Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hot topic: Marin Prep

An SF K Files visitor requested that I start this thread. Also, here's a link to a former thread on the same topic:
Could we start a thread on Marin Preparatory? I think a lot of people who were left out in the cold from the private process are seriously considering this start-up school. But a lot of us know nothing about it. It would be really useful to have a thread to hash out a lot of unanswered questions about Marin Prep.


  1. There's a lot of info in the previous discussion Kate linked to - see if that answers some of your questions.

  2. I want to get excited about Marin Prep, especially since we didn't get into any of the Spanish-immersion programs we wanted or French-American.

    But I can't find anything online about how "language infusion" works as opposed to "immersion."

    Does it?

    Anyone have links as to the validity of their language model?

  3. My daughter goes to a preschool that's a part of Bright Horizon. It's a bit pricey but I sincerely recommend them. My daughters teachers work closely with the parents and constantly update the parents with their child's progress and day to day stuff. The environment is both socially, developmentally and academically supportive.

    I can't say how Marin Prep will turn out, but based on the preschool experience, I like and recommend Bright Horizon.

  4. Anyone know how the hiring of teachers is going? Do they have a head of school yet?

  5. Nope. No head. No teachers.

  6. The other thread had a lot of people asking why "Marin" in the name of a school that's offering "Spanish infusion"? Thought was that "Marin" sounded to white, too generic, etc. I googled "surname Marin" and found it's a very international surname, common in many countries including Spanish-speaking countries. Actor/comedian Cheech Marin for example is Mexican-American. So while it may not be the best reflection of the school's advertised plans, it's not necessarily wildly inappropriate either.

  7. Haha, 2:40, good point. I am Spanish and one of my mother´s last names is Marín.

  8. Marin Day School started in Mill Valley, I believe and then expanded into the City.

    Both my kids attend/attended Marin Day School Sherith Israel campus at California and Webster.

    We stumbled into this school and have had a fantastic experience. Cant say enough good things about it.

    Some of the people involved there are involved in the new Castro school, which is good.

    The Bright Horizons connection (a public company) has always been vague to me. As far as I can tell Birhgt Horizons provides corporate stuff like insurnace, payroll support, some teaching tools, etc. but the core spirit of the school is local. A weird combination but it seemed to work in preschool setting.

  9. Is it Spanish immersion or not?

  10. It isn't immersion or they would call it immersion.

    It is something they are calling "infusion."

    I think the difference is that they have bilingual teachers who switch back and forth between English and Spanish, whereas in immersion programs the Spanish teacher only speaks Spanish to the kids and the English teacher only speaks English to them.

    There's a ton of research on immersion models, what works, what doesn't, best practices, etc. And it is pretty well-known among educators that you *do NOT* want teachers switching back-and-forth between languages.

    As far as I can tell, Bright Horizons invented the language infusion model.

  11. Not Spanish Immersion. If it were, they would call it that. They want kids to be "fluent" by the time they graduate, but they have no real plan yet for how to get there -- how could they? They still don't have any staff or administration.

    I attended one of their informational meetings, and I wanted to be caught up in the excitement, and I believe that the presenters that evening do care about children, but I got the sense that they've been pouring all their efforts into securing a location and otherwise are way behind on putting together even a semi-cohesive plan for how this might work.

    They've signed the lease; they're going to open in five months. I just wish they had more than a building and good intentions at this late date.

  12. Lynn Cantor Levy explained what infusion is in her post in the previous thread (which Kate mentioned and provided a link to). Math is taught in English, but other subjects are taught in Spanish.

  13. If all subjects are taught in Spanish except for Math, well, that is clearly an immersion model.

    Why, then, are they calling it "infusion"?

  14. Why *not* teach Math in Spanish?

    Math is a universal language. Is it really going to confuse the kids if they have to "restar" instead of "subtract" or "sumar" instead of "add"?

    I think they'd figure that out quickly enough. How else would they pick up that vocab?

  15. I'm a little skeptical.

    It seems they are using Spanish as a gimmick, only.

    Are any of the people involved Spanish-speakers?

    Bilingual education experts?

  16. I was at one of the info sessions and recall an emphasis on bilingual teachers who would speak in both languages.

    I used to teach third grade in a Spanish-immersion program, so that ruled it out for me.

  17. I don't understand why people are so hung up on the term "infusion".

    It's not an immersion program. They don't claim it will be.

    They made up the term "infusion". There are no studies about infusion because there is no a model.

    Don't expect your child to learn fluent Spanish. Simply expect them to be familiar and comfortable with Latin-American cultures (the multiculturalism aspect) and to have a working knowledge of conversational Spanish.

  18. They said in the info meeting that the plan is that the main (head) teacher only speaks in Spanish and the assistant teacher only in English. I think people are way to hung up on the 'right' way to tach immersion.

  19. Will they be seeking to recruit native Spanish speakers? Families that come from and are familiar with Latin American / Hispanic cultures?

  20. Yes, as long as they don't need financial aid.

    Then again, if your kid speaks Spanish, they'd probably be bored with teh "infusion" model.

  21. hey go to the San Mateo Foster City website and take a look at the magnet program for Mandarin.

    they use the term "infused" --
    "Kindergarteners also have the option of staying for an additional one hour period of Mandarin infused curriculum including math, art, science, social studies, and technology."

    yet they consider their program to be Mandarin Immersion.

  22. I heard Marin Prep is going to have larger class sizes than publics. Is that true?

  23. Many private schools have K-3s larger than public schools. But they have two teachers per classroom.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. San Francisco International School is a new PreK-5 that will be opening in September 2010. The school will be led by David Hughes, a former private school principal and the founder of Camp Doodles in Mill Valley.

    The philosophy is focused on progressive principles with an integrated curriculum that recognizes the Multiple Intelligences, ensuring that every child will flourish. As David says, "at SFIS, every student sits in the front row."

    The school is looking for adults who are prepared and motivated to play a role in the inception of this program (fundraising, marketing, facility location, etc.).

    If interested in this exciting opportunity, David has asked that I post some information and he encourages you to contact him at with some background about yourself and how you might be interested in able to support this worthy development.

  26. We just read about Marin Prep and their company online at Seems like an established organization.

  27. I am currently sending my son to Marin Prep. My son was wait-listed at all the private schools we applied to in SF. Even though this was a big leap of faith, I did not want to send him to public school in Sf and we did not want to move to the the burbs, so Marin Prep was our answer. I was very concerned at first b/c classes were to start in early september and the building was not done and the teachers were not hired until late August. However, Everything has really come together better than I expected or dreamed. The Head of School, Ed Walters, has a lot of experience and is wonderful with the students. He is a calm man, but still waters run deep. He has a real sense of the mission of the school and how he wants to educate its students. The teachers are amazing, and they did a wonderful job remodeling the building (117 Diamond - where Friends used to be)
    My son is doing so so well!!! And I feel so lucky we found this school and are a part of it's birth.
    Another great aspect are the other founding families. Everyone is so dedicated with time and money to making Marin Prep a success.
    Now to address the Spanish infusion: This is not a spanish immersion school. I would say spanish is used about 50% of the time. My son has had some spanish speakers in his life, so I was happy to find a place that could reinforce his spanish. At this point he does not speak spanish, but does understand it. I find it's a good balance. I did not want to send my son to a immersion program.
    If you are interested in Marin Prep there are 4 tours per month for the next several months, and if you cannot make a tour, I'm sure Ed would meet with you at a different time. the website should be up and running next week, but if you want to book a tour call the school 415-865-0899.
    It's going to take committed families to make this school work, but if you are worried about getting into a private school in SF, I highly recommend taking a look at Marin Prep. Good luck to everyone applying this year!

  28. One more point - the class size at Marin Prep is 18 with 2 teachers in the classroom. One of the lowest ratios in the city!

  29. Please see the newer thread on marin prep at:

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