Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hot topic: SFUSD opens new school

An SF K Files visitor offers up the below:
I'm among the anxious crew of parents counting the days until we receive our Round I decision letter for K from SFUSD. In today's Chronicle article on the district decision to increase K enrollment to 22, I found this tidbit at the end intriguing and hopeful:

"District officials are considering reopening a school by this fall - something unheard of even a year or two ago when declining enrollment meant empty classrooms and possible school closures.

Garcia said the former De Avila Elementary School at 1351 Haight St. is one option. The site had been leased to City College in the past. 'It's in a very central place for us," he said, adding that a new school could offer unique or in-demand programs that families would want.'"
from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/11/BAJ516CTA6.DTL

This seems like a great idea for a new discussion thread on your kfiles blog. E.g., Does anyone know more about this? On what basis will the district make this decision? It sounds like a great possibility to me so how can we best advocate for it/try to shape it? Another close-to-us Spanish immersion program would be music to my ears and to those of many families I know from the neighborhood!

36 comments:

  1. Did Garcia mention that that building needs huge repairs, seismic rehab work, etc.?

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  2. I've read comments about Clarendon thinking about moving it's JPPB program to that site.

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  3. I've also heard that a couple of proposed charters are angling for the site.

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  4. Here's my dream scenario:
    An "International" k-8 school with three tracks: Japanese, Spanish and Mandarin immersion.

    Kids could learn a third language (one of the languages from the other track) starting in 4th grade.

    Who wouldn't put a school like that at the top of their list?

    ;-)

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  5. That would be AWESOME! Love that idea.

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  6. Where are they going to get the money to get that building up to code? Our EXISTING school is housed in a rundown old building that's not compliant...we've also been promised a new space by the district.

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  7. 9:31 --which school are you? maybe you're headed for DeAvila!

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  8. 9:27 -- your idea sounds like that Charter school in Aurora Colorado, I think its called Global Village Academy or something like that.
    They offer Mandarin, Spanish and I think French.
    Anyway - how about Mandarin, Spanish and Russian? Or Arabic. Or Japanese like you said, but Japanese is not as widely used as some other languages.

    Like a United Nations school. And maybe the kids can teach their parents and communities learn to get along too!

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  9. I can confirm that some in Clarendon JBBP are pushing to move the JBBP program to the De Avila site. Others within the school are opposed. From what I'm told it is not a done deal, but not far from it.

    As a Clarendon alum, I've long wondered why the district hadn't split the two schools years ago. The only reason they were grafted together was to skirt the demographic caps in the old consent decree system (where no ethnicity was allowed to comprise more than %40 of a schoool's population). Those rules are moot now. Splitting them will open seats that will be highly prized.

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  10. I can confirm that Clarendon JBBP has been offered the DeAvila site. However, my feeling is that the deal won't go through. JBBP only submitted their request to move a couple of weeks ago and there has been almost no dialog with the parents yet. We have been told that 80% of the parents must support the move for it to happen. I am not saying that the JBBP parents don't support the idea of our own school, but there needs to be more time for open discussion.

    I think the only thing that could entice the parents to support accepting the DeAvila site, or any other 2009 relocation would be if the proposed site would support a K-8 program. [I hope the District is reading this.]

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  11. Programs have gotten moved in the past without 80% (that's very high) current parental buy-in. They may have said it, but I wouldn't count on it. Lots of parents want (or think they want, when their kids are small and they can't imagine sending them to a bigger middle school) a K-8. There are lots of issues involved in making that happen, and I'm not sure you can make it a quid pro quo. Moving Clarendon JBBP is an attractive move from the perspective of SFUSD--they split two extremely popular programs into two sites, leaving room at both sites to expand upon. Plus, DeAvila isn't that far geographically from the Clarendon site, and there is demand in that part of town with Grattan, Rooftop, Jefferson et al oversubbed. I actually hope you current JBBP parents do buy in to it with a measure of can-do and good will, because it would be a good move for the rest of us.

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  12. Does anyone know where Creative Arts is moving?

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  13. I think the district moved Excelsior middle school without any parental buy-in or even notification last year. So if they've promised JBBP that 80% of parents need to be on board for it to happen I don't know what to say. But community buy-in and communication will definitely make the move smoother for everyone.

    I think moving JBBP to the DeAvila site would make a lot of sense. Clarendon is bursting at the seams and giving two popular programs more room seems like smart thinking.

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  14. 1:25

    Creative Arts is not moving this year, we are staying where we are one more year.

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  15. I have two comments:

    1) the title of this "Hot Topic" is extremely misleading. The article in the paper clearly does not say this is a done deal.

    2) Creative Arts is staying where they are for next year.

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  16. I'm 9:31.
    My child's school (Creative Arts) is also bursting at the seams and could use a more permanent location. The district has shuffled us around quite a bit in the last 5 or so years. We are also a K-8....
    We are currently housed in a really rundown building and keep getting told each year that the district will offer us another location.

    Can you imagine how it effects our kids and families being relocated every few years?

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  17. JBBP is one of 7 or 8 existing programs that have formal requests in to the District for a new site. Until now the District was all about down-sizing and I doubt thre was much attention paid to those requests. Now that expanding is in the District's future, they are looking at their vacant sites again.

    I think splitting Clarendon into two schools would be a great move for the District, but if they do it without parent buy-in it will be a total PR disaster. The JBBP PAC is very orgainized, vocal connected group. Not to mention the fact that they have significant financial resources. If they are unhappy it could get ugly.

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  18. Agreed that parental and community buy-in is a good thing, but it kinda proves the point (per another thread on this blog) that when more connected people are part of the mix, the powers that be are responsive. The largely not-connected parent community of Excelsior MS did not get this kind of consideration. That is the difference between having a vocal and educated parent base....and not having one.

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  19. I wonder if the District will start moving the Charter schools around to make way for new SFUSD programs. Personally, I would love it if Clarendon JBBP could move to the site of Edison Elementary in Noe Valley.

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  20. Anyone know anything about the vacant (I think) school in Upper Noe on the corner of Noe and 30th?

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  21. You mean the Kate Kennedy CDC? It's not vacant.

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  22. Why do I hear nothing about that school (w/out doing research now) Is it a charter?

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  23. It's a Child Development Center, or CDC. The CDC's, which are part of SFUSD, provide early childhood education for low-income families. Kate Kennedy offers an afterschool program for low-income, elementary-aged kids. So it's not a "regular" school. That's why you haven't heard of it--though many, many kids go through there for extended learning. Part of trying to close the achievement gap and boost educational success for disadvantaged kids. You can see the school buses dropping the kids off around 2pm every day.

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  24. Just to add to the CDC info. Kids who are not classified as low-income go to CDCs too. Mine are thriving at the Presidio CDC -- which has a mix of subsidized low income and paying students.

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  25. It's also Mission Ed Center which is now a K-5 Spanish newcomer school. Kids stay a year learning English. It could go immersion or K-8 newcomer. It's a wonderful school and just had construction done.

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  26. "I wonder if the District will start moving the Charter schools around to make way for new SFUSD programs. Personally, I would love it if Clarendon JBBP could move to the site of Edison Elementary in Noe Valley."

    Yeah, nice for Clarendon kids...not so great for the Charter kids who get the remaining scraps.

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  27. The Edison Charter Academy IS a really appealing site, in an ideal location for the new wave of young families. I wondered when parents on this blog would start talking about it.

    Edison Charter Academy is not a district school -- it's a rent-paying tenant in a district facility. It's chartered by the state and has no other connection with SFUSD (since 2001).

    Of course that raises the question of whether SFUSD should put the welfare of its own students ahead of the welfare of students who attend a non-SFUSD school. What's the answer there?

    Edison Schools Inc., the New York-based for-profit education management organization that runs the school, will possibly mount a major legal battle, as they have done against our district before -- but the company is shrinking anyway, so it's not unthinkable that they'd just fold the school.

    http://www.pasasf.org/edison/edison.html

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  28. To 1:06 PM. Why do the Clarendon JBBP parents need a K-8 bribe to move to DeAvila (or any new location)? Clarendon isn't a K-8 school, so families don't currently have an expectations for that type of school structure.

    Enrollment letters go out tomorrow. Fingers crossed for everyone!!

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  29. No, Caroline is right about Edison. It's a failed model and it is unclear that they will make it. Plus it is not a district charter (unlike CACS). And it is in a great location close to kid-rich Noe Valley and the Mission and close to the J-Church lines and not too far from BART/24th. Plus, it's a beautiful old building. If the district is expanding again, why not ask about using that property? Giving it up when the district was shrinking was one thing, but now.....valid question to raise.

    And, yes, good luck everyone in the lottery.

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  30. The district tried to take back the Edison site a couple years ago to move a high school there (possibly Newcomer?) They didn't give Edison enough notice though, and Edison fought back. I'm sure they couldn't do it in time for next fall anyway, and forward thinking for the following fall would be out of character for our district!

    A mom whose child just transferred out of Edison to our elementary said that the school had been going through some sort of reorganization.

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  31. A couple of years ago there was a plan to move Edison Elementary and use the site for Newcomer High School. The neighbors fought on the grounds that it was not an appropriate location for a high school, Mission High is only 3 blocks away. I am not sure the real reason why the District pulled its plan.

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  32. I was one of the neighbors, and a lot of us in the Fair Oaks Community Coalition were publicly supportive of Newcomer. The neighborhood has a longstanding relationship with Jamestown which serves teens, so it seemed like a good fit. We had plans for a meeting to welcome Newcomer. But the district pulled the plan when Edison fought back --SFUSD was trying to terminate their lease without notice.

    There may have been other neighbors not so happy, but people will grumble about any change.

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  33. So I just sent a detailed report from the district press conference to Kate, but FYI they confirmed they are opening a new school at the DeAvila campus, kicking City College out this summer, the new school will be Cantonese Immersion and start with 3 K and 2 1st grade classes, and offers have already been sent to families who applied for other Cantonese programs and didn't get them (at least for K, I don't know where they are getting their 1st grade cohort).

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  34. Oops, sorry, I pasted the wrong tinyurl. The right one:

    http://tinyurl.com/cjmj55

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  35. Caroline posted this on her Examiner blog:



    Due to the increased demand, SFUSD announced today it will be opening a new school. The new school will offer a Cantonese Two-Way Immersion program beginning with three kindergarten classes and two first grade classes and will be located at 1351 Haight St., the former De Avila Elementary site.



    Associate Superintendent Jeannie Pon explained that the district chose to open the new school as a Chinese Immersion program because of the popularity of Chinese Immersion education for both Chinese speaking and native English speaking families and the Board of Education’s commitment to have all SFUSD students graduate bilingual.



    “The plan is for this to be a Cantonese immersion program since Cantonese continues to be a heritage language spoken by a large proportion of our students at home. Similar to the Alice Fong Yu model, we are also considering introducing Mandarin in the mid-elementary years,” Pon said.

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  36. To 9:33 PM. The primary reason why JBBP families choose this program is their love of the Japanese language and Japanese culture. Many would love to see their child's educational development continue along that track; however language focus is not being made a priority in the middle school system today. Offering JBBP's program beyond grade 5 is very appealing to a lot of families. I would expect that families with students in K-5 immersion program would love to see a middle school immersion program available to them when the time comes.

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