Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hot topic: Round II

An SF K Files visitor poses the following question:
Where are people wait pooling? What schools did you list? Did you lower your standards?

50 comments:

  1. We wanted to wait pool Grattan since it's our neighborhood school but, in looking at last year's wait pool data, we decided we probably wouldn't have a chance in hell if we did that. Instead, we listed Commodore Sloat. *crossing fingers*

    Our amended Round 2 list included:
    New Traditions, Sutro, Sunnyside, Lakeshore, Stevenson, McCoppin.

    We definitely had to lower our standards to include schools outside of a 1.5 mile radius from home (that was our criteria for Round 1 but we got 0/7 - the closest schools to our home are simply too popular).

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  3. We're waitpooling Alvarado. We know we have a snowball's chance in hell, but we happen to speak Spanish at home, so perhaps our chances are slightly less dire.

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  4. We wait pooled the same school that we put #1 in Round I. Sorry, I don't want to say which school, although it's a school I thought we had a shot at for Round I, and I'm still hoping our chances are realistic for Round #2. I can actually live with our assigned school (JOES GE) even though it wasn't on our original list. I'm impressed with the principal, and the welcoming event really made me feel good about the place. So for our new list of 7, I figured I'd list all our dream schools in our neck of the woods(West Portal, Miraloma, Rooftop, Clarendon, Dianne Feinstein, etc.) even though we basically have no chance of getting into them w/out putting them as our wait pool. It just seemed like a waste to select only a wait pool school and not put anything down on the amended list -- with this crazy system, you just never know what the computer will spit out!

    Wow, you know you're addicted to this blog when you're posting at 2:21 on a sunny Saturday afternoon! For the record -- my toddler is napping, so I can't go outside just now! ;-)

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  5. Is there ANY way of getting waitpool stats for immersion programs broken down by language (e.g. how many Spanish speakers vs. English speakers waitpooling a particular Spanish-immersion program)?

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  6. We are applying for 2nd Grade. We put Clarendon GE as our wait pool school.

    Amended Round 2: Clarendon JBBP, Lilienthal, West Portal, Miraloma, Rooftop, Lakeshore, Peabody

    We did this in the event the District adds spaces in Grades 1-3. We went 0/7 in Round 1 and expect the same result in Round 2 unless they decide to add classes.

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  7. is there any truth to the rumor Sheridan is adding a new class, and that it will be the first Arabic immersion program?

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  8. 6:25 --a coworker told me her brother who has 2 kids at CLilienthal is moving out of SF... the kids are currently 1st and 4th grade... not sure how parents notify the school district they are not returning next year.. doesn't really seem like there is a vehicle for communication, though for sure the teachers and principal (perhaps) would know...

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  9. Thanks, 9:51. I will put a call in to the principal at Lilienthal and scope things out. We were thinking of listing Lilienthal first, but in the end decided to try Clarendon, which is closer to home.

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  10. Hmmm...I was hoping this thread would be more active. Guess everyone is holding their cards close to the vest?

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  11. 11:38 am. Where did SFUSD place your child during Round 1?

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  12. 9:59 am:
    My son was assigned to John Muir, which is not an option for us.

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  13. to post at 11:38pm,

    there is ALWAYS a lot of movement at Grattan. Reason = many Grattan kids are on waitlists for private and don't remove their names from the incoming list for kindergarten.
    Don't give up on Grattan.

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  14. Agreed re Grattan. Last year there were something like 10?? (I heard this through a co-worker last year and may be fuzzy on the numbers -- sorry) spots that opened up after the start of school. I think the spreadsheet put out by the district, while a nice effort for sure, didn't capture all movement at the various schools.

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  15. I think Grattan and Lilianthal are both good bets as waitpool schools (I know someone who got Lilianthal in the 1st grade lottery Round I, and there is often a lot of movement there).

    In terms of amended lists, if you really want anything, you should list schools that people got assigned to in Round I (De Avila, Rosa Parks, Jose Ortega etc.).

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  16. I was afraid of that re: the wait list data. IT is lacking quite a bit of detail so I had to "read between the lines" so to speak. The 08/09 data showed quite a few students (14, if I remember correctly?) who were still waiting for Grattan at the end of September. IF all kids from the 0/7 priority from the May wait list never took their names off the list, it meant that there were still 5 or so kids left from that priority's wait list. Of course, it was impossible to know from the data how many from the 0/7 priority group took their names off the list and went elsewhere.

    However, I was advised by PPS that listing Grattan would be risky, mainly because it's such a small school and movement would be less likely. I was told that Commodore Sloat and Jefferson would be more realistic because there is *some* movement plus they are larger schools (i.e. more K classes).

    AND some friends of mine were advised by a Grattan insider not to wait list because it probably wouldn't happen.

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  17. We waitlisted Jefferson with Stevenson as our #1 Round II. We really want West Portal (walking distance), but looking at last year's numbers, it didn't look promising. We took off all the immersion as we figured those would be high demand.

    If we get Jefferson, we'll be happy as it is also very close to home and on public transport (I'm the one who takes 2-3 buses to work and my husband also takes public transport). Plus, we'll be DONE with this crazy lottery.

    RLS is also close by, but not as easy on transport. If we get this, we'll move back to waitlisting to West Portal, our #1 choice, but we'd be happy at RLS.

    We went 0/7 assigned Ortega GE. The ONLY problem I have with this school is the distance from home and work.

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  18. SHould we waitpool Grattan or Miraloma?

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  19. I was one of five people remaining in the first cohort of the Grattan waitpool at the start of school last year. We all ended up clearing the waitlist by the 10 day count. Each year is different but Grattan did have a lot of movement last year.

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  20. I have heard from a very reliable source that the district is going to open another kindergarten class at Sherman.

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  21. There was a lot of movement at Grattan last year. I know 4 families that got a call in week before school started (3 of them got the call the Thursday before), and then 2 kids started in my daughter's K class after the start of the school year. I suspect one of them has already posted here, because she has previously said that she was at the end of the list.

    Additional insider info: although Grattan's first choice requests were up this year, I know that there were still unclaimed spots as of end of day last Thursday (the day private deposits were due). So if I'm reading between the lines right, that would seem to suggest that Grattan was a favorite for people who are seriously weighing private school options, some of whom will take them. Otherwise, wouldn't they have gobbled up their spots immediately and enrolled as soon as they could have? If that's the case, there may again be lots of movement.

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  22. I didn't enroll my child to the assigned school. I'm going private.

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  23. Thank you for not enrolling. It mystifies me that some parents enroll before finding out whether they got into a private school they wanted, thereby making it harder to give up a spot. Or, worse, don't even try to give up a spot and leave other parents who want it waiting until late in the summer or the 10-day count. Which school was it where you decided not to enroll?

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  24. "We're waitpooling Alvarado. We know we have a snowball's chance in hell, but we happen to speak Spanish at home, so perhaps our chances are slightly less dire."

    Hmm..that's odd you didn't get into Alvarado, as normally the Spanish immersion programs or even Spanish-speaking kids, c.f. the Flynn-Alvarado screw-up last year. Check with EPC if other programs (Flynn, Monroe, Fairmount) are short Spanish-speaking kids.

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  25. I know a Spanish speaker (ELL child, no English spoken at home, low-income) that got into Alvarado SI. There was better outreach this year, so it is possible that those spots were just oversubbed.

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  26. It amazes me that the alternative for so many is to put their kids into these language immersion programs. What happened to the priority of teaching the kids to actually read, write, and be able to add without a calculator? Shouldn't that be accomplished before you start teaching them another language?

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  27. I think lots of people want their kid to have an "edge"

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  28. "It amazes me that the alternative for so many is to put their kids into these language immersion programs. What happened to the priority of teaching the kids to actually read, write, and be able to add without a calculator?"

    I visited more than 25 schools. After a while, I realised there were plenty of excellent schools, both public and private, in San Francisco, not just the name-brand schools. So my decision pivoted on other factors aside from the three R's. Language immersion was one (I can teach my kid to add and to read, but I can't teach him Spanish or Mandarin), proximity to my house another.

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  29. With the achievement gap a mile wide I don't think these immersion programs are giving that "edge" anyone needs.

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  30. I think the priority should be a solid elementary education and a school that is right for your family. One that you would feel comfortable going to every day for the next 6 years... If that happens to be one of the more popular schools I say hang on till the 10 day count is over, or beyond. Kindergarten is not mandatory, so you can wait it out as long as you can stand it.

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  31. When is SFUSD posting the 2009-2010 Waiting Pool list? This week?

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  32. 1:46 -- It may seem counterintuitive, but there is credible academic research that shows that English-speaking kids in Spanish-immersion programs score higher in those basic subjects than their monolingual peers in Gen Ed programs.

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  33. OH, and Spanish-speaking kids in immersion programs score higher in English language arts and math than Spanish-speaking ELLs in Gen Ed classes, too, by the time they are in 5th grade.

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  34. Good question, 3:33. All I have heard is that you can change your waitpool request starting April 6th (is that right?), so presumably by that date they will have posted the waitpool requests that came in by March 27th. It will take them some time to do the data entry, and today is a holiday for SFUSD.

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  35. And, Round 2 offers will be mailed on May 1. They will be running the 1st waitpool before they run Round 2.

    Also--besides today's holiday for Cesar Chavez, spring break is next week at all the schools. Meaning, if you have any idea about wanting to change your waitpool request to something else during next week's grace period, once you see the stratospheric numbers at some of the schools :-( -- go this week to check them out. Next week they will be closed. Word to the wise.

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  36. Not really Round II question but looking for feedback on William Cobb our assigned school at 0/7 becuase unless we are assigned something else in Round II or waitlist, this is it and I would like to know more about it. I specifically would like to hear from anyone who has older kids (4th or 5th grade) or anyone who went to the Montessori K program this year. What are the positives and negatives? Is there a lot of parent involvement?

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  37. We got waitlisted at John Muir, as did all of the neighborhood kids (from Noe Valley). It appears that no one is accepting their offer there. Is there any truth to the Sherman new Kindergarten class rumor? What are parents' impressions of Sherman?

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  38. I didn't send my kids to immersion, but for me the attraction would be the advantage of learning another language at a young age. It's much easier for kids to attain fluency in a second language when they start young, and once someone has learned another language it's easier to pick up more languages down the road. We had other reasons for not choosing to pursue immersion, but in my view that's the big advantage of it.

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  39. Were most of the Noe Valley kids assigned to John Muir? Last year it was Hillcrest.

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  40. 3:33 and 4:55 --

    I called the EPC today. The woman who answered said Round 2 waitpool data will be posted online Monday 4/6, and we'll have until Friday 4/10 to amend our choices.

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  41. Has anyone heard about Creative Arts Charter School on Turk Street? Anything good or bad?

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  42. Lots of people know about Creative Arts, but: Are you asking this in the context of Round 2, which is after all the subject of this thread?

    As a charter school, Creative Arts has a separate admissions process. There is now a waitlist 100 names long. The rank on waitlist was determined by lottery, as I understand it. You would be at the bottom of that list at this point if you applied for admission. And, as a charter school, CACS is not an available school to list in the Round 2 lottery.

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  43. Creative Arts Charter School has a lottery that is completely separate from the rest of SFUSD. If you did not apply to CACS in Round 1, you can add you name to the wait list.

    Since the lottery is separate, many families are "holding a space" in the CACS wait list. This means there will be a tremendous amount of movement as people here form Round 2 and their other SFUSD wait list.

    We heard last year very late in the summer, just before school started. If you have questions about the Creative Arts admission process, check out the web page
    http://www.creativeartscharter.org

    and call 415.749.3509

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  44. I posted this on another thread. Someone (offline) suggested I post this on this thread as well - for those of you not trolling all the threads.

    If you were considering private and didn't get in and/or are 0/7 in the lottery- what are your options? I think the key is to find a reasonable kindergarten for your kid. Kindergarteners are flexible and going to ‘any’ kindergarten will not hurt and would probably benefit your child in some way. This is what I would do (not necessarily in any particular order and with no value judgments):
    1. Go through Round II and beyond. Ten day count.
    2. Visit your assigned public school and register (you need a spot). Visit the kindergarten classes and try to get a sense of which teacher(s) might be better for your child.
    3. Visit your local neighborhood public school(s) and see if you can get a sense of the K-1 teachers. Make a judgment about how easy it would be to get in to your local vs. compared to your assigned school. Being in the neighborhood would be a plus for your family. Don’t forget to check the schools near your work. Make sure the school has afterschool care that is open to your family. Some schools only have afterschool for free/reduced lunch kids. Need to factor that in.
    4. Stay on the private school waitlists (doesn’t hurt or cost you anything). Check in once a week.
    5. Look at other privates / parochial schools with rolling admissions / space – see if you like them as a short term solution – again focus on K and 1st grade.
    6. If your kid is on the young side – look at the transitional K options. Especially if you are committed to getting into a specific private – the preschools usually have some space at the 5 yr. old level as some of their kids leave for Kindergarten. Call and ask and get on their waiting lists.
    7. Ask around your circle of friends (especially any teachers) for public K teachers they know who they consider very good to amazing. Repeat Step 3.
    8. If you are thinking of moving ‘anyway’. Look at rentals in the neighborhood(s) / town you want for the schools. Rentals are pretty good now and there is decent inventory. Rent out your SF digs (business rentals are great – because you can leave some furniture and some use of your house and it can generally be comparable to rents.) You might lose money on this deal – but remember the private school tuition you were willing to pay.
    9. Homeschool. Kindergarten is not required in California. You don’t have to meet any requirements to homeschool for K.
    10. Try to relax and not communicate your anxiety to your kid. Again – talking to many teachers – K is pretty straightforward. You are choosing between pretty similar options for the most part.
    11. Make a strategic plan for next year and reassess it after you have gone through K for a few months based on your circumstances.

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  45. 1:08pm

    I've posted this before, but here goes...Katherine Michiels School (9-4pm with free extended care before and after) has a two year kinder program, with the second year kinder having open spots. The upper elementary 1st - 5th is trying to grow, too. A good school to look into for back up. We are in Kinder there now.

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  46. http://portal.sfusd.edu/apps/departments/educational_placement/WP_Cohorts%20FOR%20WEB%204_3_09.pdf

    Waitpool data is up...

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  47. Two questions for all you experts (I am a newbie to the process).

    (1) among the kids in the waitpool, how do they decide the priority order once a spot opens or is it random?
    (2) does a child in the waitpool now at a certain school get priority over someone who might switch into the waitpool at that school now/later?

    thanks!

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  48. 4/7: Not positive but based on reading many blog posts here is my impression: (a) Hardship appeals are handled in May. (b) After hardship appeals are dealt with and if there are any open spots, they pull out of the wait pool and see how the kid fits in the diversity mix. If the kid fits a profile they want, they take the kid. If not they look for a kid in the wait pool that will fit the profile they want. But if the school has enough spots for everyone in the wait pool, the wait pool people will get in regardless of the diversity profile. (c) For both K and other grades, but especially grades other than K, 6 and 9, many or most wait pool spots don't open until the 10-day count. The schools don't know how many kids from the prior year will return, or for K, 6 and 9, how many of the kids who enrolled will actually show up.

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  49. We are 0/7 on first round for K school. Bilingual family - child tested fluent on both english and foreign language assessment test (so this is consider to be qualify as both catergory I understand from a counselor at ETC). The information on SFUSD suggested to apply for school that have openings. Looking at the current list - not many schools that we would even consider. Is it waste of time to list schools from round 1?? what are the chances of getting into one of the school from round 1ist in the 2nd round?? I would like to hear experience from anybody that would like to share.

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