Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hot topic: Private middle school

An SF K Files poses an interesting question:

"Most if not all 6-8 grade private schools open up a class to admit more kids into the school. Are there parents out there who did not red-shirt and wonder what the effects are once the kids go to junior high and mix with red-shirted kids?"

18 comments:

  1. Are there schools other than Live Oak open up more spots in middle schools? I would think it would depend on the maturity level of the kid whether he or she would be accepted.

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  2. I know kids who have gone to San Francisco School, Brandeis and Cathedral from public K-5s for middle school, besides Live Oak. I will refrain from giving my opinion on what I think of that as a wise use of a family's funds, but back to the question in the topic: As I've said, any age advantage for my red-shirted son (Oct. 30 b-day; he just turned 18 as a senior in HS) was gone, truly invisible, by third grade or so.

    The big maturity issue in middle school is that the girls, overall, are far more mature than the boys. I forget which parenting-advice author wrote about the amusing spectacle of huge women walking alongside little boys in middle school.

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  3. I don't think that many private schools add a class at middle school level. Maybe the parochial ones?

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  4. Cathedral, Live Oak, Nueva, SF Day to name a few...

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  5. MCDS also opens up additional slots in middle school.

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  6. Friends is accepting applications for incoming 5th, 6th and 7th graders. I'm guessing this is due to increasing the number of kids enrolled in those grades, rather than attrition.

    For the named schools, do people know if they add one or more classes per grade, or increase the number of kids in a classroom? My assumption is the former rather than the latter, but I don't know for certain.

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  7. So the September 1 cut-off most privates have only applies for K?

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  8. The SF School goes from 20-22 kids in elementary to a total of 32 kids per year in each grade. The 32kids are divided into 2 different classes of 16. And yes, the September bday cutoff no longer applies in middle school.

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  9. There aren't that many red-shirted kids. The bigger issue is that the privates don't admit 4 year olds to kindergarten teh way the publics do. They wait until the kids are developmentally ready for kindergarten instead of admitting them due to a random cut-off date.

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  10. MCDS adds an addition class. In 6-8 homerooms have 12 kids, as do 7th & 8th math & english classes.

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  11. So the schools are mostly adding spots (up to 10 -- does any school add more?) and not whole classes, correct? Does anyone know if the girls' schools do this too?

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  12. At Friends they go from 2 classes of around 22 kids in 5th grade to 3 classes in 6th grade, and add about 10 kids - at least, that was what they did this year, their first year of having a 6th grade.

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  13. At Live Oak they combine one class of about 22 with 10 new kids, mixing and dividing them into two sections of 16. The sections further mix it up with each other as they move through the class periods.

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  14. This is my understanding about middle school spots in private schools:

    There are some schools that take a full class in 6th, primarily the schools that are one section K through 5. Those schools are Live Oak, Presidio Hill, San Francisco School, and Synergy. I believe Children's Day School is also on that list. Cathedral doubles in 5th. MCDS adds an additional class in 6th, going from 3 sections to 4. Friends is adding in middle school this year because it is the first year that it will have a middle school (since it's not that old a school). I think Nueva also adds a class in 6th, but I don't know how many classes they have K through 5.

    Other independent schools may have a couple of middle school spots due to attrition, but there's no reason they would have more in 6th than any other grade.

    For what it's worth, I heard something about a big independent school middle school fair coming up in December. You might want to ask around about that.

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  15. Parochial schools sometimes have opening for 6th grade. It's pretty common for a few kids to enter at that grade. Definitely worth looking into if that works for you.

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  16. I heard that Friends added another sixth grade this year because it needed more tuition-paying kids to pay for the brand-new building. Is this additional class a permanent thing or will there always be about 60 kids graduating from Friends each year (seems a lot)? Or did they just get a lot of attrition and the extra kids filled up open spots?

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  17. Friends added around 10 kids. They want to have a larger class in middle school to help give the kids more social and academic opportunities.

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  18. There is a big private middle school fair coming up on Tuesday, Dec. 9. I saw a flyer for it. 21 private schools will be there, and they are all looking for new middle schoolers. As has been said some add a class, like Friends, Live Oak, Presidio Hill, etc., and some are just looking to fill out their classes.

    The fair will be held at the SMART Program offices at 1345 Mission from 6 - 8 pm. At 7 pm there will be a speaker who is a former head of school who will talk about the benefits of an independent school education and affordability.

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