Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hot topic: Catholic schools

An SF K Files visitor suggested that we start a thread on Catholic schools:

"I have noticed a shortage of information about Catholic schools. I think for many of us they provide an affordable option for a quality education and as economic times get tougher they might be more popular this year. Many families I know are touring them this year and are not Catholic but were terrified by reading what happened to so many families last year and feel that they can't depend on the sfusd to come up with a spot for them. It would help to hear other thoughts about NDV, St. Brigids, Star of the Sea etc."

79 comments:

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  3. Before you think of joining Caroline in throwing the baby out with the bath water, please consider the work of the good people at DignityUSA, who celebrate and advocate for LGBT Catholics, focusing on effecting change from within the institution. They are doing the hard work that benefits all of us -- especially those for whom religion and spirituality offer support, empowerment, and hope.

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  4. Yeah, good thing we all didn't quit voting on the grounds that voting elected Bush.

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  6. Catholic schools fill a need in SF for many familes who can't afford the 20K private schools and don't get their choice or find a public school that works for their family. Many of them are also diverse in a way that SF public schools would envy. Tuition assistance is available at many of the schools and that include assistance for music programs.

    On another thread someone made a great comment to Carolines post, Change can come from within. There are GLBT families at Catholic schools by choice! If Caroline's reasoning holds then please do not send donations or worse yet volunteer at such Catholic institutions as St. Anthony's Dining room that only encourages the Catholics. And while we are at it, maybe we can get those nuns out of Laguna Honda which is a public institution and lets priests and nuns volunteer. I know Caroline that you are not religious. Many parents in Catholic schools are not religious either, but they have found that the schools provide a solid education and are a good fit for their families.

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  7. Caroline, you might as well boycott black-owned businesses and travel to Oakland while you're at it, since black voters supported the ban by 70% to 30%.

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  8. At least she finally picked a fitting avatar -- an accordion...

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  10. "After all, their tuition money is going to an institution that actively worked to reach into the secular world and limit the rights of a lot of people."

    Their tuition money isn't going to the church. It's going to the *school*, and many of the schools, particularly in the SE of the city, get *subsidized* by part of the church: St.James ES gets $500K money from the Dominicans, and I think some of the other schools do also. Now, they could pull out of tithing to their parish if parishoners.

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  11. Boycott Utah? Why not our own state? (The Central Valley comes to mind...) Californians are the bigots who voted for Prop 8.

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  12. Boycotting Utah is like driftnetting at sea -- the tuna hunt captures dolphins and turtles and everything else that happens to swim with the tuna. Utah didn’t vote on Prop 8, not everyone in Utah is Mormon, and not all Mormons opposed same sex marriage.

    But never mind, I know where to buy my next piece of property.

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  13. So... anyone know any good catholic schools?

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  14. Maybe I am misremembering, but my understanding has always been that the cost of educating students at Catholic parochial schools is subsidized by the archdiocese. That's one of the reasons the tuition is so much lower than at other private schools. Even the students paying full freight do not fully cover the costs of their education. There are no longer very many clergy who teach for peanuts; reasonably competitive teacher salaries must be paid plus all the other overhead associated with running a school. Full tuition at NDV for 08-09 was less than $6700, books included. An additional $900 K-2 annual aide fee was required and a $600 annual contribution was pretty much mandatory. This adds up to $8200, less than the SFUSD's annual per-student budget, per-child discounts are given for families with more than one-child, and many Catholic school students receive scholarships. St. Monica's tuition and annual contribution amount was lower than NDV's. Perhaps by sending your child to Catholic school, fully conscious of what the individual school has to say about family diversity, you could actually be diverting church resources away from nefarious political activism.

    Caroline's right, church-affiliated groups funded egregiously dishonest scare-tactic ads in the campaign in favor or Prop 8. But parents know the church's official positions on hot-button issues and can decide for themselves whether sending their child to a particular Catholic school will make them culpable in supporting those positions. Maybe they'll say, "No, my money all goes to the school, there's nothing left for politics." Maybe they'll say, "Yeah, but I can balance it out by donating and/or working to oppose that position." Maybe they'll say, as I'm sure Caroline would, "I'm not touching Catholic school with a ten-foot pole." Maybe (one hopes they are few) they'll say, "I don't object to/I agree with those positions."

    People are asking for information about the educational programs Catholic schools offer. I hope this thread will provide some.

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  15. St. John's in Glen Park is a nice little school. The principal, Mr. Willers, is a really lovely guy, full of energy and excitement for the school. We toured it several years back and were impressed with the teachers and the community. In the end it was a little more Jesus than we could handle (I say that having gone to a Jesuit high school and college - I don't remember Catholic schools being quite so Jesus heavy 30 years ago) but it seemed like really a nice place. Being a lesbian family, we asked Mr. Willers about how our family would be welcomed and he offered to introduce us personally to the other gay families there and said that he would never tolerate any sort of bigotry at his school -- and when he said it I really believed him.

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  16. St. John's in Glen Park is a nice little school. The principal, Mr. Willers, is a really lovely guy, full of energy and excitement for the school. We toured it several years back and were impressed with the teachers and the community. In the end it was a little more Jesus than we could handle (I say that having gone to a Jesuit high school and college - I don't remember Catholic schools being quite so Jesus heavy 30 years ago) but it seemed like really a nice place. Being a lesbian family, we asked Mr. Willers about how our family would be welcomed and he offered to introduce us personally to the other gay families there and said that he would never tolerate any sort of bigotry at his school -- and when he said it I really believed him.

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  19. I have a friend who sends her daughter to NDV and she absolutely loves it. I have heard that St. Paul's in Noe Valley is decent and St. Philips maybe a little better. Isn't there a Catholic school in the Sunset that's supposedly good?

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  20. Does anyone know whether any of the Catholic MSs or HSs in SF offer athletic scholarships?

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  21. I encourage families to look into the following schools. Some others have fabulous reputations, but are difficult to get into if you are not a member of the parish. However, the following have good reputations, but are easier to get in. Think of them as the "hidden gems" of Catholic schools.

    St. Paul
    St. Phillip
    St. James
    St. Ann of the Sunset
    Holy Name
    St. Gabriel (This may be a bit harder to get in, but not impossible)
    St. James
    St. Thomas The Apostle
    St. Thomas Moore (another one that might be a little difficult)
    Epiphany
    Corpus Cristi
    St. Monica
    St. Brigid (They used to have very high enrollment, but I'm not so sure anymore. Also, there is no parish anymore. As I recall, very few families were even Cathoic.)

    I hope this helps. I'm sorry I didn't see this post earlier. It's a shame it was derailed.

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  22. Jack's mom. I'm pretty certain none of the elementary schools offer sports scholarships. Elementary schools go up through middle school in all Catholic schools. (BTW, another plus for Catholic schools.) However, I do think some are offered at the high school level.

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  23. I married into the Jewish culture, and I think that's where I absorbed the principle that a strong reaction is appropriate when human rights are attacked (and attacked successfully, in the case of Prop. 8).

    I'm sorry that anyone feels that bringing up the extremely relevant issue of human rights is "derailing" a comparison of parochial schools.

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  24. I forgot to add St. Finn Barr and St. Peter and Paul.

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  25. Here's a link to San Francisco Department of Catholic schools. There's also info on tuition assistance. Keep in mind that some of the schools on there are very hard to get into. St. Brendan, St. Cecilia, St. Stephen, St. Vincent De Paul, and NDV come to mind. Not saying, don't bother but just worth mentioning.
    http://www.sfcatholicschools.org/

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  26. Something else to keep in mind, the culture of Catholic schools (like any community) greatly differs from school to school. It's really important to try to get a feel as to which one might be your best fit.

    Also, tuition is different from school to school. Not by much, but it's not the same across the board.

    I have a great deal of experience with catholic schools in SF, so feel free to post any questions and I'll do my best to answer them. I do answer anon, however.

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  27. I just posted this in a different thread, and thought it would be appropriate here.

    If you are considering a Catholic school in Marin PLEASE check out St Hilary's in Tiburon. We were blown away with the school when we saw it and seriously considered it vs MCDS (we got in to both).

    St Hilary's is a truly fantastic school and largely undiscovered. Beautiful new facilities, breathtaking location in Tiburon, awesome teachers and administration, very low teacher / student ratio (comparable to most independents at 8:1), close-knit parent community, and some of the happiest kids you wil ever see in school.

    I do not work for the school or am affiliated with it - I was just truly impressed with the school. It is truly undiscovered, and any parent or person who ha seen this school will probably echo my views.

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  28. Anon 10:59:

    Any opinions on St. Elizabeth's, Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Visitation Valley, Epiphany, Mission Dolores?

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  29. 10:15 do you know which SF Catholic High Schools offer sports scholarships for boys? Thanks in advance.

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  30. Anon 10:59 here (also the anon that composed the list of schools to check out)

    I've heard that Mission Dolores is still pretty popular. Not to mention it has such a rich cultural history. I would definitely check it out.

    Vis Valley, and St. Elizabeth are smaller schools, and while they may not be well funded, they may have smaller class sizes. I would look into scheduling a visit to both.

    Corpus Christi and Epiphany have always been popular within the Catholic School community. Their class sizes may be larger, but generally speaking people are very happy in those schools.

    Jock's mom. Sacred Heat Cathedral, Riordan, and Saint Ignatius likely all have some sort of Athletic scholorship program. They are the bigger high schools in SF. Riordan is boys only.

    Hope this helps.

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  31. Anon 10:59 here.

    Another thing to mention is that many Catholic Schools take 6th graders entering from Elementary Schools. While it's still hard to get into the most popular schools, (again, not impossible) if you're interested, you can give it a try. It's usually fairly simple to get into the hidden gems listed above.

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  32. I'd love to know which of the Catholic schools are more religious and which are less.

    How many hours of religious instruction do children get a week, for example?

    My partner and I are not married, which could be an issue for some schools. ANd neither of us is religious.

    So our issue with Catholic schools is that we'd rather have the time spent on religious instruction spent on just about anything else: art, music, foreign language, extra tutoring, even free play.

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  33. Do any of the Catholic schools excel at differentiated instruction or have a more progressive approach to curriculum?

    I think of them as so old-fashioned and traditional from a pedagogical point-of-view, but admit that reputation may be outdated or may only apply to some.

    Also: Don't they have even larger class sizes than the publics?

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  34. Anon 10:59

    There is religious instruction in all Catholic Schools. There's no way around that. It's generally on period a day, like anything else. However, it's usually a shorter time block than Language Arts and Math. Some schools may do more than others. Most schools also attend Mass once a month.

    As far as teaching styles, some are more progressive than others. However, I would agree that most Catholic schools offer a more traditional approach to teaching styles.

    Yes, class sizes can be much larger, especially at the more popular schools. At the less popular schools, classes can be even smaller than public schools.

    It all depends on enrollment. I would think that next year we will see some schools have smaller class sizes just because of the economy being what it is.

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  35. Anon 10:59

    6:44, I highly doubt you'd run into too many issues not being married. You'd be surprised how these are non-issues for most Catholic Schools.

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  36. 6:44 am-

    Single mom by choice of twins here who thought I would get some push back from the Catholic Church about my decision-and so far, they have been nothing but welcoming---quite frankly, I don't think that that not being married would be an issue as far as applications go. As a matter of fact, there is a pretty consistent poster here who is part of a two mom family at NDV and she has repeatedly commented on how inclusive NDV is.

    St. Cecilia's and St. Brendan's have both been very open to me and my family-and so that you get that even sometimes the Catholic Church can have a sense of humor-our priest chose Father's Day as the day to baptize my two!

    Each Catholic school pretty much has their own wesbite which will give you their priorities regarding admittance-St. Brendan's even has a list of what they feel are the tests to see if your child is ready for kindergarten which I found helpful.

    And for what it is worth, just because someone is Catholic does not mean that they are bigoted or prejudiced. I campaigned and voted NO on Prop 8 and am a weekly church goer. My mom, a 71 year old retired Catholic school teacher, also voted No. Please don't tarnish all of us with the same brush just as you, Caroline, have requested that we all not tarnish SF public schools with the same brush. I am strongly considering public schools thanks to this website but get frustrated/annoyed with comments like Caroline's. Quite frankly, they are counterproductive.

    Jeanine

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  38. Ugh, I'm a member of the LGBT community, and it makes my skin crawl that your latest self-righteous, holier-than-thou platform is gay rights.

    Don't you work for a "newspaper" that endorsed the McCain ticket? It's beyond hypocritical that you're now moralizing about families supporting the Catholic Church through parochial schools.

    You have a lot of advice about how other people should lead an ethical life, but you spend so much time spewing hostility and creating friction. And don't come back with "it's called free speech," again. It's your twist-anything, cheap insinuations that you know I'm talking about.

    Must you pollute every online discussion related to schools in San Francisco? You seem to have endless amounts of free time on your hands, so how about going off and working to solve some of the problems that SF schools face? Achievement gap, maybe? State education funding? Run for office, advocate in Sacramento. Put some of your enormous energy toward positive pursuits.

    Sandy Fewer's long list of involvement/participation is a good model.

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  39. Hi Jeanine
    Glad to hear you are looking at St. Cecelia's and St. Brendan’s. St. Cecelia's is very popular with families of twins because they have two classes per grade. St Gabs and Holy Name in the Sunset all have two classes per grade as well. After kindergarten they split the twins into separate classes. NDV and St Brendans, St Stephens are single classes per grade.

    One other poster asked about teaching style. It varies so much by individual teacher that I think it is hard to categorize by the different Catholic Schools.
    St Cecelia's just rolled out a new math curriculum this year. For the primary grades it is using lots of manipulative and such and the curriculum is available online.

    The Catholic Schools go through regular WASC accreditation - You can ask when you tour to read the Wasc reports. In addition to outlining what their academic goals are you can see what tack they are taking on religious instructions. I know of one school that view's being more green as a social justice issue and is taking that on in their 5 year plan.

    If you are interested in St. Cecilia’s, St. Gabs or St. Brendans, you have a better chance of getting in, if you register with the parish and then donate in the weekly envelopes. That is how you are tracked as a participating member.

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  41. 10:17 am:

    Thanks!

    Jeanine

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  42. (eye roll)

    Enough already, Caroline. You've stated your opinion. Must you hijack EVERY thread on this blog for your own agenda?

    Some of us are looking for actual information for a viable option for our children and do not appreciate a lecture from you every time we read this blog.

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  43. Please reread this blog entry's original post. It was a call for information about Catholic schools. The first entry is a call to boycott said schools by a well-known anti-private school activist. Over 1/3 of the posts which follow are made by the same person, someone with no information to add to the topic at hand. It's just plain tiresome, and I think the characterization of the incessant postings as pollution is entirely apt. This is my first post to this topic, and will be my last, though I'm sure someone will find it necessary to respond.

    Oh, and I have friends who send their kids to St. Phillip's and are very happy. They are anti-Prop 8 Catholics, if that is helpful to know.

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  44. 10:11

    THANK YOU so much for stating what so many of us are thinking.

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  45. and THANK YOU to 11:09 too!

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  46. Why is that person always butting in anyways? This blog is for parents that are looking for schools isn't it?

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  47. I toured NDV this year and really liked it, we also went to the Open House, and it seems like it would be a great program. I'm not sure if it would be a match for our very active daughter... but we're definitely considering it. Kinder is 30 kids with an aid, and the teacher has been there for 20+ yrs. There is a lot of structure within the classroom, but still time and room to be five. They have religion, French and all the basics daily, and then weekly or biweekly computers, gym, music and art, and a monthly adventure to the science lab (although science is generaly covered within the weekly curriculum). They have 8th grade buddies, and although the playground is rather small, the classrooms have lots of light and most of them have lots of room. Big kids (6th-8th) are upstairs on their own floor, and lunches/playground are sepearted by age. I'd be happy to share more if anyone is interested.

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  48. Caroline: You've made a very powerful case and I tend to agree with you. But now it is time to let it rest and give prospective parents a chance to discuss the merits of Catholic schools among themselves. At this point, you are only hurting your cause by continuing to argue.

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  49. I keep seeing all this research about the importance of unstructured play for kindergarteners, and yet they get *so* little of it at most schools.

    Which schools offer kids the most open choice time?

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  50. I have been reading this blog for many months and have never contributed a comment although I have sincerely appreciated the many points of view and invaluable information that others have posted. I've cringed when others have said things about Caroline, just chalking up her posts to "free speech" but I just can't take it anymore. Caroline, I did not vote for Prop 8, but am friends with many who voted for it. Their reasoning was as follows: "while we support civil unions for homosexuals and even "marriage" per se we do not want to open our churches up to lawsuits when our churches refuse to marry homosexual couples because it is against their religion as has happened in some European countries." Please give it a rest. I appreciate that you want to be heard but at this point you really are "hijacking" this blog. While you would never consider them, some of us are thinking of Catholic schools and would like to discuss them. You did what you felt was best for your children now allow others to do what they feel is best for theirs.

    As far as Catholic schools go, St. Cecilia's and St. Brendan's are always mentioned in discussions, but I have also heard very good things about St. Monica's and Star fo the Sea.

    We originally were thinking of Catholic schools as "safety" schools but it appears that quite a few of them are very much in demand.

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  51. Jeanine here-

    You might also consider St. Stephens (right next to Stonestown)and St. Gabriel's-both have very good reputations and very strong parent participation.

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  52. I was really impressed by the Kindergarten teacher at St. Monica's. She was one of the only K teachers (public or Catholic school) on our tours thus far that mentioned how important it is for Kinders to play and have a chance to be five. They do have structured times but have a chance to pick an area for free play (blocks, computer, dress up, art, stories on tape). Then the kids talk about why they chose their activity to the group and why it makes them happy. The class was happy, loud and energetic. The school is serious about academics later and their test scores reflect that but their Kinder class was a real gem.

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  53. Is anyone else bothered by the NDV "sailor suit" uniforms? They are sort of too cutesy, if you know what I mean.

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  54. "In response to the further criticisms: I do a blog on examiner.com as a freelancer. Yes, the owner of the Examiner empire endorsed McCain. I don't see how that obligates me to keep quiet when my conscience calls upon to speak out. How is that hypocritical? So is every employee (if I were an employee, though I'm not) required to adhere to the boss' positions or be a hypocrite? Who made that rule?"

    Of course, you must know the poster meant: How can you (in good conscience) continue to contribute to the Examiner "empire," after its arch conservative founder/owner used the Examiner chain of papers to try to persuade the voters of California (and other states) to select a president who is pro-Prop 8 (thus, anti-human rights), anti- choice, pro- endless war, etc.? The poster may be suggesting that, as a matter of principle, you should cease playing any role in such a hate mongering enterprise… since otherwise, to use your own words, you are “still part of that campaign -- just by being part of the [Clarity Media Group, a holding of the Anschutz Company]."

    Like you, I understand "that this makes people very uncomfortable when they've made a commitment to participate in a [scary and ideologically backwards] institution," like the Anschutz Company. But maybe you think this far reaching empire, funded by a right wing multibillionaire (sort of an evangelical Murdoch, with a radically conservative agenda), could use some progressive voices? I, myself, would never have considered contributing to the Examiner once it was purchased by the Fangs (and I feel even more strongly about that, now that this dangerously powerful wingnut owns the paper), but I can certainly understand-and respect-that others might make a different choice.

    About the owner of the Examiner chain of newspapers (and SO much more!):

    “But Anschutz is not only a wealthy tycoon who has built a business empire that encompasses everything from railways and ranches to cinemas and sports teams, he has also used this vast wealth and influence to promote his conservative Christian views, to campaign against gay marriage and to fund an organisation that questions Darwin's theory of evolution. His money also pays for another group based in Washington to attack and lobby against liberal elements of the US media and to rail about alleged indecency on television, while his movie production company, the Anschutz Film Group (AFG), has made Christianity-themed films such asThe Chronicles of Narnia, an adaptation of C S Lewis's children's story The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/
    profiles/philip-anschutz-the-westerner-407105.html

    http://www.aegworldwide.com/05_affiliates/icon.html

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  55. 3:59

    Don't feed the troll.

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  56. Saint Monica doesn't seem to be accepting applications for 6th graders for next year.

    Does anyone know why? I mean, did they already sign new kids up for next year... or over-enroll last year...or have an existing waiting list.... or already have exactly the right number of kids in 5th grade, and know for sure they are all staying?

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  57. Don't pretend to misunderstand in order to redirect and rattle on about your courageous refusal to remain silent.

    To follow your own sanctimonious logic, you participate in "doing harm" by contributing freelance "articles," to a publication/corporation that "does harm."

    That's your business until you start railing at other people for supporting another institution that you think does harm (again, in the logic of your screed, sending children to parochial school = contributing to the RCC's efforts to support Prop 8).

    The tedious irony, of course, is that you are as eager to moralize about other people's choices and lives as the supporters of Prop 8 are...

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  58. I think the uniforms at NDV are so cute and I smile when I see them. Overall I love the fact that my daughter wears a uniform - we are a one of the plaid Catholic schools. It has made mornings so easy - just one less thing to negotiate. On the first day of kindergarten she did not want to leave the house in her plaid jumper and now she won't even change out of it when she is back home. This is not at all relevant to selecting a Catholic school, but I had to comment that uniforms are great - regardless of public, private or catholic.

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  59. I'd really like to thank 10:11. You have an articulation that I just don't posses. I was genuinely excited to be able to participate in this thread. However, once again it's dominated by the same poster. Even more annoying, I agree she has endless amounts of time to counter anyone who thinks or does things differently.

    I'd also like to comment on Caroline's dig that we're uncomfortable with our affiliations. I find that so ironic. Over the past year or so, I've always found her insecure with SFUSD. It's only my perspective, but anyone who always comes across as so angry (yes, angry) with other people's decisions is in no way secure in her own decisions.

    I agree with you that the comparision to the Examiner is spot on. As someone who calls on the rest of us to walk the walk, I would think she would cease all ties to the Examiner immediately. Oh but no, it's okay for her to have it both ways, as usual.

    I'm sorry you're so upset with those of us who send our children to Catholic school. It's been a wonderful choice for us, and I encourage any family to have a look and see if it works for you.

    For the record, I voted No on prop 8.

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  61. The NDV uniforms are cute on girls, I agree, but I think they are a bit too precious for boys to have to wear.

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  62. St. Gabriels (41st and Vicente) is great - and I love the uniform - makes the mornings so much easier than they used to be. really good extended care program, too, which is key for working parents. here's a link: http://www.stgabrielsf.com/

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  63. M, I would guess they are at capacity in 6th grade if they are not accepting applications. Did they tell you this for sure? It seems so early to assume no one will leave.

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  64. Regarding St. Monica's - call the principal and ask and I'm sure you will get a straight answer on what openings there may be.

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  65. ...just that it would be an effective boycott

    here's one: boycott public schools until the federal and state governments are forced to reallocate war funds to education. yeah, that'd do it.

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  66. I like uniforms, too. They would make things much simpler (thus, easier)... though my son would probably hate wearing one.

    When we lived in Bernal Heights (eons ago), there were nine girls who were just about my (now adult) daughter's age living on our short block. One girl went to a French school, my daughter went to a public school, and all the rest attended various Catholic schools (even though just three of the girls were actually Catholic).

    My daughter LOVED the uniforms, and was so openly envious that one of the families finally bought her one for her birthday!

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  67. I have a question about non-Catholic schools that are sponsored by other denominations, such as the Lutherans and the Episcopalians (Cathedral, and--very far away to high school, but still--The Bay School in the Presidio). Can anyone comment on the degree of religious instruction or even subtle inculcation at those schools? Albeit the Episcopalians at least are much more liberal and outspoken in the other direction on gay rights and No on Prop 8, which is attractive to me, but how much God-talk is there? How much Jesus-talk? --Thanks

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  68. 11:36 -- why would you want to go to a religous sponsored school if you do not want to hear the Jesus talk?

    Just an aside, and I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but for people who believe in Jesus it is a bit offensive though to hear him reduced to Jesus talk. Wonder how the Muslims would like us referring to Allah as Allah talk. probably off with your head, judging by the response to the Danish cartoons.

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  69. If the school has a religious affiliation then you will get some discussion of religion. The Friends School principal during a tour , has said, that the word God is used and there are Quaker quotes throughout the school. If that makes you uncomfortable then you may not want to consider the school.

    If you are open to a Catholic school or other religious affiliation you may want to find out what the religion curriculum is like. Its been a looong time since my Catholic highschool days, but I remember that over the 4 years there was a different focus for each year. One year was more old Testement, Judism. The next was world religions and did in depth study of Islam, Buddism Hinduism etc. The next year was Christian History which was almost like a combination European History class tour of ancient Greece and Rome rolled into one. The last year was Ethics.
    Tour and ask questions and keep an open mind

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  70. @11:36 a.m. My daughter attends The Bay School and the emphasis is on building awareness of oneself as a spiritual and ethical human being. There is meditation every morning but those who don't want to meditate are asked to sit quietly and use the moments to just be. Spirituality is presented in a non denominational manner. The school chaplain is I believe a Jewish Buddhist. Please see their web site for more information on the schools unique approach to education. I love the school, more importantly my daughter loves it. We feel very lucky to be part of this amazing place.
    I also have a 1st grader hence my presence on SF K Files !

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  71. I'm the person who posted the question at 11:36. It's actually kind of funny, though I suppose this is a standard assumption in "we're so beyond religion" and "we're not religious, but spiritual" San Francisco, but you are making a big assumption about hostility behind my question. If I were hostile to religion, I would certainly not send my child to a religious school.

    Here's the deal. I'm a church-goer myself and am not at all hostile to religious instruction, including about the ways and teachings of Jesus, though I prefer a broad-minded understanding and I am definitely pro-LBBT. Sorry if I was flip wtih the "Jesus-talk" comment. That's how folks in my family and congregation jokingly refer to conversation about spiritual matters in the Christian faith. It's familiar to us, ya know? I asked the question because I'm not from these particular denominations and wanted a sense of how much and what the approach would be. Is it very specific? Open to other religions having access to "truth" and God? Conversely, is Jesus even mentioned, or emphasized?

    Again, no problem here with inculcation per se--there is *always* a set of values and assumptions and narratives in play, at *any* school, public or private--I'm just curious to hear from the trenches what is in play at these ones.

    Thanks very much to the parent from the Bay School who responded. High school is a long way off, but never too early to start thinking about it, right? ;-)

    As the other poster said, if you are going into a religious school, especially if it is not your tradition (though in this case, it would be more broadly in the Christian tradition), it is good to know what you are getting into. Obviously I will check it out for myself, but just wondered if any current parents have insights on either Lutheran or Episcopalian schools. I have a pretty good sense of the Catholic curriculum for religious instruction.

    Thanks.

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  72. oops, sorry, meant "LGBT"....typing too fast while at work, between projects.

    --11:36/12:50

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  73. My son is currently in K. I was lucky in my search, I got my top pick for public, private secular and Catholic school last year. My husband and I thought long and hard about where to send our son and chose St.Gabriel for our son. We don't regret that decision at all as he is thriving and has blossomed from a very shy little boy, to a social butterfly. The parent community is absolutely wonderful and welcoming. It felt cozy and right from the moment I first walked into the school. There are two kindergarten classes of 30 kids. There are two teachers and a parent volunteer so the ratio is 1:10. My only complaint is that kindergarten is 3 hours but they do have a great extended care program that is $2.50 an hour.

    I don't think that St.Gabes is terribly difficult to get into if you aren't a parishioner, we weren't and we got in. They are offering kindergarten tours and the next one is December 3rd at 8:30am.

    Here is the school website: http://www.stgabrielsf.com/

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  74. Kate's "Mommy Files" blog posts about a Fresno parochial school that removed a lesbian mom as PTO president because of her involvment in the No on 8 campaign, after which the family left the school:

    http://tinyurl.com/5pyum8

    Caroline's Education Examiner blog on the same topic:

    http://tinyurl.com/65h9rr

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  75. ^^Thanks!!

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  76. Does anyone know which of the Catholic Schools in the City are the "feeder" schools for SI - Are most of them in the sunset or richmond i.e. St Brendan's, St Gabriel's or St Monica's. Where do the kids at St James, St. Paul, St John's and St. Phillip's end up??

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  77. This is an old thread, but…..

    We are spiritual but not religious. We were drawn to parochial schools because, at least here in the City, these school do offer solid academics, many are Catholic ‘lite’, and they offer well-rounded curriculums. Some of the Catholic schools are smaller, with safe environments for children – classrooms and playgrounds are orderly, K & 1 grades are separated on the playground from other age groups, teachers are with the children throughout the day (eat lunch with them, supervise the playground, etc.). We toured NDV, Star of the Sea, Holy Name, St. Thomas, St. Monica, St. Brigid’s and Stuart Hall. We felt differently about each program, based on the amount of time dedicated to religious instruction/activities, extra-curricular activities, and their approach to teaching the curriculum (*side note, most Catholic schools do not use the Every Day math program, which is a big plus in my opinion ). Some are clearly more progressive then others, but it didn’t seem apparent to us that the parochial schools with more ‘progressive’ programs had greater academic achievement or diverse school communities. In fact, each school had different academic outcomes, regardless of it’s traditional or not so traditional approach. As with most schools, the differences are a result of the quality of the teaching staff and principal, and the amount of participation from the parent community.

    It’s worth taking a look at parochial schools if you have doubts about the public school system and can’t afford 25K a year for elementary school. Our son is attending one of the parochial schools (first year) and we’re very pleased with the program and community.

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