Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hot topic: Wait pool numbers

Several K Files readers have suggested that I start a thread on wait pool numbers. Sorry for the delay. We're traveling for spring break.
Maybe time to put up a waitpool numbers thread? there are some signs that the uploaded stats are either faulty or there's something going on we don't know about (increased class size for grades 1-3?). (that is, where's the approved appeal column, the sibling column -- plus, at least two people i'm aware of are not represented on the spreadsheet at all -- that is, there's no listing for their wp grade/spot).

They posted the waitpool numbers early (shock!)
May I suggest a new thread?
Two things must be said:
1. It is not a list (in order) but rather a pool.
2. There is no information listed for Clarendon's 1st grade. Other mistakes may have been made.
Does anyone know if EPC is open next week (Spring Break?)


  1. I so, so, so wish they would break down the language immersion waitpool numbers by target language.

    Yeah, there are 34 people waitpooling Alvarado Spanish immersion. But how many of those are English speakers vs. Spanish speakers?

    The whole point of posting waitpool numbers is to help parents make informed choices, but that is hard to do with immersion programs if you don't know the mix.

  2. I spoke with someone at EPC today. She told me that they are still entering data and that there would be a corrected wait pool list posted to the District website on Thursday. She said to hold tight until then.

  3. But I thought we only had till Friday April 10 to change our waitpool choices for Round 2.

  4. Thank you for working on your vacation.

    I thought the waitpool deadline was also the 10th. I'll visit EPC after my daughters dentist appt. tomorrow and report back.


  5. Thanks for this thread. I just posted these questions on another thread...

    (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?


  6. it is said to be random, and no, a person who waits in the same pool has the same priority as someone who switches to that pool last minute.

    cohorts are the only priority (behind siblings and special needs).

    I'm not sure i believe that the first answer is true, however. It is the EPC's rule, but I don't believe them.

  7. I still don't get it...
    Kortney: you love your school. why are u putting yourself thru this again?

  8. Thanks, Kortney.

    What is a cohort - is that 0/7?

    I don't understand how it can be random either.


  9. what i dont get is the continue to run an un manageable system rife with errors every year. Im not sure if its computerized errors or human error. In any case, someone should put a stop to it. The system and the Board are a joke.

    SFUSD is like the Bernie Madoff of school systems

  10. Question

    If I go 0/15 this year and then decide to pull my kid out of the system...say to private for a year. Can I then re-apply to K again next year. It seems next to impossible to enter at 1. Could I simply tell the district im home schooling or similar..or will I be in some super bad co hort for K next year

  11. Omar --
    My understanding is that it really varies from year to year whether it's hard to get into 1st grade. This was apparently a tough year, and my guess is that next year will be, too, what with the surge in K enrollment this year. But even in years when it's not so tight, it's my understanding that spaces tend to open up late in the process -- like, late summer or into the 10-day count when families finally notify the district they aren't coming back.

    We applied for K last year, went 0/7, then decided to place my son in a transitional kindergarten program b/c his teachers said that's what would be best for him in any event. I applied for K again this year. It didn't matter to the district that I went 0/7 last year -- I stood in the same position as everyone else. (I went 0/7 again, unfortunately.)

    Personally, I wouldn't tell them that you're home schooling if you really decide to go private. I'm not aware that it would matter in terms of your odds of getting a placement, and making up stuff on your application is never a good idea...

  12. Is anyone here changing their wait list school based upon wait list numbers? I'm just curious how much movement there might be. I think we'll stick with our current wait list school even though our chances of getting in will probably be less than 50%.

  13. Omar - agree w/TK Mom's comments.

    Last year 0/15 but got called 4-5 weeks into school that our 1st choice had a spot and that we had 4 hrs to call them back. We had already gone into a TK program and didn't want to change. Best decision ever.

    This year 0/7 (so far) but an acceptable private backup.

    So, I think your chance next yr is totally independent.

  14. just a note on the lack of appeals data, I don't think the appeals committees have even reviewed the files yet. the WP doc has a note at the top that appeals will be published in May.

    and a question, I know they run the waitpool before round 2, and they are supposed to send Round 2 letters May 1. so does that mean they will call folks off the waitpool in the week or two before May 1?

  15. cohorts is the priority group you are in, like 7 requests no choice, 7 requests choice, etc. this cohort is set at the time of the round 1 lottery.

    yes, the waitpools are supposed to be truly random draws, with no diversity sorting or anything else. you are in a pool with your cohort and that's it.

    omar, you can reapply next year for K or 1st, depending on where you think your child will be best suited at that time.

    agreed that data errors are a drag. and that they could do more to maximize the information, like separating out english/spanish pools for immersion.

    still, bernie madoff? he's a thief on a large scale. there's a difference between thievery and annoying bureaucratic incompetencies (or indifference).

    remember, 2/3 of first-time applicant families for kinder already have a spot they chose (excluding families with sibling preference). even more will have one in a month or so. not enough, i agree, but it's not bernie madoff.

    it's a crazy system....but ultimately the vast majority of families will get a spot that's acceptable--if they stick with it. it sucks. but the odds are okay if you play the game. there will be a few who don't get a spot they're okay with. it is important to note here though that the chances of never getting anything go up if you only focus on a school with huge waitpool though.

    therefore, if you are definitely counting on a public spot, and don't have backup, be wise with your picks. agreed it would be much, much better if they published *available* spots to weigh demand v. supply, but i think it is wise to assume, in this crazy year, that available supply would be no more than 5 spots open at any given school for waitpoolers, and that may be generous at very popular school with fewer english spots, like alvarado spanish. i'd guess there are 2-3 english spots at alvarado spanish (really just guessing, but that's 10% of those that got it turning it down!). with 26 people in the priority pool, assume most (22?) are english speakers, given who tends to play the waitpool game. that's a 10% chance -- 22 people vying for 2-3 spots. even assuming there are no approved appeals, or teacher spots. not good. if you really, really need that spot, try for a school with less than 10 in the pool. or 5, even.

    you don't have to take my advice! just please remember it's a bad year, and proceed cautiously unless you have backup.

  16. We love kindergarten at our school. for one thing, upper elementary has no kids in it. An other problem is it's private (costs money.) We want public.

    A cohort is your priority group. If you put down 7 choices in round 1, and didn't get any, you are in cohort 1 in the waitpool. If you put less than 7 and didn't get any, cohort 2. If you put 7 schools and got one, but are waitlisting for a different school, cohort 3

  17. Beatice,

    I recommend choosing a waitpool with smaller numbers. over 10 is tough enough.

  18. SisterKortney,
    But it probably matters how large the school is/how many Kindergarten spots there are, right? I would think a small school with 1 or 2 K classrooms and 5 people in the waitpool wouldn't necessarily be a better bet than a larger school with 3 or 4 K classrooms and 15 people in the waitpool. You'd also have to factor in "movement" - for example, Grattan seems to have a lot of movement but Argonne does not (based upon last year's data).

  19. quick stupid question:

    If i didn't enroll for school, is there anything more i have to do to relinquish the spot?

    We don't need it, and i don't want to prevent anyone from getting this coveted spot.

  20. you are right, school size has everything to do with it. however, because Grattan had movement last year does not mean it will this year. Lakeshore and Miraloma and C. Lilienthal had movement last year, Clarendon did not...it's random.

    And...even if you did not register at your assigned school, it helps to call EPC and tell them you are giving it up.

  21. i'm sure this has been asked and answered, but they won't answer the damn phone: is EPC open this week for changes to waitpool/amended forms? thanks!

  22. That is everyone's question. I"m driving across town today for an appt, and will stop in. Check back this afternoon.

  23. Is there a way to find out how large the waitlists were at each school last year and which schools cleared their waitlists? I am trying to weigh the options and this info would be extremely helpful.

  24. "Lakeshore and Miraloma and C. Lilienthal had movement last year, Clarendon did not...it's random."

    Yeah, but Clarendon had an extra "bubble" class that year.

    Lakeshore's showing only 8 kids in the waitpool, assuming the draft document posted is accurate, so that's not a bad bet.

    All the Spanish immersion classes save Revere and Daniel Webster have waitpools of 10 or more. (Including Marshall - guess being located at 15th and Capp isn't a deterrent any longer). Revere and Webster have waitpools of 2-3, though you'll see more movement in Revere because of having two SI classes rather than just one.

    Similarly, Jose Ortega and Starr King waitpools are in the 10-13 range: big change for JOES Mandarin, which (IIRC) had only around 25 applications in Round I last year. Lillenthal Korean Immersion at 13. West Portal and AFY are even larger (AFY's waitpool is the largest at 74.)

    If you're anxious to get into an immersion progran, it's take a chance on DeAvila, Revere, or Webster: otherwise the probabilities are strongly against you.

    Miraloma has the 6th largest waitpool, after Claire Lillenthal GE, AFY, Lawton, Sherman, and Clarendon Japanese Bicultural. Yup, it's got a larger waitpool than Rooftop and Clarendon GE.

  25. 8:35

    Could you hazard a guess at SI school waitpool chances if a child is fluent in Spanish? Thanks, you have been really helpful.

  26. immersion programs have a lot of English speaking applicants. If you are a native or fluent Spanish speaker (or target language) you have a good chance. Marshall is an exception, as it has more Spanish speaking applicants. Anyone know about Mandarin Immersion stats?

    Lakeshore is a GREAT bet! 4 Kinder classes offer a high probability of getting in!

    I'm waiting for 1st grade waitpool numbers....

  27. Counselor at EPC just emailed me--the 1st grade waitpool omissions have come to their attention. Since the district network is down, we won't see the changes until Thursday.

    YES--they are open.

  28. Yes EPC is open though it seems like they are slightly short staffed, may be a big week for folks going on vacation. Only 2 counselors in the other day and 1 person at the front desk.

  29. and i think they cannot access waitpool information because their system is down. great week to give us a deadline...

  30. Hi all,
    Questions about changing based on waitpool data- can we only change the waitpool school or also our list of 7 amended choice school?
    - do we use the same form and resubmit or dose anyone know what the process is?
    Many thanks

  31. Sorry for typo above, I mean does not dose!

  32. There's also no way to tour a school this week if you want to take another look if considering changing waitpools. Not a great week to have picked.

    Not sure how useful it is to see these stats anyway. Now that we've seen them, how much movement will there be? Without realtime stats, we won't know if people are sticking to their choice or moving. I vote for realtime stats, like eBay. Then people could jump back and forth onto other waitpools at the last minute. Oh, the stressful joy of gambling with our children's educations...

  33. I went to the EPC today at approx. 8:30am. The place was very quiet- I saw plenty of staffers, but only one other family. I was seen within minutes of taking a number, #91, with the counter at #90. Gotta love a bureaucracy. But I digress.

    The staffer I met with had not heard that there would be an updated wait pool distributed Thursday night, as others have posted above. When asked, she specifically told me there would be no posted updates, fwiw.

    I had printed and filled out a new "Amended Choices/Waiting Pool Request Form" and resubmitted with my new wait pool and my same 1-7 R2 choices. I was told that it's best to completely re-fill out the form, even if you are just changing the wait pool only, to prevent any input errors (e.g. the data entry person assuming your new form is complete and deleting previous 1-7 R2 choices).

    And yes, the deadline is 4/10.

  34. I was told we could submit an entirely different list of 7 if you wish. Basically you are sending in a completely new Round 2 list.

    I think this makes sense. We didn't list our waitpool school in our R2 list, so if we change waitpools we would want to then add that school onto our list.

  35. Not surprised the MIraloma waitpool is larger than Clarendon and Rooftop. We toured all three schools and loved Miraloma the most. Clarendon felt overcrowded. Rooftop felt like it was resting on its laurels and was long past its hey day. Miraloma felt *great* and seemed as if it would only get better.

  36. does anyone know if you enroll in a school, can you switch your enrollment during open enrollment in June? Or is open enrollment only for people who have still not enrolled anywhere?

  37. So much different information coming out of EPC. It's just hard to believe anything they say. I firmly believe they will be adding some K classes this year. I was told if they do, they will post it on their website. I don't believe that for a second, and anyway, if changes are due on 4/10 what good does that do us?

    Just a quick comment regarding Miraloma, Clarendon and Rooftop. I totally agree about Rooftop being past their hey-day. Could not see the draw at all and didn't list it even though we live very close. I wanted to like Miraloma because I've heard so much about it but I was disappointed that we weren't allowed in the classrooms at all (even the ones where the students were gone) and the principal didn't inspire me as he seemed overworked and frustrated with the system. He said he will be leaving in the next 2-3 years, once his kids gain admission there. Just curious if someone can share with me what they liked about Miraloma and how they came to that decision, considering the parents weren't allowed in the classrooms. We loved Clarendon JBBP and Grattan. So does everyone else!

  38. Why would the fact that parents are not allowed in the classroom on a tour affect your decisionmaking in terms of picking a school? I feel that the kids are the center of the attention and what happens at a school should foremost serve their needs. School tours are extremely distractive and they happen every week for a long long time. With as little control that we have over the system, I felt just fine, glancing into the classroom. We are LUCKY that that we got into Miraloma (our 3rd choice). It's hard to say, I loved the vibe I got, the parents helping us through the tour, the campus (with a gym), the program they offer, the student body. We went to our first play date on Sunday and I can't wait for my kids to attend this schoo!

  39. people like Miraloma because it is the whitest school in SFUSD

    they just won't admit that

  40. "Rooftop felt like it was resting on its laurels and was long past its hey day."

    APIs at Rooftop are the same as Moscone and E.R. Taylor, despite those schools having large ELL strands (Moscone is only 1/3 GE, having Spanish and Cantonese bilingual ELL).

    It's in its Fat Elvis stage. Still great to go to, but there's better tickets out there for the same opportunity cost. Given the high demand for Rooftop (second most popular this year in Round I), it's not worth the opportunity cost of listing it, IMHO.

  41. APIs at Rooftop are the same as Moscone and E.R. Taylor, despite those schools being much more challenged in term of student english fluency and SES. (Moscone is only 1/3 GE, with the other 2/3 being Cantonese and Spanish bilingual ELL).

    It's in its Fat Elvis stage - still a great ticket if you can get it, but there's better alternatives out there for the same opportunity cost, given it was the second most oversubscribed school in Round I.

  42. I liked teh video they showed at Miraloma in which teachers got to talk about their approach to teaching. Got more of a sense of them than I did from watching kids during circle/carpet time at 20 other schools.

    Also loved that they aren't afraid to go beyond the District-approved curricula: They've been working with a Math education expert at Berkeley for years, have a strong Science education partnership (though I forget with whom) and are open about supplementing the District-mandated reading curriculum because they don't think it is a good enough program. The principal was very open about seeing his role as supporting teachers and keeping the District off their backs.

  43. "people like Miraloma because it is the whitest school in SFUSD

    they just won't admit that"

    I think an excellent strategy for the kindergarten search is:

    1. What schools are San Francisco white upper middle class liberals (SFWUMCLs) chattering about.[Note: I myself am a SFWUMCL.]

    2. Avoid said schools.

    3. Apply to schools that said SFWUMCLs find icky for whatever reason.

    Examples: Lots of perfectly good Catholic schools have places, and the best of the Catholic schools have far better chances for admission than, say Live Oak, but SFWUMCLs find the religion icky. Moscone and E.R. Taylor are excellent schools, and Bessie Carmichael and Paul Revere are good an up-and-coming schools, but they have "too many minorities" for SFWUMCLs, who like their minorities to be in nicely containable and patronizable minority, and so find E.R. Taylor etc. icky. AFY has better test scores than either Clarendon or Rooftop, plus it has language immersion, but you had twice as much chance of getting into AFY in Round I (8%) than Clarendon or Rooftop (4%), presumably because it's not as appealing to SFWUMCLs as Clarendon or Rooftop. Similarly, you've got a much better chance of getting into Claire Lilienthal if you list the Korean Immersion program than the GE program, so SFWUMCLs must not like Korean.

    So, what to avoid: Rooftop, Clarendon, SF Friends, Hamlin, Live Oak, Notre Dame, FAIS, etc. These are excellent schools, but the hordes of other SFWUMCLs applying dilute your chances of getting in to infinitesmal. Spare yourself the agony. Plus, you know that in three years time the school your kid gets into will be invaded by SFWUMCLs once the melanin-deficient percentage reaches a certain tipping point.

  44. I agree with the comment about Rooftop being in its Fat Elvis stage and it made me laugh--thank you! It left me cold. I hope the numbers for 1st grade in our wait pool school are accurate because the odds of getting in by the 10-day count seem pretty good at the moment. But I'm worried that the pool will get a lot bigger when they announce the April 10 numbers because people will see the now-low number this week and get encouraged to go for it.

  45. "Could you hazard a guess at SI school waitpool chances if a child is fluent in Spanish? Thanks, you have been really helpful."

    I'd say it was pretty strong, as Sister Kortney said, as for most of the SI programs there's several times more monoglot English kids than kids with Spanish proficiency.

    Usually, there's a shortage of truly bilingual Spanish/English kids (or Cantonese/English), so they're usually a shoo-in for SI. I'm surprised that your kid didn't get in in Round I.

    If I was to strategize, I'd say your chances are best for Revere or Webster, just because of the small waitpolls. After that, I'd say the order of probability for a Spanish-proficient kid of getting in is: Buena Vista and Fairmount about equal, then Flynn, then Monroe, then Marshall, then Alvarado being the lowest.

    Has your kid been tested by SFUSD re. fluency? Ask for EPC to arrange for your kid to be tested (it's not too stressful, really)

  46. Thank you for your thoughtful response, 1:23. To respond to an earlier poster, I do think going into the classrooms is very important in making a decision about where to send your kids. I was consistently disappointed when told it was disruptive to go in. The classes I was able to visit, the kids waved and seemed to enjoy the 30 second visit. For the most part, parents were respectful and held questions until back in the hallway. I really don't think it is disruptive to have a peek in the classrooms and a chance to hear what is going there, see what's up on the walls and see the class make-up. In fact I witnessed something appalling on our Rooftop tour in a 4th grade class and knew right away I would never have my child there. IMO, it's a big piece of the decision making pie.

  47. let's not forget that there is no way for SFUSD to tag your kid as bilingual within your kid's profile as designed. i have no idea how they start managing the language balance post-testing, but be assured that when you (correctly) write "english/whatever target language" on the home language portion of your application and your language affidavit, SFUSD can go ahead and tag said kid as either english or target language; they have no computerized way to do both.

    bizarre, but they were pretty clear with me about that. i don't know how they're tracking these things. i know many people who surprised to find their (bilingually indicated) kid had been tagged as one or the other -- totally arbitrary.

    they're not gonna give anyone good hard info on balance except if you catch 'em off-balance and someone spills. i'm not even sure anyone but archie, darlene and multilingual knows this info. they don't want us to know. because they've got a magnifying glass on 'em this year and they want to be able to manipulate individual class rosters as they see fit. transparency is the enemy, even though parents need it in these cases to make informed decisions. but they're just not prepared to give it.


  48. Our current waitlist school lists more than 30 kids on the waitlist, it is our #1 choice by a huge margin and has 2 K classes. We have no current assignment. Do I wait it out? If I change, do I waitlist at a school with 10 or less kids? I

  49. 2:11, obviously it is your life and your choice, but here is how I see it. With 30 kids in the waitpool and 2 K classes, your chances ain't so great, right? Figure a handful of spots available in each classroom, maybe 6 total, so a 20% of being one of the lucky ones. Maybe.

    This is where you get to make the call, and not blame the system if you don't get one of those spots at the low odds, which are evident to anyone paying attention.

    You say it's your top school by a wide margin. So wide a margin that you are okay with those odds? Willing to gut it out through the summer? Only you can decide. Will you feel like you didn't take a chance on your first choice? Maybe. Just remember those odds.

    If you do keep your top school as your waitpool pick, I would advise you to re-submit a very, very, very, very careful Round 2 list, to increase your chances of getting *something* that is acceptable. Please understand that by the end of the first waitpool run, most of the bubble schools--those with 5 kids in the waitpools now--will be gone, gone, gone. Would you be okay with a school that is truly undersubbed even after the waitpool run--like, say, and I am guessing here, Sheridan, Redding, Rosa Parks GE, Glen Park? Look for something that might not be your dream school but is not dysfunctional and works for your commute. Look for ones that don't even have a waitpool now, or only 1-2 kids, total. Seriously, NOT the schools with 5 in the WP now. Believe me, this conservative Round 2 list will be better than what you are faced with in Open Enrollment in June. And beyond OE, you're pretty much waiting for the 10-day count and the private school enrollees not to show up. Nerves of steel are required to go 0/15.

    If this doesn't sound okay--again, your choice--you should consider switching to a school with WP #'s under 10, or really, under 5. There are some nice ones in that category, not superstars, but nice schools. They will be gone by Open Enrollment and most likely before Round 2.

    Good luck!

  50. 2:11: Keep in mind w/ changing wait pools, though -- it's my understanding that if you get into your wait pool school (as opposed to one of your list of 7), it's OVER, you are DONE. No switching after that. (PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong on that, but that's my understanding from reading other comments on this blog.) I agree to pick a very conservative Round 2 list of 7, with schools you could live with. Personally, I'd do that and stick w/ the school I love as a wait pool. Because that way, if you get one of your list of 7, you have a school you can live with but can still hold out for that dream school. If you pick a wait pool school w/ a wait pool of less than five and you get it, my understanding is that you then lose any chance of getting that dream school -- the district considers you as having gotten your top choice.

    Again, though, it's totally your decision re what you can live with. Personally, I can completely live with my 0/7 assignment (JOES GE), so I put my dream school as my wait pool and basically didn't submit a revised list (I listed 7 schools, but they're all the oversubbed ones -- I'm realistic about the fact I won't get them but figured it couldn't hurt). I just didn't see any point in listing a more "realistic" school as a wait pool, when really -- JOES will be just fine, IMHO.

    But like the previous poster said, it's obviously up to you. (And I'd confirm what I said about things being over if you get your wait pool school before I made any decisions based on that information.)

  51. Is Miraloma that white? We went to the playdate on Saturday and of the 4 incoming families we met, two were Spanish-speaking families and one was Cantonese-speaking.

  52. Thanks 1:42

    My kid was tested and labeled fluent in Spanish but didn't get Spanish Immersion. I think the EPC is biased towards 94110 (Mission/Bernal) Spanish-speakers. I have no proof just a feeling.

    I know Flynn gives preference for those living in the neighborhood. It might make Flynn harder to get in to since a lot of Latinos live in that area. I'm not sure what other SI schools give preference according to residence area.

    I also suspect they are using preschool and mother's education level for more than just statistical reasons.

    Or maybe they just labeled my kid as an English speaker. He is bilingual.

  53. Miraloma is only 43 percent white.

    That is less than half white.

    Is that *too* much?

  54. Did you kid test 100 percent fluent in Spanish?

    Also: If all 7 of your choices were Spanish immersion, I'd be shocked if you *didn't* get a Spanish Immersion assignment.

    We know 8 bilingual kids who tested 90-100 percent fluent at the EPC and listed 7 Spanish-immersion choices. They all got assigned to a Spanish-immersion program (Flynn, Fairmount, Alvarado and Buena Vista).

  55. Is it true that they "rate" preschools by assigning them a number, so that if you attend a very affluent preschool you are less likely to get what you want than a similar family that attends a CDS or more "humble" preschool?

  56. WHy is Alvarado so much harder to get into?

  57. If they only use preschool and mother's education for statistical purposes - can't you just leave it blank?

  58. 3:09, I believe you are correct. If you get your waitpool school you are done. That is supposed to be your "dream" school. The district considers you done if you get that school and you are not able to switch after that.

  59. Thanks, 3:43. Yeah, given that information, I just can't imagine going for a more "conservative" wait pool choice in my situation. We'll be totally fine at JOES GE if that's where we end up, I think.

  60. so many questions!

    * Miraloma looks white compared to the rest of the district, and even to the number of white kids in the city--10% or so in SFUSD and 24% or so in the city, compared to over 40% at that school. Of course, compared to the private schools, Miraloma is wildly diverse! Anyway, I think the incoming class will mirror the district more closely due strong outreach to AA and Latino families.

    * Alvarado is popular for a number of reasons. It's in safe-feeling Noe Valley, with that neighborhood's high rate of participation in the lottery. It's got an arts program that is about 35 years old, and an established immersion program and an established PTA that raises tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the less popular immersion programs, like Webster and Revere, are very new and not fully established (hint: they will be! some of us got in on the ground floor of now-popular schools--it's a great way to go). Others, like Marshall, are located in poorer neighborhoods (another hint: the kids are well-cared for and do fine in such places).

    * If your kid tests as fluent in Spanish (or Mandarin), you will have an easier time getting in to all immersion programs but--this is a guess--Marshall and Buena Vista.

    * Yes, once you get your waitpool school that is IT. You have received your top choice and you can't keep going. A little bit of a conundrum there--do you put your top, but wildly popular choice, or not. If you do, pick Round 2 carefully. That does *not* mean schools that have waitpools now, or not more than a tiny handful, anyway.

    * They don't use mother's education. You can probably leave it blank. They use it for statistical purposes and I see no reason to deny them that, personally.

    * They do use preschool/no preschool--not in all the rounds though. No, they do not rate the preschools on a spectrum of affluence to poverty. The subset of kids who went to private preschools whether humble or fancy isn't actually that large, anyway.

    * Strongly endorse the advice to think realistically about the odds. And to remember that Round 2 odds will be worse than waitpool odds. Immersion schools will likely fill up in the waitpools, *maybe* with one or two exceptions. Realistic in Round 2 is not the same as realistic in Round 1.

  61. 3:58, that's what i would do too. if you are OK with JOES than you have no reason not to shoot the moon for your waitpool school. you never know, i have heard over and over again people waiting and it, and if they don't mind moving schools a couple weeks in then they often get their first choice school. that's my plan and i don't even have an OK assigned school. i am just not willing to enroll where i am not happy.

  62. Good call, 3:58. You are lucky to have a back-up school that you are okay with. Some of the folks here may decide to be more conservative with their waitpool school based on not being okay with their assigned school. That's where it gets personal.

    You almost have to construct a decision tree: if X happens, then we do A....if Y happens, then we do B....think it through down the line. Do you have a backup? Are you okay with having *nothing* all through the summer and taking your chances in the 10-day count? That should inform your risk-taking.

  63. The new, improved waitpool numbers are now up at sfusd.edu, with clarendon 1st grade listed.

  64. Everyone really needs to come to grips with the numbers and realize that ONLY the waitpools are going to matter for the the overwhelming majority of schools for this round. Your R2 1-7 choices are simply not going to come into play. Think about it: The district would have to fill the entire waitpool before they could open a list to R2 lottery. Last year numbers show that this was rare indeed.

    I'd venture to say that the R2 1-7 is a legacy process back when Grattan and Alvarado (for example) were snubbed ('good neighborhood but filled with bussed-in kids") a half decade or so ago. Now, the R2 process is virtually a red herring given the increased demand across the board.

    I believe the only thing a revised "R2 list" accomplishes is to force the 0-7s (I amongst them) to reevaluate the so-called 'lesser' schools and not feel completely disenfranchised by the process.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the district streamline the process next year by going immediately in April to a single waitpool school immediately.

    So face it folks, the waitpool dance is the only one that matters from here through September (or October...)

  65. when do they give waitpool results? Is it by mail?

    Also, I really don't understand the sibling number in the wait sheet now?

  66. Milk seems do-able. Might be a good one to waitpool.

  67. I would definitely agree that if you went 0/7 in Round 1, can't live with your assigned school, and don't have a private option you can live with, either be somewhat conservative for your wait list choice OR have your 1-7 choices for Round 2 be towards the bottom of the popularity list. If a school has 2 kindergartens, that's 40 seats maximum (maybe 44 if they expand class size). If the wait list has 30 kids on it, your chances of getting a spot are rather limited.

  68. The waitpool list linked from the front page of sfusd.edu still appears incomplete.

    Besides the fact that it's dated two days ago and says DRAFT on top, my group is still listed as having 0 people.

    As I mentioned in another thread, we were fortunate to be assigned to our 6th choice (Sutro) but we're waitlisting for our first choice. Sutro isn't listed on the form, which is either an oversight or truly nobody is waiting for it yet. That's an opportunity for somebody who'd want our potential spot...at least put it on your Round 2 list.

  69. 4:42. R2 certainly *does* matter. One just has to readjust their priorities. Obviously all the top (and even OK) schools will have wait pools and not be available in R2. But for a 0/7'er assigned to a completely unacceptable school, we were able, for R2, to put down "better than our assignment" schools which (last year) had no waitpool, and thus would be "in play" for R2. The difference is that for R2 maybe we're looking at "bottom half"/"bottom third" schools versus an assignment of bottom 10th where there's knife fights and gunfire on the school block.

  70. 5:15 PM.. LOL. Actually I am crying because if we don't get our waitlist, the choice now boils down to knife fights or the bottom of the ladder academically. I pay property taxes...why?

  71. 5:33

    side point, but actually other than the recent parcel tax your property tax doesn't really pay for the schools. we parents should all be better versed in school funding these days! would be so great if we could push for 1) divided rolls residential / commercial together with repeal of prop 13; and 2) repeal of the 2/3 rule to raise taxes in the state legislature.

    back on point, it *is* true what 5:15 says, that R2 is a chance to direct a "better than the most dysfunctional" choice. the most popular and the moderately subbed schools will be long gone by R2 (this is why i tell my friends to put the bubble schools like harvey milk in R1--they are never any longer available by R2). but in the second half of popularity, there are some more functional schools than others. they are more full of poorer kids, it is true, but that doesn't actually make them bad! hillcrest, glen park, redding, sheridan, joes ge, rosa parks ge all come to mind. some of these actually have good api scores, esp considering the number of ells and kids coming from low-income households.

    i really don't think the issue has to be framed in terms of knife fights. we don't need to slam the kids coming from poverty. some schools are not well-run, though (including some popular ones, but the high test scores of advantaged kids tends to obscure this fact). try to figure out to make these distinctions, because it will help you construct a better R2 list.

    salient lesson for parents just approaching the process for next year: best advice is to try very hard not to go 0/7 by including several, not just one, "moderate" choices in R1. it is much better to have a choice you can live with coming out of R1, as the choices only narrow from there.

  72. " I think the EPC is biased towards 94110 (Mission/Bernal) Spanish-speakers. "

    I'm Bernal, 94110 zip, but still struck out for Flynn SI despite having an almost-but-not-quite Spanish proficient kid, and don't know anyone in Bernal who got into Flynn SI. I wouldn't read much into the zip code issue, but I am still shocked you didn't get in.

    To the poster that asked about why I put Alvarado last in probability: because it's got a huge feckin' waitpool.

    "salient lesson for parents just approaching the process for next year: best advice is to try very hard not to go 0/7 by including several, not just one, "moderate" choices in R1. it is much better to have a choice you can live with coming out of R1, as the choices only narrow from there."

    Very true. The strategy should have an element of "how do I make sure I avoid being one of unfortunate 20% that end up being assigned to a bottom quintile school, the poor suckers". Savvy Round 1 choices will avoid this (1-2 trophy schools, no more), as will judicious use of private & parochial options.

  73. So true, 10:21. Waitpooling is easy when you have backup plan (whether that's a public school you can live with, parochial, or private). Then you can shoot for the moon. Waitpooling is hard when you are counting on getting it. I hope future K-seekers are paying attention as the number of apps is increasing and putting pressure on demand! There is no walking into a "hidden gem" late in the process to use as back-up.

  74. FYI: according to most recent waitpool numbers:

    Clarendon 1st grade:

    GE: (no sibs), 0/7:5, 0/?: 5
    JBBP: sibs: 1, 0/7:4, 0/?: 2

    They sure looked like better numbers when the 1st grade requests were 0!

    BTW: I totalled all 1st grade requests and the number is 203. That's a lot of requests if you consider some got a choice they were happy with in Round I.

  75. Note that at Miraloma, the "OW" (other white) label that is so large includes Palestinian/Arab families, Brazilian families, and more than a few Europeans that don't speak English at home - all of which fall under this category.

    Families seem to find each other and flock to where their friends are - this is the case for many schools: Buena Vista is getting more Latino, Lawton more Chinese, Drew more African American, and certainly Miraloma more "OW".

    But that seems to be changing at Miraloma -test scores moving beyond 800 this year and the several years of outreach to other communities has paid off with a much more diverse kindergarten class for the coming year. Must also be the diversity index kicking in: these families are now applying and adding diversity and therefore get it (for the last several years, these families weren't applying to Miraloma.)

    Guess the diversity index DOES work in this case.

  76. Does anyone have easy access to the demographics for the city at large?

    In general, what percentage of the SF population is white? Latino? Asian? African American?

  77. "To the poster that asked about why I put Alvarado last in probability: because it's got a huge feckin' waitpool."

    Adding to my own comment, you also have to consider the likelihood that there's going to be motion from kids going to other schools, whether SFUSD or private.

    This is less likely to happen for a trophy school like Alvarado, which is in Noe, and has excellent test scores and Spanish Immersion, and hence seen as having the same cachet value as a private, than it is for, say, Fairmount SI or McKinley GE, which are solid schools that might attract applications from parents applying to privates, but which not are going to have the same cachet value as, say, SF Friends or Live Oak (I don't agree with that mindset and would send my kid to McKinley over Live Oak even if Live Oak were free, but it's the situation). [Also, the economic situation is going to make giving up a decent public school place for an expensive private school place less likely for many families).

    Anyway, the 74 folks waitlisting Alice Fong Yu or the 47-odd waitlisting Clarendon JBBP or the 34 waitlisting Alvarado SI better have a good Plan B, because there just ain't going to be that many parents declining a spot at those programs in favor of a private spot.

  78. Do you think there is a better chance of getting into Miraloma and Grattan?

    Also: I know home language matters for immersion program placement.

    Is there any priority given to Spanish speakers currently placed in General Education programs who now want immersion vs. Spanish-speakers assigned to a different immersion program?

  79. 11:55, Miraloma is even whiter than the 44%, because most of the people who listed "DS", (declined to state) are White too.
    The diversity index most certainly does not work.

  80. Latinos who have been in this country for many generations often "decline to state" or check off the "OW" box.

    Arab-americans often decline to state, too.

    So your assumptions could be way off...

  81. The diversity index would work if SFUSD could use race as a factor. But it can't. Many schools have exceeded the 40% cap on any race that existed prior to Ho decision in 1999. It's tricky to keep any particular race from exceeding 40% of a school's population without using race as an admissions factor.

    Bear in mind that Miraloma was only 2/3 full and losing kids every year back in the bad old days. For whatever reason most of the people willing to take a chance on an underachieving school were white. Now that the school has a functioning PTA, lots of enrichment, and better test scores more families are willing to consider the school who wouldn't have in the past. There are still a number of families who rely primarily on API scores and Miraloma finally broke the magic 800 mark.

    This year's incoming kindergarten class has a more diverse racial make-up than the previous two or three years, which is all to the good! Also, the school is fully enrolled.

  82. correction to 1st grade waitpool data:

    Clarendon GE 1st grade has 5 in the 1st cohort, 5 in the second.

    Clarendon JPPB 1st grade has 1 sibling priority, 4 in the first cohort, nad 2 in the second cohort.

  83. To clarify:

    * It is not a waitlist, but rather a wait pool.

    * approved appeals and siblings get top priority

    * next priority is cohort 1 (list 7, no choices), and so on

    * once you get your WP school, you are done.

    * if you registered at an assigned school, you can WP for an other. again, if you get your WP school, you are auto enrolled there and are done.

    * if you have not gotten a WP school, but are enrolled in an assigned school, you can change schools in the open enrollmenet process.

    * there are opportunities to chanage WP schools throughout the summer

    * time in a WP has no baring on priority.

    Good luck!!

  84. For "ONW" and "DS", I would also consider the likelihood of biracial families who don't fit in just one category..... and don't want to "choose." In AFY's SFUSD profile last year, 17.9% of students were indentified by their families as "Other Non-White," while 11.2% of the students were in the "Decline to State" category. That seems like a pretty high number compared to other schools, but could give some insight into which kinds of families choose these categories elsewhere. If AFY is anything like our school (CAIS), there are a lot of biracial (mostly Asian/Caucasian) families. (About 25% of the kids in my son's grade are biracial.) Also... there are a lot of adopted Asian kids attending the Chinese immersion programs. The majority seem to have Caucasian parents. Maybe the situation (identity) for these children seems more complex (to their parents) than just checking off "Chinese." (Other biracial adoptive families throughout out the district have to make similar choices.)

  85. 9:32 makes a good point about biracial families who may not want to choose just one race. Also, when race was a factor in the lottery before 1999, parents of biracial children had to choose a race carefully. Since there was a cap of 40% of any one race, if you were applying to AFY you might want to choose white for your Chinese/White biracial child. If you were applying to Rooftop, you might want to choose Chinese for that same child.

    You were actually allowed to change your child's race one time during your child's school career, presumably to address this issue. A lot of changes were totally legit, but I am sure there was a lot of fraud, and stretching the truth, out there too.

    This is why I would be against adding race as a factor back into the admissions process. Racially balanced zones would be fine, but when you get to the individual level it just gets crazy, particularly in a city like SF with so many mixed-race families.

  86. Re: * if you have not gotten a WP school, but are enrolled in an assigned school, you can change schools in the open enrollmenet process.

    Does this mean you can change to any school that has a spot left after waitpool and R2?

    Is it possible all schools will fill up? Then what? Every kid gets a place right?

  87. 10:02

    Yes, you can go to EPC and get a spot at any school that has a spot. Granted, the spaces available are not often viable schools for most people.

    For instance, last year J. Serra was the top school with a space at open enrollment.

  88. "Bubble" school? Is that like "up-and-coming"? I'm not being snarky, I'm seriously having a hard time keeping up with the lingo.

    My mental ranking goes something like this:

    1. trophy school
    2. hidden gem
    3. up-and-coming
    4. on the move
    5. [bubble here?]
    6. has potential
    7. dysfunctional

    Not sure where "Fat Elvis" goes, maybe between #2 and #3.

  89. i think that term bubble is when a school adds a whole new class of kindergarten, then 20 kids get in the bubble class off the waitpool. I think Clarendon did this last year.

  90. LOL. I love your list.

    I figure 3-6 are the same thing. Fat Elvis I took for "past it's prime."

  91. Love the list, too, and glad someone explained what a "bubble school" is!

    Personally, I would not put a school I considered "dysfunctional" on my list, even as #7. You're likely to get it, and then you basically get the lowest priority in the wait pool. I got JOES GE after going 0/7. I'd hardly consider the school "dysfunctional" (more like hidden gem?? or "has potential," at the very least), and I think my child will be fine there if we don't get our wait pool school. And I have higher priority in the wait pool than if I had put JOES GE on my list in the first place! So I'm in a much better position than I would have been had I selected a "dysfunctional" school for my list. (I realize not everyone is in this position, though.)

  92. It's a crap shoot no matter which way you go. We went 07, and have higher priority in the waitpool at our favored school, but were assigned to Malcolm X. We did not register, btw, for anyone interested in taking our spot. I imagine it will have spaces during open enrollment too. I'm not being snarky.

    We were able to handle the news because we have a private back up that is working for us (in most ways.)

  93. I think that "trophy school" and "fat Elvis" can be 2 sides of the same coin.

  94. 10:34 AM, Thanks for the explanation of "bubble". I'm guessing this is very rare and no one can guess when/where it will happen.

  95. 11:14
    -right on the money, sister.

  96. Re first grade -- is there anything that has happened between when Round I letters were sent out and now that would free up spots? In other words, have K families been asked if they're returning? I didn't apply for 1st grade, but I'm genuinely curious. (Mostly b/c I want it to work out for Kim Green, Kortney, and the rest!) I've heard that a lot of 1st grade movement comes at the 10-day count, when returning students simply fail to show up. But I wonder whether there is a date when K students are SUPPOSED to notify the district they won't be returning?

    I suppose the District could also increase class size, but I haven't heard of anything like that happening yet. But of course, since I'm not applying for 1st grade, I haven't been following this too closely...

  97. That is an excellent question, and thank you for caring about our outcome. :)

    Nothing has happened. I've suggested previously that schools simply call their class roster. I"ve even volunteered to do it for them.

    I have been assured that schools call incoming students to find out if they are indeed still coming. However, the district and the school admin don't seem to be together on this.

    Therefore, upper grades almost always have to wait for the 10th day in the 10 day count.

    IF you know anyone in 1st grade that is not planning to return to a public school spot, please encourage them to call EPC.

  98. On that note.... If someone moves out of SF now and vacates their 1st grade spot, is that open spot "held" for the fall or might it be filled by someone moving into the district in April and May?

  99. I've never been called to find out if my kids are returning to school, or asked to fill out a form about our plans for next year. Are there schools that do this? It's a great idea.

  100. It depends on whether or not there is a waitpool for that grade/school.

  101. For Kindergarten, I know that some schools mail welcome letters and have the secretary call registered families. I don't think that they report their response to EPC. I know that I did not register at J.Serra last year, but they still called me. The secretary there was great, and on top of it. She was making sure we weren't coming.

    I think that schools should call--and we can suggest this to our schools. Again, I'm available to volunteer at our waitpool school.

    I know of a spot that is opening in a trophy school for 1st grade, but I doubt the family will bother telling the EPC. I also doubt that if the school knows, it gets back to the EPC.


  102. Yes, "bubble" can mean an extra bubble class as happened with Clarendon last year.

    However, I think yesterday it was being used to describe schools that are "on the bubble" in terms of popularity--tend to fill up, with a little over or under, but are very decent odds for Round 1 schools. These same schools would also be good waitpool choices, because they are likely to have a few spots due to the normal process of some families not enrolling, and their waitpools are 5 and under. They would NOT be good choices to rely upon for R2, though, because the very fact of being "on the bubble" means they will fill up their slots, even if just.

    I do believe these are a far cry from the truly challenged, dysfunctional schools. These are schools with very nice qualities that are for various reasons, including demographics or location, not the trophy schools (or the Fat Elvises, lol). It is well worth it to find 4-5 of these for your R1 list! They WILL be gone by R2 and Open Enrollment, though.

    Think: Harvey Milk, Marshall, Sunnyside, SF Community, Rosa Parks JBBP (this year)....though these lists are always changing so you have to have your ear to the ground.

  103. "Do you think there is a better chance of getting into Miraloma and Grattan?"

    No, I was just giving a schools where I reckoned there was only a
    <5-10% chance of getting in on the waitpool. I also think chances of getting into Miraloma and Grattan on the waitpool are slim, maybe 10-15%, given the waitpool for Miraloma is 41 and Grattan's is 37, and assuming 5-10% attrition between now and August.

    As others have said, if you have a Plan B you can live with, then keep them as your waitpool choice. If your Round 1 assignment sucks and you have no alternative outside of SFUSD, then I wouldn't list either of those schools - their waitpools are too large.

  104. For the schools with the largest WP, I imagine the only attrition happens when that family gets into a private school.

    You have better odds at a school with not quite the buzz, like Lakeshore and Commadore Sloat, for example. Not only do they have folks on waitlists for other public schools (that are closer to home, or immersion) but they have 4 Kinder classes and smallish WP.

    My 2c on WP strategy.

  105. 1:08 pm. Commodore Sloat has "3" K classes only. Lakeshore has "4" K classes. Commodore Sloat does have the "buzz" this year as they have 15 waitlisted already. Last year they had 7. 15 is a lot already knowing that more people may add on.
    Lakeshore is a "better bet" since they have more K classes (88 kids total) and have only "4" on the waitlist.

  106. I was really surprised that lakeshore has such a small waitpool. Is it because of the late start? The construction with lots of bungalows?
    When I toured I thought it had all the things that the tops schools have and a great family atmosphere. There will be new bathrooms for the kinders and construction will be finished by the end of next year.

    Am I missing something else at Lakeshore?

  107. also, from my conversations with the EPC this waitpool info does not include any movement from schools where openings were made from non-registration.

    We've seen posts on this list of people who've opted to go private and didn't register, these spots will be filled off this waitpool (the appeals/siblings/0/7 groups first) and a new waitpool list will be issued May 1st.

  108. Also if there is movement on this waitpool and you get 'chosen' you will not get a call, you will get a letter in the R2 mail out on May 1st.

    After you get your ammended form, appeal, etc froms in by 4/10.. there is nothing to do but wait for the May 1st mailing. Then there is a two week registration period and another waitpool run will be made. I think there is another run at the end of the school year, maybe one in the summer but most movement after May 1st will be after school starts next fall.

    That's my take on the process, please correct it if I'm incorrect.

  109. All is true and correct--but don't forget to figure in that many folks who opt for private (or moving away from SF) don't bother un-enrolling at their assigned school.

  110. Anxious 1st-grade wait-pooler here: Does anybody know if current students are require to confirm with the district that they will be coming back in the fall and the district considers that in their wait pool numbers, or is a student in a school just assumed to be coming back and the wait pool only moves when currently enrolled kids do not show up in the fall? Also, is it really true they only give you a couple of hours after you get the call to take a wait pool spot?

  111. 3:19

    Yes, the district assumes all Kindergartners are coming back for 1st grade. A family who is not returning to a school has to tell the district office.

    I'd stick close to the phone regarding wait pool spot. If you are desperate for a spot, and get a call, do you need time to figure it out?? Or are you worried about missing the call?

    The EPC will have to answer that question for you, but I think as the summer comes to a close and the 10 day count ensues, it could hurt you not be be available to answer the call.

  112. "Am I missing something else at Lakeshore?"

    It may be that the "buzz" about Lakeshore has abated a bit (it used to be one of the "alternative" schools). Also, it's in the SW corner of the City, so difficult logistics for some, and the immersion programs may have drained off applications from it. Basically, there are lots more of alternatives to it than 5 years ago.

  113. Thanks sisterkortney, I am worried about missing the call. I would not hand-wring for one second about the decision.

  114. Lakeshore is my favorite school. It's only issue is location IMO.

  115. 5:03 pm What is IMO?

  116. And IMHO is "in my humble opinion."

  117. not many comments left.
    has everyone pretty much given up home

  118. You mean given up "hope"? My theory is that people just don't want to show their cards.

  119. On the day before the RdII and wait pool forms went in, there were 13 kids at Marshall whose parents had not come in to register them (and they had all been called). FYI. Waiters in that pool may have a chance.

  120. What about McKinley, Peabody, Jefferson, and Lafayette? These seem like schools which people will have better chances. Jefferson only has 10 waitlisted and they have 4 K classes. In addition, their scores are high.

  121. And the ada compliance construction at Jefferson is almost over. yeah! Good opportunity to avoid a year of construction disruption.

  122. I'm talked out. I've shown my cards and have commented ad naeseum. What is left to say? We need more people commenting on this thread I guess...

    I wish the folks applying for 1st grade and up had stayed on the earlier thread with that name. I want to check in with them. Your kindergarten anticks don't help me...

  123. Is epc open today?

    Is that marshall comment this year or last?

  124. West Portal (K) GE only has only 15 waitlisted and 1 sibling. A little surprising.

  125. Just curious. Does anyone know whether siblings are kids whose parents forgot to turn in the form on time for round one? It happens.

  126. siblings are any of a number of situations. sometimes they forget to hand in an application. but other times a sibling comes to live with them, or transfers from an other school. sh*t happens.

  127. I suspect the siblings for K in round 2 are those who were hoping for a different school than their older sibling. Example, current sibling in non-immersion but now want immersion for the kindergartener. But since they didn't get the immersion in round 1, they'll fall back on the siblings priority for round 2 to the sibling's current school. Or, they could just be late in turning in their application (unlikely since they should already know the process from their older child.)

  128. I think you lose sibling priority if you don't list the older sibling's school first on the application.

  129. Re West Portal -- my guess (and it's just that) is that people put down Miraloma and Di Fi (two other excellent schools in the area) as more "realistic" choices. But then they turned out not to be b/c everyone had the same thought.

  130. It's not like -15- is realistic either though! Unless you have good backup and you are in the pool "just in case" your number comes up.

  131. 15 waitlisted is high in my opinion. If only 2-4 spots open up that's 13 to 9 families still empty handed.

  132. Also, I don't have the numbers in front of me but I don't think there was much if any movement at WP last year whereas there was some movement at both Miraloma and DiFi. Each year is different, we'll see what happens in this year's waitpools. But we looked at all three schools as we are in the area (and didn't waitpool any of them because of the odds, we don't have an acceptable choice right now and need something with more of a shot).

  133. Forgive me if I'm asking a redundant question - but I don't seem to see information as to how the SFUSD will notify you if you do receive your waitpool choice. by mail? from this thread, it looks like they will call you??? I can't find this information on the SFUSD website.

  134. EPC will mail waitpool and round 2 choices. I believe they go out May 1 (correct me if i'm wrong.)

    After each waitpool run, they mail results until the last one.

    During the 10 day count, they make phone calls.

  135. Yes, May 1 is the correct mailing date -- I have it marked on my calendar!

    I think picking wait pool schools is a lot like picking a mutual fund: "Past performance is not an indicator of future success." Who knows how much movement there will be this year at any given school.

    I frankly found it hard to know what to do w/ the wait pool numbers. It looks tempting if a wait pool is small, but what if it's a school where everyone in the neighborhood wanted it and everyone registered w/ the intent to keep the spot? In the end, I just stuck with my initial choice, hoping it will all work out in the end.

  136. This is what the person at the counter at EPC told me this morning:

    If you *get* either your waitpool or one of your Round 2 choices, they will send you a letter on May 1. Also, if you filed an appeal, they will mail you the decision on the appeal case, either way.

    If you didn't file an appeal and you don't get your waitpool and you don't get your Round 2 they will not send you a letter.

    Good luck everyone!

  137. Went to the EPC this morning and there was no wait. I spoke to a counselor who was not able to/wouldn't give me any information as to the number of openings at any of the schools which would have been really helpful. Good luck everyone!

  138. Thanks for clarifying. It helps to repeat information on the blog.

    OK...breath deeply...

  139. Good luck with the West Portal waitlist! I know that the principal of WP could not get his child into the K program and is on that list.

  140. I am sure this has been answered before so I am sorry for being forgetful. If you did not enroll in your 0/7 Round 1 assignment and you don't get your Round 2 wait pool and you go 0/7 in Round 2, do they assign you to a school with space or do you have no school? Our wait pool choice is somewhat aggressive but our Round 2 list includes mostly schools with no wait pool for our grade. I did not know what else to look for since the district does not to my knowledge report requests per space other than in K, 6 and 9.

  141. Kortney - in your shoes I would assume that the chances that 1st grade slots are opening up before the start of the school year are slim. Don't get too focused on these rounds of the process, because the slots you're hoping for are not the ones that the schools would know about at this point.

  142. 3:03
    So true. I believe the 10 day count is all we have to look forward to.

  143. 1:59pm- Principle at WP comes from a family who attends St. Cecilia's. His child will more than likely attend St. Cecilia's not WP. Yes, he is a little disturbed by the whole lottery process, but he's more in tune to send his child to St. Cecilia's. I'm sure they were accepted.

  144. If the principal of WP really wants his child to attend WP, he can always appeal under the "staff working in the school" priority anyway (although I don't know how long he's been working there.) Being the principal, as long as one spot opens up, we all know his child will get in (again, assuming he wants his child to be there.)

  145. Actually, the WP principal's child did not get into WP (this was several years ago, when principals had a harder time getting their children in) and is in at least 1st grade at catholic school now.

  146. BTW: computers are functioning again at the EPC, BUT the counselors there have no access to the current waitpool data (only to current openings in schools for this year). So we still have no idea if the numbers for waitpools are correct. As of today, the last day to submit changes...

    Somehow this doesn't feel like the transparency we were all looking for!

  147. 4:06- yes, WP principle's child is
    at St. Cecilia's. My friend is a teacher there and knows the child.

  148. I have to admit I'm suspect when a school employee doesn't enroll their child where they work...

  149. "I have to admit I'm suspect when a school employee doesn't enroll their child where they work..."

    Yup, 'cos everyone knows West Portal is a failing school.

    More accurately, it should tell folks that few folks, if any, have an in with the system If the principal of West Portal couldn't get their kid into WP last year, then there ain't some magical deal that insiders get.

  150. Ha ha. Funny. Except now Principals and teachers get priority. I guess when this Principal first started at WP no priority existed (which is lame.)

    Still, he could transfer his kid in now, but chooses not to.

  151. 6:06

    Maybe...just maybe...even the "best" public schools in SF (CA?) can't give what a private can give in terms of not being a slave to rote testing.

  152. Catholic schools do their share of rote teaching, if not testing...

  153. Oh, SisterKortney, why why why are you still applying to public schools if you think this? You're in a private school you like, kind of. You want to switch to a public school, but only if it has the exact schedule, location and arts program you want. Your child will be fine in any one of the many decent public and private schools in the area. You, on the other hand, will keep wondering: could you have done just an eensy, teensy bit better? Honestly, it gets a little tedious.

  154. I think she enjoys the drama of torturing herself to try to find the perfect school. Not be mean, Kortney, but why don't you just stay put and try to get more financial aid if money is the issue?

  155. I swear, this is why I always post anonymously and never reveal anything too personal, even though there are so many positive things about this blog. I'm way too thin skinned to put up w/ the people who pass judgment on others. Kortney has positive, encouraging, nice things to say to so many people here. What do you care what she's doing? Personally, I'm rooting for her to find a public school she wants. Good luck, Kortney!!

  156. I'm sure Kourtney will
    be laughing her head off
    if she gets a public school
    she wants. Till then, as any
    of us parents do, we will do
    whatever it takes to ensure
    our kids thrive in the environment
    we believe best suited.
    I love public schools, but I also
    think private/parochial schools in the SF area are a good backup if the lottery doesn't provide a school that is "doable" for any particular SF family.
    It's up to a family to decide whether their skin is thick enough to repeat the lottery or not. If they repeat the lottery the following year, good luck to them!

  157. Speaking of parochial schools, we are considering that route as it is cheaper. Anyone know ones to avoid?

  158. Avoid- maybe Finn Barr. Just not
    as "good" as it should be. It could do better. I guess what I'm trying to say, if I'm going to pay, I may as well get a little bit better than some of the middle range public SF schools.


    St. Brendan
    St. Philip
    St. Cecilia
    St. Gabriel

    Don't know much of St. Elizabeth, St. Monica, St. John or St. Anne.

  159. Aren't the class sizes bigger at parochial schools than at publics?

  160. it's funny to me that st. finn bar was mentioned as a parochial to avoid. i don't know a thing about the parochial schools in sf but i do have a friend who tried to get her son into one last year and was rejected by all except finn bar. i laugh because her son teased my son about his hair. i thought he was a total weenie because of it. doesn't necessarily mean anything about the school just thought it was funny.

  161. to clarify, I didn't say that the best public schools aren't good enough--but rather I was raising the question about why a principal in one of the most popular schools wouldn't send his son there...

    In any case, we want to participate in the public school process. We believe in it, and hope to bring something positive to the school we attend.

    And, finally, we do not qualify for private school financial aid.

    I am experiencing the same questioning and anxiety as anyone else. No more, no less. One difference with me, however, is I post my name when I comment.

  162. Yeah, now would be a good time to reiterate my standard complaint that allowing anonymous posts in an unmoderated forum is an engraved invitation for trolls.

    I wish everyone here was required to invest in a pseudonym if they don't want to use their real name.

  163. My Dad taught at my school and I hated it. Would have been worse if he had been the principal!

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  165. There was a post some time back (Feb?) about Catholic schools that had some helpful info as I recall. It eventually got hijacked into a debate about something else as often happens on this blog....

    For what it's worth we loved St. Monica and Star of the Sea. Really wanted to like St. Philip and the building was beautiful but the principal was pretty underwhelming. She said her advice to the eighth graders when planning for high school was to aim low - not get their expectations up or shoot for a school that was too difficult to get into academically. I think I remember her saying that people are happier in the middle. She seemed more like an administrator than an educator. Just my 2 cents.

    I think you really have to tour them because everyone is going to have different things they’re looking for and I know I was surprised both pleasantly and not so pleasantly by the schools I toured. We liked NDV, Star of the Sea, St. Monica and Sts. Peter and Paul. Toured but didn’t apply to St. Philip, St. Brigid and St. Vincent de Paul.

  166. Funny, I'd pick St. Finn Barr any day over St. Brendan (and I would probably tell people not to bother applying to St. Brendan's unless you are a parishioner). If the environment at St. Brendan's feels that good - make life easy and move to the suburbs! You will get the same benefits that the suburban schools have without the price tag. The only negative that I have found with St. Finn Barr is their rather small facilities.

  167. There are plenty of reasons why a teacher or principal wouldn't send their kid to their school. My wife teaches at a school where the majority of the kids are ELL (English Language Learners). She has a lot of training to address this population and is committed to working with this group. We have literally spent thousands of dollars of our own money over the years to help her students (i'm doing taxes right now :() Is it the right place for our kid? No. Besides the fact that there is no afterschool care unless you are free/reduced lunch - we are not sending our child there just because some public school parents think it is the 'right' thing to do.

  168. 1:53
    This is the exact argument some of us made for not choosing our assigned school last year. We were assigned J.Serra in open enrollment and, although I found it to be a sweet school with a lot of benefits, it was really doing a terrific job with ELL students. It was a neighborhood school. It will be a shame when it becomes gentrified because it is serving a particular neighborhood population really well.

    Unfortunately, their academics strictly focus on ELL, and we concluded it wasn't a good fit for our daughter.

    The question arose when we found out that the Principal of West Portal Elementary isn't sending his son there. Part of the story is that when he first became principal, his son wasn't given priority. Now, however, he would be given priority (all teachers and principals get lottery priority in the school they teach at)--but he has kept his kid at a catholic school.

    I get that they may be leaving well enough alone. Still, it raises questions.


  169. My understanding is that even today teachers get priority but principals don't. Teachers negotiated that in their contracts; apparently, principals didn't. I heard this from our principal whose kid will be applying in the next few years.

    I don't blame the principal of WP for not moving his kid. If your kid is doing well at a particular school, why disrupt their life by moving them? Plus, there is something a little weird about having your child as one of your students. It's elementary school, so favortism wouldn't have any real impact (grades etc.) but you can see how it might be awkward for both the kid and the parent.

  170. Kortney-Maybe there are other reasons he kept his son at Catholic school that you don't know about-
    For example: his son has established friendships, his son doesn't do well with transitions, they love his current teachers, etc, etc.
    I wouldn't judge the school or principal without knowing the families' individual situation.

    If the kid is happy there and thriving and they can afford the school, why disrupt the child's life?

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  172. Can you submit a waitpool choice if you haven't already? If so, does that put you in ranking behind other cohorts.

    I registered at our assigned school. But now I'm having second thoughts.

  173. waitpool deadline was Friday. You'll be able to participate in the waitpool again after May 1.

  174. 6:16

    You can, and you will be in the priority cohort assigned to you from your R1 outcome--listed 7 schools/no choice, or listed 7 schools/choice, etc. HOWEVER, you will not be considered in the waitpool for the current run, with letters to be sent out May 1, because you missed the deadline. You may be considered in subsequent runs--I believe there is supposed to be one in June.

    Since going with the next round is a long time to wait, I'd suggest spending the time finding current parents at your assigned school to see if your doubts grow in those conversations, or if they turn out to be jitters that can be soothed by talking to real live parents who are already at that school.

    Good luck!

  175. Thanks 6:16

    I don't have jitters about Miraloma. It's a great school.
    But I really want Flynn Spanish Immersion--I know, dream on.

    But my kid tested fluent for Spanish. So now I want to shoot for the moon.

    I think my kid probably was mislabeled in the process. I think I'm going to check with EPC to make sure he's listed as a Spanish-speaker. He's bilingual, so they could have made a mistake.

    The latino families are pretty motivated at Flynn, considering they were ready to sue the district last year. So I don't know if I can count on Spanish speakers neglecting to register there. I wish I knew the waitpool breakdown of languages.

    I guess it can't hurt to put it down as a waitpool and even wait out the 10 days. Does anyone know about movement there last year?

    I'm sure someone would be grateful for the Miraloma spot.

  176. St. Cecilia's: was totally put off by the highly controlling principal.

    St. Brendan's - great school, but you are not going to get into St. Brendan's, given that 2/3 of their parishoners got waitlisted for kinder this year. We're in April, folks - times for dreaming are over now.

    St. Finn Barr's - some diss it, I liked it, but hey, we got into a trophy SFUSD school. I think most of those dissing St. Finn Barr's are influenced because the facilities are butt-ugly.

    "Really wanted to like St. Philip and the building was beautiful but the principal was pretty underwhelming."

    Funny, the no-drama of the principal at St. Philip's was an appeal to me.

    St. Paul's - some negative reviews on Greatschools, but friends with a son there love it.

    Sister Kortney:
    "Dear God people, it's not my issue! Somebody else brought it up and i was just wondering what the reason was..."

    The reason stated was the principal *could not* get their kid into WP. Not *chose not to* - that was your own invention.

  177. "But I really want Flynn Spanish Immersion--I know, dream on.

    But my kid tested fluent for Spanish. So now I want to shoot for the moon."

    It's worth a shot, given that the EPC may have to scramble to keep balance if there's no-shows in the Spanish-language cohort.

    What a turnaround though. I remember four years ago driving past Flynn, thinking despite its murals it'd be hard to see me sending my kid there. Now it's shoot-for-the-moon status.

  178. Thanks, I've heard St. Brendan's and Cecilia already have waitlists. Any information on St. Anne's or Holy Name?

  179. i think public school employees get paid more than private/parochial school employees. teachers specifically. my friend quit her job at a parochial all girl high school to work in a public high school for the pay. this was in l.a. county. when i heard the wp principal sent his child to parochial, i assumed this was the case. also many families truly want the catholic education and catholicism/christianity are very important to them. those people aren't using the parochial schools for what they assume is a better education.

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  181. Re St. Paul's and Greatschools comments. I looked at this and they appear to be the comments of one or two discontented parents posting under several email addresses. The comments are strangely repetetive (basic themes were "not what it used to be" and "hot lunch is good.") This is a problem with sites like Greatschools that let you post anonymously. If you're interested in the school you should talk with current parents and take a tour to form your own impressions.

  182. The principal at WP has three children, the oldest is entering Kinder this fall. He was assigned Sheridan, went 0/7. He lives blocks from Miraloma. Will he pull priority to get his son into WP? I haven't heard.
    His sister, who lives across from WP does send her children to catholic school. They are very catholic, I'm not sure what it has to do with where her brother works.

    any other person info you all desire? He is a really nice family man.

  183. We know two Spanish-speaking boys who wanted Flynn Spanish immersion and got assigned to GenEd instead.They think they were miscoded, but who knows? They've waitpooled Spanish Immersion.

  184. Went on a tour to West Portal this year. Principle was very straight with us and told us his child would more than likely end up at St. Cecilia. Why? Because he told us they are big Catholics and have been period. They come from a family that has been attending St. Cecilia's.

    The WP principle is so proud of his school. I'm sure his child attending St. Cecilia has nothing to do with the public schools/West Portal, but more that he is a big Catholic. He was very straight forward with us.

  185. Apropos the comments about principals/teachers not sending their kids to the school they teach at. Yes, there are lots of reasons why that happens, but you have to really wonder. At our "second tier" public school, we have one teacher who sends his kid to a well-known private school, and two others whose kids are in public schools in Pacifica. I try to be understanding about why that would happen, but I have to say that it really speaks volumes about the extent to which the school is ever going to turn around.

  186. --At our "second tier" public school, we have one teacher who sends his kid to a well-known private school, and two others whose kids are in public schools in Pacifica.--

    Could it be that the kids are in public schools in Pacifica because that's where they live? I know a SFUSD teacher who fits that description (w/kids in the Pacifica school district.)

  187. "Could it be that the kids are in public schools in Pacifica because that's where they live? I know a SFUSD teacher who fits that description (w/kids in the Pacifica school district.)"

    Trivia: Pacifia allocates its schools slots by.....a lottery!

  188. I posted about the teachers whose kids go to school in Pacifica. And, no, the two teachers do NOT live in Pacifica. Go figure that one out!

  189. There's a coop model school in Pacifica that attracts a lot of interdistrict transfer students. Maybe that's the school?

  190. The "I know one teacher who" stories don't prove anything much: maybe that the poster has an ax to grind.

    I know one SF teacher who voted for John McCain. Can you believe it? I mean it: she really did! That must mean there are hundreds of others just like her, right?

    What a bunch of Republicans, those SF teachers!

  191. I think the notion that a teacher or administrator does not believe in a school enough or the SFUSD enough to send their own child (whether they are Catholic, live in Pacifica, have blue skin, etc.) is a consideration because it sends a signal to other parents that even though I am intimately involved on a day to day basis with this school, its not for my kid.

  192. The whole point with the WP principle is that he is VERY catholic- yes, there are many of those if SF. WP principle loves his church enough to send his kids there.
    If I were a teacher/principle in SF with children, I'm not sure I'd want to have my child at the same school as myself. On top of it, why bother with the whole 0/7 lotto crap shoot if my child was accepted at the school and parish that I LOVE!
    SFUSD can be such a joke....
    Yes, I will be sending my kinder bound child to a public school in the fall and declined a catholic school.

  193. 9:47 that's bunk. a teacher/principal is just supposed to send their kids to wherever they are to make a statement? being catholic and wanting a catholic education is hugely important. come on. especially if they kids already go there and the family is involved there before the parents gets a job as a principal at a school. your posting is ridiculous. seriously, some of you are so uptight, judgemental and whiny about this issue.

  194. 3:24- Thank you for your comment.
    I don't get why people care where other people send their kids...

    One more great open spot for you SF whiners.

  195. 3:24
    Why is asking a question judgemental? If I were a staunch Catholic and believed in adding religion to education, I'm not sure I'd want to teach or Administer a secular public school.

    It is important to ask questions like "hmmm...i wonder why that teacher doesn't send there kid there...?"

    It doesn't mean the answer is a foregone conclusion, again, it's just a question!!!

  196. I find it ironic that a Principal of a public school does not think that his kid can get enough exposure to Catholicism by attending Parish events and at home while also attending public school (whether its the one he is at or another school). I think it does send a message that public schools are not good enought for my kid. Why is it any different than sending the kid to a non-parochial private school because, for example, his friends from his preschool attend or its in his neighborhood or it offers French, Italian, Latin, etc. and public school does not. I don't buy the excuse that his family is close to the parish and all go there...that is just saying "not good enough for us." Apparently, its okay for religion to trump attending SFUSD but parents poor test scores, neighborhood involvement (not so different from religious involvement) is not.

  197. This is a ridiculous discussion and way off the topic of this post. I just toured my son's SFUSD school and the principal mentioned her daughter attended that school. But she hesitated in enrolling her daughter there when she got the principal job, because it might be hard on the child. Maybe the WP principal's kid didn't want to attend WP. Maybe the principal's spouse was super active at the catholic school. Maybe the catholic school has a special program that WP doesn't. It really doesn't matter -- just judge the school on its own merits. Who knows why a family does anything?

  198. WP is an amazing school- that says a lot about the principle.
    What do you care if his kids attend parochial school?
    He probably attended parochial schools as a kid. Most parochial
    parents do the same for their kids.
    It's not about public school not being good enough for his kid.

    I do know that parochial schools do have a little more "umph" when it comes to having a strong bond with families- it's called RELIGION!

    If I want RELIGION as a stronghold in my household, I will send my kid to parochial schools- it's something a public school doesn't offer- it's called separation of church and state!

  199. When is EPC posting an updated Wait Pool list? How do you find out if you are actually represented on the WP list correctly? I have emailed and called EPC, but have yet to receive a response. I just randomly picked a Placement Counselor from the EPC contact list to email...is there someone specific I should call/email about the WP list?