Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hot topic: Open enrollment

Open enrollment starts on Monday. Feel free to ask questions and discuss your concerns in the comments. Parents for Public Schools will be monitoring the comments.

240 comments:

  1. Does "Open Enrollment" reflect openings at schools immediately? (For example, if a family lets the district know that they aren't going to their assignment, does that assignment immediately become available to whomever goes to the District offices to claim it?)

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  2. According to the guy at SFUSD, the only schools available at open enrollment are those with no waitpool at all.

    My guess is that if a school is totally full, but has no one in the pool, and one person drops out, it will not be immediately available to the next person in line. There appears to be no sharing of information in the department. As I was told last week, "There's only one person who knows the answer to that and she's not available to speak with you." I asked how many spots had been open at a particular school before they ran the most recent waitpool, something that should be in the system for everyone to see.

    Unless you know the person giving up their spot and walk in there together, I'd say it would take a while before it showed up on anyone's list!

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  3. When I was at the EPC last week, they told me that at Open Enrollment, the spots would be available in "real time" - meaning, if someone takes a new spot, their old spot becomes immediately available to anyone else at Open Enrollment.

    They were able to tell me up-to-date WaitPool numbers (different than what was posted on May 1) for various schools, but it is indeed frustrating that they can't give you the number Enrolled at a school. Just the WaitPool numbers.

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  4. 9:39

    Would you be willing to share what you learned (re: waitpool numbers different from May 1 data)? There may be others of us interested in the same info

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  5. Just that Alvarado GE had a couple more in the WP now than it did on the May 1st document. That's the only one I remember as it's our WP.

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  6. School Board President Kim-Shree Maufas has a column in the latest issue of the school district parent newsletter. She makes some remarks about the student assignment system which some people might find interesting.

    "For years the school district has ‘tolerated’ educational inequities for immigrant children,
    poor children, and children of color due in part to the cause/effect of the current school assignment system. As community members watch the school board discuss what changes can help
    fix this system, I don’t believe that I’ve ever witnessed a greater display of venomous ‘tolerance’
    of a potentially true inclusion assignment system by a predominantly privileged audience
    than what I’ve witnessed at committee meetings."

    http://tinyurl.com/n5brsm

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  7. Can PPSSF please post a "what happens next" summary?

    Like - When will SFUSD post a WP update?
    When will WP be run next - are they all ad hoc or on a schedule?

    I want to change my WP but do not want to brave the open enrollment rush that will hit tomorrow and possibly extend through the week

    Help us!

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  8. Here's the schedule that a counselor at the EPC gave me:

    May 29 - Mail any WP approvals from the run last week.

    June 19 - Last date to make WP changes for next run.
    July 6 - Mail any WP approvals from this run.

    Aug 7 - Last date for WP changes.
    Aug 19 - CALL any WP approvals.

    Aug 21 - Last date for WP changes.
    Aug 28 - Call any WP approvals.

    Sept 11 - Last date for WP changes.
    Sept 18 - Call any WP approvals.

    Why they don't publish something as simple as this on the site, I don't understand. They really seem to be secretive about information for no reason whatsoever.

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  9. 12:19
    That woman should never have been elected, she is an idiot.

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  10. "predominantly privileged"

    Kim-Shree would fall into that category.

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  11. okay why were the new waitpool numbers NOT posted?

    this is such a seriosly frustrating experience. Who does it help to keep this knowledge hidden?

    I am so mad, I'm afraid I might be too pissed off tomorrow at open enrolment.

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  12. 12:19:

    Maybe I'm dense, but I'm afraid I just don't get her comments. What the heck is she talking about?

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  13. The only schools available at Open Enrollment will be schools that have an opening but no waitpool. You will have to make a pretty quick decision as to what school you want when you are shown the list.

    I'm wondering if anyone reading this blog who had been through Open Enrollment last year could share their experience. Its the 11th hour but what the heck - someone may still be up.

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  14. To follow on my previous post, so I would assume that if it had a waitpool at anytime I would not assume it would be on the open enrollment list. Schools likely to be on the list are Rosa Parks JBBP and Glen Park - they just opened up a new K. Also, Jose Ortega, Sheridan, John Muir, Cesar Chavez, perhaps Redding, Longfellow, and McCoppin, Hillcrest, to name a few. There are not likely to be any surprises.

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  15. I'm not Ms. Maufas, but I'd say she's talking about the chronic inequities in SFUSD's schools:

    *funding inequities (PTAs/PTOs raising hundreds of thousands at School X and nothing at all at school Y)

    *segregated schools

    *overrepresentation of children of color (particularly African American children) in special education

    *a pervasive opportunity gap that remains even if income, parent education, school overall performance, etc. are controlled.

    The assignment system and its navigation requires a great deal of knowledge about SFUSD policies (when are the lottery forms due? January? Who would think of that) and procedures (most working people, and especially the working poor, are not going to be able to pop over to EPC for a few fun hours in line). Outreach is great, but it only goes so far. And that's just the start.

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  16. 10:34, you put it much more clearly than Ms. Maufas apparently did. I don't get the quote at all.

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  17. It's 6am at the EPC and I'm 7th out of 10 on line. I got here at 5. The first two were in sleeping bags, and had gotten here at 1:30 and 2:00am. We're still outside so no word on what the availability is.

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  18. 10:34, assuming that is what Ms. Maufas meant, (and most of which I agree with, those items do need something done about them) Ms. Maufas does not appear to be doing anything about those things, but rather makes incoherent meandering speeches when she isn't being yelled at by the NAACP and just about everyone else (until she turns off their microphone when they get up to speak at the BOE meetings). Ms. Maufas doesn't like what they say, so she turns off the microphone or clears the meeting room. She has n control at all over those meetings, which go on far too long as a result of her mismanagement.

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  19. thanks mike..

    see you in line

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  20. 12:19, you left out the worst part of Ms. Maufas' article:

    "Now, we have the courage to say that we have been tolerating minuscule attempts to find
    sustainable solutions to these ills that we knew were real – our tolerance has been broken because
    its not good enough any more. And now, we have the courage to say that we have been tolerating inequities and injustices for years – and that tolerance is not good enough for our students any more!"

    Remember, this was something she wrote out, on purpose, not an on-the-spot quote. She really should have given it a few more rewrites, it is embarrassing. If this is an example of her writing, it gives those of you unfamiliar with her droning at the meetings an idea of what the public must listen to. She gives the public one minute to speak, but takes 20 herself to say what could be said in five words.

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  21. Oddly enough I find Commissioner Maufus' written words so much more thoughtful, meaningful, and concise then when she speaks, which I agree seems to meander in nowhere land.

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  22. Back from Open Enrollment - no luck.

    They opened the doors at 7:55, not even enough time to make a bathroom stop lest I risk not being there when my number was called. There were probably 40-50 people in line by then.

    I was 7th. The new Glen Park K was already full (that was all I was looking for). The schools in my area with openings were the expected Cesar Chavez, Hillcrest, John Muir... so I stuck with our R2 assignment of Jose Ortega GE. I was out by 8:10 to tell my wife the bad news.

    They apparently offered the Glen Park spots to people who had put GP on R2 (before the new class was added) and didn't get any of their choices, so it was as if the GP spots were in R2.

    The hardiest people were there at 1:30-2:00am with sleeping bags. One couple brought their two children - one probably the Kintergartner about 5, and an infant that was sleeping in their car parked right in front. They were there before 4, must've been tough for the kids, but the older one didn't seem to mind.

    It's frustrating that the EPC seems completely oblivious to how important this is to parents. Employees were streaming into the building at 7, past a line of parents sitting in the cold on concrete. I asked a guard if they could let us line up inside so that we could at least use the bathroom and be warm, but no.

    And of course it would have been nice to have the updated waitpool info beforehand so that parents could research schools without waits beforehand to have some info to make an educated decision, but of course that info wasn't posted even as of 7:45am this morning (I checked as I was in line).

    The June 1 Waitpool info is posted on the EPC Enrollment page now, though. But jeez - did someone JUST put it together at 8am Monday? Why couldn't it be posted over the weekend?

    I hope someone gets some good news today.

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  23. I think what Ms. Maufas is saying is that SFUSD should be able to assign students wherever they want to create a magical blend of equal racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity that will not only solve all the problems of the school district but of San Francisco and eventually, through progressive osmosis, of the world.

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  24. 8:25, you find Maufas' column in the School Times CONCISE?

    It's entirely garbled.

    I mostly agree with what I think she is trying to say, but her incoherent rhetoric and finger-pointing at "the privileged" doesn't do any good to change things. It is all grandstanding, political posturing, because she wants to run for supervisor next time.

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  25. 8:25 here. Yes. :) I have to admit I had to read it a couple of times but I thought it was rather well stated. Anything but garbled. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of the Commissioner but in this case I got it.

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  26. back from the EPC.

    I got there at 8:05. I was #74. There were no openings outside of bayview for K. The best we could get was Sheridan, which we already have. There was a spot at Cleavland which I debated taking but I know absolutely nothing about that school.

    Thanks to the newly posted waitlist, I see I have no hope of getting into Sunnyside as a R2 person.

    And for Mike, I had Glen Park #2 on my R2 application and I never got a call about it.. though I had put Sheridan down (Stupidly).
    ALso I saw plenty of employees coming in at 8:30 and those same employees going to lunch at 11. The line was still out the door when I left at 11:30.

    I am so dissapointed in the way EPC has treaded me. As I was sitting with my councelor, she said oh a spot at J. Ortega just opened up... and then she had to go check something and came back and said, sorry that's not available anymore. (Note I also had J. Ortega on my Round2 list). Also a woman who I was in line with was looking for a 6th grade spot. She asked at the front desk if she'd gotten her request and was told no.. here is your number and it turns out after she waited another hour and a half that she had gotten her spot. Another ERROR on the part of an EPC employee... I suppose this is a thankless job, but could they possibly care less?

    My concerns with our current situations: I was okay with Sheridan but the early start time is an issue and where my son will spend the four hours after school is an another.

    We went to the sunnyside spring festival this weekend. What I noticed, not a lot of parents/students as compared to the festival at West Portal and Commedore Sloat that we went to. I will say they are bigger schools, but it seemed like a lot of the volunteers at Sunnyside weren't parents (oneBrick volunteers) and there were only about 60 kids there at any one time.

    My gut is saying the SFUSD doesn't give one care about me and my children, why chance it? Its looking like private school for us and if my partner doesn't get a job soon, maybe we'll leave the city.

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  27. I have a question? Given that there is basically much greater demand then capacity for schools outside of the BayView someone is going to be displaced or disappointed with any method to allocate kids to schools. How can we justify saying "as long as my kid gets what we want" and still call it fair.

    I'm really struggling with this because it seems to me that the cry for neighborhood schools is saying just that.

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  28. I have a question about 1st grade. It doesn't look, from the June 1 waitpools, like there was much movement at all in many schools (and there was hardly any movement before this round!). I believe that the BOE approved a class size increase in March for grades 1-3, is that true? Are all next year's 1st grade classes (or most) at 21 or 22 right now, or are they still waiting to do that? Obviously, no one wants class sizes to increase, but for many of us in the 0/7 cohort in the 1st year waitpools, it would make all of the difference.

    Does anyone (Vicki?) know the answer to this?

    Thanks!

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  29. Back from open enrollment, spent the whole morning there. The school information is NOT real time. I gave up our rosa parks JBBP spot (KG) and mentioned I knew another parent who wanted it, the counselor said it would show up by end of week. I took a spot at Longfellow without touring it (on my commute, the scores looked good and read some good reviews). Visited hte school after leaving EPC where I registered though the EPC form says wait till Aug 17 (because school staff said register now or you may lose your spot, at this point was too tired to see the logic and just did it). In any case, anyone know anyone or anything about Longfellow. it seemed nice but still looking at private or maybe we move to Boringame!

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  30. To the parent who wanted Glen Park...we had it down on R2 list, didn't get it initially. Received a phone call several weeks later telling us we were asssigned Glen Park. I called the number that was left on my voicemail and the principal answered. She said she didn't know what had happened but had been given a list of nine names and had her secretary call these families. She went on and on about how she doesn't want another K class here, the school is already too crowded and if it wasn't one of our top picks she would appreciate us not enrolling as it was a lot of work for her and her staff and families like us wait for the 10 day count and then go elsewhere. This is a very honest account of our conversation. After speaking to her we decided not to enroll. But she did say that only nine people had been assigned here, making me think there would be openings for people during open enrollment. Everything I have heard and read about Glen Park is that it's an OK school except for the principal. She did nothing to sell me on her school.

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  31. To 1:53 - I'm curious why you gave up your RP JBBP spot for a school you havn't toured?

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  32. What I have heard is that some of the 1st grades have already been increased to 22 based on demand. It sounds like its being done on a case by case bases unlike with K where they went across the board and increased the sizes. Movement in 1st grade is tricky. Many people don't move and uproot their kids until the summer and so openings don't appear until then.

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  33. 2:12

    Yeah, you have named the downside (currently) of Glen Park. I'm not surprised by that phone call. I can see her point (not wanting to enroll families that are using GP as a placeholder) but it doesn't really help the situation, given all the pressures on parents in this process, to vent on you and act all discouraging. Nor will it change the fact that a new K class has been announced for that school.

    On the upside, she will certainly be retiring soon, and there is a cohort of active families that have committed to go there this year. Thing will be looking up at Glen Park in the next year or two. I don't know how many spots will free up in the next few months, but I'd lay odds there will be several and that it remains a good waitpool option, as well as a good option to keep asking about at EPC in case a spot comes open.

    Having been through the process of change at a school, I can promise you it can be a bumpy ride, though very rewarding. You have to put on a thick skin and try to be sensitive to the community already in place--and willing to engage with a positive spirit that assumes that everyone at the table, including the existing community as well as those moving in, have something valuable to offer.

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  34. More specifically - I heard that many, if not most, of the schools with high demand 1st grade requests have already been increased but its worth double checking.

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  35. "I took a spot at Longfellow without touring it (on my commute, the scores looked good and read some good reviews)."

    Toured it, seems solid, but big (4-5 classes/year) and no afterschool care in the K grade. No negatives, but nothing particularly distinctive about it either, so didn't list it in our Round 1 application. And as we were lucky and got our #2 choice, we didn't have to go to Round 2).

    But for the open enrollment stage, it's a pretty good catch. Congratulations.

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  36. I believe I met the parent that gave up the Rose Parks spot... for people who live on the west or south side of SF and work on the peninsula, its a reverse commute through town.

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  37. why is so much information started with "I hear...

    why can't we get facts?

    What is standing in the way? I really find this system completely unfair and unacceptable.

    Yes this system is working for 80-90% of families, but a general free for all and the Cow Palace where there all schools open their registeration at the same time... would also meet 80-90% of families and save a few million dollars in the process.

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  38. I almost had my partner convinced to go private. my main point: The SFUSD doesn't care about our child. And we decided to go down and visit Sheridan one more time.

    We got there just as school was letting out and saw lots of happy children interacting in the playground. Organized teachers for the after school program. And spoke with a few teachers.

    The bad news? The principal is leaving as well as the director of the afterschool program. This leaves two important openings that hopefully will not cause too much upheaval. When I toured back in May (ha!) I asked the principal what happens if she moves on (she's done a great job, seemed like they need her elsewhere) and she said that many people involved at the school could step in and take over. As we talked with a teacher about this today, she agreed but said that opens up otehr spots that need to be filled and its an unkown but it should be okay for one or two years.

    SO what I need to do is stop reading this blog! Unfortunately this is the only place I get information on new classes and expanding classes that the EPC doesn't seem to think is informations parents would be interested in.

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  39. I like the cow palace idea, sort of like signing up for classes freshman year of college.

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  40. Where is the Sheridan principal going? There is a vacancy at Rosa Parks... wonder if she's headed there... anyone know?

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  41. "why is so much information started with "I hear"

    Because it's coming from Vicki of PPSSF. She can't speak for the district, but is going to be very plugged in. The fact she's willing to contribute to the threads here, which aren't exactly the pleasantest of reads, is something we should be grateful for rather than b*tching about.

    "Yes this system is working for 80-90% of families, but a general free for all and the Cow Palace where there all schools open their registeration at the same time... would also meet 80-90% of families and save a few million dollars in the process."

    Err, no it wouldn't. What if you were out of town that day? There'd be pretty slim pickings afterwards.

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  42. a general free for all and the Cow Palace where there all schools open their registeration at the same timeOh my, this brings to mind the bridal dress super-sale at the (now-shuttered) Filene's Basement near Downtown Crossing in Boston. Once a year they would put bridal wear on sale and the folks would line up hours ahead of time. When the doors opened, very early in the morning, the rush was on. Picture the bridezillas and their mothers and girlfriends pawing through the racks and bins. Word was there were fistfights on the floor, and througout the store, it was pretty common that people would grab at the same dress and just p-u-u-u-ll.

    That is how I imagine the Cow Palace on school reg day in this scenario.

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  43. "timeOh my, this brings to mind the bridal dress super-sale at the (now-shuttered) Filene's Basement near Downtown Crossing in Boston."

    I had a similar reaction. Horrors. It's amazing how all the alternatives to the lottery system proposed here are even more flawed than the current system, because folks don't take the time to think about the downsides of their proposed solution.

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  44. Ugh. The Longfellow principal is awful.

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  45. Perhaps a better way to say this is "I think the Longfellow Principal is awful." Its an opinion not a fact. Something I keep trying to teach my 8 year old but which most adults don't get either. Lots of people liked her when she was over at Sherman - obviously not everyone.

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  46. This "system" doesn't work for 80-90%!

    This "system" is a joke: it disenfranchises parents and forces families who aren't "diverse" as defined by the SFUSD to leave the city in order to enroll their child in a safe and decent scholastic environment. It is also a huge time and money suck both for the parents in the "system" and the taxpayers funding the "system".

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  47. I am the parent who gave up Rosa JBBP for Longfellow and a shout out to the other two parents I met today at EPC- sfmom and anon 3:20.
    As 3:20 said, we live in Noe and both of us commute to the peninsula, so JBBP was the opposite direction for a 7:50 start. Last night we looked at all the schools which did not have a wait pool and figured those were the ones that would be available and narrowed it down to longfellow and visitacion valley (since it was last night, this was based on schools on our commute, with good scores and these were the only two which met both criteria). Now that we actually got longfellow, am a bit mixed - may be because its the first time we actually got something we set out to get- not used to that from sfusd. anyways, still waitlisting our fave school and hoping for the best. good luck to all.
    other useful info gleaned from the counselor- the schools given up by parents like me will probably show up a week later and you are allowed to change open enrolment schools twice overall. in september you dont get into a school unless you waitlist it, it dose not matter if they have an opening and no waitlist and you want it (thats what she said!).
    curious have heard strong positives or negatives about the longfellow principal, she seemed nice when I met her and since she came they have been fastracked to get a computer lab. any longfellow parents on this board?

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  48. 4:22, everything people spew out here is OPINION, and very little "fact".
    It is perfectly acceptable to write: "the principal at Longfellow is awful".
    Of course that is an opinion.
    If you want to spend your time rewriting other people's posts I can only imagine what sort of parent you are to your poor 8 year old. (The horror). She'll run away from home eventually, after having had enough and needing to escape all your blather about dangling modifiers.

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  49. An opinion when you are slandering someone should always be stated as an opinion - in my opinion.

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  50. Got to the EPC at 4am and my husband and I were #4 in line. We are looking for 1st grade for our son -- VERY slim pickings. I asked about the new Chinese Immersion Program at De Avila and they had spots opened. I guess, better a new school with no track record than a school with a bad record. Does anyone have any information on this new program? We also, changed our waitpool choice to something more realistic.

    Also, they told me that, so far, class sizes were not increasing for 1st grade -- until they know what is happening with the budget.

    Hopefully, there will be light at the end of this loooooong tunnel.

    Good luck to everyone!

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  51. one last post to clear up some of my rants from earlier... I've calmed down considerably!

    First when I said why does so much information start with I hear... I was not commenting specifically toward Vikki/PPS posts but all post that have info in them. A few weeks ago it was an anon that started I hear they're adding a K at Glen Park. Nothing was posted at sfusd.edu or anywhere else. But if you happened to be at EPC and happened to speak with someone who might want to inform you and they happened to know, you may have heard. And than that person has to happen to read this blog and happen to post (annonymously, by the way) that info to spread the word.

    What I didn't know, that I wish someone could have shared that if I had gone down to EPC and asked I may actually have one of those new GP spots now... but I thought I was supposed to wait for Open Enrollment.

    As for my Cow Palace idea: It was a joke. I was not insinuating such a thing for general registration. For open enrollment it would be helpful if they did have it at a larger place, had a larger staff and broke it down into elementary, middle and high schools. Also have it on a Saturday. A woman I was waiting with came straight from working all night (on her feet) and she was clearly tired while we waited in line. She also hadn't eaten anything because she was in a hurry to get in line. I only hope she got a spot at Lakeshore.. she was a 1st grade mom. Why not have this open enrollment on a Saturday (as well as other key due dates)? Have the office closed the following Monday and Tuesday to compensate the employees that help out on open enrollment and then they'd have two days to sort out all the new open spots and start doling those out on Wednesday.

    Also why they didn't post the waitlists before opening the doors this morning is just an unacceptable excuse. Apparently they had the info last week, but again it HAPPENS to be who you talk to and when as to how much information you're allowed. I called four times and left a voice mail two of those times but got no response.
    This morning, when I asked about the waitlist numbers at the intake desk I could see the list but was not shown it. When I went up to inquire about internet access so I could look at the list, I was given a copy.

    There was also the woman who left in tears around 9 o'clock... I guess open enrollment didn't help her either.

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  52. ack one other thing.. Sheridan principal is 'going downtown'
    not sure what that means, I assumed that meant to the district offices but it could be to another school.

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  53. 9:57

    I'm not clear, did you actually pick DeAvila as well as change your waitpool?

    If so, I think you were lucky. It may be a bumpy road in some respects getting it off the ground, but it will probably be a good school whose families are highly motivated. And great location from many neighborhoods. You will be pioneers in a project with enthusiastic people, which will be challenging, but exciting too.

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  54. Sfmom, your idea to start open enrollment on a weekend is a good one. I guess there might be problems with Orthodox Jews and other families that keep that as sabbath, but it might overall be accessible to a far wider range of people. Maybe a Sunday afternoon then, as most church-goers I know are not so strict about the sabbath.

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  55. Sheridan principal is becoming an asst. superintendent.

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  56. 10:59 beat me to this, but yes, the principal at Sheridan is going to be an assistant superintendent starting next year. I think I know who is replacing her but not sure (there have been a lot of changes recently and I'm having trouble keeping them all straight), so I'll confirm tomorrow and post. Sheridan is, from everything I hear, a hidden gem for sure - good catch!

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  57. 8:43,
    it isn't SLANDER
    slander is SPOKEN
    (eye rolling)

    amazing how controlling and neurotic people can be.

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  58. RE
    "Ugh. The Longfellow principal is awful."

    Phyllis Matsuno is responsible more than anyone else for turning Sherman and Alvarado into very popular schools.

    When she became principal at Sherman in 2003, all three kindergarten classes were underenrolled. This year, Sherman got around 400 requests for kindergarten slots.

    If I were a parent of an incoming kindergarten student for 2010, I would look very closely at Longfellow.

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  59. If you agree with her 100%, then you will have no problems with her. If you have the least bit of disagreement with her, she will YELL at you things like: "I am the EDUCATOR. I know best what our children need" rants and then STOMP away like a spoiled two year old.
    Some like her, some don't.

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  60. "This "system" is a joke: it disenfranchises parents and forces families who aren't "diverse" as defined by the SFUSD to leave the city in order to enroll their child in a safe and decent scholastic environment."

    As oppossed to an automatic neighbourhood system, where we could say "Hi, you get low-performing schools, gee it must suck to be you" to families in Bayview/Hunters Point, the Western Addition, and most of the Mission, [and a good part of Potero, the Dogpatch and Bernal to boot].

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  61. Well, I suggest you look at the reviews of her in greatschool.net
    They are very,very favorable covering many years. 95% of the reviews laud her performance.

    She cares about the students and their well-being only. Thus, she is not afraid to speak frankly to teachers and parents, and that upsets some parents (one parent when I was there ran off to Grattan in a huff.)

    Look at the concrete results:

    Every school where she has been principal has had huge jumps in test scores and become very popular.

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  62. Great 8:14, send your kid to Longfellow if you are such a fan.
    I'm not, and would never send my kid to a school she was in charge of.

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  63. When is the last possible day to find out about your wait list school? Also, are you better off not enrolling in a school for K when none of the choices are places you would send your child or enrolling in one, knowing that you will not send them and have them sit out K all together and try for either an out of district (i.e homeschooling) transfer during the year or 1st grade.

    Thanks.

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  64. 9:32-- Since the school district gets $ on a per student basis, they have more incentive to place a child who is not yet enrolled anywhere off the waitpool, than to reassign one.

    I delicately asked an EPC counselor if I would have better waitpool odds if I didn't accept my R1 placement. The reply: "You didn't hear it from me, but if you aren't going to accept your school anyways, that's a good strategy."

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  65. We are in the new Chinese immersion program for 1st grade (though still wait-listing another neighborhood school because I'm too much of a control freak to be comfortable in a situation where I can't evaluate the quality of my kid's work myself). I know there is a wait list for K but have heard they are under-enrolled for 1st grade. Unfortunately we had a schedule conflict and could not attend the first PTA meeting. Is there a chance the 1st grade will fold if they don't get enough enrollment? It would be great if some of the 10 people on the Alice Fong Yu wait list for 1st grade came over to this school. The upper Haight is not THAT far away from AFY's inner Sunset location.

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  66. 9:50am, we just enrolled our son in the first grade Chinese immersion program at De Avila, too. I am also nervous about the 1st being under enrolled. Does anyone know how many kids they have so far?

    I'm still hopeful that our wait list choice will open up.

    There is still time.

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  67. 9:04, 10:05

    I bet it fills up, and I really don't think they will bail on it at this point. And nothing wrong with having lower class size for your kids' cohort, either.

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  68. Language speaker balance will matter for the new Chinese immersion program, not just raw numbers--remember the Flynnarado mess last year? I would be delighted to have smaller class size if that were the only consideration, but for this program, it's not the only consideration.

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  69. 9:50 & 10:04, I was at the first PTA meeting at DeAvila in May. At the end of the meeting, I was impressed!

    Giving that this is a Chinese Immersion program, I personally thought there would be mostly Chinese families interested. However, base on the parents who showed up, it looked quite diverse.

    If I recall correctly, there were over 80 people who joined the PTA that evening. In addition, there were already 6 - 7 committees formed by parents responsibile for planning various programs and activities.

    If you are into immersion but out of luck with the more popular schools, DeAvila looks promising.

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  70. "When is the last possible day to find out about your wait list school?"

    The last possible day is right before they dissolve the waitpools. This has traditionally been at the end of September or early October. Last year however, they kept the waitpools open (for K only) till early November. They tell me they aren't planning to do so this year.

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  71. "Also, are you better off not enrolling in a school for K when none of the choices are places you would send your child or enrolling in one, knowing that you will not send them and have them sit out K all together and try for either an out of district (i.e homeschooling) transfer during the year or 1st grade."

    If you would never send your child to the school there really isn't any point in enrolling. I would make sure you have a backup plan that you feel comfortable with.

    It is true that if you come in from out of the SFUSD system you can get a spot AFTER the waitpools close wheras if you are in the system you have to go through a transfer. This is sometimes difficult to do depending on the circumstances.

    However, being in the SFUSD system is dependent on whether you are attending school not if you just registered. You have to register and attend.

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  72. Thank you for your comments 10:49. What I remember about Flynnarado is that the balance problem was not enough Spanish-speaking families so that was my concern about the first grade at DeAvila--that there will not be enough Chinese-speaking families interested. My perception (stereotype?) is that many Anglophone families are anxious to have their kids learn another language but many immigrant families are anxious to have their kids learn English, so there can be an imbalance towards Anglophone interest in immersion programs, especially when the programs are less well-established. If the first grade at DeAvila is shaping up to have a balance of language speakers that will make the program functional, that's great news.

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  73. 8:11 AM the system you suggest as the only alternative to the current one is pretty racist.

    Why would the neighborhood schools in bayview/hunters point be low performing schools? Why can't the district get an over performing school in less desirable neighborhoods.

    Also this current system could be much better if the people actually implementing it gave a damn about the families (privileged or not) that they are serving.

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  74. If you look at the APIs for all the schools in the less desirable areas, ie Bayview, they are lower. Yet, all the schools in the "better" areas, such as the West side of town, they have higher APIs.

    Why?

    It's not the district that chooses to put a low performing school in a bad area. It's the composition of families that have the biggest impact on the way a school performs.

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  75. Anonymous June 2, 2009 9:49 AM


    I think that is a BAD strategy.....my friend did that last year and 2 days before school started her son had NO placement except hunter's point.

    I encourage people to look at their placement, if it is a safe school with good teachers enroll!

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  76. re 12:21

    And high concentrations of poverty (excluding for a moment the significant and also confounding Chinese populations in SF that can be low-income but score high) tend to perform especially poorly, with a few exceptions that need a lot of study.

    There is some evidence that mixing it up--creating diverse school in socio-economic terms--provides benefits to the lower-performing kids while not under-cutting the performance of more privileged kids. Hence the district strategy to promote more mixing than would be the case by neighborhood assignment alone. This is achieved by attraction (placing immersion and other magnet programs in low-performing schools) and by the lottery, which forces parents to look farther afield than they otherwise might. They used to do it with busing and racial caps at each school, but busing was hugely unpopular with parents and racial caps were abolished following a lawsuit.

    The current system is a compromise plan to try to stem the tide of resegregation (by race and social class) that would happen with neighborhood assignment in the wake of the consent decree being overturned. It's a tough job to figure out how to balance the many needs in the mix here.

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  77. To, Anonymous June 2, 2009 9:49 AM

    I agree with June 2, 2009 12:25 PM please don't use this as a strategy. You could find yourself in a much more difficult situation then you are in now. Unless you are absolutely willing to homeschool, or go private, or move I would seriously look at your assigned school as an option.

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  78. 9:49am, if you are:
    1. willing to hold your child back until next year
    2. have an acceptable private school as backup
    3. the school you're assigned is absolutely unacceptable,

    then you shouldn't register.

    I didn't register my child to the school assigned from round 1 and I'm 0/15. My thinking is exactly what you posted - that the district will have an incentive to place my child when a spot opens up before offering it to another child who is already registered.

    However, I have a pretty good private school as backup AND there's no way I'd send my child to the school that was assigned to us.

    So I agree with the previous posts that you should register if you don't have backups at all.

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  79. 9:49am, if you are:
    1. willing to hold your child back until next year
    2. have an acceptable private school as backup
    3. the school you're assigned is absolutely unacceptable,

    then you shouldn't register.

    I didn't register my child to the school assigned from round 1 and I'm 0/15. My thinking is exactly what you posted - that the district will have an incentive to place my child when a spot opens up before offering it to another child who is already registered.

    However, I have a pretty good private school as backup AND there's no way I'd send my child to the school that was assigned to us.

    So I agree with the previous posts that you should register if you don't have backups at all.

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  80. 3:30 - I agree with your reasons why one shouldn't register (we didn't register for our R1 assignment because it was completely unacceptable), BUT is there any validity to your statement about having preference later? The EPCs position is that if you don't register you're still in the same 0/7 cohort as someone who registered at their default R1 assignment, or someone who got one of their R2 picks (they're still 0/7 in R1, which is what decides WP cohort).

    My understanding's been that not registering is risky, but DOESN'T get you any advantage later. We just didn't register because we knew there was NO way our kid was going to go to his assignment, so might as well leave that spot for someone else if they do want it.

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  81. Whoops I meant 3:10 above, not 3:30.

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  82. I think it's an urban myth that if you don't register at all you somehow have priority over those that did register but remain in the waitpool. With that said, we didn't register because we were assigned an unacceptable school. We are willing to hold our child out of kindergarten until something acceptable opens up. I know many people don't have the luxury of doing this, so I would agree, good plan if you have a back-up. Bad plan otherwise.

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  83. I went down to the SFUSD office today and found a spot for my daughter in the Spanish immersion program at Daniel Webster. The school looks amazing -- it recently had a beautiful makeover with new paint and gardening areas -- and there's a lot of excitement about the school's new direction. I'm not sure if there are any other openings, but for those who haven't gotten into a Spanish program and want to, I would check it out.

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  84. 3:21, I don't know if there's any truth / validity to my personal feeling that the district might try to place kids who have no schools for funding reasons.

    I'm aware the SFUSD claims that by registering for an assigned school that was not one of your 7 choices, you're still in the 0/7 cohort and your priority is not consequently affected.

    However, I know 2 friends that ended up with placements in two different popular schools. Coincidently, neither one of them registered from round 1 and both kids had already started at their private schools.

    Coincidence? Maybe...or not...

    Just like you, I'm not registering if I'm certainly not going to a particular school. I might as well take a chance at this untested theory.

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  85. 11:56 is missing some points, probably due to unfamiliarity with the greater challenges facing public education:

    "Why would the neighborhood schools in bayview/hunters point be low performing schools?"

    Because schools in low-income neighborhoods tend to be overwhelmed with a high number of high-need children. It's this way in every low-income neighborhood in our country and elsewhere in the world too. It's really the No. 1 challenge facing public education.

    " Why can't the district get an over performing school in less desirable neighborhoods..." See above.

    "Also this current system could be much better if the people actually implementing it gave a damn about the families (privileged or not) that they are serving."

    While there are undoubtedly some callous bureaucrats or burnout cases, and sometimes an uncaring school board member who's using the board as a toehold to move into higher-level elected office, that's actually not a fair, valid, informed or intelligent thing to say. Lots of people in various roles in SFUSD -- from teachers to top administrators to school board members -- could make far more money in other sectors. School board members are essentially volunteers, making a token stipend of $500/month. A lot of people in this work do very much give a damn about the children and families they serve. "Making all the schools good" is an impossible challenge that no diverse, high-poverty school district anywhere has ever met.

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  86. "8:11 AM the system you suggest as the only alternative to the current one is pretty racist.

    Why would the neighborhood schools in bayview/hunters point be low performing schools?"

    As others have said, because of the low SES in said neighbourhoods. In general, when the percentage of SES-disadvantaged students goes below 50%, you see a sharp increase in test scores and SFUSD actually performs better than other school districts with similar %ages of SES-disadvantaged students (it does about the same as Berkeley, despite having a 10% higher fraction of low-SES students).

    As 12:38 PM said, this is partially mitigated by SFUSD using immersion programs (which are a brillant innovation, IMHO - remember that SFUSD school has the first immersion Chinese in the nation) as magnets. But if you look at where the immersion programs are located, predominantly in the Mission, Bernal, Potero, and Excelsior, because schools there were less popular, had high %ages of SES-disadvantaged students, and had lower API scores.

    So, in general, a neighbourhood system will be bad for folks living in the SE of the city, especially if the district gives no neighbourhood preference for the immersion programs.

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  87. Congratulations, 3:29! I think you'll be very glad you got on the second year of an up-and-coming immersion school (and in the sunniest part of town, too, access to the 280, and ample parking all around). You lucked out getting that spot in OE. You are right about the facility improvements, too; the community has been working very hard on that.

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  88. Taylor and Visitaction Valley are doing quite well without the priveleged classes. Check your assumptions.

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  89. 4:23, life is complicated in these matters in SFUSD. Taylor and Viz Valley have large Chinese populations. This is a confouding factor: low-income + high-performing. Which is not to say that these two schools aren't good, either, just that the challenges there are a little different than for Malcolm X or Bret Harte or John Muir or Cesar Chavez or Sanchez.

    Moscone is an interesting outlier, however.

    But, no easy answers.

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  90. Oh GOD don't start the Chinese discussion again.

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  91. I think people are confusing two different scenarios regarding whether registering gives you priority or not.

    Scenario 1: There is no advantage or disadvantage in the waitpool lottery for someone who registers or not for their assigned school. I know of a ton of people, many who registered and many who did not who got called after school started. This is because after the 10 day count in Sept MANY slots open up and they start processing their waitpools. Many people have already made other choices; they like the public school they are at, they moved, they will wait till next year, they went private.

    Scenario 2: You are NOT attending a SFUSD school and it is now November (or whenever the waitpools close). You are now eligible to go down to the EPC and ask to see a list of schools with openings (just like it is now in open enrollment) and request a space at any of these schools. What you are hoping for is that the school you want will have someone leave the school. Maybe it will happen, maybe it will not. Maybe you will be at the EPC when this space becomes available before someone else nabs it maybe you won't.

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  92. Thanks 4:22! It's really worth it to go down to the SFUSD office in person and see what's available -- even if you have to wait a while to see a counselor. I didn't think there would be any spaces for Spanish immersion. I had put down Daniel Webster as one of my choices in the second round but didn't get in. So, very relieved.

    Good luck everyone.

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  93. What does they won't increase class size in first grade until they know about the budget mean? If the budget is less does that mean class size will go up? If the budget is more does that mean that they will create extra classes?

    I suspect that they will delay the increase until after the start of the year, at which point, they will put families transferring from private school or from out of the district first, as they did last year...

    Why can't they understand that there are some of us who have waited for over a year for a spot, still patiently (or not so patiently) waiting? and that it actually makes a difference whether we know early or after school starts?

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  94. Vicky, re scenario 2. I specifically asked the counselor on mon. And she said it was not allowed. She said the only way to get a spot after school opens is off the wp. After wps are dissolved thats it you are done. She said its because they want kids to get settled and not keeping moving from one to another.also just moving cant get you a spot either unless you have moved really far away!

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  95. 8:01 -- I think you're still confusing scenarios. You say "She said the only way to get a spot after school opens is off the wp. After wps are dissolved thats it you are done." That's true only IF you are currently enrolled in a SFUSD school -- no moving after wait pools dissolve. If you're not enrolled at a school, you can transfer in at any time.

    Think about it -- someone moves to SF b/c of a work transfer in February and wants to enroll his/her child in school. The EPC is not going to tell the person, "Sorry -- the wait pools dissolved five months before you moved here -- no school for you!" No, they find you a spot. The district treats all kids who transfer in from outside the district the same. I feel like this has been discussed at length on this blog. Perhaps the counselor didn't understand your question, or what scenario you were describing?

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  96. No current school, live in Presidio, commute to Marin for work and need a 7:50 a.m. start time to make it to work on time (give or take 25-30 mins from dro-off). Suggestions for open enrollemnt? Waitpool? Alamo, Argonne, Peabody and Sutro all have too late start times. Lafyette and Lillenthal have the perfect start times but seem out of the question (large waitpools).

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  97. I fear Rosa Parks on O'Farrell is too far (will take 20 min to get to the Bridge) but I appreciate the suggestion.

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  98. 10:05 --

    Rosa Parks is around a 7 or 8 minute drive from park presidio (I've clocked it), so not that much farther than the other Richmond schools.

    That being said, last year the Claire Lilianthal was a very good waitpool choice: lots of folks that get it in Round I and that are on the waitpool have no intention of going and are only using it as a private back up. You never know!

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  99. It's not the district that chooses to put a low performing school in a bad area. It's the composition of families that have the biggest impact on the way a school performs.

    I understand that blaming families is popular, but it is critical that we ask why schools serving children of color fail and look at the data available.

    Several studies, and numerous court cases (including the federal Ann Arbor decision) note that it is not the families failing the school: it is the school failing to meet the needs of the students enrolled. In this case, I think we need to look at how SFUSD allows enormous inequities between east- and west-side schools.

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  100. 9:51, not sure the grade you're going into... DeAvila Chinese Immersion (Haight & Masonic) likely will have room as it's a new school.

    Good luck.

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  101. 10:47

    I understand about the inequity that makes all schools pay a standard/average rate for teachers, even though westside schools tend to have more experienced ones. This means eastside schools are subsidizing westside ones, in effect.

    Anything else? How can these inequities you speak of be addressed? Serious question. (And how many of these changes will cause westside parents to jump up and down and scream about being victimized? And yep, that was a facetious question).

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  102. 9:51/10:05, my kid is at a 7:50 school and they have drop-off, with staffed yard, starting at 7:30. The kids run around and play until the morning assembly. Would this factor give you a little more time? Rosa Parks is a great idea. Geary Blvd. at 7:30 moves pretty well. Also, what about Cobb Montessori? You could drop down from Pac Heights onto Lombard and out onto Doyle Drive. It's got an 8:40 start time, but (I don't know) they may have a before-school program or earlier drop-off. Also, check out if some of the later-start schools in your area offer before-school care.

    Also, do you have a partner/spouse who can help with logistics, or are you a single parent like me? Any chance of negotiating a later start time with your boss? As a single mom, I have had to move my schedule around more times than I like to remember--fortunately this is possible at my job, although I am on the mommy track and take lower pay therefore. Also, what is your afternoon schedule and have you thought about afterschool care?

    I sympathize. I also wonder if something may have to give here. I know I keep making changes and compromises in every part of my life....single mom-hood with no backup is a challege.

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  103. 10:47, if you cite those "numerous studies" blaming schools for the outcomes of poverty, all of them will be linked with anti-public-school sources.

    If it was so easy, some school system somewhere would have found the formula for making sure schools that served low-income students were excellent. It's not so easy -- that's magical thinking.

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  104. 10:47
    Schools only have our children 6 hours a day. Teachers cannot be expected to solve all of the problems in their home environment, we cannot be at their homes to make sure they are fed properly, we cannot be in their homes to make sure they get enough sleep (kids need 9-10 hours a night!) we cannot be there to turn off the televisions that are on nonstop, we cannot be there to make sure there are books on the shelves and that learning is respected and honored in those communities, because, guess what? Learning IS NOT respected in those communities. (Yes, there are exceptions, but you all know what I mean.) A hip-hop, gun toting, crime spree glorifying, drug selling violent culture that does not value life is just not on the same page as a culture that teaches kids that they should try hard to do well in school so maybe they could be a doctor one day.
    Now I will be jumped on for being non PC, but until we all face reality, the learning gap will keep getting wider. What is needed is an army of social workers in these communities to teach parenting skills. Instead of sending troops into Iraq, send social workers into poor neighborhoods to help raise these kids properly.

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  105. 9:51/10:05 PM - bloggers have offered some pretty nice up-&-coming not-so-hidden gems for your consideration. You should call the schools that start after 8 AM re: before school care. Someone on this blog toured Cobb and was blown away by the program and decided to enroll on the spot (hope they got it!). Others have been equally impressed after touring Rosa Parks. Time to stop saying "Woe is me," and to take action, unless Scenario 2 is your fall back. Also, there is a Scenario 3 -- K isn't mandatory, soooo you can try lottery again next year for either K or first (but not both). Given the numbers, I wouldn't bet the house on Scenario 3. Scenario 2 has better odds than Scenarios 1 & 3.

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  106. Right on, 7:47.

    It isn't the teaching methods and it isn't the schools that are causing these kids to fail -- it is what is lacking in their homes. And schools and teachers can do very little about that. It's a problem for the City of San Francisco to address, and try to remedy.

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  107. 7:56: and there isn't one black preacher in this town who would disagree with that.

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  108. 7:47 et al, can the presence of the Obamas in the White House be leveraged to help change that culture?

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  109. Went down to the EPC today, again (my home away from home). FYI the NEW Chinese Immersion School is completely booked in K and 1st. They said that they are NOT going to increase class sizes in 1st grade this year (according to their boss). I don't know how that is possible due to the demands in 1st - 3rd. Some of the schools are already 20+ seats per class in K for this year.

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  110. To 8:01pm. Please call the office at 861-7077 and ask for me (Vicki), Suzanne or Ellie. I can walk through it in more detail if you need clarification. 8:08pm described it correctly.

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  111. "Taylor and Visitaction Valley are doing quite well without the priveleged classes. Check your assumptions."

    I'm a big fan of Taylor, Monroe, Moscone, Flynn, SF Community. We visited all those schools on our tours; we didn't visit V. Valley. My beef is against advocates of neighbourhood preference, not an ax to grind against low-SES students.

    There are strong schools in the SE of the city. But still, APIs in the schools in the SE of the city are lower than those in the West, and that is linked to the higher %age of low SES-background students. If you take away the choice in the lottery (which is what a neighbourhood preference system would do) then parents & kids (and rents/house prices) in the SE of the city will suffer relative to the rest of the city.

    As many here are Bernal/Potero/Mission/Excelsior parents commenting here, they may want to consider this and make their voice while SFUSD is considering redesigns to the current system, especially if immersion programs are excluded from any proposed neighbourhood preference system.

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  112. "Alamo, Argonne, Peabody and Sutro all have too late start times. Lafyette and Lillenthal have the perfect start times but seem out of the question (large waitpools)."

    You might want to check out whether those schools have before-school care programs: many of the 9:30 start time schools do. Also, you might check out McCoppin, which has decent test scores and is close to Sutro.

    The advice on Lillenthal having high turnover is good (all those kids going to Hamlin who don't bother telling SFUSD they're not going), but the waitpool this year for the GE program is very large (39 in the 0/7 cohort). Waitpooling the Korean Immersion program might be a good idea (6 in the 0/7 cohort) but turnover is going to be a lot less, given the greater committment of parents to immersion programs.

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  113. "In this case, I think we need to look at how SFUSD allows enormous inequities between east- and west-side schools."

    I'd be more charitable to SFUSD on this. It actually does a better job with low-SES students than other large urban school districts, and does better for this demographic than most suburban school districts. And the city-wide lottery is intended to mitigate the East-West disparity, and we've seen a lot of change in schools in the SE of the City of the past five years (who'd a thunk people would be celebrating getting into Daniel Webster [SI] or Flynn GE five years ago). But it needs to go further before we can shift to a neighbourhood preference system. There's ~20 excellent and ~30 solid elementary schools in SFUSD, but you stil have 18 schools in SFUSD that are in the bottom 10% of test scores of schools in the state. Nobody's going to be thrilled to have those as their "guaranteed" school place.

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  114. Regarding Taylor, VV, and others, can we at least recognize that there is another path to school success besides convincing the chattering classes that the school is a "hidden gem"? Some schools are quietly doing great work, without everyone in Noe Valley getting all excited about them.

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  115. Fair point, 11:57.

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  116. I visited the kinder classes at Junipero Serra (Bernal Heights area) last week (providing disability awareness presentations with my disabled adult daughter), and found a warm and calm school environment, bright classrooms, dedicated teachers and other staff... plus sweet, attentive kids. As has been mentioned here before, Eve Cheung (the principal) is outstanding. I hadn't seen her in 20 years (or more).. but used to know her as the special ed liaison to the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education (when I was a parent member). Eve's position was not an easy one as the CAC had many "issues" with the District's special ed policies and practices... but somehow, she never got caught in the crossfire. She handled the position with great competence and grace, while always demonstrating her concern for the needs of the children and their families. It was wonderful to reconnect with Eve last week, and I could see that the glowing reports about her (in previous SF K Files posts) were well deserved. For those without a school who live near JS (or maybe even not that near, since my “neighborhood school” is Commodore Sloat, and I was able to get to JS in about 10 minutes by car), JS is worth a look. [API of 5 (with a 9 for similar schools)… and the API has gone up from 3 to 5 in the last few years.]

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  117. "Regarding Taylor, VV, and others, can we at least recognize that there is another path to school success besides convincing the chattering classes that the school is a "hidden gem"?"

    If the chattering classes are yapping about it, is isn't a hidden gem any longer.

    In fact, I'd say there's good strategy in looking for schools that for some reason don't appeal as much to your stereotypical upper-middle class Anglo white liberal (e.g. too many of one or another non-Anglo ethnic group, in "wrong" neighbourhood, unappealing architecture, is a Catholic school, etc.)

    "Some schools are quietly doing great work, without everyone in Noe Valley getting all excited about them."

    There's a lot of schools quietly doing sterling work educating socioeconomically disadvantaged students; and there are some trophy schools (like Rooftop) doing a much poorer job with those students, although some trophy schools like Clarendon and Lillenthal do very job educating students from all backgrounds.

    Moscone is an interesting case; I have a hard time understanding why it's not in even more demand, especially given how strikingly charismatic the principal is. ER Taylor is also excellent, but the principal is very low-key. Maybe they'll be the McKinley's of 2010.

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  118. 12:50 PM-

    Thanks for the information on J.Serra. I hadn't realized it had come so quickly in a year. It does look like a good option.

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  119. "Moscone is an interesting case; I have a hard time understanding why it's not in even more demand, especially given how strikingly charismatic the principal is."

    We toured Moscone last year. I'm sure it's fine for some folks, but it just wasn't our cup of tea.

    Perhaps it's just me, but the principal just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

    Yes, the test scores are high and the building is beautiful (kind of like Bessie Carmichael), but it was really obvious on our tour that the kids were being drilled.

    Overall, the environment struck me as regimented and joyless, but your mileage may vary. Maybe it could be great for a certain kind of kid needing a certain type of structure.

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  120. I know the SARC reports indicate suspensions and expulsions. Is there a place you can look at to find out why? what grade? After reading about the Marina Middle School incident and the unspeakable attack on the boy in the Sunset, this is an important consideration for me. For example, Cobb and Yick Wo's suspension rates are 2.4; Rosa Parks is 4.1; McKinley at 3.1 - what does that mean? What level of behavior warrants a suspension? It is troubling to me that any child in K-5 is being suspended.

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  121. Restaurant critics will visit a restaurant several times before giving it a bad review. School impressions might benefit from similar considerations: time of year, time of day, grade level, and subject matter may have significant impact on teaching approach. Some subjects are drill & kill; other subjects really let the creative juices flow. More structure at the start of the school year makes way for indepedence and special projects at the end. If a school had all the things I wanted (location, start time, before/after care, language, inclusion, whatever), then I would visit several times before condeming it.

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  122. okay.. I wish I could say this better..

    but what I'm hearing here is that schools that are successful with high SES are drilling their students.

    Sheridan: strict and excessive testing (note it hasn't been mentioned as sucessful above, but I'm pretty sure it qualifies)
    Moscone: drilling and joyless

    Everytime I go into Sheridan, I've liked it. There are a few things that I wonder about (I was told that suspensions and detentions were rare, by the principal) yet the school is strict with no tolerance for misbehaviors... so how is that maintained? There are beautiful art projects and art resources as well as the huge computer lab and library.

    Its interesting that Sheridan has a parent education program though I hadn't given it much thought(someone above had mentioned its needed to help children succeed).

    Anyway I've decided to focus on will my child be sucessful and happy there. And I'm a little aprehensive. Its not an environment I've had experience with. Will he end up bored? I think the structure will be good for him, he needs some dicipline, he'd much rather make a joke than pay attention. I'm afraid in a less structured environment he'd definetly get into trouble.

    now to figure out how to get him to bed at 8 and up at 7AM (he only gets up early on the weekends!)

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  123. "Restaurant critics will visit a restaurant several times before giving it a bad review..."

    Yes, that's true, but when you are visiting about 20 schools, you learn to trust your gut right away. (Kind of like dating.)

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  124. I've visited Moscone a few times and have a friend who teaches there; I love Susan Zielinski (the Principal) and have not seen drilling on my visits. Perhaps it just wasn't the other poster's cup of tea; I think it's a great school!

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  125. Regarding counting suspensions, I wanted to give a perspective.

    We were at a turning-around school with a warm and charming principal who was helping attract more middle-class families with her personal charisma. The principal moved out of the area, and her replacement had a rep and an image as kind of a hard-nosed disciplinarian. We worried that the less-warm welcome for families touring the school might slow the rate of the turnaround.

    It was only as that first principal left that I was getting familiar enough with the school community to learn things like what the teachers thought of her. I learned that she had been known for failing to back up teachers when they felt discipline was needed -- that principal would cave immediately if a parent complained. You can see why parents liked her but why school order and even safety might potentially be compromised.

    So, suspensions increased under the new principal, and school order and safety improved. So there are different ways to interpret the information about suspensions.

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  126. I get to visit schools for work, and I've never thought Moscone was joyless. Remarkably un-chaotic maybe, but with lots of happy kids in evidence. Maybe there are cultural differences at play here? Although I tend to think in our over-stimulated culture that kids benefit from a reliable routine and expectations, and consistent follow-through by adults. Moscone seems to provide that. Don't know so much about Sheridan, personally, but I wouldn't dismiss the success they seem to be demonstrating--aren't they beating expectations vis a vis similar schools?

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  127. FWIW, I know a woman who teaches arts programming at several K-5 schools and she says the kids at Moscone are hands down her "favorites" every year.

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  128. Learning IS NOT respected in those communities. (Yes, there are exceptions, but you all know what I mean.) A hip-hop, gun toting, crime spree glorifying, drug selling violent culture that does not value life is just not on the same page as a culture that teaches kids that they should try hard to do well in school so maybe they could be a doctor one day.

    No. This is not true, and I say this with several years of experience teaching these kids and working with their families.

    Just because the way one family values learning - and EVERYONE values it - does not value it in the way you do doesn't mean that people want the best for their children. There are few parents who don't.

    It's definitely true that I only work with children six hours a day. However, through clear communication with parents, working in partnership, and accepting that many parents have valid reasons not to trust me/my school/the district/city institutions, every one of my students meets or exceeds benchmarks every year. And their parents and caregivers are extremely proud and excited about their futures.

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  129. In re opportunity gap: Yes, SFUSD does well. It also has the lowest-performing African American cohort in the state.

    I propose pooling PTA money - or SFUSD chipping in to match it at their schools with fewer resources. Is it equitable that high-needs schools cannot have the resources and personnel parents purchase at wealthier ones? Hey, is it even equitable for parents to be doing this anywhere? If the practice were banned, maybe we could have a more honest conversation about school funding.

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  130. "Don't know so much about Sheridan, personally, but I wouldn't dismiss the success they seem to be demonstrating--aren't they beating expectations vis a vis similar schools?"

    I've heard rumors about drilling in comments on this blog about schools where when touring I thought the teaching was excellent - McKinley (when once I noted that Live Oak kids were slightly behind McKinley academically), and now for Moscone. Personally, I'm starting to see such rumors as slightly snobbish - how could those low SES kids be doing better than our priviledged little darlings? Oh, they must be drilling the kids. I think observers are seeing a tightly ordered, disciplined, no-frills schools and extrapolating that there's drill-and-kill.

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  131. "In re opportunity gap: Yes, SFUSD does well. It also has the lowest-performing African American cohort in the state."

    Looking at the Grade 10 CST tests, I'm not seeing this. Oakland is about the same for AA students, and Berkeley is just a shade above.

    "I propose pooling PTA money - or SFUSD chipping in to match it at their schools with fewer resources."

    You'd be substituting efficacy for equity. One's primary incentive to contribute to the PTA is for your kid (and the school to which they belong) to directly benefit. If the PTA funds are pooled, or if the district claws back other funding because of PTA dollars raised, effectively you'd only be getting pennies on the dollar that you contribute going directly to the school your kid attends. So the PTA would raise less money.

    Also, for a lot of the PTA's the biggest chunk of money is from grants, e.g. Grattan has lots of parents who work at UCSF and are very experienced with putting together proposals for research grants to gubmint and nonprofits. So Grattan's PTA raises in excess of $100K+.

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  132. what is this about?
    "After reading about the Marina Middle School incident and the unspeakable attack on the boy in the Sunset".
    i didn't hear of these situations. what the story? this year my friend's K son was molested (had his penis yanked/slapped) in the bathroom at school (in the richmond) by 2 fellow kindergarteners. this boy was traumatized, went to therapy and was afraid to go to school. i also know the 2 boys who did it and was shocked. they were 2 otherwise very sweet boys with involved parents. what the hell is going on?

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  133. That's part of my point: the PTA funding is inequitable. Yet it functions in a way that breaks down a coalition of ALL public school parents and children to advocate loudly for well- and publicly-funded schools.

    Moreover, it really doesn't matter if it's parent know-how, parent cash, or parent connections that cause this inequity. The issue is its inequity. If we believe in public education for all but we allow separate-but-equal schools, we have a mismatch between talk and action. For me, that beats efficacy any time (not to mention, it's not really clear that people would stop donating. Falling donations are often cited as a reason for legacy admission breaks at colleges, but data suggest that it's not actually true).

    The cohort data is real - it's on the SFUSD website and in several of the Matrix documents.

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  134. Regarding the questions re suspensions, etc., I remembered that the Chronicle ran this article about a year ago. Note the point that one kid can be responsible for multiple suspensions.

    http://tinyurl.com/6o2cp3

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  135. PTAs do provide extra cash to schools and the District knows this and takes it into account. At one of the assignment meetings Hydra Mendoza pointed out to one of the parents from Drew that Drew actually gets more funding per pupil than Lowell. There are also Title I funds from the Feds.

    Are these enough to cover the opportunity gap or the higher teacher turnover rates? I couldn't say -- that would take a deeper analysis.

    Here's a suggestion: instead of putting all PTA funding into a big shared pot, and thus demotivating parents, you could share a portion, say 25%.

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  136. I think it's naive to think that banning PTA fund-raising would lead to honest discussion about school funding. California's budget process is way too screwed up. That's wrong, but short of a constitutional convention, I don't see anything happening in that arena anytime soon. Kids need what they need now, not years or decades from now. I also think it would be crazy to force PTA funding to be spread among the entire district. I can't imagine that every parent with kids in SFUSD is not already doing as much as they are able or willing to do, why would they not? You would be forcing the PTA funding pie to be crushed into virtually meaningless crumbs. Some parents want bells and whistles and they are willing to work to provide them in public school rather than give up on public school or moving away. If you make that effort meaningless by spreading it too thin, why would the effort be made? If you want to equalize available resources among public schools, wouldn't it make more sense to set up a 501(c)(3) foundation with professional fundraisers for that purpose? In awarding individual school grants, the foundation could look at the basic budget plus Title I money plus PTA fundraising plus whatever other sources of funding the school has. To avoid creating a disincentive for parents with means to continue to support their PTAs, foundation funding decisions could look at historic PTA performance. Maybe the foundation could also work with schools' teachers and administrators to determine where parent support resources would be helpful and provide that support? Yes, this is would be yet another step toward privatization of public school funding and far from ideal, but kids have unmet needs now, and "the public" does not seem like they will be willing to meet those needs anytime in the foreseeable future.

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  137. Did anyone see the Daily Show when Jon Stewart started the mock segment called “Sh** That’s Not Going To Happen”?? He was poking fun at Fox News pundits who expressed concerned that the UN was going to start telling Americans not to spank their children if the US signed on to some statement of children’s rights. I really think it’s about as likely that PTAs wills start pooling money as it is that the UN is going to give me child-rearing advice.

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  138. Surrounding the privatization argument - I was looking at greatschool reviews for an elementary school in Orinda. The parent expressed that their elementary school was a public/private model with 30% of the school's budget coming from parents (to fund art/music that otherwise wouldn't be funded). This was a public school

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  139. "Overall, the environment struck me as regimented and joyless, but your mileage may vary."

    Not my impression, really. The principal seemed to have a good rapport with the kids, and we saw a dance lesson while we were there.

    I was looking for a very structured environment, so

    "Maybe it could be great for a certain kind of kid needing a certain type of structure."

    The principal at Moscone was a former protege of Bonnie, the former principal at McKinley, and so the pedagogy is pretty similar to McKinley's.

    There's a distinct philosophy there, but if you're into project-based learning, it's not going to be for you.

    But I may have been affected by the Moscone principal being, errmm, how to put this, very photogenic.

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  140. The Orinda schools are semi-privatized. Parents are asked to donate a certain amount every year ("suggested donations"), in addition to massive fundraising efforts, and plenty of SAMs who volunteer in the schools. I know one Orinda mom who essentially worked full-time at the school for free.

    The sorry state of school funding in California means that the "good" schools are the ones in generous communities. This doesn't necessarily mean wealthy communities, because in some wealthy communities, so many people send their kids to private schools that the public schools languish. Basically you need wealth + committment to the schools.

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  141. "Yet it functions in a way that breaks down a coalition of ALL public school parents and children to advocate loudly for well- and publicly-funded schools."

    Can't see this. The fact I'm being shaken down by the PTA for $$$ makes me more, not less, likely to advocate for more funding of schools.*

    Why penalize successful PTAs for raising funds, and the generousity of the parents [by appropriating their funds raised], for sins that are rightfully the fault of Prop 13 and the 37% of CA residents who are anti-tax jihadis?



    [Reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said (paraphrasing), the virtue of socialism is that it relieves of of the sordid burden of being charitable to others.]

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  142. "California's budget process is way too screwed up. That's wrong, but short of a constitutional convention, I don't see anything happening in that arena anytime soon."

    Word. You tell 'em, sister.

    Although California's bond rating dropping below, say, Mali or Argentina's might force something radical. We (well, 37% of the state) are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land with Zombie Ronald Reagan.

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  143. "The cohort data is real - it's on the SFUSD website and in several of the Matrix documents."

    OK, looking at page 8 of the SFUSD strategic plan (http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/strategicplan/Strategic%20Plan%20COLOR.pdf) I see API data to support your contention, but looking at Grade 10 CST results Oakland and SF are on a par, and Berkeley just 1% better.

    On the flipside, looking at the Table on page 8 of http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/strategicplan/Strategic%20Plan%20COLOR.pdf, SFUSD seems to do a much better job with ELL kids and socioeconomically disadvantaged than other CA school districts.

    [And there's a big surprise in that docuemtn which Californian urban school district has the highest performance for non-Hispanic whites.]

    [

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  144. A constitutional convention sounds like a great idea right now! We have such a messed-up system that you can hardly blame the individuals within it for messing it up.

    Our SYSTEM lets us take away people's rights by majority vote (Prop 8) but we need a difficult super-majority (2/3 in both individual cities/towns and in the state legislature) to raise taxes to pay for programs that are mandated by simple majority vote by popular initiative. That's messed up logic no matter where you are on the political spectrum!

    We also have tiny term limits so that our legislators barely learn the job before they have to leave it, meaning we have no chance of having strong-stick leadership like (God help me for saying this) Willie Brown or John Burton to force anything to get anything done.

    On top of all this, we can't raise taxes significantly on properties that haven't changed hands in 30 years, despite massive appreciation of equity, so we younger folks, Gen Xers etc., are paying thousands of dollars in property tax while our well-off and equity-endowed neighbors next door pay a few hundred a year and corporations a relatively tiny amount too. Oh yeah, and the income tax is regressive, the vehicle license fee disappeared when Arnold arrived (that alone would cover a significant chunk of the deficit), and there are corporate loopholes big enough to drive a rocket ship through.

    Yet somehow we supposed to believe that we "must" balance the budget on the backs of our kids and our poorest residents. Do we think these policies won't come back to bite us? We're okay with what poverty rate, exactly? Yeah, Alabama is a great model to follow in terms of building a world-class economy.

    There are folks, ranging from liberals to moderate Republicans (granted, a dying breed that, but there are some who actually believe a decent society invests in schools and a safety net) who are proposing a constitutional convention. The Courage Campaign and others, I believe. The website Calitics writes about it too. Also the Bay Area Council--hardly a wild-eyed liberal group--at www.repaircalifornia.org.

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  145. "The principal at Moscone was a former protege of Bonnie, the former principal at McKinley, and so the pedagogy is pretty similar to McKinley's. "

    I'm the original poster, and, sorry, but I didn't like McKinley either and I really, really wanted to-especially since we have friends there! (I did think Bonnie seemed amazing, tho.)

    Sometimes all you can really go on is a gut feeling and knowing your kid. I'm glad we have so many different types of schools within the district and I'm sorry if I came across as harsh about Moscone and offended anyone with my opinion/observations about it.

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  146. 'I'm the original poster, and, sorry, but I didn't like McKinley either and I really, really wanted to-especially since we have friends there! (I did think Bonnie seemed amazing, tho.)'

    Well, she's retired now, but McKinley was pretty much following Bonnie's philosophy, which was focusing on the basics, and averse to project-based learning. The new principal might change things, though. I liked McKinley & Moscone, but then I don't think project-based learning, like SF Community School uses, is a good option for my kid. I think SF Community is a great school for the right kind of kid; just my kid is has ambitions to be the class clown in his preschool and would be a disaster in the looser environment of a project-based learning school. (He'd probably learn OK, but would be too disruptive to other kids.)

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  147. Are there public schools besides SF Community that are project-based?

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  148. West Portal says it does a lot of project-based stuff.

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  149. 3:38

    Creative Arts Charter School is project-based, and a K-8, and the best school in town!
    (Yes, I am biased, my kid goes there)

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  150. we're 0/15 for K. So disappointed to not get a letter this week.

    Does anyone have any insights about the new Chinese immersion school? We really want immersion (either Spanish or Chinese)

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  151. 11:03

    Sorry it's been tough.

    At last listing, De Avila had 13 in the waitpool, including 6 in the Round 1, no choice cohort. That's not impossible odds, especially with a new school, but it's not wonderful odds. I'm sure it will be a fine school, with committed parents and a hard-working community, but I guess I would ask--do you have a back-up plan such that you would take those odds for it?

    If your commitment is to immersion, either Chinese or Spanish, might I suggest checking out either Revere or Webster? The odds just look so much better for the waitpool going forward--at last look, just 2-3 in the WP and those not in high-priority cohorts. I obviously don't know where you live and those are SE side schools, but it might come down to weighing proximity vs. immersion.

    If proximity trumps immersion, and you are on the north side of town, I'd look at Rosa Parks JBBP, which just opened another class, or Cobb Montessori.

    Again, how desperate are you for a spot (any backup), and how badly do you want immersion (versus other factors) are the questions to ask.

    Good luck!

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  152. 11:17, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    The location of the school / start time is not an issue for us. We really just want immersion. We just thought our odds were better at the new school but 13 waiting don't sound too good at this stage of the game.

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  153. 9:16am who wants immersion: It's me again from last night. Remember to change your waitpool by the June 19 date! EPC is not so great at giving out current waitpool information, but sometimes you can cajole it out of them, and if so you can pick the one that is smallest. In any case, it really looks like Webster and Revere have the smallest ones at this point.

    A caution: waitpools are not likely to move much at all this summer. The next big movement will be either just before school, maybe a little, and then much more after the 10-day count. So please do not be discouraged if you don't get a spot in the next few runs. You are more likely to get one come August/September, especially if you are in a genuinely small pool. I would keep an eye on the WP numbers as they are released throughout the summer, to try to stay in as small a pool as possible, and then keep talking to EPC--try to talk to the same counselor, if you can--and make it clear you really, really want immersion and would happily take a spot at any of these schools if one comes up.

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  154. The school system will not be fixed anytime soon. The top schools PTA's that raise MUCH, MUCH, more money than a title 1 school gets funding. Plus if you look at data saying the best indicator of how a child will do in school is based on the education of their mother, then it pretty says it all.

    More money and more educated people get into to top schools. Many of the people who get into to top schools are not poor but do speak another language at home, french, german, and such. They receive a diversity point and get into school at greater rate then only "english" speakers. I do find it kind of lame though the African Americans have no advantage in the system for diversity unless they are poor, seeing that they are the only people who were stripped of their native language 100s of years ago.

    If neighborhood schools are implemented then I would move in a heart beat. It just wouldn't be fair. I personal think that top rated schools should do more advertising in low income areas. Those are the children who need to come first. Those are the children that the system is suppose to be serving.

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  155. Longfellow is a great school. With very little funding, the school puts together dance class for every grade, art classes, 7 performing arts performances throughout the year. The garden is taking off and will be beautiful in the future. The school is heavily working class, the children are very well behaved and test scores are good. Yes, there are not very many white people but people you live in SAN FRANCISCO! The principal is awesome and gets things moving. The teachers are dedicated and work very hard for every child.
    There is a strong movement towards being a "Green School", there are events such as "bike to school day" and "walk to school day" and on and on and on

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  156. I think Longfellow's principal is awful, controlling, narcissistic, and not very bright.

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  157. Yes, 6:13, you've mentioned that a few times already. Some disagree with you. People either love Phyllis or they really don't. We get it--you are in the latter category!

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  158. I'm in the latter category too.

    When she was principal at Sherman, she didn't let the kindergartners who were in Special ed special day classes take part in the graduating ceremony with the "typical" kindergartners, because "they wouldn't understand what was happening and they may "disrupt" the ceremony. Completely sickening.
    There's a place in hell for people like that ...

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  159. Wow. That's horrible. And sad.

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  160. "I personal think that top rated schools should do more advertising in low income areas. Those are the children who need to come first. Those are the children that the system is suppose to be serving."

    PPSSF has being doing a lot of successful outreach to poorer communities in SF and educating them on the lottery system and when the deadlines are.

    That's part of the reason that there's been more 0/7s in Round 1 and more angst about the lottery on this blog: as a higher %age of parents get their applications in on time, the odds of getting into the trophy or even the second-tier schools go down.

    PPSSF's success in outreach is a really great thing, but it leads to more R1 0/7s.

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  161. 1:58pm: Wow I am shocked to hear that low-income children are the only ones who are supposed to be served by SFUSD. Thanks for the newsflash. Here I am white, working, masters educated, English speaking at home, paying property tax and not at all happy with my assigned school. But now it all makes sense, my children are not the ones who are supposed to be served by SFUSD.

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  162. "When she was principal at Sherman, she didn't let the kindergartners who were in Special ed special day classes take part in the graduating ceremony with the "typical" kindergartners"

    More context, please. If I was the parent of an autistic kid who doesn't do well in crowds or unfamiliar situations, I might want their graduation ceremony to be more intimate with just the kids in their class. Could this have been requested by one of the special ed kids' parents.

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  163. 11:20, I know, it's sad, isn't it?

    It feels as if you've been working extremely hard and bringing in the most & biggest accounts to your company and just when you thought you'll be awarded the "most valuable employee of the month" & on your way to a free vacation, your company has decided to give the recognition to someone who has 1% of your productivity (to motivate them.)

    In this hyperthetical situation, your company's effort will be wasted because that unproductive employee has never been taught to work hard.

    At the end, all the good employees will resign, as their hard work is not recognized and all is left at the company is a bunch of lazy workers.

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  164. wait --kindergarten graduation or 5th grade graduation? Most schools don't do a kindergarten "graduation" anymore, so the set up for it might be really different than 5th grade graduation. I'd like to hear the details, too.

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  165. june 8, 8:01am

    to my understanding it is harder then ever to get into top schools because enrollment has risen greatly not because low income students are taking the spots at desirable schools. The enrollment has gone up because many people do not want to pay for private because of the unstable economy.

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  166. Wow, 12:47. If I understand your analogy correctly, the 5-year-old kids in San Francisco who have grown up in severe poverty and lack of opportunity = lazy, and undeserving. Who are stealing services and spots at top-tier schools from your extremely hard-working, valuable children, who deserve the very best.

    That's ugly.

    It's true that there are tensions within the district about class issues. And it's true the district is sometimes heavy-handed about it. The needs of our poorest kids are SO great that it can be easy to think in terms of providing for them, and trying to close the gap, while the more privileged kids are let alone to do fine because, well, usually privileged kids really do do fine. I don't agree with this idea, and I don't like how 1:58 forumulated that one sentence. The district should exist to serve the needs of ALL of our kids (if only we would fully fund it to do so), including our high-achievers.

    But it would be really dumb not to see that the needs of our poorest kids are not, for the most part, enormous compared to the rest. Including at the level of admissions--here on this blog alone we have a bevy of revved-up, overly anxious parents who know the ins and outs of the system, and do you think most of our poorest kids have that on their side? Therefore I have no problem with making the system one that is not so easy to game for us urban professional parents and therefore gives a little step up to the others to gain entry to the "top" schools if they so choose. It's not even close to leveling the playing field to do that much. My kid is not entitled to Clarendon anymore than anyone else. None of these kids is undeserving.

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  167. that's the thing...low income children ARE NOT BEING SERVED...they are however the scape goat but middle/upper class people are competing with each other for the top schools..

    yes the system is suppose to help low income children because honestly educated parents have children who will "typically" do much better in public schools What rock have you been hiding under...

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  168. "The district should exist to serve the needs of ALL of our kids (if only we would fully fund it to do so), including our high-achievers."

    Yes yes yes! Instead of No Child Left Behind, we should have Every Child Pushed Ahead.

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  169. 1:07, it's probably terrible analogy and I apologize if it sent the wrong message.

    The message is NOT "underserved or poor children don't deserve top schools."

    I agree with you, all children (poor or not) deserve equal opportunities.

    I just think that it's unfair that when I have to work hard to provide for my children, my children are assumed to be "priviledged" and therefore not needing as much service.

    Working 2 jobs so I don't have to live in Hunter's Point is not a privilege. Having worked 14 hours and still come home to cook & read to my children is not easy. Teaching my children to be polite and work hard for themselves costed me no money. Many parents are doing this - in top schools or not.

    However, the true priviledge lies in those who can & should work but choose not to, yet, they "deserve" the best of everything.

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  170. Wow, I almost never post here, but I am so tired of people making it be about "us or them" and totally TWISTING what middle class posters are saying. I agree with the middle class mom that our kids are not being served by the SFUSD - as is true of the children from areas of need who aren't being served. That doesn't mean we should get special treatment, but it seems it's not even equal, but that the SFUSD blatently shoves us out of the way with the attitude like, "They'll just go away to the burbs." I have managed very successful diversity programs for a very large company for over a decade, so I really care about these things. I really wish people would stop accusing the middle class posters of entitlement. We are just asking for any consideration AT ALL. Also, to everyone who keeps saying that there's not other urban areas who are doing it better, please read the SF civil jury research. You can find it on the PPSSF website under their link regarding the reassignment system. It is incredibly compelling and talks about other districts who are doing it much better than our broken one.

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  171. 11:46

    Context? OK. No, it was not a case of the Kindergartners' parents ASKING to not be a part of the graduation, they did not ask to "opt out", they were told specifically that their Kindergarten children who were in the special education classes could not be on stage with the little caps and gowns and graduate with the "typical" kindergarten children. To deprive parents of that rite of passage, simply because you are embarrassed to have children with disabilities at your school, and because they may not "do something right" is beyond low.
    It was a kinder graduation, part of the charm of those things is things not going perfectly and the kids getting the words wrong and messing up their lines and speeches.
    You are apparently a fan of that principal, you probably have the same attitude because you do not use respectful "person-first" language (you say "autistic kid" instead of "kid with autism" ) a child is a child first, they are not their disability label first. But no point getting into that, point is, as far as I am concerned that principal and all others with that sort of mean-spirited, exclusionary, hateful attitude towards children with disabilities should be kicked out of the district and kept far away from ALL children.

    1:03, yes, it was Kinder graduation, and every school I know about still has a little ceremony for graduating Kinders. They make paper graduation hats and get little diplomas. It's really fun and cute. And to give you a comparison, my son, who has autism, was not put in a special ed only class, he was not at that awful principal's school (which did not allow kids with disabilities to be included in their general education classes) my son was enrolled in a regular kindergarten class at Harvey Milk, and at Harvey Milk children with disabilities go up on stage with all the other kids. Such a contrast.

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  172. 1:56pm, I urge you to share this story with Carlos Garcia, the superintendent, or Karling Aguela-Forte, the asst. special ed. superintendent. These kinds of things happen all over this district (I am a special ed. teacher and they happen at my site), and those in charge need to be made aware of it. SFUSD has a new "balanced scorecard," which stresses social justice and equity; special education kindergartners being banned from a school event is certainly not equitable or socially just.

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  173. 2:07, they've been told the story, and maybe that is why that principal is no longer at Sherman. But they put her somewhere else, so perhaps not.
    There is hardly any mention about special ed in all the "talk" about the strategic plan, and balanced scorecards, and achievement gap, but we can try to use the SFUSD rhetoric to make changes happen. Sorry, but right now "Beyond the Talk" seems like nothing but talk.
    Let's hope they hire a New Special Ed director who will change the tide of exclusion in some schools. I trust Mr. Aguilera- Fort, he is a believer in Inclusion and was the principal at Fairmount, an inclusion school, and his heart is in the right place.

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  174. and 2:07, I am glad SFUSD has Special Ed teachers like you, who care. Thanks:)

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  175. MANY MANY SCHOOLS DO NOT DO KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION.

    I am thinking this blog about Mrs. Matsuno might be the reason she left, but SHE DID NOT SAY THAT, I would bet. Her own background is strongly for civil rights so I think this is ALL a rumor or someone misinterpreted what she said. THis is my assumption having known her professionally. Also, I think if Longfellow was a more sought after school then many people would not care. Not all, but many wouldn't. I have overheard people talking about Longfellow and they fear it because they have never heard about it. It really is quite a wonderful school.

    Another point, if lower income children were taking all the desirable spots then how are the top schools raising $100, 000 and up on fundraising? The lower income children in SF generally register late and get into their neighborhood school. That is why there is such a difference between top schools and less desirable. Money.

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  176. "However, the true priviledge lies in those who can & should work but choose not to, yet, they "deserve" the best of everything."

    You don't really believe that living in poverty and getting some help really makes you "privileged?" Even the very few people who abuse the system are not living high on hog. That is absurd and do you think their children are spoiled little snots?

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  177. To June 5, 2009 3:38 PM:

    Creative Arts Charter is a public school that is project based.

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  178. I believe that last night I was abducted by Caroline and probed. Has this happened to anyone else?

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  179. No, but she once locked me in my basement and would not let me out until I agreed to make a propaganda video confirming her claim that that charter schools pretend to be closed any time a parent comes for a tour who earns less than the median national income.

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  180. ^ Last 3 posts are by the same stalker. Unfortunately, she gives CACS a bad name with her constant harassment of Caroline on this and other school-related lists.

    I just want to say that CACS is a lovely school that is a great fit for kids who might not succeed in more traditional school settings. It is arts-rich, has a passionate parent base, and good teachers.

    Please do not be turned off by this *one* CACS parent who posts unprovoked, nasty, and frankly strange attacks upon Caroline Grannan because of their disagreement about charter schools. [Which is actually an interesting debate, btw, and Caroline has some good points to make, and I say that as a supporter of CACS, which is an example of the better side of charter schools.]

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  181. How do you know they are all from the same poster?

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  182. I am the 10:43 poster, and a proud former CACS parent. I can say that I don't know who Caroline is, and am fairly sure I have never been probed by her!

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  183. Momma Bear, I am familiar with the CACS community. I've also been reading all the school lists for years and have had to sift through the nasty comments and arguments pretty much throughout.

    The debate originates in Caroline Grannan's activist and journalistic focus on problems with the charter school movement and the way it has been hijacked in many places (not all, I would say, and CACS is an example of what charters can do well) by the right-wing voucher people to the detriment of its original, progressive goals for innovation, flexibility, and so forth. The argument about charters moves from there to very defensive defenses of Creative Arts in particular, in response to Caroline's comments, and the overtones are very personal. Actually, scratch that, not overtones. The attacks are *direct* and personal.

    Caroline may very well be described as being obsessed with charters--though again, her arguments are not nothing--but her attacker is similarly obsessed with her. That's why you see these seemingly out of nowhere and frankly bizarre outbursts (who would think of writing something like this? "probed"?).

    So, we have several posts within a minutes? Weird, out of nowhere attack on Caroline? Focus on charters? Yeah: the last two posts at least same person. Okay, I'll take 10:43 at her word that she is a proud alumni parent and not connected with the one who dreams of being probed. But just mention CACS and that person will start writing the weird shit about Caroline. I just want to say very clearly that this is NOT representative of CACS. It's a singular thing that we all have put up with in the parent community for years. There's something like this in every bunch, I guess.

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  184. 12:49, thanks for clarifying what i have found to be a mystery since reading this blog. frankly, i wish the "attacker" as you so rightly called this person, should shut up. at least caroline hasn't personally attacked anyone, just voiced her own opinions, albeit strong ones. but that other person, why are they SO bothered by her?

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  185. 12:26 And I am the one who spars with Caroline on other lists, and I didn't write anything about her on this thread. Maybe it is Caroline sniping at herself, for attention?

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  186. It's easy to tell, just look at the IP addresses. It is Caroline.

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  187. Caroline is busy. It isn't her posting. The one contrast I can confirm is that Caroline logs in when she posts. You may not agree with her point of view about public schools, etc, but at least she is no chicken shit.

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  188. great, now we get to the part with the mind games, it's caroline doing it to herself for attention, etc.

    no, she isn't, but i'm sure the stalker is enjoying the attention of this blog.

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  189. 7:47, she actually doesn't log in, she just posted yet another link to her examiner blog under "Anon". But who cares, right?

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  190. She used to post under her own name, but she got harassed every time, so she started posting more quietly (anonymously) like most people do here. When she started doing that, she announced it here, explaining that her very name seemed to be drawing fire and attention away from the topics at hand. I think that is probably true, and things have been calmer since she took her name off. Frequently she still does sign her own name within the post, especially when linking to her blog.

    It's no secret that Caroline has very strong opinions and she tends to bulldog the issues that are important to her. Some people strongly disagree with her, and beyond that she rubs some people the wrong way and pushes their buttons.

    However, Caroline is not the obsessed stalker of herself. To suggest that she is doing that really is an exercise in mind games by someone who is very weirdly focused on Caroline, to the point of seeing her face in their grilled cheeses as someone said on another thread today.

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  191. 8:20, she posted under the "how's it going?" thread, June 9, 2009 7:59 PM
    using the same IP address as the last poster, it is the same person. But again, who cares? Why do people even pay attention to this nonsense?

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  192. How can you fell the IP address of posters here?

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  193. Um, yeah -- hacking into the blog will definitely show that Caroline is the crazy one, and that the Caroline bashers' comments are totally sane and rational and hysterically funny on top of everything else. Riiight.

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  194. Most of the comments about Caroline are from Caroline, and no, there is no rational or funny thing about any of this nonsense. Why don't you all ignore it and maybe it will stop?

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  195. Self-described hacker at 9:08, you are a liar. I'm the person who posted at 8:31pm today (right before your reference to "the last poster") but I was definitely not the person who identified herself as Caroline Grannan who posted the link to her piece about her son on the how's it going thread on June 9th.

    So.....either you are baldly lying about the IP addresses being the same or--Wait! Wait! I've got it! She must be hacking my IP address to cover her tracks! In between bouts of abducting unsuspecting charter school supporters and probing them!

    [crickets]

    Seriously folks, I am not Caroline. I do not know her personally, although I have read her stuff on all the lists. Some I like, some I don't, and sometimes I think her frequent repetitions of the same themes to be annoying. But this stalker shit is creepy.

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  196. I agree, 10:28: the alleged hacking is creepy. Could the site administrator please deal with the person posting at 9:08pm?

    Thanks.

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  197. I find the racism on this thread a lot more offensive than petty arguments between people. With people posting anonymously, one never knows who is posting the messages, so speculating about who did is absurd.

    The blog should be switched so people have to register to post comments, and most of this offensive crap will disappear.

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