Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hot topic: How are you coping?

An SF K Files visitor asked me to start the following thread:
The round one letters go out in two weeks and I'm already cracking a little from the strain. I am assault-eating Girl Scout Cookies and occasionally laughing maniacally for no reason. But seriously, how is everyone coping with the stress as we come down to the wire?

48 comments:

  1. Well for one thing, it seems traffic on this blog is picking up again. I know I've been checking it more often! But honestly, the private letter is due to come at the end of the week for us (we applied to 1) and the public letter in 10 days. Besides being annoyed by the timing of the letters (if we get into the private we have to decide whether to plunk down a sizeable deposit to hold the spot before we hear from publics), I'm putting off too much stressing out until we have actual results in hand.

    Good luck everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "how is everyone coping with the stress as we come down to the wire?"

    I want to point out the the letters coming in out in 2 weeks from SFUSD are just the "start of a conversation". As someone who went through this harrowing process last year, I want to reiterate that many, many families are happily situated in schools that they did not receive in the first round.

    Try to keep some perspective and to not consume too many calories at this point. It may be a long summer for some, but stay optimistic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awaiting admission letters from high schools.

    We applied to three publics (Lowell, SOTA, Galileo) and two privates (Lick, University).

    Our daughter will do fine at any of these schools. She does well academically and makes friends easily.

    I'm not sweating much.

    ReplyDelete
  4. huh? why are you stressing about something out of your hands??? I don't get it. I am excited actually. I'm looking forward to some movement. Hopefully, we'll know where we'll be next year, but if not, at least we are moving in that direction. There are enough things in my control to stress about, i don't need to create stress I can not affect!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the stress comes from not knowing if you'll get ANY of your choices in the first round...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Last year public letters came first. I wonder why Private schools didn't time it better this time??

    As far as stress, count me in as one of the dolts that cannot help stressing when I have no control. It's a flaw...

    ReplyDelete
  7. The letters from top tier privates come out on the 19th, AFTER SFUSD.

    Hana's Mom probably applied to parochial or a mid-tier school that doesn't follow the rest of the pack.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We are applying to high school. I'm coping okay, although I wish the wait were over. My daughter just wants to know what high school to put on her Facebook account! It is tougher with high school than kindergarten in some ways because your child knows the score. In kindergarten it was pretty easy to dupe her with vague generalities ("We're working on finding a great kindergarten for you!!" when we got nothing in the lottery.) This time she had to fill out the applications, do shadow visits, and take admission tests. She knows some kids who have gotten rejected from all their private school choices, so she's somewhat prepared for this. We also have some good public choices also, so while she may not get her first choice, I think we'll end up with something she (and we) are happy with. Eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So all in we've applied to four privates where the letters are being sent out on the 19th and seven publics. I'm trying not to obsess too much. I just want the waiting to be over already. In the meantime, work keeps me busy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. To clarify, we have a fall birthday kid and the private school we applied to is actually a PK program. They would not consider our kid for K due to birthdate. The timeline for private K decisions at this or other schools may be aligned with the publics, I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You ain't seen nuthin' yet, no, no, no, no, no, baby, you just ain't seen nuthin' yet.

    I'm 100% convinced that I will get a big fat goose egg from SFUSD. I will reserve the panic for August.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The SFUSD website says that Round 1 letters go out after March 7 (this Saturday). This thread's starter post says that letters go out in two weeks. Which is it? Should we expect letters on Monday/Tuesday?

    ReplyDelete
  13. My understanding is that SFUSD K letters go out on 3/13 and private schools the week after.

    My backup plan (August birthdays) is in place so that has relieved a bit of stress. Also, I keep telling myself this is only the start of the process for public, but I don't seem to be able to make myself believe it because six more months of crushing uncertainty just seems completely unbearable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh vey. What melodrama.

    ReplyDelete
  15. to the high school applicants - we too are waiting - the only public schools my son applied to are Lowell and Gateway - he is currently at a sfusd k-8

    we considered applying to Galileo, but in the end did not - what made you consider Galileo versus Washington, Lincoln, etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Galileo is definitely a high school on the rise. Test scores have been improving, and I was impressed with the kids and many of the teachers I met there. There are designated buses from our neighborhood (Richmond) to Galileo.

    I hear much the opposite about Washington. Apparently the school has seen an exodus of good teachers in recent years (many through retirement).

    ReplyDelete
  17. and OJ Simpson went to Galileo!

    ReplyDelete
  18. well PK decisions at CAIS mailed yesterday - we are waitpooled. So 0/1 in the private side... keeping fingers crossed for SFUSD.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm the person who asked "why Galileo" - I too have heard about the school's turnaround for several years now, and distance wise it is definitely the most convienient.

    However, I drive by every day, and think my son would be a fish out of water - although I know gangster dress/culture is prevalent among teens everywhere, even at Lowell and Gateway, it just seems so overwhelming at Galileo (and Washington).

    I know I am biased, and that these outward appearances do not necessarily characterize a school or its population. Did the kids you saw/met, who obviously like school, seem to have a niche or cohort that protects them from the larger population of kids who don't necessarily want to be in school (or so it seems)?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was up at Washington the other day as school let out and I was actually kind of surprised at how sweet and young they all looked. There was an appropriate level of chaos as the bell rang, but the kids seemed very non-threatening to someone many years away from having a high-schooler.

    ReplyDelete
  21. They are kids, don't judge them on their outward appearances.

    My son goes to a K-8 and at first I was afraid to have him around all those big tough-looking kids, but they are just big kids. Don't be afraid of FASHION.

    When my son first saw the big kids he said "they look almost like people."

    ReplyDelete
  22. As a parent of a current middle-schooler, I have two thoughts to offer this theme:

    1) While certainly not for everyone, a bigger middle school has turned out to be a big plus for my child. This issue of niches is real--at a bigger school, there's just a greater chance of finding a critical mass of compatible friends. More chess club kids, more drama kids, more art kids, more "go to the library to read and play board games" kids, more of everything. And because not everyone has to fit into every group, it has seemed to me that it is more possible to avoid the traumas of not fitting into certain cliques or groups of jocks. The groups move in their own radars and force fields, with lots of crossover of course, but not a huge amount of tension. Too busy being with their own friends.

    2) I agree--don't judge the teens on their clothes or seemingly chaotic loudness as they congregate after school. Most of these kids are really great, in my experience. They have interesting ideas and opinions if you stop and listen (I love car pooling to events and letting them just talk away in the back seat....), and they are funny as all heck. They also have boundless energy and awkwardness in their many shapes and sizes, and when the bell rings at the end of school they pretty much run for the door and then bounce around and shout and let off steam. They mean no harm.

    I used to look at the big 4th and 5th graders at my preschooler's local playground and feel resentment at how big and energetic they were, running around and not noticing the little ones--school vacation days were the worst. It's true--they were all that. But I had a lot more sympathy for it when my kids were bigger! (I always did admonish them to look out for the little ones, though.) Same with middle school now. From my new perch as the parent of teen: the kids will be all right.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's easy to stress out about the school assignment when a computer tells you where your kid will go -- and you may either have to buy a car to get him there (we've done unreliable Muni for years already) or get out of your lease, find a new apartment and pay the security deposit, etc., to make the move.
    It's easy to say "don't stress," but for some of us finding out about where our kid goes to school may be only the start of more expenses that we can't afford.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Of course, and everyone going through it this year has my sympathies.

    It's just that, if possible, maybe those who want to avoid stressed out behaviors like slurping down boxes of girl scout cookies can try to take on some distracting but more healthy tasks this week, or breathe deeply and cultivate an atmosphere of calm (whichever approach works for you), since the point is that at this point there are no decisions within anyone's control until the letters come out.

    After this week, there will be decisions to make--such as, accept an offered spot; perhaps decide which one; or head into round 2; or accept a spot but look into a different lease; investigate school bus transportation and afterschool options, etc etc....many of us have been through variations on this theme in past years, believe me!

    Eventually, as with labor/delivery or the first three months with a new baby, things settle down for the vast majority of us. It's a memorable process to be sure, but you won't still be stressing about it in 3, 5, 10 years--or probably even in 6 months. Of course, there will always be new items to worry about with regard to our kids :-)

    Good luck, everyone, and keep on breathing.....

    ReplyDelete
  25. Does everyone here come from a $200K household?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Actually no, not everyone does. Some of us are just willing to do whatever it takes to go to privates because we don't feel like SF Public schools offer a setting that will support our children. I don't fault the schools, we are just seeing the said Mississipification of our system over time with Prop 13

    ReplyDelete
  27. I find the things that are out of my control are the things that get me the most nervous. One thing I do wonder about this process is: maybe there's no way to take all the uncertaintly out it. People seem instinctively drawn to the most popular thing, so whichever schools seem desirable will always become over-desired, so almost by definition any system that gets set up will leave some people frustrated, anxious (like I am) and not able to get what they want.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Just finished reading Sandra Tsing Loh's - Mother on Fire. Helped put everything in perspective. Seriously - for both public and private options. And it was funny as hell.

    ReplyDelete
  29. yes, she is very funny and she does provide needed perspective! her take on parental anxiety (including her own) is just so recognizable....

    seriously, there are good public schools in SF that are really worth a try. lots of kids from educated families doing very well and emerging confident and well-adjusted. for lots of reasons, this really is not mississippi. for one thing, SF gets more state money than lots of other towns in CA due to our demographics. we also have a more educated base, that SF mix, that MS does not have. Most kids from families represented here will do absolutely fine.

    Anyway, good luck, everybody.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Don't fall for the deposit at private schools. Private schools do this because it is a little known fact that the public schools on the West Side of the City (Sunset, Marina, Richmond, Twin Peaks, West Portal, Parkside) and some others are statistically better than private schools costing a lot. Also, while San Francisco claims to be a liberal city, the number of parents who send their kids to private school rather than the more diverse public school system sort of belies the liberal claims. If you get not your first choice, send your kids to public, the reason for this is to integrate schools, and we're more than 50 years after Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. You can transfer for 1st grade. The private schools are playing a game, preying on your fear you'll be sent to the school in Hunter's Point, when they can't send you to one over 3 miles away. Putlic school is the way to go, the schools actually have higher test scores when compared and it helps integration.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm hoping my children will be able to write well when they graduate from high school. And, well, the previous post is hardly an example of good writing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ah, well, someone who said she had spent nine years at supposedly top-notch Hamlin posted the other day on one of the private school threads, and her writing wasn't much good, either. But before you jump all over me for bringing her into this, I want to make clear that I think this line of argumentation is really stupid. I would not judge the quality of Hamlin's writing program by that one person's poor grammar and spelling.

    People, this is a blog. Blog comments are customarily informal. People write quickly, and don't check their work. Kids today, all kids including those at the privates, tend to write in a particularly informal style when IMing, texting, and blogging. Not to mention that, ultimately, we have no way of knowing or confirming the educational background of those who post here anonymously. Thus it is really not possible to judge the quality of any specific school (Lowell, Hamlin) or type of school (public, private, parochial) based on what people post here.

    Even for those who see much larger, and not anonymous, samples of work, such as college professors or college boards, there are other socio-economic factors that need to be "controlled for," in statistical terms, before judgments can be made about the quality of their schools. We are far from doing that here, for sure.

    Even so, we keep getting these juvenile comments. Imagine talking to someone who had met one person from Lincoln High who happened to be seven feet tall, and told you that all Lincoln High students must be seven feet tall, and that surely the food being served at Lincoln High is turning out classes of giants! It makes about that much sense.

    I suggest you talk with real-life high school students and recent grads of a number of schools, including public school kids who hail from families whose socio-economics are similar to yours, to get a better picture of how specific schools as well as types of schools are doing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. ^ finally, a thoughtful intelligent post.

    ReplyDelete
  34. thats so not true, I know at least 3 Lincoln grads and none of them is 7 feet tall

    ReplyDelete
  35. 10:25

    Who are you talking to? ALL public schools in SF are diverse. In other words white is the minority. I would guess in every school, but maybe 2. So, are you trying to add white to the public school system?

    We like the diversity, but don't like the state mandated curriculum in public schools. Many private schools copy public format, but have the room and resources to do so much more.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Well, to be honest, the private school we applied to last year (and did not get into) never poked fun at publics, didn't prey on my fear about publics, and was honestly quite respectful of the public system in S.F.

    Did anyone experience arm twisting tactics by privates?

    My guess is that we all ran to private school for back up because the SF lottery SUCKS ARSE.

    ReplyDelete
  37. sisterkortney,

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  38. 10:25 is a former ESL student.

    ReplyDelete
  39. You may find this amusing:

    At the weekend, I was talking to a friend with a son who is now applying for admission to universities.

    He said the uni search-and-application process is a breeze to anyone who has put his or her children through the elementary/middle/high school admission process in San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Very rude comment about ESL , why would you be so rude. Find another blog...

    ReplyDelete
  41. March 11, 2009 1:01 PM wrote: "Very rude comment about ESL , why would you be so rude."


    Your punctuation is awful! Take more ESL classes.

    ReplyDelete
  42. tisk tisk.

    can we stay on topic, paleeze?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Live Oak said that the leaders of tomorrow will be coming out of the independent schools, not the publics. Shocking in my book.

    Not true either.

    They all wanted to see your real commitment to private education. It was like drinking the Kool-aid. I don't like Kool-aid.

    ReplyDelete
  44. have I just had too much coffee, or is anyone else getting a little obsessed with this stuff?
    serenity now....

    ReplyDelete
  45. It's hard to NOT be obsessed when your child's immediate academic future can effect both your short and long term plans...

    Serenity now indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  46. The private-school application process is a bit of a joke really.

    We applied to six private schools in another city (not in California, sadly, we're thinking of moving for job reasons), and were rejected by them all. Fair enough, but my feeling is that they indulge in false advertising.

    For example, one told us that they had 16 slots for new students, but it turns out there were only 3 in actuality (after taking in to account gender + siblings), so with 200 applications, our chances were actually around 1.5% !!!!

    After having flown there, paid for a hotel for 5 days, toured each school, interviewed with invariably patronizing school administrators, paid fees, and subject our 4-year child to one to hour "evaluations," for each school, it's really a bit of rip and certainly a total waste of our time, and that of the other 197 applicants!

    Now, on a cheerier subject....

    ReplyDelete
  47. sorry to hear about that 10:46. what a waste of your time, effort and money. so frustrating, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  48. That's awful, 10:46. You should send them a bill for your expenses with an angry note. It won't do much, but at least you can vent.

    ReplyDelete