Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hot topic: Enrollment fair

Please share your thoughts on the enrollment fair. Did you discover any hidden gems? What did you learn? Were you discouraged by anything?

26 comments:

  1. It was great that they didn't hide the Charter Schools into backrooms like they did last year.
    The place was full of great energy, and lots of dedicated parents.
    Happy school hunting, people!
    Remember: it is a LOTTERY and "school choice" is not a fair way to describe the process.

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  2. Despite the advice that the best bet is to list seven schools, I keep hearing examples of people getting into popular schools by listing only one, or maybe two schools. I know these are just isolated examples that I happened to hear, so I thought I'd check with a wider audience. Have other people heard such examples or personally had success with this strategy? Or, do you know of examples of where people tried this and it backfired?

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  3. "Have other people heard such examples or personally had success with this strategy? Or, do you know of examples of where people tried this and it backfired?"

    As I've been hitting everyone I know over the head with "list 7, list 7, list 7", I haven't heard of it working for anyone, save those who listed low-demand schools in their <7 picks. I'd suspect it particularly sucks as a strategy last year, given that even folks in the Priority 1 waitpool were left hanging.

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  4. But if you don't list 7, you won't be in the priority 1 waitpool. If you waitpool at a very popular school with 30 or so others waitlisting, it seems very unlikely such a school will get past priority 1. So, I think listing 7 is the way to go.

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  5. 3:26 - it's like the CA lottery "the more you play, the more you win". The more schools you list the more chances you have of getting a school (then there is the cohort list.)

    Of course, the demand for the schools you list factor in (if you list the 7 most requested, your chances are not as good as a wider mix of demand.)

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  6. 3:26 - are these people telling you they only listed one or two of the same socio economic demographic makeup as you?

    To get into Rooftop on the first shot, you would have to be of the exact opposite profile of most of us here on this blog.

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  7. What did people think of the new venue for the enrollment fair?

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  8. 3:26

    it backfired for us. we didn't get a school on our list of 4, and therefore were stuck in the 2nd cohort (priority) on the waitpool.

    we are in private school because we never got into a school from the waitpool. we're trying again for 1st grade.

    caroline grannan can point you to my story on her blog.

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  9. 3:26 here -

    9:08, thanks for sharing your experience.

    4:50, I'm not sure what their socio economic demographic background is. I guess what you are suggesting is that, if the applicant fits into one or more of the several categories that the SFUSD application asks about (such as free/reduced lunch, Section 8 housing, or primary language other than English), that is likely the reason they got into the school, and not the "strategy" of just naming one or two schools?

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  10. The Fair was way too chaotic for me. Talked to several schools, but not sure about the value the time spent Nothing I couldn't have gotten from the Greatschools.net website.

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  11. Here is the aforementioned account by 9:08:

    http://tinyurl.com/6cuzgy

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  12. 10:27 -- 4:50 here -- yes, if the lottery is run the way the SFUSD says it is, then the applicant which adds the "most diversity" to the pool is enrolled.

    So, depending on who else applies to the school and when your number comes up, if you are the exact opposite of what the makeup is, you are in.

    Of course, there seems to be exceptions and then one wonders about manual tweaking... oh, strike that thought...

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  13. it backfired for us. we didn't get a school on our list of 4, and therefore were stuck in the 2nd cohort (priority) on the waitpool.

    Always put down 7. If you have only 4 that you would consider, pad your list with THE very most popular schools that you are extremely unlikely to get. That way you either get one of your 4 or move on to the first cohort.

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  14. In the school lottery, your "number" does not come up. It doesn't work like that; they don't call your name and see if you fit. A school's kindergarten profile is calculated, along with the profile that would best balance it. Then computer looks for the students with that profile and randomly selects one. The kindergarten profile is recalculated and the process repeats until the kindergarten spots are filled. At some schools, your profile might never be called upon as the kindergarten may already be too far out of balance.

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  15. Well, the computer looks for a K student with that profile who applied to the school.

    So if Rooftop, CL, Clarendon do not have lots of lower income, free school lunch, no pre school applicants, and you are of that profile and apply, well, voila, you are in.

    Of course, if they have already enrolled lots of kids would that profile, and you are the one with the Pre K experience, not a Free Lunch etc etc, then voila you would get in.

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  16. I've been a public school parent for six years so my perspective is skewed from "new parent", but I thought the enrollment fair this year was, in most respects, the best yet. GREAT energy by schools, and slightly less panic on the part of parents. I thought the high school area, though incredibly crowded and chaotic, showed students who were very proud of their schools and schools really looking to put the best foot forward. In the elementary school area, I thought schools were doing a great job of promoting themselves without the excessive "gimmickry" of years past (like 6-ft high balloon towers, computer slide shows, etc.). Probably there was still too much in the way of candy giveaways (our school gave away licorice and over-served at least a few children).

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  17. The fair was great for me.

    We are now looking at high schools for our daughter. I was able to chat with two school board members and talk with the superintendent.

    I met some high school parents who provided me with some good gossip on which schools are on the upswing and downswing.

    The new venue was fine, but I liked the old location better.

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  18. to 8:05 a.m.

    I could not attend the fair, but I have an 8th grader, and wondered what your thoughts were about High Schools other than Lowell - my daughter has her heart set there, and even though all indicators currently suggest she will get in, we want a backup. My husband is very wary of everything that is not Lowell...thank you!

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  19. Balboa....not as driven as Lowell nor as arty as SOTA, but can be a nice home for intellectual, arty students who want a great community. I know several kids from highly educated families who have had a good experience there.

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  20. I've also heard good things about Gallileo.

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  21. oh ferchrissakes no, 9:46, I am the person who posted about Balboa and I am very much NOT Caroline. What is this obsession with her? She hasn't even posted on this topic and yet you are commenting on her (or rather me, by saying I'm her, with no basis)? I mean, sure she can be annoying but where is the cause in this case? Someone asked for recommendations for high school and I answered. Sheesh. Lay off her (or rather me this time), willya?

    By the way, my kids have attended Spanish immersion programs in elementary and middle and one is now at Lowell. But I have heard good things about Balboa from families I love and trust. One kid I know was very involved in theater there, including writing plays. She perceived Lowell to be too driven academically and not a match for her personality, and for other reasons didn't want SOTA. Balboa was a good match.

    I too have heard good things about Galileo, although for most people I know it is on the wrong side of town. Very much up-and-coming, I have heard, so if you live on the north side of the city or commute that way, it's worth a look.

    And there are always the old standbys, Lincoln and Washington. Lincoln has a phenomenal upper-level science program that has been mentioned in the SF Chron and NY Times. Top students are linked up with UCSF researchers and did very well in a college-level genetics competition last year, beating out world-class university teams in the process. If your kid is a science geek, or might be, definitely check it out.

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  22. I'm the one who asked about H.S...thank you for your responses...Galileo is actually closest to us, so I'll check it out...

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  23. I personally knew someone who only listed Clarendon Gen, Clarendon Japanese, and West Portal, and got Clarendon Japanese. I know she lied and said she was eligible for free-reduced lunch. Also, she made a point not to tell me that she was only putting down 3 schools until after she knew I had submitted mine with 7. I remember thinking that she was really going to regret that decision, and it ended up going her way. Extremely irritating.

    I'm sorry, but honest to goodness, I would never tell the truth on my application again. Nothing happens to the parents that lie (except maybe resident cheaters).

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  24. This incident with the 3 choices only on her application was during the 2007/2008 school year enrollment process.

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  25. Well, with the way the economy is going, sadly, many of us may end up being eligible for reduced free lunch.

    Yes, the cheaters and liars do get ahead in this world but well, we must have faith that somewhere along the way it catches up with them. Look at all those people who bought homes that they darn well knew they couldn't afford if the rate adjusted, but they didn't care, they figured their house would appreciate and not worry about it. We can blame the liar mortgage brokers, bankers, real estate agents and appraisers but in the end, not many of those who are ending up being upside down on the house were truly victims of fraud. Maybe of greed, of being pollyannas. The funny part of this whole thing is that the honest people who stood on the side (because we can do simple 2nd grade math in our head) are the ones being penalized right now. We wait for the housing prices to fall (have they really that much in SF to be affordable? Lets see, the homes appreciated, what like 40, 50%, sometimes 200% in 5 years, and so it drops 10, 20% now. Big deal. Anyway, just had to rant. For those interested, read Kathleen Pender's column today in the Chronicle (if you want a little something to get the blood boiling).

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