Friday, March 20, 2009

Hot topic: Last night's counseling session

An SF K Files visitor would love to hear from others about last night's counseling session:
Would you start a topic on the counseling session that happen last night? I couldnt make it since it's pretty late in the night (my bambino get tucks in at 7) I am 0/7 round 1. It would be nice if someone who when last night could share some info.


  1. Was there any data on 1st grade at the meeting? I couldn't go either, but would love to see the 1st grade stats.

  2. There wasn't a great deal of data presented. Archie Fokin clarified the next step in the process and then answered questions from parents for an hour.

    He did say that they were going to post waitpool data online on April 6 and that parents could review the data and make changes until April 10.

    I learned that diversity factors are not used for the waitpool, unless they need a child with certain language proficiency for a language program. When you go onto the waitpool, you are assigned a random number.

    Archie clarified that your waitpool choice is your number 1 choice, so there is no benefit to include it as one of your 7 amended choices.

    We learned that you will only receive a Round 2 letter if you receive one of your amended choices or your waitpool choice.

    He explained that starting in June, families who are not satisfied with their assignment or who don't have an assignment can meet with an EPC counselor one-on-one to review the available slots and make a choice.

    I asked if there was any update on the announcement that the District may add some spaces in grades 1-3. He didn't have any information about that, but thought that the District would send letters to 0/7 applicants in those grades if spaces are added.

    It was a very informative session.

  3. My biggest takeaway was that if you enroll in your Round 1 offered school and then in Round 2, you either get your waitlist school OR one of your 7 Round 2 amended choice schools, you forfeit your Round 1 enrolled school.

    There was post on the Round II tactics thread from someone from PPS that was ambiguous regarding getting one of your 7 amended choices in Round 2. I incorrectly thought that if you got 1 of the 7 choices, you could decline your Round 2 assignment in favor of your Round 1 enrolled choice.

    So the importance of your Round 1 enrollment is to hold on to a place in the district should you get no waitlist and none of the amended 7 choices again in Round 2 and beyond.

  4. They also had handouts with waitpool information from 2008-09, to give a snapshot of what was popular and what cleared *last year*. Obviously this year will depend on this year's pool of applicants. I think he said they would post this sheet (which was marked (DRAFT) on the EPC website for everyone.

    It was hard to hear but I also thought that Archie Fokin might have agreed to post sibling data for all schools, not just the top 20 schools. Did anyone else hear him say that?

  5. I heard him say he would post sibling data on the historical school by school waiting pool list, but I don't recall him saying whether it would be for all schools or the top 20.

    I notice that document he referred to last night is on the Website today:

  6. Thank you all for generously sharing the information from last night.

  7. I looked at that document. If a school isn't on it, does that mean there was no waitlist?

  8. Yes, I think if the school is not on the list it means there was not waitpool in April and September, however there were waitpools in the interim as I think they ran them in at least June and August.

  9. Oops, I realized if you look at the Total in WP column there are none with 0, so I think they list only schools that had waitpools in April. If a school had a waitpool later it isn't listed. They posted the 4 waitpools on the website and I know there were some schools that developed waitpools in the 2nd or 3rd run, which I think aren't listed here.

  10. confused.

    on the waitlist, more got in jppb clarendon than were in the waitpool in april

    how does that happen???

  11. i believe clarendon added a jbbp kindergarten class last year after round 1.

  12. Clarendon JBBP added a class last year in the 2nd round (so that's an anomaly). They added a class this year to the 2nd Community program before Round One.

  13. 9:14 pm posted info is correct. I know a family who was one of the lucky ones who was able to get into Clarendon JBBP last year since they opened up another kindergarten class.

  14. We were unlucky one who listed CL JBBP as a first choice at Round 1 and got 0/7, waitlisted still could not get into. So we are among those 5!!

  15. I understand the demand but I really doubt adding new immersion or bilingual classes all of a sudden. You need qualified teachers for that. It was posted here that they just opened a new class at Rosa Parks JBBP. I hope it won't be like Clarendon's third class.

  16. What Archie said about new classes being added was that all parents who are in process for the affected grade level would likely be notified by the District of the added class and the process for filling that class. Doesn't sound like that's what happened with Clarendon JBBP last year, but he repeated twice during the info session that the district would likely notify parents if that were to occur.

  17. We had CL JBBP as our waitlist
    school and never notified. Even not told about it at my visits to EPC. Isn't that weird? As if they are trying to hide it.
    We found it out in September when it was too late..

  18. Archie left out of his slides some of the other prioritized set of cohort groups -- namely the #2 on page 36 of the SFUSD Enrollment Guide -- Permanent full-time staff of the school for that specific school. Seems fair enough that school staff has to have been there for 3 years to qualify.

  19. Just came back from the counseling session at Sunnyside. The woman answering questions said if another K class were to be added, which she didn't think would happen, that notification would be posted on their website (SFUSD). Also asked about the conflicting information from principals telling us they cleared their waitpool versus what SFUSD says on their lists. She responded that the "draft" document posted in fact is not accurate. Other questions asked were what about those families who were placed in a school that they didn't request, but other people requested the school. She said that only happened on rare occasion and had been investigated. Reps for Parents for Public Schools were present, I was told that it is not necessary to list 7 schools on the amended round 2 list, and the diversity index does not get used to place from the waitlist or round 2. Hope that helps.

  20. Thank you for sharing what you learned. I am frustrated about not having info. for 1st grade.

    If the district was more transparent, we'd be more successful choosing schools, and ultimately hassle them less, right?

    Why don't they HELP US MORE. Sheesh.

  21. You might find some historical first grade data on the EPC site for prior year's waiting pools:

    This data is broken out by grade so it can be done. My guess is that since there are 400+ more applications this year, that they probably don't have the man power to compile other grade levels.

  22. Interesting that they will be releasing wait pool #s in April. Wouldn't it be great to also know how many people have enrolled in the schools? I realize that just because someone has enrolled at a school doesn't mean that a spot won't open up. (I.e., someone enrolls at Glen Park but wait pools at Feinstein and gets in, thereby opening up the Glen Park spot, for example.) But when we get wait pool numbers, it might be misleading if there are relatively few people in a waiting pool if it turns out that, in fact, everyone offered spots already registered for them.

  23. Hi Kortney, I imagine you of all people know what they do and don't have. I talked to Sydney at EPC because we are weighing the risks of not enrolling our daughter at the school she's assigned at, i.e. what happens if we go 0/15, come June? Sydney gave me a list of schools that had openings at open enrollment last year. (FYI to anyone curious, it's the same list for GE as where everyone is getting assigned anyway, John Muir, Webster, Ortega, Rosa Parks, etc.)

    Anyway, you have way more experience than we do but wondered if you went to EPC and asked them for the 1st grade data, they might photocopy some sheets for you.

  24. re: 1st grade data.

    They do have it compiled, but aren't releasing it, for some reason.

    I've heard that PPS may have the 1st grade (and other grade) data, so it may be worth asking them if you're interested.

  25. we are also 0/7 in first grade (with the same experience last year.) our oldest is in private, we're very happy there, but will be driven out of the city next year when we will face more than one kid in private (and needed to get older sib in this year to have them at the same school.) we have a big family and can't sustain the private school thing. also, we really want to stay in the city, and would really like our kids to go to private school.

    does the district even have any ideas about what families plan to return for each year? my friend today said that there's nothing that they have to fill out for their first grader to keep his spot for next year. why doesn't the district ask families to let them know, perhaps 'register' for the following year before the lottery, so that they know at least the families that are NOT planning to return (since it seems that some families would know they are moving by that time, but if they are not asked, what would motivate them to let the district know?)

    just a thought. how can they have any sense of the real number of open spots for anything but kindergarten?

    is the only way to wait until the 10 day count and pull your child out of the school they are in? that's depressing and also, doesn't work so well for my child, who has a real need to be prepared for transitions...

  26. you know, in normal suburban school districts (admittedly much smaller), where logical processes are in place, they actually do send out a survey to ask parents if they are planning on returning, if siblings will be enrolling etc.

    they need those numbers in advance so they can plan how many classrooms they need for K, etc.

    sure, its not 100% accurate there is some cancellation effect with those that leave at last minute offset by those joining at last minute (or vice versa).

    in this district, maybe they feel people would not return the survey and the reliability factor is low. however, have they tried it before and know that the data is unreliable or is it just an assumption.

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