The SF K Files is a place for parents who are seeking a school in San Francisco. The site offers up reviews of public, private and charter schools, as well as lots of advice and opinions from the community.
Flynn SIMonroe SIWebster SI (due to new later start time for 09!!)Revere SIFlynn GenSF Community Harvey Milk
Do we have to drop off our forms in person or can we mail it?Also, they ask for original documents for proof of address. If we mail it obviously I wouldn't send in my driver's license, so I'm assuming a copy is okay? Or is that why they say turn it in on the form--they want you to go in?
Buena VistaFairmountMonroeLakeshoreMiralomaOrtega (Mandarin)Sunnyside
I think we might be the only people in our social circle not interested in immersion programs. And our list may change since I haven't dropped it off at the EPC yet! But we are aiming for a blend of close to impossible and maybe we'll get in:Clarendon JBBPClarendonMiraloma (if only because we seem to know many parents there already)SF CommunityGlen ParkHarvey MilkLakeshoreSo we'll see how it pans out.
To anon 3:29:It has to be delivered in person. Because they want to make it as easy as possible (bwahahaha!).
Contact Parents for Public Schools to confirm all the instructions.Last time we did this* it could be delivered in person to an SFUSD school, not just the EPC -- the office staff would check the original documentation of your address. Is that no longer true? *in 2005 applying to Aptos Middle School -- not counting applying to SOTA in December 2007; its process is unique in SFUSD.
See page 16 of the enrollement guide. There are a few satellite collection sites the week of January 5th spread around the city. But other than that, it's the EPC at Franklin St.
i do not believe webster will have a later start time in 09. we are at webster now and have not heard that it was still going to happen. ??? regardless, you'll have two great kinder teachers.
5:10pm - I have the printed application, but I cannot find a 16 page enrollment guide...can someone please post the site link on where to find this enrollment guide document? Can't find it on SFUSD's site, either.Thanks so much!
5:10pm here - sorry, I panicked. Googled the guide and found it...in case anyone needs it:http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/EPC/English_Enrollment_Guide.pdfWhew.
Strategy Question: If you get one of your seven choices, but it's not your favorite and you'd like to hold out for a higher choice, is it better to enroll at the one school you got, or not to enroll anywhere? (Or some other option? enroll but waitlist at place you really want?) If you don't enroll anywhere, do you receive some sort of preference like people have said applies to those coming in from "out of the system," i.e., transferring in from private school or just moving into the area?
Whether you list seven schools and whether you get assigned to one of your choices affects your chances in the waitpool process. But whether you actually enroll in the school you are assigned does not affect your chances. That is true regardless of whether you are assigned to a school on your list or to the closest school with openings.
ENROLL IN YOUR SCHOOL! if it is one of your choice, you are lucky! you can always wait for a better school.
Definitely enroll. Choices disappear after Round 2. If you are enrolled in a school you find acceptable, even if not your favorite, then you can waitpool at your dream school, or even just a slightly better one, and not play the game of trying to figure out how to get "something, anything" that you find acceptable, after you go 0/15 and it is mid-August. It is always better to have an acceptable choice to fall back on.The thing about priority to out-of-district folks is true, but that only happens later in the fall when the waitpools are dissolved. What someone gets then, coming from out of district, is pure luck of the draw of what spots happen to be available. Many of them will be at under-enrolled schools. Perhaps there will be a slot or two at a popular school, because someone happened to move out of town that week or something, but not bloody likely.Bottom line, enroll in that acceptable spot. In fact, if you go 0/7 and get assigned to someplace you didn't expect, go and check that place out and consider enrolling. Last year folks were assigned to Sunnyside and it turned out to be something of a hidden gem--and it became unavailable after Round 2.Word: enroll.
Has anyone been down to the EPC this week? Any lines/waiting? I imagine that it's closed for winter break. Do you think it will be crazier the week of Jan.5?
I meant I imagine it will be closed for winter break (12/22-1/2) unless anyone confirm otherwise.
These lists are exciting! Things are changing. Lots of up-and-coming schools on these lists. Hidden gems. Soon this city is going to be full of so many outstanding schools. Yes, we have to weather the budget-cuts but we can do it. We'll pull through. I'm telling you. We're on our way to becoming top-notch.
So true, 8:08. It's a great process to be a part of. So *many* elementary schools have improved since we went through this back in 2001, and there are more good middle school options in the district too. (We're not at the high school point yet--will have to report back in a couple of years on that!).
Can listers also include their 'hood?I'm in the Outer Mission, as in OMI/near Daly City border. We're not sure yet and are debating what order, but our list likely will include:Commodore SloatJose Ortega (mandarin)SunnysideSF CommunityMcKinleyWest Portal (CN)Starr King (MI)
so far, 20 different schools or programs have been mentioned on just 4 different lists....this is good news. seems as though folks are being strategic about their picks/lists.
these lists seem far more realistic than last year!!! good luck
Outer Mission, have you looked at Longfellow, near Geneva/Mission? That has long seemed like a hidden gem waiting to sparkle. Just curious...
Don;t forget that an application to Creative Arts does not count towards one of your seven choices so it's a freebie. We have a kid in kindergarten and absolutely love it. I'd encourage you to go on a tour and check it out.
I have a question in regards to the attendance area: SFUSD instructions says that, for schools with attendance area, children from that attendance area will be picked before those from out of attendance area IF they add to the diversity index. Other than looking at the map on the SFUSD website which I find hard to read, does the attendance area include where school buses pick up kids or not?
You are permitted to list schools in your neighborhood but as a previous poster indicated, you get preference only if you add diversity based on the kids whose numbers have already come up for those schools. If you don't add diversity, they pass you over and move on to the next request. If your neighborhood schools are popular (refer to Adams spreadsheet on PPS-SF web site for the latest data, though it's not necessarily an accurate indicator of what will happen this year), you should probably also list some farther-away schools with better odds because you can't count on getting into a popular school. You must enroll in person at an approved location during business hours Monday through Friday. SFUSD wants to be sure you miss even more work in case you have not already used up all your vacation, sick and family leave time on this process. If you are lucky enough to get an acceptable school in Round 1, by all means enroll and if you need aftercare, get yourself into a good program or on the waiting list for a good program. The school where you enroll will tell you the aftercare options if you did not already get the information on your tour or from the school's web site. Then wait-list your favorite school and pray to the deity or other life-force of your choice.
If you don't add diversity, they pass you over and move on to the next request.Just to note... they don't pull up your name and see if you add diversity. They calculate the profile needed to balance diversity and look for a person with that profile.
Attendance areas do include "satellite" neighborhoods--these are labelled on the maps--and usually these are also where the bus routes are as well. Meaning, if you live in one of these far off areas, say Visitacion Valley for Alvarado, then you get the neighborhood preference priority. The attendance areas are a bit antiquated, and that is partly what a new SAS is intended to address, but it is what is in place for this year. They tend to match neighborhoods like Noe and VV like that, in my opinion a good thing in terms diversity and access, although they need to be updated. According to reports from the recent BOE assignment process meetings, they will be working with more sophisticated software to look at where kids actually live versus attend school in the present day, and they can break it down by income and other factors. This will be a tool in computer modeling to try to understand the possible effects of the various proposals, if implemented.
I also heard good things about Longfellow including high test scores. The only problem is that they do not offer before or aftercare at all.
Does Longfellow offer bus options to childcare off-site? The school office or tour guide may know. It's very hard to believe that all Longfellow students have go-straight-home options for after school, so there must be something going on....
FYI - rumor has it there will be 3 kinder classes for enrollment this year for CLARENDON GENERAL. 60 spots not including siblings.JBBP will only have 2 kinder classes.Good luck!
Outer Mission here...I didn't look at Longfellow, it seems huge, though I have heard good things and from neighbors whose grown kids (in college) went there. Also, at the enrollment faire the Principal seemed very cool. She came from Sherman and Alvarado and expressed a desire to bring an immersion program. I'm not sure why I didn't tour it... now that I hear there's no aftercare, it won't work for us...
Just for the heck of it I looked up Longfellow -- 565 students, about the same as Lakeshore (my kids' alma mater). In Googling Longfellow, I also found a Craigslist ad posted 12/3 seeking a worker for the after-school program there, so there's apparently some sort of program:http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/edu/943754060.html
For those asking about EPC's holiday hours - I called them today and the only days they're closed are 12.25 & Jan. 1st, otherwise, regular weekly schedule is in tact.
Dumb Question:When is drop off deadline? Is this for upper grades, too?
FYI --for those of you not on the PPS listserv, Vicki Symonds posted this clarification of how the lottery works:"In the lottery process balancing students trumps all. The goal is tohave 50% be native English Speakers, 50% be above a certain economicstatus, and 50% of the kids come from preschools. My understanding ofthe process comes from Jeff ? at the district where he gave an indepth discussion of the lottery algorithm at the school fair. It canalso be found on the district website. Bottom line is that though thelottery system is not a strict lottery and other factors increase ordecrease your odds (including neighborhood assignment and where youplace the school on your list) the biggest determinant of getting intoa school is still supply and demand. Adams' spreadsheet is a roughtool that can be used to calculate this based on a simple straightlottery and should be looked at in this light. It is not intended tobe an absolute determinant of your chances.Following is my understanding of the SAS. My understanding hasevolved and differs somewhat from last year particularly when it comesto "tie breakers". First siblings are placed into the school and aprofile is determined from these siblings based on the socio-economiccriteria above. Initially, if it is a neighborhood assignment school,the applicants are divided into two buckets, those who are from theattendance area and those who are not. Then the SAS looks in theattendance area bucket for a kid who will balance the socio-economicdiversity of the school using the sibling profile as a base. Itselects a kid and that changes the base profile. This continues untiladding a kid from the attendance area no longer increases diversity.At this point the buckets are dissolved and everyone who applied isconsidered and looked at simultaneously but again looking forsocio-economic balance. (At the school fair someone asked Jeff if thebuckets are ever reestablished after they are dissolved and he saidno.) If the school is not an attendance area school then the twobuckets are never established and school proximity to your home is notconsidered at all.But what happens if more than 1 kid will equally add to the balance ofthe school? This can certainly happen in large demand schools sinceyou are more likely to have someone who has your exact same profile inthe applicant pool. In this case a tie breaker is used. The tiebreaker will select the kid from the assignment area first. If thereare multiple kids who meet the desired profile from the assignmentarea it will then use who ever ranked the school higher as a tiebreaker. If more than one person ranked it equally high then itbecomes random.To see this in writing you need to hunt for it on the SFUSD website.First go to www.sfusd.edu . Go to their "Enrollment Page," then tothe "Student Assignment System" page, then at the very bottom in thelast line of the last paragraph is a link to "Technical Description ofthe Student Assignment System." Its very detailed but does give youenough information to set up a simulation in excel if you have thedesire and patience to do so."_________I think this is an important clarification. In fact, it makes it clear that in fact the order you place schools IS important: if you fit the same "diversity" profile as another applicant, but that applicant ranked a school higher on their list, they will get it over you in a tie-breaker. I don't think this is a small point, and it is certainly reflected in my experience of the lottery last year: almost all of the people I knew who actually got into a Round I choice either had a significant diversity factor (language other than English spoken at home, for example), or listed it first. After Round I last year, I know I certainly wished I had known this and put our list in a different order and not gone with a wild-card school in our #1 spot.
How can they know if you are above a certain economic status since you don't need to list your income level?
On the application there are boxes you can check if you qualify for CalWorks, public housing etc. These are all programs for low-income families. It's a pretty blunt tool. There are many socioeconomically disadvantaged families who aren't categorized that way because they aren't participating or don't qualify for these programs. It would be interesting to see a comparison of kids qualified as socieconomically disadvantaged for lottery purposes, and compare that with the number of kids qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Even Free and Reduced lunch is an undercount in my mind because the qualifying incomes are unrealistically low for San Francisco.
I know most folks come to this blog looking for K info, but thought I'd pass along our middle school list, since we are now making that selection with our twin daughters, who are currently at McKinley. Here is our list:EverettRooseveltDenmanLick
Lisa, as someone who will soon be looking for MSs for my now 4th-grader, I'd be very interested in why you liked these particular schools. This might be the topic for a new thread.
What's the situation for MS? You list 4 choices, not 7?
In fact, it makes it clear that in fact the order you place schools IS important: if you fit the same "diversity" profile as another applicant, but that applicant ranked a school higher on their list, they will get it over you in a tie-breaker.This information does not appear in the technical description or anywhere else in writing. So once again, it is hearsay...
10:44, you can list seven choices for middle school too, but many families do not, since the absolute number of choices are more limited and the schools more spread out across town. Since it is far easier to get into one of your choices at this level, the strategic necessity of putting seven isn't so pressing. I wouldn't recommend putting only Presidio or only Giannini, but if you put a few schools down you should be okay. One year ago, we put five, including Aptos, James Lick SI, Presidio, Hoover (2 separate programs). In retrospect, we might have put Roosevelt too if we had thought about touring it, but never got there. Giannini's a strong school but the transportation was all wrong for us and our kid didn't like it.I would love to see middle and high school threads offered here. Would also love to hear more from Lisa about the choices for the twins as some of these are a bit off the beaten track for middle class parents. I did see your write-up on Everett and was impressed by what you wrote. I know 826 Valencia is on-site there as it is now at James Lick too.
11:28,Was your kid in an elementary SI program? (Does that guarantee you a spot at a middle school with SI?) How are the immersion programs in MS? (Like... how much of the day is in the target language? Are families generally satisfied with the programs?) Also... do most immersion kids coming from K-5 elementary schools choose to continue with immersion in MS? Thanks for any insight!
@12:32, 11:28 here again.1) Yes, my kid was in a SI program in elementary.2) No, that fact does not guarantee admission to a MS SI program, but so far that has not been a problem. James Lick recently increased space so there has been plenty of room--so far. It may be more of a problem as more schools that have recently come "on line" with Spanish immersion send more kids. There is a PPS-SF related group that is focusing on this issue (actually, it may not be officially PPS anymore, but was started there) and is trying to build up these programs, including adding more spaces in the face of more elementary SI kids arriving. They have a listserve--SF AME? Maybe someone can offer the exact link.3) MS immersion programs include two core classes taught completely in Spanish--for example, Spanish language arts plus social studies. Kids also get English language arts, plus the other two core subjects, in this example math and science, all taught in English. This means that SI kids get an extra core academic class compared to other middle schoolers. In James Lick the extra class is provided by the "zero" period they have--James Lick has the money for this sort of thing being a lower-income school. They basically have extended hours most days, and reduced hours (early release) 2x/month. The James Lick SI kids therefore get 5 academic classes plus an art elective (these rotate at James Lick) plus PE. At Hoover they funded a zero period for SI for years but dropped it this year to provide more funding for kids needing remedial support--meaning that the Hoover SI kids take the extra core academic class in place of an art elective (which kinda sucks for the kids, frankly). For years Hoover was the preferred choice of middle class parents, but that is changing, especially with the dropping of the zero period and loss of the art elective. More middle class families are going to James Lick. I really love what is happening at JL. It's a very tight community with lots of great resources. It's challenged as any really low-income, immigrant community is, but is making a go of it in interesting ways. I think they do differentiated instruction as well as any MS out there.3) I don't actually know the % of SI elementary kids who go on to MS SI. What we found was some tough choices between SI and honors programs. Lots of apples v. oranges choices, with no perfect model to get everything you want. Much better choices than I expected at the middle school level, frankly! I had no problem listing five schools, and probably could have listed one or two more without breaking a sweat. Just that you have to choose what elements are most important to you. Btw, I understand Aptos now has a before-school advanced Spanish class that is open to kids coming from SI schools. It is is NO WAY equivalent to the level of Spanish to be gotten at an SI middle school and I don't know how stable the program is (it's not a certificated class, but a PTSA enrichment program). Presidio has beginning Japanese and beginning Spanish on offer too. Again, these are NOT immersion programs. Just putting it out there.Finally, no need to be afraid of middle school. My kid is having a great time and doing more challenging work than I expected.
1:13,Thanks for all the great information!
1. Miraloma2. Flynn SI3. Flynn GE4. Dianne Feinstein5. Glen Park6. Sunnyside7. Jose Ortega GE
10:49am:Here is the reference on the school district website. http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=policy.placement.processIt is quite buried in there! In Attachment A: Diversity Index Process. "If there are ties within a profile; school preference rank gets first priority; if ties remain, then random selection." For non-alternative schools, it's the same, but with attendance area given preference to break a tie before school rank.
Can anyone clarify the difference between honors and gate classes in middle school? Different schools seem to use these terms interchangeably. Or is there a clear distinction?
The order is up in the air, but we have:Commodore Sloat (currently our #1)thenLakeshoreSunsetUlloaRobert Louis StevensonFrancis Scott Key JeffersonClearly, we live on the western end of the city. :)
In middle schools, honors and GATE are used interchangeably. Same same.
"This information does not appear in the technical description or anywhere else in writing. So once again, it is hearsay..."The information is found in Stage F of Attachment A of the Technical Description of the Student Assignment System. You can get this description by going to the Student Assignment System Page of the Enrollment page of sfusd's website. Go to the bottom of the page and find the link.
9:25 and 10:48, Superintendent Carlos Garcia has proposed that any student (not just GATE ones) should be able to take honors classes in MS, so the connection between GATE and honors may become less clear in the future.
We live in the Inner Sunset. Here's our list:JeffersonR.L. StevensonLawtonSunsetF.S. KeysDiane FeinsteinGrattan
"FYI - rumor has it there will be 3 kinder classes for enrollment this year for CLARENDON GENERAL. 60 spots not including siblings."That would be awesome, although I can't imagine where they'd shoehorn in another class; it seems like half their campus is already in 30 year old bungalows.Here is our none-too realistic list, which has already been turned in or I would probably change it again. We live downtown, across from Bessie Carmichael, but will be moving west next summer.1. Jefferson (near my job, great arts, decent start time)2. Rooftop, (a close friend's child is in K there and my daughter has visited and thinks it is synonymous with kindergarten)3. Clarendon GE. Yeah, right. But the late start time would so improve our quality of life.4.Flynn GE. Convenient to DH's work and I love the school. I thought this would be our for-sure school if we don't get into Jefferson, but it's showing up on so many lists I'm starting to worry.5. Grattan6. Miraloma7. West Portal (these three are relatively near our new neighborhood.)We're basically hoping for Jefferson and assuming (possible wrongly) that we'll get Flynn GE
5:39, these are all great schools. But....Flynn GE was over-subbed last year and is only growing in popularity. I think Adam's Spreadsheet says it's about a one-third chance of getting in, based on *last* year's numbers. If that is your backup, well, maybe you'll get lucky, but are you ready to go 0-7 and have nerves of steel for the waitpool process, with no backup? Because that is a greater likelihood with this list than with others presented here. Lots of people do this succesfully to get their dream school, but it can take awhile and be quite stressful.Wondering (I really don't know) if you can go back in before Jan 9 and revise your list to add a more likely one, like maybe Sunnyside, in order to give yourself someplace to enroll. No guarantee you'll get that either, of course, as it is climbing too. Another one would be Glen Park and I see that is landing on folks' lists this year so has potential to take off.
I'm glad to see two posts with Robert Louis Stevenson on them, even if it is not Number 1. We've been there for four years and love the place. Great teachers really are what make it special. I think it is THE hidden gem in the Sunset right now.
So before posting our list, I should say that DH and I are having a bit of a philosophical discussion about whether we should be trying to get into the schools we most want, or if we should be trying to actually get a school. I realize this list is a formula for 0/7 and then waitlist, and we will need to discuss this over the break. But I dont' have a lot of other schools that we agree on, that are lower demand. Plenty of alternatives that are equally high demand. Our tentative list, not turned in yet:Clarendon GEMiralomaWest Portal GEMcKinleySunsetJeffersonStarr King Elementary MIStill playing around with Sloat, Lawton, Clarendon JBBP, Alvarado (either), and we know none of these schools is low demand so it doesn't really help.
Question: I know the lottery has many complexities, but does the school you put as your first choice really get more consideration/weight in the lottery? It seems that last year many friends either got their first choice or nothing in Round 1. Any strategies in terms of placement of choices for Round 1 (choose 7 in order of preference)?
Why put Clarendon general down and not jbbp too?
Per Abigail Marks who has posted here on this topic, the rank order matters as a tie-breaker well into the process in the lottery. Between two applicants who bring similar diversity features, the spot will go to the one who put it higher. (Beyond that, it's random lottery.) You can read her post on this thread--December 17, 10:32pm--for more details. She has also posted on the PPS listserve. It seems to me this matters mainly at the most popular schools, particularly the ones that have many folks with your exact profile applying. From reading this blog I assume most (though not all) here are not extremely low-income, are primary English speakers at home, and send their kids to preschool. If that is your cohort, and you really want Clarendon, you would do well to put it first as it gives you a slight advantage in an otherwise random tie-breaker with someone else in that cohort who put it #2 or lower. Remember you are not likely to get in on the basis of diversity so it will come down to a random lottery of the hordes of not-poor, English-speaking, preschool-attending kids who want in. That's your main competition, and there will be plenty who put it first, so you better too if you want it. Even then, your odds are low going against 500 families with the exact same socio-economic characteristics. I wouldn't worry too much about rank in a less wildly popular school, or in one that has more current students and/or applicants with a different profile than you. Actually, makes me think the best thing is to limit "popular" choices to one or two at the top, and not waste your picks on "4% chance" schools like Clarendon, Rooftop, Alvarado, after that point. Focus on the middle to better odds schools after that, up-and-comers like Sunnyside and Rosa Parks and Starr King and Jose Ortega, because the chances of being assigned to a school with over 300 applicants for 15 spots, when you share the same profile but they all put it at #1, is just so, so low. Once you have a spot you can play the dream school waitpool game, knowing that you have a solid backup.
Depending on how risk averse you are, if you are interested in a moderately popular school, it may behoove you to put that school first, to give yourself a good shot at getting in, rather than use the first choice slot for a school where you don't have a great chance of getting in even if you do rank it first. I know people from last year who had pretty moderately popular schools ranked 2-7 on their list and ended up 0/7.
I agree with the above poster. I think that, if you have the sent-your-kids-to-preschool, not in poverty, no foreign languages at home profile, you have almost no chance of getting into a school like Clarendon or Rooftop in Round I anyway. If you like a risk (or have a private school back-up or a young child who could stay in preschool another year) and feel like rolling the dice, put a high-demand school first. Otherwise, if you have a slightly less popular choice that you love, I would put that school first. I agree with you, the only people I know last year who got into schools like Sunset, Peabody or Lakeshore in Round I either put it first or had a different profile. So if you love a school like that, put it first!Good luck!
Re. our middle school choices:One of our big criteria was to have a school that our girls could travel to and from on their own without it taking forever, so we mostly looked at schools in the Mission area. Roosevelt was an exception to that rule, and I think if so many McKinley kids didn't go there, it probably wouldn't have been on our radar, but Tim looked at it and really liked it, so it ended up at #2.Everett is #1 for us because all four of us (we toured with our daughters) had a great feeling about it from the moment we walked in. It's a small school (but big enough for two kids who need space), and feels very warm and calm. There are lots of adults around and many great programs, including a mediation program for the whole school. The teaching in the classroom was very impressive--teachers were doing interesting, challenging lessons, students were engaged, they weren't totally distracted by having a tour come in, etc. The new music teacher seems dynamite and has a band and a keyboard class and is open to starting orchestra class (i.e. strings);, the library is spacious and well-stocked and librarian is also McKinley's librarian and she's fabulous; they offer Algebra I and Geometry so kids can really be challenged and get a solid head start in math; they have a solid PE program (something I looked at in every school); there are two great computer labs; 826 Valencia is there; there are two solid after school programs; and the new principal seems wonderful and used to be at Rooftop (Richard Curce). We talked with several 7th grade boys, who were very articulate and seemed totally fine chatting with us, which I found amazing for kids that age.We also liked Denman and Lick very much, but just liked Everett better, so that's why it's at the top of our list. We would be extremely happy at any of the 4 schools we listed.We only listed four schools, because as someone said earlier, there are far fewer middle schools (18 I think, if you count the K-8), and those were the ones we wanted. We feel pretty certain that by listing Everett as #1 we have a pretty solid chance of getting in, since it's not a very highly requested school at this point.
Lisa, thanks for sharing all this. I too am pretty sure you will get into Everett as your #1 pick, esp as your girls will very likely add diversity to the existing base, so this is a moot point, but here's a reminder to anyone else from the Mission or Noe areas looking for a middle school: There is an Aptos school bus from/to 24th and Guerrero. Kids from Noe and the Mission take it and it gets them there in about 10 minutes and is a very smooth connection. For us, this opened up the possibility of Aptos (whereas Roosevelt and Presidio and Giannini were all just too far--more than one MUNI bus). Hoover also has a school bus from the Mission--I think the Leonard Flynn side of the neigbhorhood-- though I am less familiar with how that works.Lisa, I look forward to hearing more from you about your experiences at Everett!
My child born in Guatemala entered US at 7 months old.Regarding the Home Language Survey:I can answer my child spoke Spanish when he first began to talk BUT English is the answer to the next three questions. Will this give him a one diversity preference/factor? If so, does that factor work to my advantage when applying for CLAREDON GE instead of JBBP since there will probably be more Japanese first language students enrolling in that program?
For 7:39. I'm not sure, we have a variation of your situation. We are Swiss and speak a German dialect which was the first thing our twins learned to talk but ever since preschool they will answer almost 100% in English only. We speak all Swiss-German in our house only though and they fully understand. I handed in our application last Thursday and EPC made me fill out another home-language survey which is a bit more detailed than what's on the application. The end result is that my kids language skills in our native language after that survey was classified as limitted which bothers me. I have to let it go now, as nothing can be changed anymore and when I have second guesses about my choices, the next minute I know I stand behind them and that's what it is right now! Good luck with this crazy process!
7:39 when we applied a few years ago there was a process you had to go through to qualify your child as a non-primary English speaker. Sounds like your kid probably doesn't qualify as a primarily non-English speaker as Spanish is not the language spoken at home and your child doesn't speak it anymore? That's the point, isn't it, to identify language differences and disadvantages at the point of entering kindergarten....So I would expect that would be a roadblock to this strategy. But maybe someone else who went through it last year can chime it as to what the process is now.
More on Everett: I just reread my post and realized I made a typo. I said they had a mediation program, but meant to say meditation program. I think they do have a peer counseling program too (lots of the schools do these days), but the mediation program is a school wide thing that you can feel contributes positively to the school's culture.
That's really cool, Lisa. I have heard of peer counseling at other middle schools (James Lick comes to mind) but no other meditation programs. That plus 826 Valencia is attractive.I had heard at one point that there was a plan to expand Spanish Immersion to Everett, especially with Hoover dropping the zero period for SI. James Lick has expanded seats for SI, but with Monroe, Marshall, Flynn all soon to graduate their first SI classes there may be more demand for middle school seats. Have you heard anything about this?
Hi, on November 5, someone left a post about "a faculty inappropriately touching a student" and that the principal "tries to hide it instead of protect the student." I am seriously considering putting AFY as my top choice school, but I have three girls who will eventually go there (if we get in) and this is a hugely disconcerting claim! Can anyone provide a link to a newspaper article about this story? I am a little considered this a bogus claim. If it is not, it will deeply affect my decision to apply there. Thanks.Here is the link to that original post: http://thesfkfiles.blogspot.com/2007/10/alice-fong-yu-alternative-school.html?showComment=1225916580000#c8234888051274898548
Clarendon JBBPClarendonJeffersonAraggonAlamoSutroClaire L.!!
Re the yellow school bus to Hoover from the north side of Bernal Heights -- I'm familiar with it because I have friends whose kids used the bus all through middle school. There's a (maybe more than one) Hoover satellite zone in Mission/Bernal. These satellite zones are holdovers from past district assignment processes, intended to diversify schools. The yellow school bus from the Mission to Aptos is due to a similar satellite zone. Both were aimed at increasing the Latino population at those schools. That's really not necessary at Aptos, since kids from the Alemany and Sunnydale housing projects and the Oceanview-Merced-Ingleside District attend Aptos, and many Latino students come from those areas. But I've been told that the zones are just holdovers from the past and haven't been changed in years. In the days when those satellite zones were created, students were automatically assigned to the school in whose assignment zone they lived. They could request other schools, but there was a definite default school. Now the satellite zone means that if you live in it and you ask, you are (I believe) a bit more likely to get the school -- but mainly just that there's a bus.
5:10 -- Your chances of going 0/7 are quite high unless you qualify for a reduced/free lunch.
Alvarado SIFlynn SIMiralomaGrattanJose Ortega MIRooftopAlvarado GE(Our child is a native speaker of Spanish and we live in the Upper Haight.)
THey are starting to test bilingual and Spanish-speaking students for Spanish-immersion assignments starting next week, I believe.Anyone know what these sessions are like? What do they ask? How long are they? What about painfully shy kids who refuse to speak to strangers? How will they be assessed?
We really want Harvey Milk, so we put that first, then listed 6 impossible-to-get-into schools. We are confident that we'll end up at Milk, even if we have to wait pool it and sit tight through the 10 day count. That's our strategy, anyway...
We don't know any families who speak a European language at home who did NOT get into one of their top 3 choices. Our German, Italian and French speaking friends ended up getting into Rooftop, Clarendon, Alvarado SI and Alice Fong Yu on their first try.
OK, so I'm not saying i would do this, because, well, i suppose it's not very ethical and, b, because I'm a chickenshit and would hate to get caught ... but what if you b.s.'d about speaking another language at home, say, Norwegian or Hungarian, on the application and got in somewhere great -- does the school district look into this kind of stuff? would your kid show up for his/her first day at rooftop or alvarado, with the teacher and principal ready to quiz them about family in Oslo?
there is no question that affluent bilingual and trilingual kids are swept up in the same "diversity" net that is supposed to be helping disadvantaged children. personally, i have issues with this. things are tough out there in enrollment land.we entered K this year at clarendon jbbp as a result of the flynnarado debacle (we were originally enrolled at flynn and were involuntarily disenrolled). so we've had to chance to get a look at both alvarado's IMMS and clarendons' K class makeup (both extremely overenrolled programs). speaking as an observer only, i would say that both programs are dominated by kids whose parents likely listed a home language other than english. and i would be very surprised if they also qualified for free or reduced lunch.i do not necessarily think that diversifying schools with middle-class swiss germans and wealthy maltese was what SFUSD had in mind when they came up with the index as a way to redress social injustice, but it is surely a result that impacts SF's working-class and middle-class english-speaking applicants. that said, we can all use a little fondue in our lives.
How does it make sense to let anyone take honors classes? That means the kids who could be doing college-level work are going to have 1/2 the teacher's time taken up with the pushy Chinese kids who can't speak/write English fluently.
December 22, 2008 7:58 PM - The fact that you're from another country and speak another language is irrelevant, as you are European. The language issue only counts if you are Asian or Latin American. Diversity = reverse discrimination.
Plenty of "pushy Chinese kids" (isn't this a borderline racist stereotype, at best?) get excellent grades on their own hard work and merit, including their English writing skills. My kid has been pushed harder to succeed than ever before since coming into contact with a larger Asian American contingent in honors classes at her middle school. The Chinese American kids I know certainly belong in those honors classes.I don't see opening up honors classes to be a big problem. Some kids who were arbitrarily denied spots will have a chance to try--they can overcome poor testing skills with hard work, for example. Most parents and kids will know when honors would not be a good fit (who wants to suffer total confusion and get poor grades?). I know several parents who were very sure their kids did not belong in honors, and made their middle school choices based on the non-honors programs. There will be kids on the bubble who get a chance, which is good. @7:30, where do you get this idea that home language only counts if it is Latin American or Asian? That's definitely not true. In fact, this is an example of a loophole that benefits European/professional families who were not the intended targets of the socio-economic diversity index, but since race and ethnicity specifically cannot be used as factors, home language plus educational background plus poverty versus not-poverty are used as substitutes.
Hmm, "pushy Chinese kids" is a multilayered comment. Putting aside the question of whether it's racist, it's the opposite of the actual predominant stereotype. The usual stereotype would be "quiet and studious Chinese high achievers." My kids' elementary and middle schools were plurality Chinese (as is SFUSD), and I have never seen a classroom situation remotely resembling any aspects of the comment "1/2 the teacher's time taken up with the pushy Chinese kids who can't speak/write English fluently." Since Chinese students (overall, on average) outperform all other ethnicities based on test scores, they (overall, on average) seem to be speaking/writing English fluently enough to raise the bar for the rest of our kids.
Regarding the comment about "pushy Chinese kids" being borderline racist or not: Borderline? I think that's a totally racist comment. The fact that it's such a frickin' ignorant comment too (as if Chinese American students were dragging down the honors classes!) just reinforces my impression that the writer has got some serious race inferiority issues.
How do you find out what a school's attendance zone is? I called a specific school and they couldn't answer this question.
There are maps for elementary, middle, and high school attendance areas in the enrollment guide. If your address doesn't have one, your first pick attendance area school becomes your "neighborhood school" for lottery purposes.
Here's a link to the SFUSD attendance area map for elementary schools:http://www.sfusd.edu/dept/epc/pdf/ESmap.pdf
Does anyone know if the diversity index figures in for assignment to Lowell? Or is it a completely separate application process that looks at test scores/ accomplishment only?Just wondering if a child's middle school affects their chances of getting into high demand high schools. For example, if they are attending an underperforming up and coming middle school, does that increase their likelihood of getting into Lincoln?
Alvarado SIFeinsteinSunsetRooftop (husband wants this 1st or 2nd)MiralomaLakeshoreFairmountThis is our ideal order but it will probably change. We really want Alvarado SI but we don't live in the attendance area and are a white only English speaking family. We also like Rooftop. But realistically, what are the chances of getting into either school? We live in the Parkside neighborhood and probably have a better shot at Feinstein, Sunset or Lakeshore if we put one of them first. Not sure what we are going to do...
5:07 It doesn't sound like you've figured out what you want for kindergarten -- immersion, neighborhood, or trophy. Maybe if you focused on one category (not trophy) and put in a mix of popular and less popular schools your odds would be better.To this amateur eye, it looks like a recipe for 0/7.
5:07, I agree with the other poster that it looks like a recipe for 0/7. Do you mind going 0/7 or 0/15 and then going to the waitpools? Just saying....One thought, would you consider Sunnyside or JOES in order to balance it out?Also, I take your point about probably not adding diversity at most of these schools, but it bears saying again, because folks always use this as shorthand: your being *white* or of European descent has nothing to do with it. Race and ethnicity do not count at all. If you were poor and white, or spoke another language and were white, etc. then you would add those factors to a school like Rooftop and your whiteness would still not matter in the least.
@2:00, the Lowell admission process is not related to the diversity index lottery; however, the school you come from does factor in, along with test scores and grades. Kids coming from James Lick and Aptos currently have an advantage over Giannini and Presidio, for example, as they are in different "bands." Not sure how long it will last as Aptos test scores keep climbing. Plenty of James Lick immersion kids go to Lowell. If you are torn between JL and another school, this might be a slight advantage to JL.Lincoln as a general ed school applies the diversity index and it is based on test scores, family poverty, language.....I would check out the enrollment info on Lowell to learn more about that as it really is a separate process. It's on the sfusd website.
Here we go...West Portal GEMiralomaAlvarado SNSunsetStarr King Elementary MNMcKinleyCommodore SloatAnother possible recipe for 0/7? Perhaps though don't know if DH and I can come to agreement on anything else to add, or drop. Suggestions?
Clarendon GENGrattanMcKinleyLilienthal GENRL StevensonD. FeinsteinHarvey MilkChose Clarendon because I love it most, Grattan because we love it and can walk, the next four based on perceived quality and ability to get from here to there and then downtown to work, and Harvey Milk because we just MIGHT have a shot and I like the diversity and vibe there.
11:15, if you do like Harvey Milk, why not put it first? Putting it at the top would increase your chances of getting it, and unless you have a diversity factor unmentioned here, frankly it's a better shot to get *at all* than Clarendon where chances are likely slim. Harvey Milk is not exactly unpopular, after all, and after Round 1 your chances of getting Harvey Milk will be equally slim as Clarendon is now. Just a thought. Check out the conversation on the thread posted yesterday regarding Round 1 strategy.10:36, last year you would have had a clear shot at Starr King MN as your "hidden gem" school. This year I don't know--maybe, maybe not. Hard to tell. Based on this list I think you may in the SW quadrant of town, and you are obviously open to immersion, including Spanish. Would you then consider Daniel Webster, which is accessible from the 280 freeway? What about Paul Revere? These schools are all moving up; get in on the ground (or first) floor....Also Sunnyside, which is just down the hill from Miraloma, very accessible from the 280 and Glen Park areas, and is building a middle class parent base. Including one or more of these would give you a much better shot at getting a slot in Round 1. The problem is that not getting a slot in Round 1 usually means missing out on some of the up-and-comers for Round 2, as they *will* fill out in Round 1 and--maybe--Round 2 at the latest. It's not a question of going for broke with the most popular and then "settling" for something else. Many families last year would later have beaten a path the door of some of the schools they disdained for their first-round lists. Going 0/7 in Round 1 sometimes does mean waiting it out all the to the start of school, or beyond. I know we all have dreams of being the one that gets lucky but most here will not be. Be smart! and figure out the up-and-coming schools.Just my humble opinions having participated in past years and having witnessed many families with lists like yours getting nothing; your actual mileage is your own, of course.
I posted my list over 2 weeks ago but still haven't turned it in. Now that the deadline is near I am rethinking it - or more precisely the order. We are a lesbian family with an adopted biracial AA child. We're interested in a language immersion program and also a school with a strong arts focus (with dance, music, movement and theater being a higher priority than visual arts). So, on my spreadsheet I've got columns for ethnic diversity at each school. There aren't a lot of AAs at most of the SI schools. We know which schools have a strong LGBT presence. Ortega is tops on our list for ethnic diversity but our LGBT family would be a minority. It's tough. We have our neighborhood schools on the list and some up-and-coming but not overly popular schools along with 3 popular choices. I don't think we'll go 0/7, but putting the choices in order is agonizing.
12:11, Harvey Milk has a great reputation for building intentional community with diverse families. Also, they have historically had a significant AA presence, so it wouldn't be isolating for your kid. I know of at least one other lesbian family with AA kids who go there. Don't know if that matches your other criteria, just know that my friends are very happy there. Good luck!
10:36 here... one question about the Mandarin programs, we do speak some Mandarin at home but NOT fluent and by the districts language survey we would only get 1 point, as it was the first language spoken by my daughter. But English is definitely the primary language at home. Does anyone know if that counts at all towards the native speaker seats for the dual immersion? Someone told my DH that only a handful of kids in the district actually speak Mandarin at home (a claim I find beyond incredulous but that's what he heard).But yes, we are conflicted as to the priority of immersion vs a school more convenient to us with all around excellence.Really appreciate the input from the commenters.
For 10:36: I really don't know the answer. I'm not interested in Mandarin immersion, but Spanish immersion and I hope a child who doesn't not speak any foreign language fluently would not be considered for taking up a native-speaker seat and I'm sure you'd agree... Isn't the 50/50 thing what immersion is all about?
12:11 - Starr King is very diverse and its MI classes had the most African American kids of any of the immersion programs I toured last year. Also, starting in 3rd grade, when the Mandarin instruction goes down to 50%, the principal intends to combine the 2 MI classes, 1 general ed class, and 1/2 Spanish bilingual class for the 50% English part of the day, so your child would be in class with even more African American kids. (The school already does this now for the general ed and Spanish bilingual classes.) Also I know of four LGBT families in this year's two MI kindergarten classes. And I think the leadership and teaching in the school overall are very strong. I would encourage you to think about including it on your list.
I do think that 50-50 language sets (or perhaps 33-33-plus 33 fully bilingual) is considered ideal. It's also true that there is a wider pool of Spanish speakers from which to draw than there is Mandarin, so the district has more room to implement this rule with the Spanish. Most Chinese families in SF speak Cantonese....perhaps increasingly Fujianese (Min) too. But anyway, this is why AFY and West Portal teach Cantonese. The tones and vocab are quite different between Mandarin and Cantonese; my husband is a native Cantonese speaker but cannot understand Mandarin at all (can be quite funny in Hong Kong films that employ a mix of Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking stars, and they go back and forth between them). However, he can read it okay, even with the simplified characters of Mandarin, because the writing is much more the same. Kind of the reverse of Serbo-Croatian in which the spoken language is very much the same but the written alphabet (Roman vs. Cyrillic) very different between Serbia and Croatia. Maybe it will change in the future, and we'll have more native Mandarin speakers applying to Starr King and JOES. For now, though I'm not sure, it may be easier to "qualify" as a partial native speaker of Mandarin with less skill than it is with the Spanish. It would be worth looking into if it was your kid's first language and you do speak some at home, even if it is not your primary home language.For more info and in-depth discussion on these issues, you might want to check out the archives of the SF_AME yahoo group, which is dedicated to immersion programs in the SF schools. Was incubated by PPS but I think is now somewhat separate. There are a few core leaders who have been building up the Mandarin immersion programs and it might be worth contacting them.
FYI my understanding is that MI programs (at least Starr King, probably also Ortega) can be easier to get into in Round 2 when the district releases some of the slots originally reserved for applicants whose primary language is Mandarin. This is another variable to keep in mind.
10:36/1:47 here again... Thanks everyone, very helpful. If anyone *is* thinking of Starr King (MI or otherwise) they are doing one more tour on Thursday at 9:30.And no, I wouldn't imagine with the level of language ability we have that DD would take a "native" speaker seat in a target language more commonly spoken in SF, say Spanish. But I think it must be a challenge to implement a dual immersion program for the district where they are not able to attract anyone who can even contribute any native knowledge or skill of a complex language like Mandarin. The JOES classes have, from what I saw and heard, very few kids who have Mandarin at home.It is probably the demos of this blog, but I have heard of a lot of non-Chinese families in MI at Starr King, and none that do speak Mandarin. Mandarin (and other Chinese dialects) ARE different in that they are tonal and the reading/writing is non-alphabetic. I have spoken to non-Chinese friends who studied Mandarin, to a much higher level than I have ever achieved, even to a college level, but the accent is just not right. Understandable, yes, but not native. My thought which seems at least possibly valid based on the comments, is that at least DD has heard and produced tones since she was an infant and that, in *Mandarin* may count for something.
Anyone else as completely paranoid as I am and waiting to post their list until after Friday?
I'm not paranoid. Since yesterday's post (Jan6, 2:11) we've completely revised our list (Dec 26, 3:35). And I actually turned it in - today at 1:15 PM, waited about 10 min in line.LakeshoreSunnysideJose Ortega MIJose Ortega GENMiralomaRooftop (well, we need 7 choices)Clarendon
2:34, seems to me you have some reasonable options there. Time will tell-but good luck! and good luck to all.
James LickRooseveltHooverPresidio(but this could change tomorrow, especially Lick vs. Roosevelt)I'm wondering how many families looking at middle schools have figured their child's input/reactions/preferences into the decision? And how much?Our daughter seems to be intimidated by the bigger schools (Presidio, Hoover, Gianini) and has taken a liking to Lick because of its intimate size and general friendly vibe (my best guess -- she hasn't been particularly articulate about the reasons for her preference). Roosevelt, a mid sized school, would be her second choice. We are concerned about the trade offs between big vs. small and perhaps she may not be as challenged as she might be in a separate gate/honors cluster setting like in the bigger schools.Also, any insights into big vs. small? Lick vs. Roosevelt?
Don't know much about Roosevelt (too far for us) though I hear it is good. Draws strongly from the Richmond District. James Lick has a wonderful parent and student community. Would your child be in SI or GE? I know several sixth graders there now, and seventh too come to think of it, and they are tight. Very supportive of each other. James Lick also has lots of enrichment programs like 826 Valencia, and a fun and free afterschool program.I think JL does a good job with differentiated instruction. If you have a child who craves honors, then Roosevelt might be the better option. If your child is fairly self-motivated, then she'll do fine at Lick with the heartfelt teaching. There are motivated GATE kids there.The bigger schools do have those advantages of full orchestra and band, just more opportunities. Lick has a great art studio though, a rock band program and in general a strong unified arts rotation. Is your daughter set on orchestra? Maybe Lick wouldn't be it. But if not, there are great things about a smaller school and it sounds like that is her leaning.We did take our kid's preferences very seriously, though retained veto power (didn't need it as it turned out). It meant a lot to my kid that we did and that colored the start of school--there was investment. I would caution that the middle schools can look big to a fifth grader but seem very familiar after just one week--it's like the leap from preschool to kindergarten, seems impossible but then you're there and it's fine--if your daughter really has a gut feeling about vibe or size then I would take that seriously.Not sure this is helpful. It's so personal, especially at this very, very personal age!I will say my kid is having a *great* time in middle school (turned out to be Aptos, but we looked very seriously at Lick, Hoover, Giannini; Presidio and Roosevelt, again, were just too far as we are more on the southern side of town).Good luck!
1st grade lottery handed in with 7 schools.Who else is working the 1st grade lottery after a failed attempt last year?I am a 0/15, although I don't believe I deserve any priority this year (and i won't get it.)We didn't put 7 our first round, so technically didn't go 0/15, but rather 0/11. Anyway, we were assigned a school, and chose not to attend. Best of luck all!
Good luck, Kortney!
For the folks looking at middle schools: I heard that the new 6th grad through 12th grade Oakland School of the Arts there --which is a charter school whose principal used to run SF's School of the Arts -- is right on the BART line at 19th Street and is still doing auditioning. And there's no residency requirement! For those of you scared of the large intimidating middle public schools in SF and frozen out of the K-8's here (and wondering whether Creative Arts might get moved to some out of the way location), this may be an alternative! Check it out!
I don't think it is a great idea to post your list to this blog. There is too much of a herd mentality (does anyone remember Flynn last year?) associated with this blog.It seems that as soon as a few parents get excited about a "hidden gem", other parents start questioning their choices and rearranging their lists. I do think it is great for existing parents to use this blog to cheerlead their schools. I just get frustrated when parents are cheerleading a "hidden gem" when they don't even have a spot, and in doing so, they decrease their ability to get a spot.my 2 cents. Good luck everyone.
The comprehensive middle schools may not be for everyone, but my older child is *thriving* @ Aptos. The arts/electives offerings are great--the kids get an art/elective every day, in 3 rotations in 6th grade, 2 in 7th, with an opportunity to specialize in 8th. 6th graders have just two core academic teachers so this helps the kids adjust. The number of kids and activities means that most kids can find a niche, something I didn't think about until it was pointed out to me--you don't have to "make it" within only one small group or clique--you can join the chess club, or a sports team, to find other kids with similar interests. For my kid at least, the energy of the place--and I am sure that most of us would find that many young adolescents in one place just overwhelming--is actually a huge plus and something to be welcomed. Another thing, I don't know if this is just a difference between my kid and me, or a generational advance :-), but my perception is that the kids today are less cliquey and more about taking care of each other, including across differences and disabilities that would have been cause for much teasing 30 years ago. A hopeful sign, to me.I realize middle school seems very, very far off to parents who are just now contemplating their little ones going from preschool to elementary school, but it will be upon you before you can blink! So I put this out there as a bit of a reassurance that middle school is really not all that bad :-), and so far adolescence is okay too.
12:46 that's exactly why I haven't posted my list.
Rosa Parks JBBPGrattanJose Ortega MNLafayetteLakeshorePeabodyNew TraditionsA bit eclectic, but hey.
clarendon jbbpclarendon gensunnysidemiralomafairmountwest portal immcflynn imms
I just wanted to wish this year's parents good luck. we went through the process last year and as incredibly stressful as it was, we survived and ended up at a decent school.
Our list:MiralomaFairmount (S)Alvarado (S)Starr King (M)SunnysideMcKinleyGlen Park
sf communitymiralomalakeshorefairmount spanishharvey milkmonroe spanishclarendon general ed
monroe spanishsunnysidemonroe generalglen parksf communityjose ortega mandarinjose ortega general
All Spanish immersion:MarshallFlynn FairmountBuena VistaPaul RevereAlvaradoMonroe We are really committed to trying to get into Marshall, even if we have to waitlist and wait til the last minute. Alvarado is on the list just so we go 0/7 not 0/6 if we don't get anything. We know it's risky to list all immersion but that was our highest priority, so there you have it. Good luck everyone!
Here is ours: Jose Ortega (M)West Portal (it's our neighborhood school, for what little that's worth as a #2)MiralomaFeinsteinCommodore SloatAlvarado (yes, filling out the list)UlloaYou don't need to tell me this is likely a recipe for 0/7, but these are the choices we made, and we're keeping our fingers crossed...
MiralomaMcKinelyFairmountSunnysideClarendonRooftopAlvaradoMiraloma may be a long shot, but "ya gotta play to win", as they say. The bottom 3 we liked, but realize that they are further out of reach. Like everyone else we have our fingers crossed. Ready for whatever comes. At least watching last year taught us that! In the meantime we'll be practicing the haka all black's battle dance!
miralomaclarendon second comm.clarendon jbbpsf communitymosconealvarado genflynn gen