Friday, October 17, 2008

Open forum

Please feel free to discuss among yourselves...

55 comments:

  1. Any opinions on:

    - McKinley vs. Grattan vs. Miraloma?

    - Starr King vs. Jose Ortega?

    - Live Oak vs. Presidio Hill?

    - Hamlin vs. Burke's?

    - Nueva vs. MCDS?

    - SF Day vs. SF Friends?

    - Synergy vs. Children's Day?

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  2. Hi 2:42

    Given the similarities in your groupings, I would pick the one most convenient (start time, geography, etc.) Of course, when you tour you may just really like one better than the other, but all look like good choices.

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  3. How the candidates answered the question:

    ---> Should neighborhood schools be a major part of assignment process?

    http://tinyurl.com/6zng4z

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  4. If the school board decides on a school assignment policy which is based mostly on "neighborhood schools" (something being urged by BOS member Carmen Chu from District 4), you can forget getting to choose between McKinley and Miraloma - they can't BOTH be your "neighborhood school." Same thing with Starr King and Ortega - or, for that matter, any immersion school. You can't have mostly neighborhood school assignment and also expanded choices for parents, including immersion, Montessori or other specialty program, or even a choice of start times or afterschool care.

    Many people in Carmen Chu's district live a few blocks from their dream school(s); every school in the Sunset is considered by the residents to be a good one. That's why she is sponsoring a non binding resolution at the Board of Supervisors promoting neighborhood assignment.

    But for those who think that the best way for the district to improve schools all over the city, so that every school can be a good school, is to place popular magnet programs at undersubscribed schools (like the new immersion program at Webster, or Montessori at Cobb); or for those who were shut out of language immersion because their child is not a bi-lingual Spanish speaker and there were no more spots left for English speakers; or for those who don't have a school close by with a convenient start time, or appropriate aftercare, and who want to shop around for something which meets their family's needs, a mostly neighborhood schools assignment plan will severely limit your options.

    This is one of the problems with having Supervisors elected only by their own district. Supervisors pander to what their own small community wants, without regard for how it will affect other residents across town.

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  5. I suspect that even in a neighborhood scheme immersion and other magnet programs would be available to all parents in teh District (like the old "alternative" school model whereby Rooftop was *not* a neighborhood school).

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  6. I'm wondering what people feel are the most important issues facing the BOE. The community on this blog is very close to the assignment process (mostly going through now or having just been through it) and it is clearly broken but in the SFGate list of top 2 priorities very few candidates put it at the top of the list of priorities.

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  7. well, JROTC certainly isn't that important, in the great scheme of things.

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  8. I think if parents had a guarantee to get into say, one of three neighborhood schools, and then still had a chance to apply to any school in the city, that would be better.

    At least some of the annoying uncertainty would be gone. At least you'd know that your child was guaranteed one of three schools.

    And why they call it "school choice" is beyond me, there is no "choice", it is a lottery.

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  9. Supervisors have nothing to do with school assignment, so I guess I don't follow your logic.

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  10. It is a "non binding resolution" which Supervisor Chu has put before the BOS. That is, the BOS, which never seems to tire of trying to tell the school district what to do, would be "advising" the BOE that neighborhood should be the priority when assigning students to schools.

    Even back in the day, when there was a neighborhood assignment system, there were still families who couldn't get into their neighborhood school. Children are not distributed equally across the city, and populations fluctuate. Does anyone trust the SFUSD to keep track every year of the populations of children in relation to the neighborhood school assignment boundaries, and adjust those boundaries accordingly? The same district which couldn't even see an enrollment spike coming this past year even though the population of children of kindergarten age was up, and had been known to be up, for years?

    Neighborhood definitely needs to be one of the factors considered when making school assignments, but making it the primary factor, as Supervisor Chu wants, is just not going to work in the best interests of anyone but her own constituents.

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  11. In one of those srdad podcasts, Jill Wynns said that she wanted to get rid of alternative schools. It doesn't say anything about that on her website. Are they planning to get rid of alternative schools now?

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  12. Alternative schools are relatively meaningless in the current assignment process. The difference is that they have no designated assignment area, so nobody gets any priority for them based on that; and also, most of them have (yellow school) bus transportation from some parts of the city.

    Back in the '90s, alternative schools meant more, and here's how it worked, early '90s version: You could request an alternative school. Your default school was your designated school of assignment based on your address. The alternative schools were either wildly popular and way, way oversubscribed (as some still are) or else low-performing, struggling, shunned by savvy parents and not desirable at all -- no in-betweens.
    To get into an alternative school you had to 1) be accepted to the school and 2) be RELEASED from the default neighborhood school of assignment, which would only happen if your particular ethnicity (back then this was by race) was amply represented at that school. Between those two requirements, it was really hard to get into an alternative school, depending on what your neighborhood school of assignment was (or rather, what its racial makeup was).

    Later in the '90s, the requirement that you be "released" by the default school was dropped. But still, your choices were: neighborhood school of assignment or alternative school, period. And as noted, the alternative schools that weren't wildly oversubscribed and "impossible" get into were schools a concerned parent wouldn't choose.

    So you can see the difference. Today, "alternative school" really has no meaning within the current assignment system.

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  13. If Jill Wynns wants to get rid of Alternative Schools, does that mean that Argonne won't be year-round anymore?

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  14. I don't know why it would. Argonne's school schedule is not dependent on its being an alternative school, which is part of the point that "alternative school" is now an irrelevant designation.

    Word to the wise; I would lay low in discussing that if I were an Argonne parent. Extra funding goes to it, and other school communities might well start protesting that if it were widely known.

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  15. It wasn't an EITHER/OR choice ...

    the question was:

    --> Should neighborhood schools be a major part of assignment process?

    MAJOR PART, not THE ONLY PART.

    Parents want at least some of the uncertainty taken out of the enrollment process. If they knew that their kids were guaranteed a spot at , for instance, one of three schools in their "zone", and they could still also apply to any other school via some sort of lottery, that would be much better.

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  16. Argonne is a perfect example of why a neighborhood schools plan really won't make more people happy. While many at Argonne are from the immediate neighborhood, it also draws students from around the city whose families appreciate the year round schedule. This is the kind of choice that parents have overwhelmingly demonstrated is more important to them than just being assured of a spot at the closest school to their home. We need an assignment system that increases the kinds of choices available to parents, not one which limits them to only schools close to home. How would that be fair to the many people whose closest to home school is Muir, or Chavez, or other unpopular schools?

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  17. But parents don't have "choice" now.

    It is the illusion of choice, it is a lottery.

    A system that has some certainty, for those who want it, combined with a chance at other schools, if none of the neighborhood schools in your area work for you, would be better.

    Nothing is going to be absolutely perfect. There will still be way more people wanting certain schools than they have capacity for.

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  18. And there will be tons of people whose "certainty" is for a school that they don't want. SO is that better at all? Sure, it'll be better for the privileged few whose "certainty" is for the perfect ideal school.

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  19. This whole discussion illustrates why this is far too complex a question to be dismissed with a simplistic "let's just have neighborhood schools" solution, or, for that matter, with a simple "let's just have more choices" solution, or even the ever popular "let's just make all of the school great schools!" Coming up with an assignment process which is transparent, fair, quick to implement, and easily understood by everyone is a very difficult task, and there are no easy or simple answers.

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  20. Require neighborhood school assignments unless you want immersion, and put all immersion programs in underperforming schools. Done.

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  21. Former Libertarian BOE candidate Starchild had the idea that parents could just take their kids to whatever schools they chose without any sort of formal assignment system and things would work out eventually as parents would chose underenrolled schools to avoid crowded conditions at the popular ones.

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  22. Yes, thankfully Starchild never got elected to the BOE.

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  23. RE: NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS.

    This discussion is getting very confusing. Maybe it is semantics, maybe it is because Chu doesn't really know how the system works and is trying to make herself look good to her constituents. Families DO get preference at neighborhood schools (called "attendance area schools" by SFUSD). However, with only 20 or so seats available each fall (after sibling assignments), EVERYONE cannot get their neighborhood (attendance-area) school, even under the best of circumstances. Folks on this blog don't seem to understand that fact. Where will you get assigned after those 20 or so seats are full and the system doesn't allow choices? Watch out what you wish for...

    Alternative schools are the exception in the assignment process, and I hope that the SFUSD eliminates this legacy designation, which is misleading, archaic, and in some cases down-right undeserved. Alternative schools hurt neighborhood assignments the most, by wiping out attendance area schools.

    From SFUSD web site FAQ: "For schools with attendance areas, applicants from the attendance area will be assigned before non-attendance area students as long as there is space available and attendance area students contribute to diversity as defined by the Student Assignment System. Applications from non-attendance area students are only considered when applicants from the attendance area no longer contribute to diversity.

    There is no attendance area advantage for assignments to alternative schools. Where an applicant lives does not affect his or her chances of receiving an offer of assignment to an alternative school."

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  24. Oops, my cut-and-paste from the SFUSD FAQ was incomplete. Here are the question the beginning sentences from the answer:

    "Q: Will my child be guaranteed placement in the school nearest to my home?

    A: No. If there are enough spaces at a school to accommodate all students who want to attend, all applicants will receive assignment offers. If there are not enough spaces at a school to accommodate all students who want to attend, there is no guarantee that a student from the attendance area will receive an assignment offer."

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  25. 20 seats after siblings, in a school that only has two kindergartens. But some schools have 3 or more kinder classes.

    Attendence areas also have more than one school in them.

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  26. Do immersion schools have attendance areas? They really shouldn't.

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  27. Families DO get preference at neighborhood schools

    Only if they contribute to the diversity the school is looking for at that particular moment. If they don't, they turn to the non-attendance-area pool for the selection that is at bat.

    EVERYONE cannot get their neighborhood (attendance-area) school, even under the best of circumstances.

    Yes, they can, if you arrange the attendance areas to reflect where the children are living (or build schools where they are living).

    Where will you get assigned after those 20 or so seats are full and the system doesn't allow choices?

    Same as how it happens in the suburbs. But in SF, the kicker is immersion; you want it? -- go get it some place where your presence benefits an underperforming school.

    Really, why would choose to LIVE with your neighbors, but choose to NOT go to school with them?

    The original point of choice was to get POOR people out of the hood and into Clarendon. Not to move your white middle class ass away from the only SF neighborhood you could afford to buy or rent a house in.

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  28. We're new to the city and new to this process. I don't understand how the ranking process of your 7 schools works. We're in Cow Hollow and would love for our kid to go to Sherman. We've also seen Yick Wo and will see Garfield, Spring Valley, George Peabody, Rosa Parks, Sutro and Claire Lillienthal. If our top choice is Sherman is there any point in putting a school like Lillienthal #2, 3, 4 etc? How much weight is given to where it is on your list? Is there any good way to list schools? I know this may be a can of worms but I'm completely confused by the process here and wondering what other people are planning to do.

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  29. You list 7 schools. Each school does a lottery run at the same time. You can, conceivably, have your name come up in more than one school's run. In that case, you will get your highest ranked choice.

    Or...you might get nothing.

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  30. From that list you gave, the only school you have a chance of getting in without a lot of luck is Rosa Parks.

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  31. The other issue regarding "neighborhood" schools is that some neighborhoods don't have ANY elementary schools (i.e. the Marina and the Presidio) and they are bound by water. I know, don't feel sorry for us, we have a lot of other benefits - but staying on topic... We couldn't walk to Kindergarten from most of this part of the city - because there are no elementary schools!!!
    My guess is that Claire Lilienthal’s Divis Campus was a K-5 at one time, but once it became a cartel k-8 - the divis campus is 3-8. So, the Marina now has two middle schools and no true elementary school. Similarly, the Presidio, which is teaming with families, has no public schools within its boundaries (but you can spend 30K to go to the Bay school if you want). I expect that this is the case in other parts of the city (i.e. not well placed "neighborhood" schools). So, perhaps the district, and the BOE, more specifically needs to truly re-evaluate what the needs of the communities are and whether it is even possible to accommodate them. Why not make Lilienthal’s 3-8 campus another elementary school (K-5) and merge the middle school into Marina Middle - it is under-enrolled (and not particularly diverse). Or perhaps the Presidio could support its city and find a great location for a new school???
    Maybe having the supervisors input on what the needs of their communities are would actually HELP create a more strategic plan for the district.

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  32. 8:36, I disagree. I think 8:17 indeed has an excellent chance of getting one of those schools if she is willing to endure the waitpool runs, and then pull her kid out of another school five or six weeks into the school year.

    Yes, it's insane. But we did get our school (Yick Wo) the second week of October. My kid is already well adjusted. It's like we were never at the other school. And best of all, we're set for six years, then again, we're set with our younger kid.

    Insane, but the payoff is, you get your school. And that's the point.

    The process IS insane.

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  33. 8:17 said:
    "If our top choice is Sherman is there any point in putting a school like Lillienthal #2, 3, 4 etc? "

    Every year I am surprised to meet people at highly requested schools who got in during round 1 with the school as their 2nd, 3rd or 4th etc. choices. I went 0/7 in round 1 a few years back, got into my 1st choice school during the first waitlist run, and when school started was amazed that many of the other families listed it 3rd, 4th etc and all got it in round 1 - and no, none of the families I'm thinking of offer diversity that would be apparent from the enrollment form. It's possible some might live within the outer reaches of a neighborhood assignment district. Since then I've seen it happen again and again. It's just luck. So I could be wrong, but I say list them in the order you want them.

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  34. Of course you should list them in the order you want them.

    If your name comes up in more than school lottery you will get your highest ranked choice.

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  35. Where you rank a school on your list does not affect your odds of getting it. Someone who lists Clarendon #1 and someone who lists Clarendon #7 both have exactly the same odds of getting that school (all other things being equal). Rank only comes into play if you happen to get into more than one of your list of 7 -- in which case the one you ranked higher is the one you get.

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  36. I posted this on the wrong thread, and I am reposting here.

    I think we need a new thread: Do our own biases as adults get in the way of giving our children what's best for *them* instead of us?

    I was at the Burke's family fair yesterday, and I was so turned off and appalled by the lack of diversity, and all the rich investor banking dudes in ballcaps, with all their blond daughters and matching wives with the pie eyed stares, that I started swearing under my breath. I can't stand those people, and it made me angry for reasons I didn't fully understand.

    But the campus and teachers and everything else is probably about the best you can get in San Francisco. If I deny my daughters that experience, am I being unfair to them?

    But jesus, that place wreaked of white privilege. And even though it's okay, because you know, it's San Francisco, and probably 90% of them vote the same way as I do (Obama) it still made my skin scrawl.

    I'm torn today....

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  37. At least the good thing about the lottery is, we are all equal.

    I just don't see how diversity or any other factor has a role. I just don't.

    Like, 80% of the people listing Lawton as their number one choice are asian, and lo and behold, 80% of the students are asian.

    Clarendon should be 80% white by that measure, but it isn't. I just don't get it.

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  38. 11:55 I agree that, hard as it may be, we need to focus on what would be the best fit for our child, not ourselves. At my daughter's preschool, there was a 2-mom family with an adopted daughter from China. She got into both Synergy and Alice Fong Yu. The parents were torn as they would have felt very comfortable in the Synergy community but felt that Alice Fong Wu would be better for their daughter. Ultimately, they chose Alice Fong Yu. Although the parents don't feel particularly comfortable among the other parents there, their daughter is really thriving, which they consider more important.

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  39. I'd love to hear from a Caucasian, Hispanic or Black family going to a primarily Asian school. I'd be really curious to hear about their family's experience at somewhere like Alice Fong...but there are plenty of others that seem very Asian...Lawton, Alamo, others in the Sunset district

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  40. 11:55, I share your concern about whether our biases as adults might interfere with what's best for our children - to a point. I would be uncomfortable sending my daughter to a school where nearly all of the other students' parents modeled behavior that I wouldn't want for my own children, including entitlement OR broad stereotyping. My spouse and I both work, I have the educational credentials to have chosen a career that makes a lot of money but instead I work in public service, and we're really trying to teach our children empathy and the value of hard work, among other qualities.

    I'm also Caucasian, as are my children, who even have blond hair. If my family had been at Burke's fair yesterday, would you have sworn at us under your breath? Would you have silently seethed at my children, who no more chose their hair and skin color than did your own daughter?

    I can't stand entitled behavior, either, but I also worry about condemning people based on their appearance. Your comment makes me wonder whether we would be accepted at a school with which our social views are actually more aligned - or whether our skin and hair color would be all that people would see.

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  41. Over the past year this whole discussion has become ridiculous to me. My family can deal with life and it's unfairness in our own way. We try to raise our kid to behave with kindness and respect to everyone. We can change the world one moment at time just as easily from public or private. I'm not beating myself up over this anymore. I've known super cool people (and the converse) from all walks of life and they've all contributed to my world view, enjoyment of life, whatever. If we choose public it certainly won't be a condemnation of private. If we choose private it doesn't we won't still support the public schools or denigrate them.

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  42. I am latina and was pleasantly surprised to meet several current Burke's families who are also latino. Granted, not all of them *looked* latino (some were quite fair) but we were able to connect because I overheard the moms speaking to their kids in Spanish.

    We ran into lots of non-latino families we know who DON'T have children at Burke's but who came to the fair just for the fun of it.

    So I'm not really sure how you could tell which folks were enrolled at Burke's vs. which were just families either from the immediate Sea Cliff neighborhood or kinder applicant families there to check out the festival.

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  43. or kinder applicant families there to check out the festival

    One of the best lessons I learned going through the private school application process last year was that the families you see on the tours and at the events are not necessarily the families who populate the school.

    Our K class at Hamlin, as a fellow Hamlin parent commented on another thread, is diverse in every way possible, and has an exceptionally nice group of parents, too.

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  44. The 6th grade class at Hamlin is a lot less diverse, though.

    I don't know whether that is a sign that teh school is slowly changing or a sign that the more "diverse" families have all dropped out by middle school.

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  45. I think Hamlin is changing quickly, and especially in the last 6 or so years. I actually asked about drop outs and Hamlin's rate is low, the amount you would expect in a city where families are sometimes transferred or move for jobs.

    We've been pleasantly surprised by how much we love the school, especially the K parent community. Wanda Holland Greene, the new head of school, has re-energized an already awesome faculty. The place buzzes with excitement and enthusiasm.

    If you are considering private school at all, and have a daughter, check it out. Hamlin has its open house "Learn About Hamlin" on Saturday morning, the 25th. It's open to all. You just need to call to let them know you're coming--call Wendy Yeung, 415-674-5440.

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  46. Not to discount input from K parents, as their impressions of schools are very mportant, but eep in mind that they are only a few months into their experience at a school. As parents are looking at schools it's also important to speak with parents of children who have been at the school for at least a couple of years, as they have had the chance to have a fuller range of experiences with a school. Just a tip...

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  47. The above comment is true, but K parents can accurately describe the diversity of their class.

    Hamlin's board a few years ago made diversity of all kinds an absolute top priority, and their efforts have really begun to pay off. Wanda is fantastic, but her arrival only bolsters an important cultural change that was well underway.

    Last year when we toured, many of the schools had diversity nights. Hamlin's was the only one where the president of the board came and gave a very detailed PowerPoint presentation outlining the school's strategy.

    Check it out. Anyone who tours the school will be able to see the change for themselves.

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  48. I hear Hamlin is a very high-pressure environment in Middle School and the girls find an outlet in cutting, eating disorders and drugs at an earlier age than children in other schools.

    Have you found that to be the case, or do you not have friends in the upper grades?

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  49. The quick answer is "no," I don't personally know kids who meet that description.

    The longer answer: Hamlin's uppper grades are rigorous - the prior head was very focused on academics. There are benefits to that. I've heard from high schoolers that Hamlin's graduates are known not only for their preparedness but their willingess to take on leadership positions in life.

    That said, there are families who feel like the academics in the upper grades can be too much, that there isn't enough time left to hang with family or just hang out. And I definitely get the sense this is an issue Wanda is addressing.

    Wanda is so eloquent on this subject I've posted her speech that was on the school's Web site. She started by singing:

    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we’ll see
    No I won't be afraid
    Oh I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand, stand by me

    And darling, darling stand by me
    Oh, stand by me
    Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me

    If the sky that we look upon
    Should tumble and fall
    Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
    I won't cry, I won't cry
    No I won't shed a tear
    Just as long as you stand, stand by me

    And darling, darling stand by me
    Oh, stand by me
    Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me

    Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me
    Oh, stand by me,
    Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me!

    Good evening, Middle School parents, and thank you so much for being here this evening. Tonight, you are in for a real treat. The Main Event will be having the opportunity to experience first-hand the incredibly talented and devoted educators of Hamlin’s middle school. By the end of the evening, I promise you that you will have at least one moment when you’ll want to turn back the hands of time and attend middle school. And then, of course, you’ll quickly reverse that thought when you remember what you looked like back then and what it felt like to be 11, 12, 13 and 14. Nevertheless, my point is that our dynamic academic program and the people who deliver it each day are tonight’s feature, and Erik Carlson and I have the privilege of warming up the crowd.

    Both Erik and I have chosen a phrase from Hamlin’s mission statement that resonates deeply within us, and we’ll offer some words that we hope will fall like seeds into fertile soil. The phrase I have selected, “an environment of encouragement and support,” is the latter part of the opening sentence of the mission statement: Hamlin offers a challenging academic program in an environment of encouragement and support. Why are encouragement and support absolutely essential in middle school? Why does the Middle School girl seem to sing to us, “Stand by me, stand by me”?

    Before I answer that question, I want to let you all know that this is not the speech I gave last Thursday at 5:30. I’m singing a different tune this week—literally and figuratively. Last Thursday, I sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and talked about the power and importance of the imagination in the life of a young child. Great message, you say. Give us the happy speech! After all, don’t middle school girls need to exercise the power of their imaginations too?

    The short answer is yes, but regrettably, it’s not always easy to do.

    Thus, my message to you, the parents and educators of pre-adolescent and adolescent girls, is specific and particular, and I now return to the questions that I posed a couple moments ago: Why are encouragement and support absolutely essential in middle school? Why does the Middle School girl need us—parents and educators-- to stand by her?

    I believe that we can begin to find the answers to these questions in the words of one Hamlin middle school girl who gave me permission to share her words with you tonight:

    Ms. Holland Greene, I am carrying an elephant! I have so much to manage with homework, tests, essays, English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language, three charities to devote myself to, piano, church, competitive sports, recreational rock climbing, book club, helping my mom, helping my siblings, cleaning my room, staying calm and relaxed, having fun, having a personal life, being organized, dealing with friends…. I need to get into high school….I need to master the SSAT….and all this makes me sad, happy, and emotional.

    The middle school girl needs encouragement and support to organize all the moving pieces of her life. Dare I say that she might even need some help getting rid of some of those moving pieces so that she can eat properly and get adequate sleep? The middle school girl needs our assistance in clarifying core values so that she makes wise decisions; she needs the adults in her life to tell her clearly when she has broken trust or crossed a boundary. She needs to know that we do not hold grudges against her or keep a tally of her mistakes. The middle school girl needs to hear from us that some of her angst and woe and mood swings are the result of hormonal shifts that are absolutely natural. She is sad, happy, and emotional, at times within a five-minute span of time, and she needs our help to sort and understand her own feelings. She needs to hear, again and again, that she is beautiful and strong.

    Girls who are encouraged and who feel supported don’t edit their voices; they speak up for themselves and take the risk and responsibility that are sometimes necessary to speak up for others. Girls with healthy psyches decline the proposal to wed themselves to negative messages about who they are and what they can become.

    So, how do we get there?


    Ms. Holland Greene’s
    Top Ten Ways to Provide Encouragement and Support:

    1. Praise and reward her effort, not her intelligence
    2. Insist that she take credit for her successes
    3. Insist that she assume responsibility for her mistakes
    4. Create limits, but give her choices within that structure
    5. Connect learning in school to the world outside school
    6. Model coping strategies for her
    7. Provide clear explanations for your decisions
    8. Make your expectations for her both realistic and clear
    9. Help her to develop effective organizational systems
    10. Make sure that she is eating and sleeping well

    Hamlin is a school with an engaging and challenging academic program—and that is as it should be. Hamlin is also a school where there is high support from caring adults—and that is as it should be. Challenge without adequate support is cruel and dehumanizing; support without adequate challenge is uninspiring and stagnant. We need both.

    I thank all parents in advance for linking arms with us to give your daughters what they need to thrive in a complex and rapidly changing world. You and I know that elephants are meant for riding, not carrying.


    Thank you.

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  50. Wow, that is a spectacular speech. One that seems all middle school girls can relate to.

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  51. Choice & neighborhood schools:

    If we had (for example) 3 or 4 schools to choose from (we live in Bernal)--

    we would have made peace with those schools. I know I would have also gotten involved with at least 2 of them ahead of time to help make them strong for my daughters entry.

    The way it is now, there is no reason to put an ounce of energy into your neighborhood schools because there is no guarentee your kid will get in--unless it's a school no one else wants.

    I think it's worth considering neighborhood assignments if it will increase public participation, and guarantee neighborhood families a spot.

    The schools in our general area include:
    Flynn
    Fairmount
    Paul Revere
    Moscone
    Chavez
    Bryant

    I can't imagine that the diversity would change all that much with a large neighborhood assingment in place.

    I think that 2 changes would have to accompany neighborhood assigments. The first is that if you move, you should be able to transfer easily. The second is that you should be able to put in for a school outside your neighborhood if you want to--for reasons like: other parent lives near school X, or work near school X or my kid needs special services provided for at school X.

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  52. We had neighborhood assignment in our day, and we were assigned to a school "no one" wanted (of course there were students there, but it was unpopular in our world, put it that way).

    We wouldn't have accepted it, period. To elaborate, we would have gone for it if a number of our peers were doing the same thing, but the then-principal was so unimpressive that none of us was willing.

    Of course, now my attitude is different -- though I still don't know what I would do now with that principal in place. Meanwhile, the principal was replaced and the school (Miraloma) became wildly popular. But neighborhood assignment was NOT a winner as far as we were concerned, certainty or not.

    Oakland Unified has neighborhood assignment; every family has total certainty. Those who live near popular schools are happy, and those who live near troubled schools are either furious, fleeing to private (or another district) or both, leaving the oblivious, making those schools more troubled. And Oakland Unified is a far lower-functioning district than SFUSD overall.

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