Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Last-minute phone calls

I heard from some people who got phone calls today from the EPC offering them their wait pool choice. Feel free to share your tales...

267 comments:

  1. No call yet, but I had to comment on how completely cynical and untrusting I have become.

    As of the end of last week, we are one of three families in the first cohort for a mid-tier school near us. There are no approved appeals or siblings ahead of us. My counselor told me that we may have a slight edge because we are within the attendance area for the school. That waitpool has not changed at all in months, other than us joining it.

    We are also first on the waitlist for the after school program. The ASP called me yesterday to confirm that we still want a spot at the school. They mentioned that they had heard from the principal that there are 4 K spots available.

    So, we should get a spot, right?
    However, I just do not trust that the EPC will call us. I don't believe anything I hear from them in terms of how the process works or how random it is. What's worse is knowing that I have no recourse. I can't prove anything. They can continue to do whatever they want and be as opaque and uncommunicative as they please and we are beholden to them.

    It sucks to be waiting for the phone to ring and not even be confident that it will:-(

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  2. totally relate on the lack of trust issue. i have heard of several cases where people got numbers of no-shows directly from school registrars, and EPC is still denying that any spots exist at those schools. i mean, i sort of get that there can be discrepancies -- but to this extent??? i feel your frustration. maybe lots of folks WILL get in off off waitpools this year, but it will happen later in the season because of the extension (and the incompetence)?

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  3. I guess I have to defend the EPC here because I happened to be privy to a phone call in which an EPC employee called a school because I had heard there were spots - but the school administration refused to admit it. So there are potentially some cases where the school will not report it, because they themselves want to make sure enrolled families are given every opportunity to respond to the school directly. Just an FYI.

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  4. We just heard that there were 2 spots that opened at our waitpool school. There are only 5 of us in our 0/7 cohort (down from I think 17 at one point), but we were not one of the two called.

    One family is still thinking about it, so we may get lucky, but it doesn't look good at this point.

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  5. 11:02
    How do you know that one family is still thinking about it?

    We are in a similar waitpool situation, and really, as we continue to be unlucky, we are thinking that it is clearly not meant to be for us.

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  6. I total understand what Linda is going thru. I am waiting by the phone and hoping it is from EPC. There is only two of us in our 0/7 cohort and I have been waiting and waiting. My son is not enrolled anywhere right now and if he does not get in soon, I do not know what we are going to do. I have been looking around any private school with opening but we just can't afford it. My only option might be moving out of the city, which I do not want to do.

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  7. 11:01 -- ah. good point. but, really, how long do we have to give these people a chance? i think it's really funny that so many of us have spent a year worrying about this and others show up on game day having not even registered their younger sibs, expecting a spot. it's maddening.

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  8. sigh. i'm also unlucky. haven't heard a thing. has anyone gotten a call from miraloma? how can anyone focus on anything but this? i swear i'm going to get fired one of these days.

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  9. I'm afraid to leave my house for fear of missing the phone call I dream of...
    the stress is maddening..

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  10. This is 11:02 again. I actually went down to the EPC today (I had a cancellation at work) and talked to a counselor there. He told me about the family that is thinking about the spot.

    He also said that the reason that more spots come up in the 10 day count is that the EPC will only fill open spots now where parents have confirmed to the school that they are not coming. So if there are kids that are just not showing up, but parents don't answer the phone or don't return calls from the school... those spots will wait until the end of the month to get filled.

    I have to say, we were really hopeful about our chances, and now feel very let down.

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  11. I called EPC now and of course, she can't tell me anything. The supervisor has the list and some people are calling right now. I think people should not wait by the phone all day and should be able to get the basic information whether my child is in or out. It is ridicules! The waiting is slowly killing me right now.

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  12. 11:58, Do EPC tell you after 10 day count, when kids do not show up and spots open up, EPC will call you right away or do we need to wait until the end of month for another wait pool run?

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  13. waitpool numbers should be on the EPC site at all times and updated daily. ridiculous that i have spent maybe a total of 30 hours in that office just to ask a number.

    no call here yet.

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  14. since it hasn't been 10 days yet, can we still change our waitpool choice for wahat is coming? i am assuming they are only able to call people today and offer spots that surfaced from the lottery for people who disenrolled their kids. right?

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  15. So I am in shock, I went 0/15, and heard nothing from the school district through the summer, and then found myself in the EPC office turning down our first choice this morning!

    I cannot even tell you how weird it is to have a school official watch and wait while I try to discuss this very personal decision with my husband on my cell phone. (I wasn't able to talk to him until late last night and had to get an answer back by 10AM.)

    I was hoping to get a couple hour extension so I could go through some of the issues we had to work through. But, no, I am told that even though I dropped everything and ran down to the EPC office, I could not be allowed more than a few minutes to talk it through with my husband. She then told me there were 40 others waiting for my spot, she needed to know now.

    Pressure of this kind, especially in connection with to some sort of hype, makes me skeptical, makes me want to be more careful. And since we are OK with what we are doing now, we found ourselves actually saying no to a very good public school. WOW.

    I cannot believe that we all put up with this. I can't believe I used yet another full morning on this sort of run around. This whole things really sours my attitude towards my own beloved city.

    Sorry to vent. I do hope that one of you can take advantage of this! Good luck everyone!

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  16. anyone know anything about fairmount numbers?

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  17. According to the SFUSD site, you can change your WP school at any time until 10/3.

    According to counselors, when spots open up at any school, from now until 11/7, a lottery for that school will be done and a family on that waitpool list will be randomly chosen.

    After 11/7, if you are enrolled in an SFUSD school, you can't change your school. But if you have never enrolled or in private, if spots open after that, you can get a spot - what is unclear here is how you find out about spots and what 'the final list' is, after the final waitpool run on 11/7.

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

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  18. 12:14 -

    curious... what was it? lillienthal? and what did you accept instead - private?

    go with your gut!!! (no, i am not on the lillienthal list! it is just that you know best. )

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  19. 12:14, how awful. and....what school???

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  20. From 12:14:

    It was Lillienthal.

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  21. I would strongly, strongly urge folks to just get down to EPC and wait there as opposed to waiting for a phone call.

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  22. I was eager to see that people were being placed today and am sad to see you still have no resolution. I hope you get some answers SOON.

    Also, Jessica B. - I saw the cute picture of Callie!

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  23. The stress from sitting here at my desk, wondering - do I, once again, tell my boss I have an 'emergency' is just too much. Seriously. I have reams of work, a boss who is losing faith in me, and I'm tempted to put it all on the line to run out of here. This is insanity. I just have to hope that things are legit and when my number gets called, I'll pick up the phone. Christ.

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  24. There was no line at EPC this morning when I went (9:30). I was the only one in the waiting room then (though a few families came in after).

    Good luck everyone who hasn't heard yet!

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  25. Jessica B.--

    I would say: don't leave work. They will call you if your name comes up. If it doesn't come up, the most you can gain from going down to the EPC is knowing that they won't call today! I would stay at work and leave your emergency time for a truer emergency!

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  26. That's Miles on there in the green shirt in front of the mural.

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  27. And the girl who looks a bit large to be a kindergartner is my middle daughter, who just started sixth grade at James Lick. I got addicted to this blog when I was a tour guide at Miraloma last year and couldn't resist sending in a picture of our first day!

    Good luck to those of you still waiting for a school. This is agony.

    Anne

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  28. jessica -- i'm so sorry for all your stress. will EPC let someone else represent you in your place? like could your sister go down there for you? (though she might be incredibly busy too). i agree that you probably shouldn't go down there if you think your boss is already getting weary of all this. (i was feeling the same way at work, especially with all the touring last fall). but heck -- what does EPC expect you to do ... im getting pissed off for you!

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  29. I'm staying put, don't worry.

    Kathy - Miles is soooo big. Wow!

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  30. jessica -- one more thought. Have you tried emailing Archie "FokinA" Fokin?
    i emailed him to tell him we weren't interested in our asigned school (i faxed a letter to the school and epc, which somehow didn't get us enrolled, yet an email to FokinA did the trick. Maybe try it? i forget his address exactly, but i know it's fokina@something.something. maybe: fokina@sfusd.edu? Good Luck!

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  31. Jessica
    I know - can you believe it?

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  32. Re: 12:14 (the first)
    I'm not sure it's so outrageous that they didn't give you an extension to think about it more. At this point you should have had that decision made and be ready to act if the phone call comes. It's not really a last minute decision. I understand that this is very stressful situation, but with all the other people waiting to get that call it's pretty selfish to want an extension.

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  33. So, I just read the post from 11:58 and took another look at the calendar of dates. Why are they waiting until the 26th to notify people? The 10 day count must happen by the 8th, so why the delay.

    Just when I think that the process couldn't be more infuriating, I realize that the District is happy to step up to the plate and prove that they really don't give a s--t about the families that they are supposed to serve.

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  34. I have emailed Archie, yes. Monday in fact.

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  35. Has anyone heard any kind of success with the WP at West Portal for the GE program?

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  36. About the 10 day count: I think that they actually have district or state employees go down and count kids by hand. So there's a bit of a delay.

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  37. I had the following email exchange with Archie Fokin today:

    From: Linda
    Why is the District waiting until the 26th to notify people on the WP, when the 10 day count must be happening by the 8th? It is hard enough to plan on totally disrupting our child after 10 days, but why wait an entire month? I assume that there is a good reason, I'd just like to know what it is.

    From: Arcadio Fokin
    The District has started notifications yesterday. We will continue to do K waiting pools through November 7th.

    From: Linda
    Thanks for the prompt response. The reason I asked is that the calendar says you are doing notifications on the 3rd and the 26th of September. Are you saying that you are actually doing notifications whenever spots become available. So, we might get a call any time between now and 11/7?

    From: Arcadio Fokin
    Attached is the WP key dates document we have on the web for notification. We will consistently review the WP from here on out and notify families when spaces are identified.

    I'm still not sure exactly what this translates to, but thought that I would share.

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  38. i was tempted to put Zoe and Callie's photo together because they both look so happy together at their groovy private school.

    the waiting is the worst, isn't it? but we are content where we are now. we walk to school in the morn and i don't have to bring her lunch (school makes beautiful meals for the kids.)

    now if we could just get the district to pay for it...

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  39. 12:14, here is what I don't understand. Why didn't you just take it? Then take the time you needed to discuss it with your husband, then change your mind later if you wanted.

    Let the district go through hell for a change.

    Or are you at a school already which you liked?

    I don't get it. I'd game them in I had the chance. F them. At this point.


    (0/15 am I.)

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  40. 5:51, perhaps 12:14 had empathy for all the desperate 0/15 parents and didn't want to prolong their agony.

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  41. Does anyone know what we are supposed to do if we never get a spot ??? Is this legal??

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  42. technically, if there are openings anywhere, you have a spot. you're just not taking it.

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  44. Does the lack of people saying they got a spot mean that the only spots offered to SF K Files readers/posters were a couple at Lillianthal and at Grattan this time around?

    I'd love to hear some more positive news! And maybe to commiserate with those of you who also are still waiting!

    We heard that there were 2 spots at Feinstein (our waitpool school) but we didn't get a call.

    I'm wondering if it's worth holding out hope for the 10 day count at this point.

    Anyone have any insight into this?

    FYI for those of you reading this and planning on doing this next year for K: I don't think that making yourself known at the EPC and going down there often helps particularly. I mean, it keeps you informed, but does not seem to get you any kind of preference. It seems pretty random and computer-drawn at this point.

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  46. 8:16 & 8:19 - It would be funny if it wasn't TRUE.

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  47. Well... I have heard great things about the Daniel Webster immersion program this year.

    And the school we ended up at is fantastic: Rosa Parks JBBP. Such a sweet little program with a great atmosphere, and the teacher has called us 3 times already at home to check in about the school (she called all of her students the week before school started to tell us about a K get-together, the evening before the first day of school to say she was excited to see us there, and then last weekend, just to check in and tell us more about how our child was doing!).

    Oh, and it is a group impressively free of bullying or mean-spiritedness. I haven't even seen any teasing among the students! Your red-haired child (or anyone else's) would be fine here.

    It was full, but there are starting to be some spots for those leaving because they got their waitpool schools, so try if you're interested.

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  49. 8:26 thank you for the positive comments.
    I hope the 0/15 and other WP listees get a call soon and their plans work out.

    For those pooh-poohing Daniel Webster -- well, its true it is in its 1st year of something really new at the school. A few years from now it WILL be the school that the 0/15 will be commiserating about not getting in.
    So if you are interested in Spanish immersion, now would be the time to jump in.

    I think what may be confusing is YESTERDAY was the first WP run which used to occur after the 10 day count. At which point, in the past, I'm not sure the District ever had another WP run. I believe the WP's were closed.

    Now, they will do another run on the 26th, and then in Nov. I guess they want to wait until movement happens and call a large group at once, rather than doing the wait pool run weekely. Archie Fokin sure couldn't explain the logic.
    So that the only reason I could think of -- that they will give it a few weeks as parents may pull their kids out etc and avoid a weekly domino effect.

    Anyway - good thoughts to all who are waiting.

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  50. i cannot believe the comments about john muir and daniel webster.

    not only are my kids learning spanish at webster, but they are learning to respect and befriend those children that some of you FEAR! we're talking about children here, not criminals.

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  52. No doubt Daniel Webster is on its way to becoming a good school and I applaud the parents and community that are working so hard to make it so. However, I do think it takes a lot of courage to send a middle class, white or asian kindergartener there right now, especially if you work, and you can't be close by and super involved. I personally dont have the courage or the stomach to do it.

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  53. 8:33--

    I was born and raised in SF and I feel like I'm a pretty good judge of safety here. Rosa Parks is on a leafy cul-de-sac between some senior housing, a church, and some new (expensive!) condo-townhomes across Webster from the Safeway and across Geary from Japantown. The school is beautiful, with a little courtyard and seems very safe. The principal comes from the Philadelphia public schools where they take certain safety measures for all schools and has implemented them at Rosa Parks.

    Have you visited the school yourself?

    The school may not have a big white population in general, but the JBBP strand (2 kindergartens) is fairly diverse and a good mix of native Japanese speakers (there are many of your English language learners right there), middle-class white families, African American families, and others (kids with Japanese or mixed backgrounds, other ethnicities etc.).

    I can understand criticizing a school if you've visited or even if you have heard about it directly from friends who've attended, but a blanket rejection based on address and some statistics gleaned from the web seems a bit premature: especially if you don't have a spot and are really in a position of considering all options!

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  54. 9:02 - yes!

    we are at webster now but were assigned to rosa parks and it was tough to give up our spots! a sweet school, great classrooms with tons of art, enthusiastic teachers AND administration, and the best physical space i saw in the 32 schools i toured.

    my kids are 1/2 white, 1/2 asian, skinny, whimpy and they would be fine at RP or DW.

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  55. When I was growing up in Ohio, we did pick on redheads a bit, but there is an astonishing amount of paranoia here from parents of redheads. I think someone worried about a blond-haired child as well.

    It's absolutely ridiculous, but if you'd rather home-school than risk "carrot top" or some other epithet, then I guess it's your choice.

    Tough to go through life in fear, though! Best of luck.

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  57. yule tree, where do YOUR kids go to school?

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  58. Oh, OK. Because you say so, reality is not real. And there is no crime in that neighborhood. And I can park my car 3 blocks away, knowing that walking to the school & back, I, my child, and car will not be "approached." SURE.

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  59. If you are thinking about Daniel Webster, but are not sure you should definitely come have a look--morning circle is at 7:50 am and there will be a meeting for Spanish Immersion families tomorrow--call the principal, Ms. Machado for a tour. The school is sunny and small, with lots of warm, cheerful staff and teachers around. And actually, I think we are full or close to it, but I'm sure there will be movement. It's not a very big risk in my opinion.

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  60. Some of you anonymous posters are a little bit scary, so I am not going to reveal my kid's school except to say that it is one of the many next to a public housing project, so I may not be seeing you there!

    We do love it, and there are redheads. I think the other parents here are just trying to be helpful. :)

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  61. I went down to EPC today and my son got a spot at Jefferson. I feel like a weight has been lifed. I just want to share my good news. Good luck with 0/15 who are waiting for the good news.

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  62. In about 2-3 years, I predict Daniel Webster SI will be as popular as Flynn...wait and see.

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  63. All these anonymous idiots dissed Paul Revere, too, and that's a fantastic school.

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  64. Anyone out there currently at McKinley? Happy? Not?

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  65. We ended up at Miraloma, but I have to say I was impressed by Paul Revere. Mostly by the principal, who is GREAT. Also their librarian and brand new library were excellent. I'd strongly encourage people to consider Paul Revere - it's an up-and-comer for sure.

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  66. joy - i'd like to contact you about 826 valencia's in-schools volunteer program and revere. can you email me at kim@kimgreen.com? thanks!

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  67. To 9:36 pm

    Was that just coincidence? You were there and they would have called you anyway. Or did you actually get the spot because you showed up and they thought "well, s/he's here, we'll give it to them." I would hate to think that I missed my chance because I didn't go down there today.

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  68. Joy -

    I have a question or two about Paul Revere. Can you email me?

    ravfenn@yahoo.com

    thanks!

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  69. 8:33

    i have to say i'm tired of ignorant comments like that. i am a red head (well, some what dye induced, but still...)

    the cities white school age population is small, and therefore it will be in schools. your kid is no more a victim than the dark skinned english learners are criminals.

    open your eyes and look at how peaceful some of these schools are.

    i understand not wanting a school that has such limited resources that your child doesnt' get the art/extra curricular exposure you want...or the time and location don't work for you. but simply the diversity index is, well, short sighted and naive.

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  70. Thank you Kortney. I too am tired of those ignorant, and frankly, racist comments.

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  71. I went down to the EPC yesterday and can tell you there is no way they are just "giving out spots."

    Note, the waiting room was packed with highschool/middle school aged kids...
    I had a 1hr wait at 12:30...

    Has anyone written to the mayor's office and received a reply??

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  72. well...

    i think i may have proof that the EPC can sometimes be random in their waitpool picks.

    i hope i'm not stepping on toes, but here is what i know.

    person 1 (single parent) has been on a waitlist for their number 1 school for a year. person 1 has gone to EPC frequently and can be considered a sqeeky wheel.

    person 2 (single parent) is in the 2nd cohort of a waitlist (just moved to SF too late to sign up for first round applications.) Person 2 has a hard life and needs a neighborhood, public school. her waitpool school is not a highly desired one, but has 1 or 2 folks on waitlist due to over enrollment.

    so, both of these single parents are biting their nails waiting for a school that works for their families (school choices have more to do with childcare being available & location than anything else.)

    Today, person 1 got offered a spot at person 2's waitpool school--and they aren't even on that list!! Person 2 was just passed over completely. Completely!!

    I'm angry to hear this. I'm losing faith in the EPC.

    I have been a squeeky wheel myself to no avail, so I do not know what it takes to get their attention the way person 1 did (although the school that was offered DOES NOT WORK FOR THEM.)

    What do you make of this?

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  73. Kortney

    This is exactly what I fear is happening and we have no recourse.

    I think that Person 2 should contact Archie Fokin directly and complain loudly:

    (from the SFUSD website)
    Archie Fokin
    Director
    Educational Placement Center
    555 Franklin St. - 100
    San Francisco, CA
    Phone: (415) 241-6214 x3125 Fax: (415) 241-6087
    FokinA@sfusd.edu

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  74. Person 1 here. I am turning down the spot. However, I was in the priority 1 cohort and was inquiring about what other potential spots could work for my child. So that is when the school was offered to me as a possibility if I wanted to change waitpools. I was not solicited out of the blue with a spot on a waitpool that was not ours. FYI. Give Archie a break. He's a genuinely good person.

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  75. Person 1, thanks for filling us in with more information.

    Person 2 has been notified (by me) and needs to take it upon herself to go to EPC and get a spot at said school.

    It isn't equitable, this system, was my point.

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  76. Just an FYI, we started at Grattan today and heard that 4 spots were filled in this latest waitpool run.

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  77. I think that's fair. If changing waitpools is allowed, then a priority 1 person should have rank over a priority 2. If you think there should be special exceptions for people who move into the district after round 1, that might be something to propose, but it sounds like the system is working as it's supposed to. A few years back they weren't letting people change waitlists but since they are doing that now it seems valid.

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  78. Does anyone know if Sunnyside still has openings? Do we find out from EPC or the school?

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  79. The EPC only knows what the school tells them. However, some schools are not reporting their spots just yet out of courtesy to families who have not responded to phone calls. Ask the EPC, but if you know anyone at Sunnyside, ask them too. After the ten day count (friday) the exact number of spots available will be or should be at the EPC.

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  80. Anyone getting calls today???????????????

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  81. If person 1 was not on the school waitlist with person 2, then she absolutely should not have gotten that seat offered. Furthermore, it's not the school she wants/needs.

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  82. Hey, good news for person 2--she went to EPC and said she'd hold her breath until she got a seat at the school in question. And guess what? She got a seat before she passed out and died.

    yay!

    If anyone can recommend a share care or after care program starting at 1:50 for her daughter, that would be super duper.

    They live in the Castro/Duboce Triangle area.

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  83. 2:27--that was my issue. i think i'm safely paying my dues on my waitlist, and someone who has been wronged by the EPC can be prioritized over me without even moving waitlists.

    It sucks for both of them. Person 2 NEEDS their school. Their life doesn't work otherwise.

    Anyway, i'm done with the debate. Have a lovely day everyone.

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  84. Has anyone asked which schools have openings, and when the next waitpool list will be published? Hoping to save myself a trip down to the EPC tomorrow. I know for a fact there at two spots open at Fairmount but probably need to go to spanish speakers.

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  85. Kort - tell parent 2 to write to the mckinley parents group on yahoo! groups. I hear they are pretty active.

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  86. Anyone hear anything about Alamo? No spots opened up at all during the summer so it a waitpool run wasn't even done. Know of anyone who got in off the waitlist? We were in the first cohort, but gave up and switched after seeing no movement.

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  87. I was told by epc that any Fairmount spots will go to Spanish speakers.

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  88. 11:25: I know that our Sunnyside spot was opened up when we got our waitlist school. That was the week before school started.

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  89. I agree with the poster from 9/3. There is no squeaky wheel thing at EPC. Going to the EPC every week only helps you to keep on top on what is going on - it seems to change every week, and if you end up having to advocate for yourself with other folks at EPC, which our family had to do twice in the past 5 months, it helps to guide your arguments. Just like reading the K files helps to get a better idea of what is going out there in the larger world. I went every week, even if I didn't speak to a counselor for more than a few minutes. Being active helped me to deal with the stress of it all too.

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  90. 8:11 AM - The mayor doesn't give a hoot. He is on his way to China. Anything to do with day-to-day operations of municipal government are off limits for him. That is why there is a lack of Western civ. sanitation, no traffic enforcement, skyrocketing crime... Municipal employees can do what they like.

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  91. Not to mention that the Mayor does not oversee SFUSD. The District reports directly to the state, not the city.

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  92. How many of the 0/15 has their kindergartner at home waiting for a phone call with no other option explored but public??

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  93. I'm 0/15, and my daughter is at private school. It's a really great catholic school, but she hates it already. It's too strict, she says. They won't let the kids "run" on the playground, and it's very frustrating for her. I suppose you never really know how your kid will react to a teaching style. I'm thinking my girl is much more touchy feely sit in a circle than I thought. ;-)

    Anyway, even though I'm hooked for a whole year's tuition, I'm hoping something comes up from the district. I have two more kids in the pipeline, so a good "get" would be worth it to me.

    Also, I hate the long drive. I hate everything about the lack of flexibility. I hate school. Already! And I'm afraid my daughter will too. It's been two weeks. Of course we'll stick it out. We HAVE NO CHOICE. Thank you SFUSD.

    I want a less stressful life and a big playground where the kids can run. I'm so surprised I don't like this life. So I'm thinking my love for the City isn't so important.

    Marin anybody? Oakland Hills? Berkeley?

    Somethin's gotta give.

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  94. 9:05: Try Albany. All 3 public elementary schools are outstanding. The middle school and high school are also excellent and have high test scores. You can walk or ride your bike to school. Best of all it's only a short commute (barring traffic) to SF if you need more culture/diversity/city experience.
    We came VERY close to moving. (put an offer on a house even...)

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  95. I have my son at home, waiting for a school that is 2 blocks away from us. We did apply to the local Catholic school, but late, so we are on a wait list there also.

    Still waiting...

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  96. so, the 10 day count is near.

    will someone please confirm what i think will happen?

    1. the schools will all report no-shows to the EPC.

    2. parents will be able to go to EPC and learn the numbers of no-shows, learn the waitpool numbers, and chose a new waitpool if they wish.

    3. the deadline to change a waitpool is 9/12.

    4. the following week will be a lottery run for the schools with post-10-day-count-no-show spots.

    5. we will get calls after that if we are offered a spot.

    RIGHT?

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  97. On the SFUSD site, 9/12 is listed as the last day for *non-k* waitpool changes. I believe that k changes will be accepted up to 10/3.

    I also think that there is probably going to be a waitpool run after this ten-day count. What I am seeing happen is that the EPC is starting to place kids on waitpools in schools that have reported openings.

    I would hope that a final list of openings at schools would be published but I bet you it won't. Instead, we'll need to call or go down and find out what is available. The latest waitpool lists should however be published sometime soon. I'm heading down there today, I'll ask.

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  98. 9:05

    Katherine Michiels School is a touchy feely, circle time, get wet, run, play, build and take your quiet time school. We are there waiting for the 10 day count, but Zoe loves it (see first two photos in Kates slide show.) Double paying may be out of the question, but i needed to at least give you the option.

    KMS is on Guerrero and 25th, makes the kids lunch, and has room in Kinder.

    Good luck, all.

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  99. I'm pushing for Marin...i can't take this stress anymore...

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  100. My nephews go to the Albany schools, both went to elementary, one is in middle and one in high school. The schools there are all excellent.

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  101. As far as I know, Kortney, Jessica B. and RSMF are the three non-anonymous posters still waiting for a spot, and I keep checking in to see if any of them have posted to announce getting one. SFUSD, could you please give these poor families a break?

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  102. kortney - thank you for the description of Katherine Michiels. our daughter will be 5 next october (2009). i did some touring the past year to get a head start, but the more i think about it, the more i'm not sure i want my daughter in such a structured environment when she's 5 (meaning SFUSD). i guess it depends on the teacher, and how much free choice time he or she is able to build into the kids' day. i get bummed about by the idea of 15-minute recesses ....

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  103. just for the record, I'm pretty sure the recess after lunch is significantly longer than 15 minutes. however, it is a great idea to look into much play and/or movement time is built into the kindergarten classroom experience at a given school.

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  104. Anonymous 1:05, I agree that there is no hurry. School has become quite vigorous compared to when we were growing up. Also the social pressures on kids are greater, espcially in the tween and teen years. Your daughter might seem ready in plenty of ways but when the time comes to make your decision, consider her down the road too as among the youngest 6th graders or youngest Sophomores or youngest Freshmen in College too. How will peer pressure or pressure from boys factor in, and how will additional maturity, or lack of maturity affect her ability to navigate situations wisely?

    I have an October birthday and was held to do 1st grade a year later (so I was among the oldest in my grade) and it worked out nicely for me. I have been a supporter of this (I hate the term "redshirting", and really consider redshirting to have more to do with Spring kids whose K start date was pretty clearcut in the past, being held.)

    Kids probably do fine either way, but the extra year could help too, especially if the extra year now includes PLAY time which is so crucial for their development. Consider that private schools don't usually accept kids with birthdays after Sept. Waiting leaves that option open for you too.

    We waited a year for our late Oct boy, and he seems to be exactly where he should be.

    Also gives SFUSD another year to get its act together!

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  105. I was looking at the just-released API scores. Someone had mentioned previously that Daniel Webster was in its 4th year of failing to meet its target API growth level. It failed this year as well. (Actually the API dropped quite a bit.)

    What happens after 5 years of failing to meet API growth levels? Is it a foregone conclusion, or does the fact that Agnos and others with some clout are working to turn this school around help the situation?

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  106. I went back to posting anonymously for awhile, but I'm going to put my name on this post, because I think it might be helpful to know how many of us are out there!

    We are also still waiting... We're at Rosa Parks JBBP right now, and are quite pleased with many aspects of the school (great teacher, really nice families, the amount of Japanese the kids are learning), but it has been a big challenge logistically and it will not work in the long-term (after this year). We are still in the waitpool for Dianne Feinstein (our 5th choice in Round I, but a few blocks from us and our first choice, Sunset, had no movement at all in any run). There were 12 people in the 0/7 cohort and now we're down to 3 (I think everyone else either got in or was offered a spot). At this point, given how many spots already opened up, I'm not optimistic.

    Right now, I'm starting to think about the 1st grade lottery, and if there is any way we can get the EPC to give us some kind of priority status, or at least allow us to put down less than 7 choices (but remain in the first waitpool cohort) so that we can remain in our current school as a back-up (as private school students can do).

    Is there really a chance that more spots will open up in the 10 day count???

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  107. abby, this would be a very good time to start planning for next year. you should contact PPS; i think ellie and her folks have been working directly with SFUSD on enrollment improvement in recent weeks. it will also be part of BOE candidate rachel norton's platform, if i remember correctly, so you could contact her as well.

    considering that so many were royally buggered this season, perhaps some sort of special status (i.e., not being punished for accepting some placement this year and holding equal footing next year to those just entering the district) might be in order.

    can i please add: this school thing has me uncharacteristically depressed about san francisco. i never thought i'd say that; i always defend what is special about SF. but i am afraid that if i continue to marinate here, i will become some sort of reactionary, bitter old traditionalist (gasp!). i just feel like middle class people take it from all sides here...we fucking work hard to support our families, pay huge taxes, do community service, often self-insure...ACK! i have nothing left to give this stinking city today. (hopefully i'll feel different tomorrow.)

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  108. I know several families who, in past years, decided that their late-B-Day kids weren't ready for SFUSD K after all and put them back in preschool. In a number of cases, this decision happened in the first few months but after the 10-day count. So, yes, there may well be waitlist movement after the 10-day count.

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  109. Confirmation from EPC that they are filling spots by individual waitpool runs as they come up, and that is how it will continue from here on in. In fact, another Miraloma spot was filled but not by our family. Congrats to whomever it was.

    I'm super bummed right now. A counselor suggested I take a spot at Glen Park. I'm beyond words and didn't know how to react. Felt so vulnerable but with out the words to say why. I feel like I have to do some due diligence on that school before I turn my already-rubbed-in-crap nose up at it, so if anyone can share their experience with it, let me know.

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  110. ps, I love you Kim! My feeling exactly about SF right now.

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  111. Here's what I would like to see. I would love to see EPC change the system so that you don't have to waitpool for a particular school anymore. It would be a true wait pool. They just run a straight lottery of all Priority 1 cohors (0/15) and call the first one on the list. That person gets their pick of all the schools with openings. Then on to person two.

    What seems to be driving people nuts is having to figure out which school to waitpool. How can you possibly know what school might have openings or not, or how many others are on the list?

    What do other think about that?

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  112. I thought I'd chime in.

    We are 0 for 15 and no wait pool school. Our original assignment (off list) was Hillcrest, which doesn't meet any of our family's needs and makes it impossible to get our other child to preschool for a number of logistical reasons. The aftercare "options" also did not meet our family's needs as we both work and are not able/willing to quit our jobs.

    We expanded our list in the second round and followed everyone's advice. I don't know how I can be blamed for this.

    Although we always intended to go public, we did in fact receive a placement at a wonderful private school which we love, and that is where our child will go.

    I'm furious at the SFUSD. I was really hoping for a public school but received none. And since I didn't lie and make up a "hardship" request like most people I know, I'm not going to get one.

    How anyone can defend this system is beyond me.

    I'm staying anonymous because at this point, it doesn't even matter.

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  113. API scores came out today. Congrats Kate! Jose Ortega 808, up 43 points! Miraloma 825, up 53 points and close to Rooftop (858). I mention these numbers not to brag, but to make a point. A few years ago, Miraloma was in the mid 600's, and nobody wanted the school.

    Another reason I make this point is becasue there is a great article today on SF Gate, written by a Miraloma mom (Leslie Kirk Campbell) as her son transitions from Miraloma to middle school, entitled, "Planning to leave town because of the schools? This parent didn't, and couldn't be happier."

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/09/05/lessonplan.DTL&hw=miraloma&sn=001&sc=1000

    I figure a lot of people on this blog can relate to the thought of moving out of town right now.

    There is a wonderful quote near the end of the article:

    "Now that my son has graduated and is moving on to middle school, we take with us the many lessons Miraloma has taught us. A school's excellence, we now know, has less to do with test scores, new playground structures, arts enrichments or demographics, than it has to do with vision and valuing, collaboration and trust, things I'd never realized were the foundation of a quality education."

    And one of her closing paragraphs is particularly poignant:

    "Close your eyes and spin the SFUSD globe. See where your finger lands. Junipero Serra Elementary. Jose Ortega. Visitacion Valley. Monroe. Go to the school before rejecting it outright. See how it feels. Interview the principal. Is he dynamic and collaborative? Is she accessible, innovative, and knowledgeable? Do the teachers look happy? Are there at least a handful of parents involved? If at least two of the three required ingredients for success are in place, gather a couple of friends and enroll. Since your chosen school is truly a hidden gem, you will get your first choice."


    Is Glen Park (794) waiting to be discovered?

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  114. One of our no-shows in Flynndergarten General showed today. They are wailisted at Miraloma.

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  115. re: 3:42

    I don't see how that can work. When do they call the people in the pooled waitpool? The set of schools with openings is changing all the time. Most likely at any time there are SOME schools with openings. They call you and you don't want any of those so you prefer to stay in the waitpool. Unless you tell them which school you're waiting for how do they know when to call you back.

    It's already a problem now, even with just one waitpool school per student, that the EPC calls people from the waitpool and those people are unable to answer the question "Do you want this spot?".

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  116. Also people would need endless mulling time, Feinstein or Grattan? Feinstein or Grattan??

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  117. Isn't Glen Park the school where the principal won't allow a PTA to form?

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  118. Caroline,

    I'm one of the people waiting for a school, and Jessica B is my friend. What kind of a break are you referring too, my friend? I'm an advocate for them and PRAY that both of them get a school.

    I'm confused...

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  119. sorry--a two martini lunch made me mis-read your post, Caroline.

    never again (yay, right.)

    Glen Park has a miserable Principal. She needs to be fired so that we can take that school back. In the meantime, ick. ick. ick.

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  120. 3:54 - i saw that article and it is indeed poignant. i dont know what to say. i know it does take parent, principal, teacher, community, vision to build a school. i also know the reality of my situation is - i'm tired. i'm a single parent. i work at night after my child goes to sleep. i haven't had the energy to finish a crossword puzzle, much less do what i see my sister do for miraloma, which is stay up till all hours organzing fundraisers, acting as room parent and running to office depot in the middle of the day to get paper for an art project. i plan on attending pta meetings and buying my share of lottery tickets but do i really have what it takes to turn around a school like junipero serra or glen park? i dont know. all i know is that i pay through my nose to live here and now i'm paying for a private trans K on top of it. i'm worn out.

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  121. kortney, i think she was just being nice and hoping whoever is waiting would get a school...

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  122. oh you figured it out..

    i heard that there was someone with the district who helps you with homeschooling and figures out lessons plans, etc... is anyone doing that?

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  123. Kortney,

    Are you talking about the brand new GP principal, or the long-time principal who just retired?

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  124. anonymous poster still without school... for whomever is counting!

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  125. Did anyone on this blog tour Glen Park school?

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  126. is there a new Principal this year? Shem confirmed what my teacher friends have told me, that the GP Principal is a stinker. If she is brand new this year, then Hurray!!! It's someone new!!

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  127. keep in mind that any school that under enrolls (ie. glen park) has kids bussed there from places where parents don't necessarily advocate for themselves. i toured Glen Park. I'd take Hillcrest over it anyday.

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  128. 5:25, thanks. Does anyone know if Sunnyside has openings? Are there people out there who are in Sunnyside? My friend's kid was repeatedly beaten up last year in K, but hopefully that situation is addressed.

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  129. I had a great talk with the Sunnyside Principal during a late tour this year. i liked her. I think she will retire there. she said it takes 4-5 years to see your changes take form. This, i believe, is her 4th year, and she's brought in some great kinder teachers (most of them, anyway.)

    I liked the campus and the Principal, but the PTA is starting from scratch.

    It's a concern of mine re: Glen Park. If indeed there is a brand new Principal... the "it takes 4-5 years to turn a school around" aspect.

    Webster, Monroe, Sunnyside will be the schools to go for it two years (or less.)

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  130. Can anyone confirm the Glen Park principal? also, who is the new Fairmount Principal?

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  131. To the folks who were interested in openings at Sunnyside... I think there are some openings last I heard. We are really loving the school (wasn't one of our original choices but we're so grateful we were assigned there), our daughter is totally engaged and loves her teacher (all of the kindergarten teachers have been receiving wonderful feedback from the parents). The K parents I've been meeting are very involved and community oriented. We are really falling in love with Sunnyside... especially seeing how happy our daughter is, how much she loves her teacher and how excited she is about learning there!!

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  132. 3:54 -

    man, it would be nice for glen park to be "discovered." what a pretty campus in a great location. future parents should press the district for a spanish immersion program.

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  133. Glen Park does seem like a natural school to be an up and comer due to its location and the clear demand on this end of town. It really has not been on anyone's radar (and everyone repeats the stuff about the principal but I wonder if anyone has actually been there.) I was slated to tour it 2 years ago year but had to cancel that day.

    I just googled the principal and found an article in the Glen Park paper from last year about the school and on the face of it it looked as good as any. My guess is that it is lower on the pecking order so that much further behind in terms of turnaround and schools like Revere, Monroe, Sunnyside and SF Community are better up and comers on the southeast side of town.

    Jessica - I liked Sunnyside (small, clean, cheery, residential neighborhood, getting buzz, growing PTA involvement, really culturally diverse with about 20% of every main demographic rather than one primary group and the rest smaller populations) but I remember Elena and Michael had a bad impression of the principal. (I liked her, though, science background.) Still one visit does not tell a school's whole story and that was 2 years ago. You really have to visit to see how these places feel to you. So many people have been surprised this year.

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  134. btw - i am going to take yet another opportunity to plug webster! come join us. i think there may be 1-2 spots left. others may surface if people get WL placements.

    i picked up my kids today and art agnos stopped me on the street to introduce himself. he wanted to know how things are going and promised that while the beginning may be bumpy, it IS going to be a fantastic school.

    join us for spanish and the chance to make a school what you want it to be. we need a lot of help, but we have a big group of pumped-up parents ready to make it happen.

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  135. Has John Stewart done a schtick on this yet?

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  136. I meant "I liked her though, (and she has a) science backgrond."

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  137. Yes, can anyone confirm that Glen Park's long-time principal is gone? If she didn't go already, it's almost certain that she'll retire after this year - at which point it could go either way, depending largely on who is brought in to replace her.

    They do not have a PTA, but finally started a PTO late last year - not sure if it has legs or was simply created to appease parents and district officials, but at least it's a start.

    Glen Park is an example of a school where a handful of children with difficult behavior problems (and their parents, unfortunately) put an enormous drag on everyone else. The school does a poor job of working with these kids, but a new principal with vision could make the difference.

    J. Serra, in contrast, already has an excellent principal. If I had to choose between them today, it would definitely be Serra, hands down.

    Glen Park could be a great school, but it's going to take a lot of work - no matter who is running the show. After so many difficult years it's going to take time to turn around the systems and the burnt-out teachers... Still I have a lot of hope for the place.

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  138. The new fairmount principal is from Monroe -can't recall her name. She is wonderful - I met her when I thought we were going to Fairmount. So energetic - hard to replace Karling, but she's definitely a good choice.

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  139. I did like the principal at Serra and years ago when my child was a toddler, i volunteered there with friends of bernal schools (all gung ho about helping my neighborhood school). My issue with that school was that several - not just one - of my neighbors had to eventually take their kids out of that school because they were bored and not learning. They have many, many english language learners there. All my neighbors, btw, go to private schools now after trying public, except one who is at buena vista (and loving it). I realize things may be changing there. Hope so. Still not going for it though.

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  140. This Pavlovian dog is signing off for the weekend as we'll (I need a break!) be out of internet range. Jesus this thing is addictive. Husband is packing the car and I'm still hitting the lever for a fix! help!

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  141. Jessica, I toured Glen Park - I am not from SF so had no local knowledge or bias - I did not know the trophy schools from those everyone avoids so it would have been silly not to when I was looking for a local school and toured almost 30. I loved the building and classrooms and many of the facilities, in fact I was really pleasantly surprised, but
    - I hated the yard, cold barren place with no personality (although that could be easily changed with a little time, money and effort),
    - was worried by the lack of parent involvement, and
    - totally freaked by the total (I think total) lack of fundraising done.
    If honest, I was hoping to see 4 or 5 white faces and was disappointed to only see one or two, but that lack of diversity did not swing it for me. There just turned out to be way too many better options for my family so GP was never a real contender. I spoke at length with the principal, she struck me as someone who was a realist, who had been in the system a long time and had been somewhat beaten down by it, despite putting up a good fight for her kids. I only met her once but the endless bad mouthing I have read seems a bit exaggerated to me and many of the comments seem ill-founded, sort of like Kim Green's reaction when she got assigned J Serra and then went and met a very professional, committed group of teachers who were doing their best for their school. Gossip and hearsay are dangerous things (not to diss Kim, her reaction was entirely understandable at the time - just based on misinformation of which there is a lot about).
    Anyway, to sum up my ramble, would I send my kinder there this year rather than nowhere, absolutely. Would I chose it over GE at J Serra, probably not, over Sunnyside no, or over Immersion at Daniel W or Paul R definitely not. While the kinder classrooms were fine and the kids attentive I couldn't speak to later grades and I did not get the good feeling, the buzz or energy that I get from any of these others.
    - and for what my five bits are worth I am sure there will be more movement in the coming weeks. Schools are only willing to report space that they know for sure will not be filled. The 10 day rule is ridiculous but it is the rule and we did all know about it from the offset. Hold out for what feels right (it seems unlikely that GP is right enough and if it is it will still be there in a few weeks time). I am so glad that I am out of this madness - best of luck to you.

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  142. My friends at Monroe say their Principal is still there...so is it the previous principal who left after a significant bike accident?

    My teacher friend liked him.

    Anyway, feel the quake? Rock n roll.

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  143. re, DW--the Spanish Immersion parents met with the principal, PREFund reps, and the SFUSD immersion specialist last evening--it was a very dynamic meeting and highlighted the responsiveness of the school and district to parent concerns. It turns out that the kindergarteners will be getting dance, PE and library time starting next week, funded by the district. Grants are pending for art and music. And they are learning to speak Spanish! Ms. Machado, the principal, is very warm and has addressed all concerns quickly and effectively. There are still a few open spots, I think, so come check it out.

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  144. I want to put in my two cents about the SF Gate article about Miraloma by Leslie Kirk Campbell. I'm the parent she mentions who did outreach there with the help of PPS after my son started kindergarten in 1999.

    For the record, I signed him up at Miraloma two days before school started, when he was 26th on the waiting list for West Portal (they did have ranked lists then), at a time when "nobody" would consider enrolling their children there. I took the chance because my friend, who lived outside San Francisco and thus got last choice of schools, planned to enroll her son there.

    People who think it takes superhuman effort by parents to "turn around" a school are wrong. My daughter was in Leslie's son's class, and my son was there for four years before that, and Miraloma was always a safe, clean, and educationally sound community for both my kids. I did put in a lot of time, but only because I enjoyed doing it, I wanted to get to know the people my kids spent their days with, and I liked being around my kids and their friends. And I didn't put in nearly as much time as the people who actually worked there--most notably the fabulous principal, Marcia Parrott.

    The quantity of enrichment activities changed as more parents got involved, but the most important factor in my children's experience was the relationships they formed with other kids and with the adults at the school, especially their teachers.

    I urge anyone who is without a school to check out the schools that do have openings. You might just find the next Miraloma.

    Elizabeth

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  145. 9:16 - the thinking at GP has been that fundraising = asking for money from parents who do not have it and will only resent the attempts. To me this is an example of low expectations of the worst kind, but it's not uncommon in a school with 75+% free-lunch eligible students.

    Call what you've heard "gossip and hearsay" - but also keep in mind that SFUSD is a relatively small community, and those of us with firsthand knowledge of certain more unfortunate aspects of the district often do not feel safe, let alone comfortable, speaking publicly. It's the principal's JOB to sell her school - sadly, I am certain that had you met with a group of teachers from Glen Park you would have come away with a different impression. I'm not saying she doesn't have good intentions or a good heart, but that just isn't enough to make a good, or even acceptable, school.

    Glen Park has a huge amount of potential, but at this point it's mainly a great example of the truth that test scores are not everything.

    Overall, my impression is that this whole district just feels better since Carlos Garcia came in. The difference between his "style" and Ackerman's is a major improvement - people like him! And to me, that's a very good start.

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  146. If DW didn't start at 7:50 we would have enrolled.

    Best to everyone there. Our Potrero HIll friends with young kids are getting the recommendation from me to put it first on their lottery when they are ready.

    I'm glad this good came out of the Flynnarado 23 situation.

    Is EVERYONE who was displaced happy where they are now?

    I admit that, even though I like our school and Zoe LOVES it, i'm resentful when I pass by all the Flynn kids going to school. I feel left out of a community I fought so hard to be apart of.

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  147. Just FYI, people loved Arlene Ackerman when she first came in too. The style of her predecessor, Bill Rojas, was to completely ignore parents, teachers and the BOE, and just do whatever the hell he wanted, including allowing his staff to loot the district, take kickbacks, etc. Ackerman came in and cleaned up all the corruption, kicked the thieves out of office, and recovered tens of millions of dollars in a legal settlement from a corrupt vendor. She started to do home visits, where she would come to the home of a parent and meet with all of the other parents that the host invited, and she did them in neighborhoods all over town, not just comfortable middle class homes. She set up a translation office so that Chinese and Spanish speaking families would not constantly be out of the loop.

    Eventually things went bad with her, especially when she refused to do the bidding of the far left who controlled the school board, but my point is that people tend to embrace someone who is different from the last guy, if the last guy is perceived as having issues. Just as Obama would provide a welcome change from Bush, so Ackerman was a welcome change from Rojas, and Garcia a welcome change from the later Ackerman years. Let's just hope that 5 years from now, we are not all talking about how Whoever is such a welcome change from Garcia....

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  148. 8:48, I couldn't disagree with you more. I'm a sfusd teacher (and now a sfusd parent, too). I was present at the conference when Ackerman first spoke publicly and addressed SF teachers. My spider-sense went off, and rightly too. Her reign as superintendent was, in my opinion, the dark ages for quality curriculum and support for our children's emotional development (and forget about the mental health of classroom teachers..). I am not totally psyched by all that Garcia proposes just liked I'm not down with every single word Obama says, but here I give myself away. You see, I have supported "the far left who controlled the school board" just as most teachers who I've known do. Your choice of words here ring familiar. Do you by chance work for the Chronicle?

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  149. I was going to call a truce on the Ackerman discussion, but I can't help pointing out that teachers at SOTA and Lowell are EXTREMELY wary of the self-described-progressive wing of the school board. as that faction is outspoken about wanting to nuke those schools.

    Teachers who support GATE education also have the same qualms, as that same faction generally opposes any differentiated instruction for GATE students. So at least "most" teachers in those categories don't support "the far left who controlled the school board."

    Students either, BTW. The Facebook group "Save SOTA from the Green Party" has 174 members (all students as far as I can tell), and wry comments are routinely made among teachers, parents, staff and some students about Mark Sanchez lurking to find some excuse to shut SOTA down now.

    I'm still staying off the topic of Ackerman, though.

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  150. I know it's a bad idea to bring too much politics in here. And who needs a depressed thread? But can somebody tell me what it will feel like if my 0/15 family wakes up in November to STILL not having a spot at a school we want, AND having Sarah Palin as VP?

    Marin or Albany aren't far away enough to move, if those crazies get elected. I'm serious when I say that I've gone into a sort of depression about how messed up the public schools are in my beloved City by the Bay, and how the whole US will just be over, finished, kaput, if Obama doesn't get in.

    I really don't think I can stand what our country will look like in four more years of this insanity, and on the macro level, another few weeks of this endless school nightmare.

    Where has the love gone??

    This country sucks. This city, my lovely island, is starting to suck. I'm really really depressed.

    Who are these nuts and why have they inflicted these people on us?

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  151. As someone with kids in the public schools for 7 years, I can say that while the enrollment system sucks, the schools don't.

    I'm hard pressed to find many public school parents who are unhappy with their school (yes, like anything, they are there) but I came to the public schools once I realized that just about everyone I know and respected had their kids in public school, were happy with it and their kids were doing great.

    So, please just separate out the issues - it really isn't ALL bad.

    Now, let's get down to that business of making sure Palin won't be our VP...

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  152. Final word in: The Glen Park principal this year is NEW. If you toured in past years, you have not yet met the new principal - the old one retired.

    GP is the new black.

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  153. Before people start jumping of buildings - please remember that the official 10 day count is next week which historically identifies open spots at schools all over.

    Cross your fingers!

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  154. "Now, let's get down to that business of making sure Palin won't be our VP..."

    God, yes.

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  155. 8:48 here. No I don't work for the Chronicle, but I admit to being a reader. :)

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  156. 9:09

    I hear you! We will move (and i always thought it was dumb to say "if so and so gets elected, we're leaving!!")

    We have a possible community in a different country that we've been toying with, anyway. McCain Palin would be the push we need.

    We are 0/15 with public, but in a private (last minute seat) that we're happy with.

    I'd say two things that I am doing (or did):

    1. find a private with room so you child gets into Kindergarten; and

    2. volunteer to registere and talk with young women in swing states (that is what the Democrats need most.)

    If there is any energy left over, write your experience about this years lottery down and send it to the appropriate people (BOE, School District/EPC, SF Chronicle, Governor's Office.)

    Cheers.

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  157. Yes, I stand corrected. From my 0/15 place outside the school gates, I peer inside and see that the schools do not suck. It's the enrollment that sucks. Yes. I stand corrected.

    But as for Palin...

    Dear God. Every damn time I have to leave the Bay Area, I get a nosebleed.

    God, thank you for making such a lovely island, here in SF.

    Please God, let me get into a public school that I want (there are about 20 on my list that I'd accept).

    Otherwise, if I'm stuck in my private school for the next eight years, I won't be able to afford to leave the city limits of San Francisco.

    Is that your point, God??

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  158. "Who are these nuts and why have they inflicted these people on us?

    A huge WORD!!

    If McCain/Palin win, this country will get what it deserves, and the sane amongst us will have to pay the price.

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  159. Caroline, honestly you lost quite a bit a cred with me when I read that you'd made a hardship appeal because the Miraloma principal refused to "guarantee" that you'd be happy with the school. It doesn't surprise me at all that you'd be pro-Ackerman.

    I certainly do not think Garcia is perfect, but this district has been hungering for the compassionate and inclusive approach he appears to bring to the table in a way that Ackerman never did. Sure, I'll give you that Ackerman was "better" than Rojas - Rojas was a crook! Some comparison!

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  160. Caroline made a hardship appeal because the Miraloma principal refused to "guarantee" that she'd be happy??

    Did she get it?

    They turned down my "I'm in chemo this semester" appeal. So I'm very interested in Caroline's...uh, happiness.

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  161. ^Yes, she got the appeal. Her kids went to Lakeshore.
    If going thru chemo is not a hardship--what is?!?! Unbelievable!

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  162. Guys. Guys. It wasn't a "hardship appeal." That term wasn't in use and neither was the concept.

    Making an appeal for ANY REASON YOU COULD THINK OF (my family's convenience ... my kid's needs ... I like the other school better...) was the standard at that time, in 1996. Everyone who was willing to push for a school they wanted did it.

    The then-principal told us the school wouldn't be good enough to please us ("I can't guarantee you won't be disappointed"). So we based our appeal on that concern. In that era -- when "hardship" wasn't the basis for appeals -- is there anyone here who wouldn't have done the same thing?

    Once I got savvy enough to learn more about the big picture in the school district, it troubled me very much that the system was then so set up to favor the empowered, assertive and persistent. So I did get involved in helping counsel and assist other families through the process, and also advocating for a fairer process. That's why I've remained interested in the process and why I started frequenting this blog to begin with.

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  163. Um, I think Caroline's original point was a comparison of the ridiculous appeals they used to grant back in the 1990's (using her own, admittedly ridiculous, appeal as Exhibit A) compared to today. She acknowledged forthrightly what an awful excuse for a hardship that was, but she was using herself to illustrate how a ton of middle class families, at least the ones not living in Bernal's favored 94110 zip code, did it back then.

    Look, there were five or so schools considered okay by middle class standards at that time. Seriously, there were many, many fewer schools considered okay, and the rest were understood to be as unacceptable as John Muir is understood to be (on this blog) this year. There was a neighborhood/zone assignment system at that time, and most middle class people were not assigned to a school considered acceptable. If you lived in a favored zip code, like 94110 (because of its high poverty rates, even if parts of Bernal were not high poverty), then you had a ticket out. If you didn't, you had to make up an excuse to get yourself to Lakeshore, Claire Lilienthal, etc.

    C'mon, tell me most people here wouldn't have followed this unofficial "rule" for middle class families back then. Most everyone here is seeking a school in the "acceptable" range, right? Fortunately there are more good schools now, though obviously not enough to meet demand; hence the situation of Kortney, Jessica and the others (and I am so sorry for that and hope that changes this week with the 10-day count).

    Today's assisngment system, while still majorly problematic as we have seen, is considerably different. While I cannot imagine why someone with chemo was denied an appeal over some others (!), the standards for appeals do seem to have been tightened, and the lottery system overall is a lot fairer than giving certain zip codes priority access to the popular schools, even when their particular neighborhoods within the zip code are no poorer than someone else's.

    There's a lot of work to be done in communication in this process. I would love to see more reporting out before Round 1 of sibling and inclusion spots taken so that parents can make informed choices about how many spots are available in a given program. Better training of EPC workers. A more rigorous testing system of primary language for immersion applicants, and of course: no coding glitches. And it sounds like there is a need for better oversight or standards for hardship appeals, given the chemo story.

    Still, it is hard to argue with Caroline's point (illustrated by her own less-than-flattering story of her son's "hardship" appeal back in the day--though I think they didn't call it hardship or even think of it in those terms) that the system is actually fairer now than before, even if it still needs a lot more work. And we can all be glad that there are so many more schools now on the radar of acceptability for middle class parents.

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  164. It's off-topic, but before that, there was the "camping out" system. It was first come, first served on the day registration opened. So that meant that at the "five good schools," families were camping on the playground for three or four days. My cousin's kids are enough older than mine that they used that system -- the parents and grandparents took shifts holding their spot at Claire Lilienthal. (Fun Lakeshore trivia: What Nobel Laureate personally camped outside for days to get HIS kids in? Cancer researcher Harold Varmus, though pre-Nobel.)

    Obviously, the privileged and empowered would have had an easier time arranging the four days than the poor and downtrodden. Still, I used to wonder if the camping-out system wasn't fairer to the disadvantaged. At least it was easy to understand and didn't require education, assertiveness, chutzpah etc. You just had to manage to get someone to sit in your spot for four days.

    One family I advised with the enrollment process was from Algeria, a country where you can easily be killed for challenging authority. So you can see how those parents might not have been comfortable disputing their assignment with the EPC. Another was an elderly African-American woman raising her three GREAT-grandchildren, including one who was severely autistic. Those are the families who get a fairer break now, I think.

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  165. Just to confirm that anyone could appeal for any reason whatsoever in the 90's -- you were not required to have a hardship. If I remember correctly, EPC then ranked the appeals numerically. So theoretically the person with a documented hardship would be ranked higher than someone like Caroline who basically just didn't like her neighborhood school. Still, most folks who appealed, and were willing to wait it out through the 10-day count got a school they were happy with.

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  166. Seems really unfair, though. Somebody's kids STILL had to go to the unpopular school.

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  167. 11:51 is correct:

    << I think they didn't call it hardship or even think of it in those terms >>

    And to our way of thinking at that time, my story wasn't less-than-flattering at all -- it was about advocating for my children, which was viewed as an admirable, empowered thing to do. (Plus I didn't lie the way many appeals did! The then-principal of Miraloma really did say that, in front of many witnesses.) How many of you would have thought, "Oh, I should leave the spot at Lakeshore for someone who needs it more than my kids do," and decided not to pursue it?

    Those of us who didn't live in preference zip codes (94110, 94124, 94134) also thought of ourselves as the underdogs. Residents of Bernal could be as white as Princess Di and as rich as Bill Gates, but they still got automatic entree to their chosen school, under a system designed to give a boost to underprivileged children of color. (Yet desperately poor children from the projects did not get that preference if they lived in the Western Addition -- 94115 wasn't a preference zip code.) So anyway, our peers were getting the spots automatically and we had to scramble for what was left.

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  168. So, Caroline: Are you saying that if the system was more rigid back then (you had to prove a real hardship, for example) you would have tried to work to make Miraloma a better school or perhaps you would have gone private instead?

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  169. 12:40, I agree that it's totally unfair; that's WHY I've described how it used to work. And that's why I got involved in trying to make it more fair, as soon as I got the big picture and was able to see past my concerns for my own kids.

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  170. 12:42, I was just determined to get into an "acceptable" school, and indications were that if we pursued it through the process, we would succeed. So I focused on that and didn't have a Plan B.

    I discussed with neighbors and fellow parents at our co-op preschool whether we could improve Miraloma Elementary. One friend/preschool parent said, "If 10 of us families from Miraloma Preschool put our kids in Miraloma Elementary next fall, we could make it work!" Then we met the then-principal and agreed: No, we couldn't. And Miraloma's turnaround didn't happen till that principal retired.

    Going private would have required a lifestyle decision for me to work full time and see very little of my kids, which is why we took that off the table (except, presumably, as an emergency desperation backup).

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  171. Many people choose privates for the same reason--they cannot stomach the schools they were assigned and want to do what's best for their kids. That doesn't make them anti-public school. It means they are also advocating on their kids' behalf.

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  172. So, after reading this blog and the SF Schools List for a year I finally now have an idea of what makes Caroline tick. Once she got past the phase where she needed to manipulate the system on behalf of her own kids, her white liberal guilt at manipulating the system to her advantage took over when it didn't matter anymore, and now she feels free to berate anyone and everyone who is trying to do exactly what she did--advocate for their kids. What a f***ing hypocrite. Please just go away.

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  173. 1:05 PM

    If your theory were correct, Caroline should have waited to advocate for changing the system until after her children got into the middle school.

    No need for personal attacks -- if you find you disagree with someone so much that you don't even want to read their posts, there is a clever key on your keyboard called "delete!"

    While I don't always agree with Caroline, I certainly value her perspective.

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  174. Well, Caroline, I'm going through chemo this semester, and maybe beyond. I'm a single mom. And soon to be breast cancer survivor.

    My child is on the waiting list at an upper-middling public school, one that is seldom if ever mentioned on this list. I told the district in my appeal that since I was taking a leave of absence from work, I needed a public school assignment I could live with, hopefully not one clear across town. I told them I couldn't afford private school for my two kids.

    They refused. I don't know, but I think they judged my lack of employment as optional, which in a way I guess it was. I just know I can't be throwing up, fighting cancer, raising two kids AND work full time. Something had to give, so I chose to live off savings and spend time with my kids, healing.

    I'm 0/15 too.

    Caroline, I'm glad you got what you wanted all those years ago, but apparently dealing with harpies who worked the system, such as yourself, compelled the school district to change the rules. Now, I honestly don't know what kind of exceptions they grant.

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  175. This chemo story is very upsetting. I have heard that the committee who decide to grant or deny hardship appeals used to be mostly or entirely parents. Does anyone know if that is still true?

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  176. ...heartless b*stards.

    I hope things work out for you, 1:50.

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  177. It does seem harsh to deny someone going through chemo a hardship appeal. What does qualify as a hardship if this doesn't?

    I don't think it's fair to pick on Caroline for following the rules that were set out at the time she applied. I'm really not sure what the criticism of her is. The only possible criticism I can see is that she might have displaced someone who needed the spot more, but didn't have the skills to advocate for their child as successfully. But, she was hardly alone -- it was the advice EPC gave out to everyone who applied at the time! Many many people (not just Caroline) recognized the inherent unfairness though, which is why the system was changed.

    It doesn't seem like eliminating this advantage is really the problem in your case. Rather, it sounds like the criteria for a hardship may need to be reviewed. I think the whole system needs an overhaul, but that will be a big job.

    Anne

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  178. 1:05 PM - Well put! Bullseye! If Caroline the windbag knows so much more than we do, and is more PC than thou, why doesn't she pull her kids out of whatever schools they are in & put them into the lowest performing schools? Caroline, why aren't YOUR kids at John Muir or June Jordan? You keep telling us those schools are good enough for everyone else's kids!

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  179. 1:50 PM - You should contact your Supervisor! They are supposed to advocate for you... This makes me even more furious at the broken system!!!!!

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  180. For all of you writing that there shouldn't be personal comments belittling Caroline - why is that a one-way street?

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  181. 1:50, you have my sincere sympathy, and I can't imagine what kind of hardships the EPC IS accepting if they're rejecting yours.

    Once I got a better picture of how the system was working, I joined a task force that then-new PPS had established, on Recruitment & Enrollment, which worked on making the system more equitable to those who weren't the most assertive and empowered. I'm sorry that it hasn't worked for you; that is really unjust.

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  182. Why do so many of the threads here deteriorate to Caroline-bashing? She is not the only person urging people to use the public schools, or telling people that in prior years, those who stuck with the process until the end got something they could live with. I hear the same thing from all of those Parents for Public Schools people. It's almost like there is someone hiding behind the anonymoty of this group who just wants any excuse to bash this woman, while giving all the other PPSers a free pass....

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  183. 4:09 - Because she is a bullying hypocrite, is why. She is a know-it-all. She is quick to judge. She has no problem bashing parents who chose private over sending their kids to low-achieving schools across town that have no aftercare. She makes snide, judgemental remarks about the parents who value academics & safety over diversity & political correctness. There are many of us 0/15 families who are looking for constructive, realistic advice & info, and are very, very tired of her PC-caterwauling.

    Do you need any more reasons?

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  184. What a very nasty person you are. If you don't like what Caroline has to say, why do you continue to read her remarks? If you don't like what you are reading, you have no one but yourself to blame.

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  185. I have to wonder why she posts under her little "Caroline" i.d.

    I think this list works best anonymously.

    Who knows, maybe I'd actually read her posts if they didn't have her name on it.

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  186. Thanks, 4:38, for confirming my suspicion. Now I know exactly who you are!

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  187. I for one appreciate Carolines viewpoint often enough. However, she's lost cred with me, too, when she says "lots of folks get schools in the 10 day count."

    She didn't have personal experience with it herself.

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  188. I cannot speak for Caroline, but I know that I post under my ID because I stand behind what I say, and am not afraid or ashamed of my comments. I admit I don't get the posters who use anonymous posts to be nasty. Seems like hiding to me.

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  189. 4:38

    1:05 here, and amen to you. I couldn't have said it better.

    And for the rest of you, it's a matter of tone.

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  190. And now that I've thought about it a bit more, it's not just tone, it's also the extremity of her views. According to Caroline, there is no school in the City where you could be justified in refusing to send your kids. And now we know she believes that's true even though she appealed in 1996 because she couldn't get a guarantee that she wouldn't be "disappointed." It's ridiculous.

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  191. I don't get why anyone is picking on Caroline. She has been a source of insight for this blog, and I appreciate that.

    This is a forum, we all have something to say, we don't all have to agree, but we don't need to be mean.

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  192. let's get beyond caroline folks and support each other as we strategize our ways though the 10 day count and waitpools.

    if i go to EPC tomorrow afternoon will they tell me the no-shows each school reported?

    anyone know?

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  193. Seems to me it is the folks bashing Caroline who are expressing extreme views. I don't mean the person undergoing chemo, but the usual piler-on-ers. I have read plenty of commentary by her as this year has unfolded that is critical of the EPC and the lottery process. She said pretty clearly today that the chemo story sounds like it should have met the bar for "hardship." How is being extreme in this? She has said plenty of negative stuff about the school search process, along with the good. Or are some folks just not hearing that, because you are prejudiced about anything she might say?

    Yes, she is a strong supporter of the public schools and of looking beyond the traditional trophies. So what? So are lots of folks here. It's a defensible position (though I understand the frustration of those who are, at this point, still without a school). I don't believe she has ever insisted that all schools, including the high-poverty ones or the ones with problem principals, must be considered acceptable to all parents. Seriously, when has she said that?

    Also, it is true, as said often this year by Caroline and other PPSers, that in the past the 10-day count brought good news to almost all families that were still waiting it out. We don't know yet what this year will bring in terms of the 10-day count. We'll see. If it is vastly different, and dozens of families still do not have a spot they deem acceptable, then that will be information for the whole system (SFUSD, PPS, parents seeking schools) to absorb for next year in terms of what is said to incoming families.

    Finally, in terms of her own personal narrative, Caroline has said she did what most other middle class parents were encouraged to do in getting her kid into an acceptable school. She still says that parents should be trying to find acceptable schools for their kids, but now within rules that are fairer to all (if, OBVIOUSLY, not perfect in content or implementation).

    She also broadened her ideas about what she meant by acceptable schools: By the time her kids started middle school, they did not attend one of the top-ranked middles in the city, but rather one that had a bit of a bad reputation at the time (Aptos). It's come up a *long* way in the half-dozen years since then, but at the time it was a school that folks warned against, unlike Presidio, Hoover, Giannini. So she did walk the walk in that case.

    You do not have to like her style or read her posts, but her comments are valued by many of the rest of us. The very personal and frankly mean nature of the attacks against her are very off-putting. (I had the same reaction to Sarah Palin's speech last week.)

    Please, fellow concerned parents, let's focus on the issues--information, history, or debating the merits of this or that approach, rather than telling someone to go away. This is a great forum for discussion; let's keep it that way, without the personal attacks.

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  194. 1:50 - I am so sorry to hear about your situation.

    I hope you tried a 'medical' appeal and not a 'hardship' appeal. If you haven't - you still can do this! I am pretty sure that since we are still doing waitpool runs, that you can be eligible. Fuck those bastards if they did indeed base their decision on your employment status at that time. Its discrimination. And frankly heartless.

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  195. 8:24, if you do go down to the EPC, go right after lunchtime (2pm is safe). The lines are the shortest and by that time - hopefully the counting will be done. Tomorrow is the tenth day so presumably numbers will be in, but I bet it will take another day before they are deemed official.

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  196. Stop picking on Caroline --it's mean and seriously brings down the quality of this blog. If you are going to disagree in a meanspirited way, please do not do it under the cover of an anonymous posting: put your name, as she does. It is fine to disagree, and even to say you skip over reading her posts etc., but the personal attacks are shameful, really.

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