly City residents often claim to live with Grandma to send their kids to school in the Sunset. I guess we should feel flattered that our schools are in such demand.

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  94. Meant inTERdistrict transfer

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  95. A couple people have asked about Flynn GE so I'm just going to quickly say... I love the school and Teacher Robert's rm 102. He's like Mr Rogers; totally engaging this amazing mix of White, Latino, Irish, Australian, French, Azerbaijan, Asian, and African American kids. In the last two weeks I've helped build a big garden space, volunteered in the classroom and library (along with my Mom a retired children's librarian who will be helping in Teacher Robert's class every Monday and Wednesday), attended my first PTA meeting (heard we are planting eleven trees next month!) and helped my son with his first homework assignment.

    Flynn GE was not on my first list. I went 0/7 but I'm really glad I learned more about the GE program and went with my gut in round two. I hope everyone gets into their waitlist school or finds an alternative as good as I did. Good luck!

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  96. 12:42 poster
    Well, that implies that the allegedly random, diversity lottery isn't. How can all those 'private school' people be assigned to those schools, if the system is working the way it is supposed to?

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  97. 12:42
    Possibly they got lucky in the lottery and found those schools acceptable enough to hang on to until they heard word or tested the water about the private school?

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  98. What do you guys think of PPS charging $100 to send volunteers to do enrollment presentations at preschools?

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  99. What is the reason for charging -- ie what expenses are they covering?

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  100. I work at probably what you would call a "higher end" preschool. We did get the letter that stated that PPS SF was asking for a $100 "donation."

    When we called to book a representative, I was told on the phone, that we could pay whatever we could afford. It did NOT have to be $100.

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  101. Many all-volunteer nonprofits reach a point where so much is expected of them that they begin to incur significant overhead and may need to hire paid staff. I know PPS already does some fund-raising. If this is a valuable service to preschool parents (and I expect it would be), I don't have a problem with them asking to be paid, as is generally the case with consultants and expert speakers. It's a lot of time, effort and coordination and helps them cover the cost of providing their services. I assume they might reduce or waive the fee for preschool programs serving predominantly low-income families as this may be a great tool for increasing participation in the process.

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  102. Jessica, congrats on Miraloma!!! Did you and your daughter go to Miraloma with green mohawk hair dos? I hope your sister prepared you for all the fun!

    For others on this blog, Miraloma API went up 53 points to 825 (numbers just released). Last spring, the Principal told the students that they could pick a teacher to give him a mohawk and pick the color if they met a certain goal. Well, a teacher, assisted by a child from every classroom, gave the Principal a mohawk at morning circle on Tuesady, and the chosen color for his hair and the hair of ALL THE FACULTY AND STAFF was green (like the dragon mascot). Kids and parents came to school on Tuesday with green hair and mohawks too. The Principal and teachers are sporting their green hair all week to celebrate with the children.

    Welcome to our great, sometimes crazy, community!!!

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  103. In response to :
    "Well, that implies that the allegedly random, diversity lottery isn't. How can all those 'private school' people be assigned to those schools, if the system is working the way it is supposed to?"

    Not really, It's just a product of parent choice. the "private school" families simply aren't listing RLS and get lucky in the lottery - neighborhood preference might help too? Although RLS is a great school, I don't think it necessarily attracts that same demographic due in large part to it's location. Grattan, Miraloma, Lillianthal, Clarendon - all in pretty affluent parts of the city with I would assume high private school attendance rates.

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  104. annette - twin mom here bouncing around waitpools. what is your email? i heard the same as you all along - even at the SFMOTC school panel from PPS reps. then i went to EPC and was told differently.

    jessica - you have a waitpool numbers list? PLEASE SHARE! tomorrow is the deadline. thanks.

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  105. PPS has real paid staff. That's a primary reason they've been much more high-impact than the PTA locally -- you really couldn't do that much purely with volunteers, unless we were a community full of wealthy ladies and gentlemen of leisure.

    I don't know any details about charging preschools, but I've been a member for a long time and served a term on the board some years ago (all as a volunteer), so just pointing that out.

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  106. It seems that all the comments on why the desirable schools have more movement add up to the same thing. The system isn't as random as it claims to be.
    You are all theorizing that the highly desired schools some how end up being filled with people who are really planning on private school. It shouldn't work that way.

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  107. This is the JOES poster on the RLS WP.
    We moved to the RLS WP after we were told repeatedly by EPC that we had a better chance on a less populated WP for a less popoular school. RLS was not one of our top choices at all and we only moved to it right before the August WP run.
    Based on the movement to date, I'm thinking we should have stayed in the big pool for one of the popular schools that we wanted.

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  108. What school is RLS?

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  109. What do you guys think of PPS charging $100 to send volunteers to do enrollment presentations at preschools?
    anonymous said...
    What is the reason for charging -- ie what expenses are they covering?
    -----------

    PPS is a nonprofit organization that, like any organization that produces, has office space and staff that need to be paid (however little that, unfortunately, is!) PPS is a trilingual organization that networks parents to improve schools for all San Francisco public school children.

    PPS has grown it's reach in the past 3 years from serving 2000 parents annually, to over 10,000 parents each year by providing coaching, information, services and leadership training. While enrollment information and services is a big part of the organization, it is only a part of the work done. PPS last year, for example, developed an 8 part School Site Council leadership training for parents and had it translated into Spanish and Cantonese. This training was provided to about 1000 parents and teachers just last year. This just scratches the surface.

    Join PPS for a small fee and support the organization so that they can do even more to help parents and SF schools.

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  110. I have to say, I am getting more and more disheartened about this process.

    Miraloma was our second choice in Round I and soon became our first. We loved the school! However, because of the huge waitpool, we decided to list another school. That waitpool had no movement. So we switched to another waitpool (5th choice round I, but close to our house). That waitpool had movement before we joined, and some after, but we were one of the few families that did not get a call and there are no more openings.

    Now I'm feeling like we should have put Miraloma down as our waitpool school but how could we have known?

    I just feel like we had a bad strategy in Round I, Round II and even now the waitpool. How can a school "choice" system be constructed so much around strategy?

    I'm trying so hard not to feel envious and not to feel bad about our wrong strategy in all rounds (and we gave it so much thought!)

    I know we're lucky to have great, healthy kids, and that our child has a kindergarten teacher we like. But I find myself keeping dwelling on the negative (how far the school is, how many hours it eats out of my week, the ways we're unhappy with the school, how great a fit Miraloma or our other Round I picks would have been etc. etc.)

    Anyone in the same boat still?

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  111. I am kicking myself as well. I gave birth to a healthy set of twins last Fall...and did as many tours as I could...fell in love with a school which happened to be Miraloma too. I had no real "strategy" set in place either...and because of that we are at a backup school- parochial - totally miserable - my son has been hit, kicked, and today bitten. The stress this whole process has brought into our lives is unreal. (Yes, I know that bullying can happen anywhere)

    We really wanted a public school. Today an EPC advisor offered up Malcolm X Academy to me...with a straight face. I can't believe a system is run like this. Yet for some it works - and I'm happy for you. For us - I don't know what to do. Will November bring something our way that will allow my child to flourish? I just don't know...

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  112. FYI, I asked the SFUSD PR person, Gentle Blythe, to get me the definitive answer on the enrollment policy for twins, for the www.examiner.com blog. At least she knows that she can't toss out whatever pops into her head, which seems to be what the EPC staff do.

    How many different answers have they given, again?

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  113. i was told last fall to staple my twins' applications together, make sure i listed the same choices on both, and if they pulled one, they would pull the other in ROUND 1. they told me numerous time that one would not get in without the other.

    then, i was also assured that this would be the case in round 2.

    then, i was told that for waitpools, if they pulled one twin's name, the other would get sibling priority until his name is pulled. again, they assured me they wouldn't be separated.

    this week i was told that twins will not have sibling priority in waitpools.

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  114. 7:06pm -

    we feel the exact same way.

    we have a school that logistically is terrible for us. it was never on any of our lists. i feel like i should be happy to even have a school, but i am so envious of those people who have gotten into schools they actually wanted. and i feel guilty about that!

    i have been to EPC every week since january. some weeks 2-3 times. i have changed waitpools about 5 times, following the rumors of potential spots. i drive around before work visiting schools begging the secretaries to tell me some numbers. nothing. i wish i could just start from scratch. and i cannot believe i am saying that because i literally have spent hundreds of hours on this. did i mention i toured 26 schools, some 2 or 3 times to be sure?

    i too feel liked i missed the miraloma waitpool boat. (changed our choice to a less desirable school a few weeks ago!) i feel like i missed the clarendon jbbp boat when they added the unannounced third class and the waitpool got in. that was my 2nd choice but the waitpool was too long!

    it is terrible that i am still looking for a school and wasted so many hours that i could've spent actually filling wednesday folders, organizing a library, supervising recess. it is up there with the worst experiences of my life - sounds dramatic but i am completely serious.

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  115. What really bothers me about this lottery process is the informational inequities: the district suddenly decides to open a new class at Clarendon JBBC or two SI classes at DW and those in the know who act quickly benefit, while most people are shut out.

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  116. 7:40 At which parochial school is this happening?

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  117. 7:40 PM - OMG!! that's awful about your son! what parochial?? (we're at one too, and I don't know that much about them, actually)

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  118. shoulda woulda coulda

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  119. i hate the public school lottery

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  120. the people who run the school system in this town should be recalled/impeached/fired.

    is there a way to start a recall??

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  121. RLS is Robert Louis Stevenson in the Sunset.

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  122. So there was nothing on the SFUSD website about Clarendon opening a 3rd K class.. did they do that because their waitlist was over 20 long?

    At least the DW was announced on the website.

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  123. 7:40 PM - OMG! I am so sorry! Your poor little guy! Has the school been responsive to stopping this little bully? Please tell us which Catholic school it is.

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  124. 7:40 have you instructed your son that while he must not start fights, he does have the right to defend himself? Often kids who are bullied don't fight back (encouraging future abuse) because they think fighting is wrong.

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  125. FYI: Clarendon JBBP has one class of 21 because of the agreement the District reached with some of us 0/15 folks during the Flynn/Alvarado fiasco. We signed a petition.

    The agreement was that if one of the families that had been displaced from Flynn or Alvarado was offered a priority spot at a school (as Kim Green was at Clarendon), this would not take a spot away from the general waitpool. So when the class sizes were increased to 21 to let a Flynn/Alvarado family in, they would stay that way into the 10 day count.

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  126. I think this blog has lost it's usefulness. This NY Times article seems pertinent. To much co-misery just makes gals more depressed and anxious. Have we hit the wall here?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/fashion/11talk.html?em

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  127. To quote the NY Times:

    “There are quite a few adolescent girls who have high levels of obsessive thinking to begin with,” Dr. Sitnick said. “They often do this with their mothers as well. It certainly does seem to be a female behavior, and grown women do it, too, ruminating about certain issues and experiences. It can become a mutual complaint society.”

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  128. 12:00 AM, tell me. Is your kid already in a kindergarten somewhere? Did you go 0/15? Are you still without a school? Are you in a situation where you might need to uproot your life through no fault of your own?

    A little more empathy please. Sometimes in life, it's justified to ruminate.

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  129. Re Twins

    I'm at annettehurst at gmail dot com.

    In May at JCC kindergarten night, Darlene Lim said, "we've been getting that question a lot lately. The assignment system does not accommodate twins." Me, "so will you guarantee a dual placement." Her, "No. You have to put down all seven schools in exactly the same order on both form when you turn them in." Me, "Well will you at least guarantee sibling preference if one of them gets in and they other does not?" She gets a screwed up face like she's thinking about it, and nods her head yes.

    My reading of this interaction was as follows:

    1. The software has no means of dealing with twins and neither do the humans.

    2. But even though they have no intention of accommodating us, they want to make damn sure we do not get any kind of self-help remedy, so they are trying to force us not to make 14 choices.

    3. There is no written assignment policy regarding twins, nor regarding the use of sibling preference to accommodate twins.

    4. I don't know why it wouldn't count as a family hardship appeal. Have any of you twin moms tried that?

    Caroline, my guess is that they will give you some version of their instructions, but they will not explain what happens after that. I've now done a Public Records Act request as well trying to understand this, and nothing I've received suggests that they have any means at all of dealing with twins or other multiples.

    It's really not that difficult. You just add a field in the data and allow for the coding of certain kids so that they are linked. If one gets pulled, so does the other one. They just have no desire whatsoever to actually help people.

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  130. Well, I'll see what they say in terms of their official twin policy.

    In practice, I know many sets of twins who are SFUSD students, and none of them have had more difficulty getting accommodated than any other family in the assignment process. (Annette, the people in the EPC -- while they make me crazy even watching from afar -- are real human beings, not vicious fiends, and even the frustrated here will probably attest that most of them DO have some desire to help people.)

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  131. 7:40pm here

    re:name of school
    I would prefer not to name because some families may be happy there. I will say it's a smaller parochial.

    After discussing our issue with teacher and principal - I'm not feeling any better about the situation. The school is not the right fit for my child or our family but feel like I have no options.
    I'm trying to decide if it would be better to pull my child out of the parochial and just hope for the best by November...

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  132. I just heard some updated numbers from my counselor at the EPC (who answered an email this am!). Here they are if anyone is interested:

    Sunset has 5 Round one 0/7s (there has been no movement there, though, since Round I)

    Miraloma still has 14 round one 0/7s

    Westportal General has one approved family hardship and 5 Round one 0/7s

    Westportal Cantonese Immersion has one approved family hardship and 7 Round one 0/7s

    He said they were still reviewing kindergarten capacities and making assignments until November, whatever that means exactly. I'm still not very hopeful, but maybe there will be some movement somewhere.

    Please post, anyone, if you get offered a spot somewhere at this point!

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  133. All, I asked for a list of waitpool numbers to be circulated and am still waiting. Just emailed again.

    A friend of mine got a call from Commodore Sloat and turned it down, they are sticking with parochial school.

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  134. i was told last fall to staple my twins' applications together, make sure i listed the same choices on both, and if they pulled one, they would pull the other in ROUND 1

    uh... am I wrong in assuming the application data is entered into a computer... and that the staple probably gets lost in the translation...?

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  135. 9:45 - ya know, i do what they tell me. and it gets me nowhere!

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  136. 740 PM - so sorry about your situation - has the school facilitated a conversation with the other child's parents (assuming it's just one child) - and is it happening in school or in a day care situation? what is "smaller" - under 300?

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  137. OH MY GOD!! WE GOT GRATTAN!!!
    I AM SOOOO HAPPY!!!!
    we are the parochial family - and i've been sick to my stomach!!
    THERE IS HOPE OUT THERE!

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  138. 10:48- Hooray! I'm so happy for you!

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  139. 7:06 pm

    I'm right there with you.

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  140. Welcome to Grattan!! You'll love it! We've been there for a year now and I haven't seen any bullying yet. Not to say it never happens, but the entire community works to put any early stop to anything even approaching bullying.

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  141. 10:48 - Welcome to Grattan! Our daughter is in Ms. D's class (Room 106) which I believe had an opening at the 10 day count. We might see you there on Monday...

    Grattan is truly a wonderful community. And the K kids do recess/lunch breaks on a separate playground which rules out a lot of bullying issues. Congrats!

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  142. Hurray!!! So glad to hear your good new about Grattan!

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  143. Congrats to the new Grattan parent!

    SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe sent me the official policy on twins; I've posted it here:

    http://tinyurl.com/3e73pd

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  144. Congratulations to you guys who are getting spots!! We've given up on public for the year, but I still peak at the blog to read good news. Thanks for sharing with us, and for those who are still waiting, and hoping, post school names and waitlist info when you get it!

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  145. Congratulations. Grattan is a great school.

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  146. We are still 0 for 15 and have not come off our wait pool. But I'm happy for those who have!

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  147. Does anyone know much about New Traditions? Or know anyone whose child has gone or is going there?

    Thanks!

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  148. Just wanted to share the joy of my trip to the EPC this morning. I started with a counselor, who confirmed that we are still one of two in our WP cohort, but there are no openings at the school. Then, when I asked for confirmation, disagreed that we had attendance area priority, because attendance area wasn't relevant for WP runs. I noted that both Hans and Shem had told me the opposite. She tried to argue with me some more, but Hans overheard, interrupted and corrected her. Needless to say, I lost a bit of faith in anything that she had to say.

    I then asked several times whether the 10 day count was done and whether all the calls had been made. After treating me like an idiot for a while, she went off to 'check.'
    Eventually, she returned with another woman who was in charge of the call list.

    This woman said that the count was done and all calls had been made. Any movement from now until 11/7 will be random and minimal. I was so demoralized, I just left.

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  149. So, I would like to make it known officially that the advice we were given all the way through: that if we follow the rules and are patient, we would get a school that works for us.

    We followed the rules, were patient, went 0 for 15, never came off the wait list and are out of luck. Our child is too old for transitional K and so that's the end, I guess.

    Can anyone post the current list of schools with openings for "open enrollment" or how that happens? I was told to stay in private school until December and see who leaves for the second semester?

    At this point, however, we are just more likely to move after this year. Sigh.

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  150. To 11:58, another approach would be be more patient. When we toured schools last fall/winter even the "trophy" ones like Rooftop and Lakeshore had openings. They do occur, just over the course of the first semester. If you don't have the stomach for this, a place like KM might be a good option at least temporarily.

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  151. 11:58:

    I agree. The idea that "if you just wait it out long enough, everyone gets a school they're happy with" etc. etc. should now officially be laid to rest.

    We have a lottery system. Some are lucky, some are not. Much information that would make it easier to strategize better is withheld, other misleading information (and even some outright lies) are given.

    Why isn't the District taking seriously those of us who went 0/7, have been patient and are still left with nothing or are unhappy with the assignment given to them?

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  152. Did anyone here apply to private schools and not get admitted *anywhere*?

    Trying to figure out how many privates we should apply to as back up for public...

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  153. Hopefully you can afford private school, otherwise it shouldn't be considered a backup.... in any case, MOST private school applicants get nothing.

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  154. This is 11:52 again

    As far as I can tell, the District doesn't give a s--t about unhappy parents. The two people that I met with this morning could not have been less sympathetic to my frustration if they had tried. They stared at me stone-faced, while I expressed how bad this feels for us being in a school we didn't want that is totally not working for our family. Then one of them said that they were "trying to help me, but they couldn't make up spots for me" and, she added, if you go to the schools yourself, they'll just send you back here. That last bit just seemed like gratuitous rubbing of salt in wound.

    (To 11:58) Second person that I talked to this morning said Malcom X is only school with K openings. Of course, she could have been lying; wouldn't surprise me. She was an officious, insensitive twit.

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  155. For the person who asked about New Traditions, my best friend's son just stared in the k/1 class there. They went 0/15 in the lottery, and were assigend to NT, never heard from their waitpool school, but are reasonably happy at NT. The aftercare is great, and they like both the K/1 teacher and the 1st grade teacher (who he'll get next year).

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  156. This school system sucks. Malcom X is the only one? Really? If that's true, then what parent on this blog (even Caroline) wouldn't homeschool, move out of the city, go private, run for the hills instead?

    The bad attitudes of the school representatives doesn't surprise me. People suck, especially when they have to deal with the public. But when you know they're lying (and the sad thing is, in this case you hope they are), wow, go SFUSD!

    Kudos!

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  157. The district was caught unprepared when more than 300 new kindertgartners applied this year. That amounts to 15 new classes. Some new classes were added (2 at DW, 1 at Clarendon, perhaps others) and many parents took other schools seriously and are helping make them even better. Nonetheless there were not enough spaces for all who are still hanging out, unless you want to go to Muir, or Hillcrest or...

    It's just what happened. It's not that the district didn't find you places. There are only so many spots unless people go to other schools. My guess is that they will be better prepared next year, and more schools will be acceptable next year because of the influx of energetic people to them this year. But there's no telling what this year's demand will dictate for next year's demand. It IS a lottery.

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  158. Well... the District knew about the extra spots coming down the pike early this year and they chose to do nothing until after Round I. Why?

    They also chose not to be straightforward about many aspects of the lottery process (letting us know the truth about how your first choice is weighted, letting people know how many openings actually at schools before you apply/waitlist the school, and oh so many more examples).

    There were many reassurances that everyone would get a spot at a school they had wanted in the end, and also reassurances that if you didn't get any Round I picks, that they would assign you to a school close by...

    They easily could have made sure there was more room in the neighborhoods where there were more kids (open more Ks, put portables at some schools). They also could have made it easier to navigate this unweildy and for some of us nightmarish process. More transparency would help, for starters.

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  159. Exactly how did SFUSD know there would be 300 extra kindergarten applicants before these families submitted their forms?

    This was not due to a sudden change in the birthrate, btw, but to the US economy suddenly weakening. Many families who might have opted for private chose instead to commit to public.

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  160. There is still one empty spot in my child's Kindergarten class at Grattan. Someone was offered the spot last week but ending up turning it down because they couldn't work out the aftercare situation. I had assumed that the spot was filled by the parochial school family that posted on the blog but apparently they landed in a different classroom. If you are in a high priority cohort on the Grattan waitpool, I would make sure that the EPC has gone back to the list to fill the opening. I'll post again if it continues to remain open.

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  161. So, the officious twit did lie...given that there is an opening at Grattan, not just Malcolm X. Gotta love the EPC!

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  162. As a 0/15 family who has officially ended up with nothing, I would like to point out that by losing a spot in the SFUSD, it's not like we've lost anything at all actually.

    The public schools in SF are largely shit.

    You are lucky if you don't flee by the time your kid is in 3rd or 4th grade anyway. It's only good for a few years of freebie quasi eduction before you realize just how shit they are. At that point, you pay big time for private if you are lucky to get it, or pay big time for tutors if you can afford it, or move out of the city anyway.

    It's like that old Lily Tomlin line. Even if you win at the rat race, you're still a rat.

    So, I've ended this love affair with the SFUSD where I started. With the belief that aside from a few schools, the district is worthless.

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  163. Yeah, and when we say we are 0/15, please don't say we should be sending our kids to Malcom X Academy or Ceasar Chavez, because if you go, I'll just have to tell ya to kiss my grits.

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  164. Oh, and 2:44? Kiss my grits.

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  165. TAlk about a sense of entitlement. I"m tempted to go private but wouldn't want my kids surrounded by folks with that kind of attitude...

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  166. I do feel for those families who are still left out, 0/15 and no, I don't think all schools are acceptable (though more than 1 or 2 or whatever). The numbers were tougher this year. I guess there is no way to know how many are still out there at this point. Obviously some got the call this time (Jessica et al), but not all. I really hope some of the suggestions for more transparency in the process are implemented, to help people make the most strategic decisions. And maybe the district does need to open more slots or even a school (with a magnet program). Economy is not getting better, obviously.

    As for 4:12, SF schools are shit, etc.: so bitter. There's much to improve but you are just so wrong in your extreme judgment. Oh well, I realize you won't hear that in all the first-hand testimony hear from smart people with smart, successful kids, but I hope others do.

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  167. Sorry--meant to say: "Oh well, I realize you won't hear that in all the first-hand testimony here from smart people with smart, successful kids in the public schools, but I hope others do."

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  168. I don't think that the district knew exactly how many new applications there would be, but I have it from a reputable source that they did know that applications would be up in a substantial way.

    And by the beginning of January, when the applications were in, they certainly could have started making other plans. How long did they wait to open the two classes at DW? Even the extra classes opened up in Round II (April? 4 months later...) were afterthoughts!

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  169. To 7:45 pm

    Exactly! I don't expect the District to have pre-cognition but I do expect them to be able to do basic math and figure out that 12 blocks do not fit in 10 holes.

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  170. ^This would require acknowledging that some schools are failing and that many parents will not accept them. We know which ones those are. Not the Sunnysides that are on the way up, but the ones that are persistently failing b/c the population mix just isn't there.

    To acknowledge this would mean saying that they *know* they have kids in failing schools--kids who are already primed for failure. That is politically difficult. So they persist in saying they have open spots in places like Malcolm X, and why won't you take that one? Ha. But it's a political issue is my point.

    I say this as a huge supporter of the public schools. I'm a product of them and my kids attend them. But not those schools. Middling ones, with a mix and chance to rise, yes....not all of them.

    Would love to see an honest acknowledgment of these realities along with a strategy to create more of a mix. Kim Green has blogged here about the contradictions in the district--there are those who want to include the middle class in the solution and those who don't.

    This is why the election for BOE matters.

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  171. Not everyone participated in Round 1, btw.

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  172. Pre-cognition? All the district has to do is look at birth records for 2003 to see how many potential applicants will be flooding SFUSD in 2008. I can't believe it isn't part of the process already.

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  173. I am frustrated with SFUSD and the whole lottery process also. However, wasn't the govenor talking about axing 10 billion dollars from the school budgets last winter? The schools were preparing to lay off teachers at that point, so it seems like SFUSD was between a rock and a hard place regarding opening up new kindergarten classes. Now, whether they could have been better prepared for the influx sooner than August is another story.

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  174. The district gets funding per pupil, so technically they are getting more funding this year from the extra families. Now, if the extra classes mean more families retained in SFUSD (as opposed to going private, delaying K or moving), they get more funding. If extra K classes mean that people move from their back-up public schools and those classes are underenrolled, the district looses $.

    I talked in August to Hydra Mendoza who seemed dubious that people were really moving out of SF because of the lottery this year, or that more people were going private than otherwise would have. It would be great to find a way of giving concerted feedback on this to both the school board and mayor's office.

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  175. that more people were going private than otherwise would have

    There are only so many private schools spots to go around and they all are taken. It's not like they add more spots in a demanding year or run under capacity in slow year. So it isn't "more people going private" that affects public school enrollment.

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  176. "that more people were going private than otherwise would have"

    I think it is true that existing private programs are at capacity, but new private schools are opening each year to meet the growing demand. Stratford School opened a campus in SF this year, I suppose because they saw a need.

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  177. I think demand has increased for parochial schools as well.

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  178. to 11:58 and others still at 0/15,

    I feel your pain. I think it is really important for the EPC, and school board to know exactly how many people are still unenrolled or unhappy, as 10:56 says, we have to speak up. The public success stories (SF GATE, Examiner) of the upward shift in enrollment in SF schools was because more middle class families had kids - as far as I can tell. I certainly was not recruited heavily by the SFUSD or PPS even. It was an economic decision, period. Like Kort says, the EPC/SFUSD could have known that there would be a new influx of K students this year - in fact, they probably did know but they saw it as a chance to fill in the holes in the underenrolled schools.

    There is a great document on the SFUSD site that talks about the 'hidden gem' campaign - a marketing campaign to target people like us to take a chance on the underenrolled schools and turn them around by starting to call them 'hidden gems.' Being in advertising myself, I'm a little resistant to such tactics, but I can also understand the 'why' behind the campaign. But the most important thing here is that there are still a number of people who put their faith in the SFUSD and have come up short, and it's important now to quantify how many these are and get heard.

    I do believe spots open up as people move/change schools/whatnot. My game plan was to stay put in transK, beg for assistance and white knuckle it till first grade. Thankfully I got the last spot on the last day (apparently a parent had been holding on to a spot while they decided if they liked their private school...so i have been told.)

    Is anyone planning on trying to get a list together of the 0/15's who are still unhappy? Does PPS have this info?

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  179. Jessica -- good point in thinking of constructive feedback. Some of the 0/15'ers are so bitter, discouraged, it may be hard to get their participation (at least to even raise the hand to say they are still out there).
    But the EPC could at least give a number of how many are remaining on waitlist. And some adjustment would be to be made for folks who took their name off list voluntary, since presumably, they are not happy with outcome at SFUSD. This should be part of the SFUSD study on how to improve the enrollment process (given the Flynardo fiasco, etc).

    Unfortunately though - I'm not sure how many Board members really care how unhappy the "middle class" are -- what they see is opening at schools and parents unwilling to take those spots because as the fearless BOE leader says, "parents do not value diversity". Forget about some of the other things that may be more important to parents -- such as solid academics, safe learning enviroment, a commitment to learning and value of education by 98% or more of the families who attend the school, solid staff/principal. Who really cares what color the people are if parents can just get that in a school.

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  180. 12:07, you last point is great. And, we can flip it around and say the BOE cares too much for the concept of 'diversity' and not enough about making the public school system/schools equitable to all, not just for whom *they* believe are the underrepresented in san francisco. The 0/15 group is certainly underrepresented, since we can't even determine who they are in terms of numbers and percentage. And when I say 0/15, I include those who enrolled in a public school that really doesnt work, because they had no alternative whatsoever. There are plenty of those people. Just hoping that everyone is communicating with PPS on this issue - I would be happy to organize an effort but I need people to come forward.

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  181. Kortney: the spike in applicants was not caused by a spike in the birth rate. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

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  182. Some private schools have had to add K classes to accommodate increased demand/yield.

    Last year, Live Oak had to add a K class and this year Burke's had to add capacity.

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  183. There are definitely enough spots at SFUSD public schools for all SF kindergarteners. Just not at the 30 schools the middle class finds acceptable.

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  184. 12:45 -- that is true, but for most families, the parents are dual work outside the home income earners. As such, the issue of START time, AFTERSCHOOL care are absolutely critical.

    So that automatically eliminates quite a few schools from the pool. Fortunately, not all families have same start work time, and all live in different areas so some of the demand is balanced out.

    I think there are more than 30 schools that the middle class find acceptable (I mean, you are considering Asians as part of the middle class right?).

    Truly, the remaining schools are probably the "dregs" so to speak - and I feel very sorry for the children who go to those schools because most likely, their families do not value education and for the few that do, they are OVERWHELMED by the number of kids/families who do not value education. Is it right for the school district, the Board, society to expect the "middle class" families to be the ones to roll up their sleeves, put in enormous volunteer hours (think Miraloma, etc etc).? Shouldn't the school district, society/gov't, media take it upon themselves and figure out ways to get these families to value education and try to make the schools better? The victim mentality, which sells so many newspapers, needs to stop also.

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  185. There are definitely enough spots at SFUSD public schools for all SF kindergarteners. Just not at the 30 schools the middle class finds acceptable.

    Yes this is true. But many more schools do not meet the criteria laid out by 12:07 above which I think is a fair request for any parent.

    I feel for those who send their kids to schools where they don't feel 100% sure that their kids are receiving a quality education in a safe environment. What a painful thing that must be.

    I also believe that people who are 0/15 now should be in a priority cohort for first grade next year.

    My point is - I just hope there is a way to keep the conversation going with PPS, the board, garcia so that these 0/15's, their process and the outcome isn't forgotten. (PS, I personally only found about 5 schools that could potentially work for us based on start time, after care options, safety, academic program, principal, teachers and proximity to us) - however, I included trophy schools to round out my seven choices as I knew I wouldn't be getting in anyway.

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  186. Some private schools have had to add K classes to accommodate increased demand/yield. Last year, Live Oak had to add a K class and this year Burke's had to add capacity.

    That was unintentional; more people accepted their offers than in past years, and they were caught by surprise. They can't rescind offers.

    More people accepting offers does not show that people are fleeing to private schools. Rather it shows that more kids are being born in SF and/or staying in SF for school -- public or private.

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  187. "I also believe that people who are 0/15 now should be in a priority cohort for first grade next year."

    Jessica, I do feel for those who are still 0/15 and desperate, and it would be interesting to know how many are left--and to figure out how many found other options like private, parochial, homeschool, TK, moved away, or finally took another public school on offer (and are they happy with it--some may be, some not). It's an awful situation, obviously.

    Still, I think the problem from a policy perspective with your suggestion of creating a priority cohort for first grade or kindergarten (for the younger ones) is that some parents would try to game it. They would apply to only trophy schools, likely go 0/15, and then be in the priority cohort for the following year. Gone would be the incentive to check out a wider circle of schools with the aim of diversifying them by income. Not sure how to deal with that.

    I do think it would be helpful for EPC to quantify those who are left who are still desperate or unhappy, and try to find solutions for them. I'm betting at this point that those in the desperate category are not huge in number.

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  188. 12:45:

    Well... we went 0/15, signed up at a school which we felt was the best option at that point, and are unhappy with the outcome. The school is fine, and we are happy with it in many ways, but it takes an extra hour to 1 1/2 hours a day for us to drive and pick up our child than it would if he went to a neighborhood school. I don't even want to think about what the commute would be like on the bus.

    Also, I toured around 20 schools, many of which I would have been happy with. But I did not visit schools outside a certain distance (10-15 minute drive) from our home. If I had, I probably could have found better matches for our family that were even closer than the school we ended up at.

    Please stop blaming the victim here, ok? There are plenty of families who went 0/15 who put down schools on their Round I list that were not overly subscribed last year.

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  189. I really doubt there are more than 30 non-immersion schools middle class families find acceptable.

    Anyone care to list them?

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  190. Somebody asked for evidence that the number of births went up in SF in 2003.

    This link is to a white paper put out by the mayor's office on why families are leaving the city. The link is hosted on the ppssf website.

    Page 2 has a graph of the fertility rates each year up to 2003. There was also a big spike in 2000.

    http://tinyurl.com/63vrdy

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  191. 'Gone would be the incentive to check out a wider circle of schools with the aim of diversifying them by income. Not sure how to deal with that.'

    It is true - but right now there is not really an incentive for anyone to widen their circles past what works for them. I can't even imagine what could have incented me to try something that didn't have the three key things I needed.

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  192. 30 acceptable non immersion schools, in no particular order, all over the city:
    1. George Peabody
    2. McKinley
    3. Lafayette
    4. Sutro
    5. Rosa Parks
    6. Argonne
    7. Alamo
    8. Grattan
    9. Sherman
    10. Miraloma
    11. Yick Wo
    12. Garfield
    13. Harvey Milk
    14. Clarendon
    15. Rooftop
    16. Clare Lilienthal
    17. Commodore Sloat
    18. McCoppin
    19. Lawton
    20. Sunnyside
    21. New Traditions
    22. Jefferson
    23. Dianne Feinstein
    24. Lakeshore
    25. Ulloa
    26. Spring Valley
    27. George Moscone
    28. West Portal
    29. Fairmount
    30. William Cobb

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  193. 12:41

    so, 300 extra families participated in the lottery because...?
    The district itself said birth rates were up 5 years ago. Oops.

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  194. i might take issue with some on that list, but here are a few other favorites:

    Sunset
    Creative Arts
    RLS

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  195. Here's 30, and it wasn't a stretch:

    Sunset
    FS Key
    Lawton
    RL Stevenson
    Ulloa
    Jefferson
    Lafayette
    Peabody
    Commodore Sloat
    Lakeshore
    Sunnyside
    Miraloma
    Grattan
    Clarendon
    Rooftop
    Dianne Feinstein
    Claire Lilianthal
    Sherman
    Yick Wo
    Jose Ortega
    New Traditions
    Creative Arts Charter
    SF Community
    Alamo
    Alvarado
    Argonne
    Flynn
    McKinley
    Harvey Milk
    West Portal

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  196. non-immersion:

    1. George Peabody
    2. McKinley
    3. Lafayette
    4. Sutro
    5. Rosa Parks JBBP
    6. Argonne
    7. Alamo
    8. Grattan
    9. Sherman
    10. Miraloma
    11. Yick Wo
    12. Garfield
    13. Harvey Milk
    14. Clarendon (both programs)
    15. Rooftop
    16. Clare Lilienthal GE
    17. Commodore Sloat
    18. McCoppin
    19. Lawton
    20. Sunnyside
    21. New Traditions
    22. Jefferson
    23. Dianne Feinstein
    24. Lakeshore
    25. Ulloa
    26. Spring Valley
    27. George Moscone
    28. West Portal
    29. William Cobb
    30. Sunset
    31. RLS
    32. Creative Arts
    33. FS Key
    34. West Portal GE
    35. Alvarado GE
    36. Sunnyside
    37. SF Community

    Add to these the very popular immersion programs:

    38. Paul Revere SI
    39. Alvarado SI
    40. Flynn SI
    41. Fairmount SI
    42. Monroe SI
    43. Marshall SI
    44. Buena Vista SI
    45. Daniel Webster SI
    46. AFY CI
    47. West Portal CI
    48. JOES CI
    49. Starr King CI
    50. Claire Lilienthal K

    I realize these programs are not created equal, but they have been mentioned by folks on this blog as acceptable (some are more "trophy" than others, but still), and are full up now as far as I know. Different families have different needs and desires in terms of location, start/end time, after/before school care, academic rigor vs. warm and fuzzy, language or no language, etc., as well as tolerance for "up-and-coming" vs. "arrived."

    Anyway, the fact that we can within an hour or so generate a quick list of 50 schools that bear looking at should give the incoming K-searchers some heart. (Or overwhelm them, I guess.)

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  197. Also note that many of these schools did not fill up in Round One, and a number had openings even after Round Two. So those who really did want a school on this list could have had one. I'm not begrudging those who are setting their sights on a more limited pool, just pointing out this fact.

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  198. Jessica, I'm the one who wrote about disincentives created by keeping a priority cohort for next year. I take your point, especially because I am also a single mom, but I think our needs are a little more, shall I say...defined...by our family situations than those who have the backup of a second parent. While most parents will do some limiting based on start time, aftercare, and the like, we are just more hemmed in than most.

    I guess what I am saying is--unless we go back to strict school assignments (which most on this list would hate, in practice, and frantically seek ways to work around)--SFUSD cannot put all the middle class applicants into the same 20 schools. Just can't. So there are really two options, hopefully working in tandem: create magnet schools to draw middle class families, and to some degree force middle class families to look beyond the popular schools through the lottery process with its various rounds. And from a larger view, this strategy has actually been pretty successful; magnet schools have drawn families (mostly language immersion), and look what happened in round 2 this year, with Sunnyside filling up, Rosa Parks JBBP getting more apps, etc. However, a certain number of folks were still left out in the cold by the end. How many, we do not know.

    In the end, I think you should have been qualified for hardship along with the chemo mom. Your needs were more narrowly defined than many others'. I suppose they are worried about opening up hardship to all single parents, but still. Anyway, your particular hardship situation aside, if they created that priority cohort, they would run a risk of folks not looking beyond the 20 schools again.

    I believe in LAUSD you get "points" if you apply for a magnet school and don't get in--and folks apply multiple times just to boost their kid's points.

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