Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are you still waiting to get into kindergarten?

By now most families are probably enrolled in kindergarten for 2009-10. But unfortunately there are still those who don't have a school yet or who are still waiting for their top choice. Please feel free to share your stories. Also, those who went through the waiting game in past years, feel free to offer advice and support. Finally, there's a new poll in the right-hand column.

71 comments:

  1. We are not enrolled in any school and we plan to hold out until a spot opens in a school we feel comfortable with. We are currently in a tough waitpool, but are considering changing.
    Initially I was feeling pretty good with our decision to hold out, but I do see my daughter becoming aware of her friends kindergartens and she is excited to start too. I wish things had worked out differently for us and we could tell her where she will be going. I do believe, in the end, something will work out. Even if that means moving out of the city. I have let a lot of the anxiety and anger go since beginning this process. The process sucks and leaves a lot of people out in the cold.

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  2. I agree - The worst part of the process is right now when families with a spot (that they like or love) are getting charged up and ready to start school. Those that don't have a good spot feel incredibly left-out.

    I would stick with your plan and/or see if you can find something out of the district that would work in case you don't get what you want in the 10 day count.

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  3. Ditto. Not enrolled in any school.

    On waiting lists for privates and not enrolled in public school at this time. Will hold out though summer but right it looks like a good possibility we'll homeschool for kindergarten if nothing opens up on the wait pools. Can't tell how my daughter feels as she is aware that other friends are set on their K spots, but she has not complained. I think I am more worried about how to balance the social needs and skills of Kindergarten, if we homeschool. And of course not having a "first day of Kindergarten" photo for the scrapbook!

    Best of luck to all. I keep telling myself it will all work out.

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  4. We have a spot at a good private school, so I shouldn't complain, I suppose, but it's about 30 miles away from where we live, and in the opposite direction from where we work... So for 2 working parents with a baby at home, just getting everyone to and from where they need to be each day is going to be a serious acrobatic feat. Someone recently suggested I hire a chauffeur... but there comes a point where if you need THAT much help just to get through the mechanics of the day, doesn't it seem like something is seriously wrong? Never mind having to pick up sick children, attend parent teacher meetings and other school functions that of course we want to do, but will now have to add another hour to hour and a half worth of driving round trip in order to do. If we move closer to the school, my husband will never make it home in time for dinner. I feel like I've failed my child in whatever mistakes I made in the application process. Though s/he will be attending a good school, I fear the additional stress it will add to our family's daily life will be so unhealthy if not absolutely crazy. I also feel like families in which both parents have to work are invaluable members of our society, and yet the everyday pressures placed on them are nearly insurmountable unless they have family living nearby willing to help. I feel for all those still waiting for a spot and really wish you luck. This process is so unfair... Also, just curious, do people actually make donations to schools they are applying to?

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  5. Hey Anonymous at 9:35 p.m.: even if you homeschool, be sure to get your daughter a backpack for her supplies (whatever you choose them to be) and do take that "first day of school" photo. Both things can give her that sense of belonging and novelty! Good luck :-)

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  6. To First Time Blogger:

    You did not fail your child — it's all a crap shoot anyway, this school enrollment process. I would suggest you hire whatever help you need to reduce your family's stress, if you have the resources. If it takes a chauffeur, a housekeeper, a dog-walker, plant-waterer or all of the above. so be it. It sounds like you have some financial advantages, so make them work for you. I say this as a working parent who's flat broke, lives in a one-bedroom apartment and doesn't own a car. But my husband and I will spend an extra few hundred a month on aftercare to make our daily lives easier. Best of luck.

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  7. 11:10,

    30 miles? Are you in San Francisco? Heading south, that puts you in Palo Alto, east you get past Walnut Creek, and north to Novato. I really can't imagine putting my family through that. In your shoes I would opt for a parochial or independent that still had room. They are out there.

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  8. 11:10 pm...Please do not blame yourself, it was a tough year for many families and it sounds like you have a spot (though less than ideal). Unless you dread leaving the place where you live or you plan on moving your child next year to a different school, I would move closer to where your child is going to school. If your not ready to sell and buy, then rent and try it out. While I understand your husband will not be home for dinner, it will save your kid the commute an hour a day and he/she as well as your family will be able to be more involved in the school and have playdates, etc. Your weekends will not be spent driving back and forth to school events, birthdays in far off places, etc. With a baby at home and you working, I assume that you have some sort of childcare during the day. Your older child will also get to spend more time with the younger one if he/she is not commuting. I know one family that has a family breakfast for the very reason you mentioned - the Dad does not make it home in time for dinner. As to donations, I have not heard of anyone donating to schools they are applying to unless they already have siblings at the school.

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  9. I completely sympathize with everyone who is still waiting for a school. Do keep in mind though that if the religious aspect is not an issue for your family... there are good parochial schools with kindergarten spots still available here in the city.

    Best of luck to everyone!

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  10. Please...which Parochial Schools?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  12. I wanted to share our story from last year, though I've looked at the waitlists and they do seem longer this year.

    We didn't get anything in the lottery last year and, though we did enroll in a school in open enrollment, we were fairly confident we'd get something in the 10 day count. We didn't get anything then, but ended up being satisfied at our school for kindergarten, though we still did the 1st grade lottery.

    The thing is: many people who did enroll with us got a call from the EPC at the end of the summer, or got offered a private school spot in the end of August or got in another school in the 5 day count.

    What I noticed was that the way the waitpools moved in the lead-up to school and in the 10 day count was totally different than the movement that happened before! Some schools that had a fair amount of movement before had no movement right around when school started. Some of the very popular schools suddenly had a lot of movement (probably because people going private put them down on their round I form and never disenroll). I would take another serious look at your waitpool slot and also talk to the folks at the EPC (try to see if you can talk to Archie Fokin himself about it), to see what your best bet might be.

    If there is a school you like that was underenrolled and had people assigned to it in Round I, that might be a good bet, because those people sometimes go private or get off of the waitlist at another school. The more popular schools that had space last year were Claire Lilianthal, Miraloma and Grattan. It might be different this year. Lafayette and Peabody sometimes have movement in the 10 day count. If one of these is your attendance area school, you might have a slight advantage, so go for it! Rooftop had some movement as well, but was still a longshot. Also, the schools that opened 3rd kindergartens (like Rosa Parks) might be good bets. Apparently some years different popular schools have more movement, so it's hard to tell.

    Good luck, everyone!

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  13. We are enrolled in a second round school which we only found out later had no before school program at all and an after school program only for needy families. Plus, it has no associated YMCA or Parks and Rec program. Instead, we are enrolled in the before and after school program at our waiting list school (20 minutes across town), and we will likely lose our deposit if we don't cancel before the start of the school year. "Luckily", we're also enrolled at a private school which we really cannot afford when our second child starts kindergarten next year.

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  14. First Time Blogger:

    I see that your private school choice may cause some issues for you. However, I need to ask: did you apply to public schools? If so, what was unacceptable about your assignment? Did you visit your assignment school? Did it pose transportation issues greater than your current school?

    I find that this blog promotes a great deal of anomie towards schools that are evidently unacceptable based on some unclear criteria. It's not test scores, since some schools with very low scores are highly sought after. It's not teaching quality either, because some schools that are very popular have mediocre Kindergarten teachers among their K staff.

    Maybe it differs for each person who comments here, or maybe it's a third-rail issue. I truly don't know. But I wonder if what we believe separates a good choice and a bad one needs to be defined.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  16. Last time I heard - St. Monica's still had open spots. We really liked them and were torn between them and Star of the Sea. In the end Star of the Sea was just a bit closer to home. Anyway, I would call St. Monica's and take a tour. Best K teacher I met after about 25 tours public and parochial.

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  17. 10:51

    it is all subjective, so even defining it would be futile.

    There's a lot of lemmings here, a lot of herd mentality -- and if one person says "Ortega is a great school" they all want to flock there, despite its test scores or past history. So don't even try to figure it out.

    Picking a school is not a science, you almost know when you are there which one you like and seems right, so it is largely an emotional decision. What I would love others may hate.

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  18. 1:14

    Are you happy with Star of The Sea?
    I've heard there was a lot of bullying there, (if your child is not Asian) and that the work is not very challenging.

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  19. Arghhh... This is very much what I fear, this system requires you tour 20 public schools (at a minimum), 25 parochial schools and 6 privates. 50 schools in less than 6 months, anyone want to tell me how you do this when you work full-time and do not get flexible time. I will be taking vacation time to tour these schools...any of them accomodate the working parent - Saturday tours??? How long do they last? and do they start at 8 am so I can at least try to get to work by 10 am and not get fired?

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  20. One way we did it was to split up the tours between us and another couple whose opinion we trusted. (not easy to always find!) Anyway, between the four of us, each one of us toured 3-4 publics and 2 privates for a total of 23 schools (we weren't opting for the parochial route, so that eliminated that.) Afterwards we sat down and compared notes. I would suggest getting together with friends in the same boat and trying to tag team some of the work.
    At least we got a feel for a range of different school including immersion, late start time and so on.

    As far as tour times go, they are unfortunately all over the map--generally first thing in the morning depending on the school's start time and they last about an hour ending in Q&A. SFUSD has a list available of every school in the district. Call the school you want to visit and make an appointment for a tour. You can do this starting in early October. Private schools involve more personalized "teas" and assessments as well.

    Hope this helps! Good luck---we went through it for our Kindergartener in '07. It was exhausting but it quickly became apparent which schools we could narrow it down to.

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  21. @citygal what a cool idea. you just want to make sure that you and the other parents have the same priorities. i toured a few schools with friends and we came out with totally different impressions - in some cases their viewpoints were great for shedding a different point of view. but in some cases it just pointed to the basic differences of what we were looking for. even between my spouse and i, there were some differences in what stood out as positive or negative and we had to do some calibrating of our two opinions.

    we ended up touring 7 or 8 schools each, and then having the other parent tour the top 2 or 3 (i.e. we covered about 15 schools but individually saw 8 or 9 each). but, we did 15 publics and only 1 private, probably didn't put enough effort into the private process to make an impression and shouldn't have bothered.

    i feel a lot of sympathy for families who are really trying to do both processes.

    and, for your job, i wonder if you can have a sit down with your boss to talk about what you're about to go through. my boss had three kids go to school in sf - even though they did it years ago and they did privates, he understood the implications of the kindergarten search. and, we burned a lot of midnight oil making up for lost hours in the office.

    good luck to all.

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  22. I work full-time as well and found that giving my manager and staff a heads up was appreciated. Not everyone I work with is a parent, and what I did was make sure that all my work stayed on track and that I didn't miss any deadlines. My husband also did some tours on his own; he has more flexibility with his schedule since he IS the boss. :) I also burned a lot of midnight oil to get work done.

    We toured 10 publics and four non-parochial privates. I don't think we put in enough time for the private admissions process as well, but I suspect that we were waitpooled because we applied for financial aid.

    This is really a rough process that is unnecessarily so! Good luck to those of you who are waiting.

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  23. Don't give into the insanity. There's no need tot our 50 schools (I imagine that after about 10 you won't remember the differences between them).

    There is a lot of information out there that can be gathered before heading to the schools - although there could be a massive improvement by PPS-SF or the district on before and after care programs since generally that info can only be found at that school.

    Anyway - my husband took our approach like our college admission search a million years ago. Realistically - we knew we could handle no more than 10. It's not because I'm working either (even as a stay-at-home-mom - I've got two other kids to care for!). So we had to narrow down the list from the 70+ elementary schools in the City.

    We got some info on our "reach" schools - those high demand one, some on our middle-range schools (ranging from 150-300 requests) and our low-demand schools and grouped them accordingly.

    We figured out what was important to us. Proximity was a huge factor for us so we limited ourselves to schools within a two mile range of our house. We didn't want immersion programs. From there, it had our list.

    Good Luck.

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  24. I did the search over two years. One, I'm a preparer, and two, I had twins (and now a third,) and was aware from the start on my own limits. It worked well. The first year I looked mainly at the reaches. Then the next year, I looked at schools I hadn't thought about, or newly considered. My eyes adjusted too, so that what I once might have seen and felt not so good about suddenly looked OK the second time around. Then my husband went and looked at ones I thought were worth listing near the top of our list. In the end, we got one of the schools on our list, and we're feeling satisfied. Good luck!

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  25. Our girl got in to Yick Wo last October 7, long after the ten day count. I was very happy with our private school, but thought it was a safer bet to go public if the recession got worse. I ended up liking the school more.

    But can I also remind people that even if you make a decision you regret, you can always make another decision?

    These are kindergarten kids. While its' nice to stay with the same school chums all the way through middle school and high school, there is nothing wrong with a change here and there. It's not all about kindergarten. This part of the lottery is insane. Getting in the school of your dreams in first, second, third grade is totally doable, and if that schools goes through 8th grade, lucky for you.

    It's hard to believe it, but if you wait into October or November, you will get that call. Lots of people get the magic call in October, but they don't want to move their kid.

    Something like 8 or 10 kids got in off the waitpool into schools like Clarendon, Rooftop, Lillienthal. If you can wait it out, you often get exactly what you want.

    Vs. wanting exactly what you got, which is what happened to me.

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  26. "I find that this blog promotes a great deal of anomie towards schools that are evidently unacceptable based on some unclear criteria. It's not test scores, since some schools with very low scores are highly sought after. It's not teaching quality either, because some schools that are very popular have mediocre Kindergarten teachers among their K staff.

    Maybe it differs for each person who comments here, or maybe it's a third-rail issue. I truly don't know. But I wonder if what we believe separates a good choice and a bad one needs to be defined."

    Some of it is a third-rail issue: I get the impression most of those commenting here are upper-middle-class caucasians, and that's not what most of SFUSD looks like. So certain schools are "popular" with commenters here (like Miraloma) because they have a high %age of , even though the test scores are not stellar (although improving), while other schools (like E.R. Taylor) don't have the same buzz despite having better test scores, because they're mainly immigrant.

    You'll often hear the term "hidden gems": it's better to think of "underappreciated gems": there's going to be schools that for one reason or another are not going to appeal to a certain set of parents (based on aesthetics, pedoagogy, ethnic mix, enrichment courses or lack thereof, start time, location, etc.), but for which those perceived negatives aren't a negative for you. Those are good candidates for your "safety schools"; the 3-5 schools that you know you have a good chance of getting into if you don't get into whatever more high demand schools you list on your application.

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  27. "One way we did it was to split up the tours between us and another couple whose opinion we trusted. (not easy to always find!) Anyway, between the four of us, each one of us toured 3-4 publics and 2 privates for a total of 23 schools (we weren't opting for the parochial route, so that eliminated that.)"

    That's a great idea, but you'd probably have to work out a set of criteria to score the school against ahead of time. I know for my wife aesthetics of the school were very important, wheras they weren't for me. If you have a set of pre-agreed criteria, then you've got a better basis for comparing subjective impressions.

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  28. "I did the search over two years. One, I'm a preparer, and two, I had twins (and now a third,) and was aware from the start on my own limits."

    Same thing here. I knew we couldn't tour all the public and parochial schools we'd want to in a single year.

    The second year was a lot less hectic than the first, as we'd reached a comfort level that there were a lot more good schools out there than we first thought, and so the second year was more focused on other dimensions of selecting the schools (did they have immersion language programs, were they close to home so logistics would be easier, etc.).

    We got a good outcome: our second choice on the SFUSD lottery, two parochial places, and an offer for Creative Arts Charter.

    Did not bother with the private independents though: I get the impression the application process for those is a lot more involved.

    ReplyDelete
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  30. I just wanted to mention that I did some programs at Cobb (for the first time) this summer, and was very impressed with the students and teachers… and the spacious classrooms, too. There were three (if I am remembering correctly) Montessori classes with the ages of the kids in each multi-age classroom spanning from three to six years. (The classic Montessori set-up.)

    Cobb is in the process of adding Montessori for upper grade classes, too. (I know that has been mentioned here before.) However, there seems to be some controversy about the situation, since there is a contingent of parents and other community members who think too many GE programs have been converted to immersion or to other special programs (in this case, Montessori), and that while these new programs are popular with many middle and upper middle class families, they may not be as desirable to the families of the kids already attending the schools. (Anyone else hear of this perspective?) So, there are parents and other community members who think the Cobb GE program was already doing a good job, and who feel the Montessori program is also valuable, but shouldn’t lead to the demise (or shrinkage) of the GE program.

    As a result of the district's response to these concerns, it seems there may soon be two schools, with the new (Montessori only?) school on Jackson while the GE program remains on California. This is just from a quick reading after a Google search, so maybe someone else has more info to share. At any rate, for anyone interested in a Montessori education, it might be worth checking out the (apparently evolving) plans for this program.

    One thing I am not sure about... in my Google search, I read a letter from a Cobb GE parent which seemed to indicate a student would have to start the Montessori program while still three? But that didn’t seem to jibe with what one of the teachers told me, and also seemed at odds with what I thought I had read at this site…. though I know it can sometimes be a requirement of Montessori programs that kids have to start by age three.

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    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=6350828

    http://sanfranciscoartsandlit.com/2009
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  31. Would love to hear any plans about a new elementary school on Jackson Street (Montessori or not). I had heard a rumor that Cobb was also being considered for a language program.

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  32. I went through the hellish - to put it mildly - private and public school kindergarten process last year. All in we toured about 25 schools. Not surprisingly we got zip from the public school process (we're not "diverse" or poor). We ended up doing fine privately so we got to stay in the City rather than moving away.

    My take away from the whole ordeal is to forget about touring public schools: way too much of a time suck and lots of the information can be gleaned on line and from other parents. Concentrate on the private school process (since while that may not work out either you are at least adding some value as opposed to the publics) and hope you somehow luck out and get a decent public school in the "lottery". I'd also start preparing myself to move out of the City by looking at potential relocation sites and, if you own your property, getting it ready to be put on the market.

    ReplyDelete
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  34. 2:22, I'd say the opposite, but that's partly because I and most people I know cannot remotely afford private school (even with partial scholarship, if we were to hit the unlikely jackpot in the current climate of ). I guess I'm the rare "only" middle class person on this list, so others' mileage may vary there.

    My takeaway was that you don't need to tour 50 schools or anything like that, but it is worth it to come up with a shorter list that includes schools that have better odds to get in. I spent some time trying to figure out which schools were not yet hugely popular but are adding programs and parental energy that are exciting. Since these tend to change every year, I asked around a lot (and haunted listserves like PPS and sfschools and this blog) to try to figure that out. Then I discarded those that really would not work logistically (no school bus routes and too far away). In the end, I toured a half dozen schools. In my experience, this legwork helped a lot and was worth the effort!

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  35. 6:35 here again: I just want to say that I'm not dissing the private school thing, just saying that it is a lot of work (and $$$) to apply, and for those of us who would need huge scholarships, the odds are not so great that we will get in AND get the huge financial aid that we need. For some of us, there is also the worry that we may not feel comfortable with the economic mix at a school, but for me, the main thing was a reality check on our budget (and job insecurity that meant we didn't know if we could swing it even if we got a scholarship on our current income).

    It has also been my observation that some have experienced a more personal sense of rejection in the private process. There is no "one size fits all" in this, so parents might ask themselves, seriously and realistically, what are the odds, and the comfort level, with private schools, because the private process is a *beast*.

    In our experience, just a little preparation and legwork in the public process yielded some lovely and "rising" choices for us, any of which would have worked for us. Mostly this meant keeping our ears to the ground as to which schools were flying below the radar. There are still some (and no, I don't think all schools are hidden gems, either).

    For those who crave a non-public backup but not the pain of the private school process, I would suggest parochial. Don't necessarily expect NDV or St. Brendan's, but there are some nice (and for some at least, much more affordable) backups there that can ease your mind through the lottery, and some of these have easy applications. I have several friends who did that. One stayed in parochial (they are also Catholic and happy with that part of things), and others were able to deal better with the lottery knowing they had something somewhere.

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  36. Don't forget that there's also the option to apply to charter schools. Although there are not many in SF, they are also free and separate from the SFUSD lottery.

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  37. Miraloma parent here: our school tried to accommodate working parents last year with night tours, Saturday tours, self-guided tours, and virtual tours (i.e., podcasts and videos on the school web site). I believe that the videos are still on the web site ("Tours"). Even if you do not want to list Miraloma in the lottery, the podcasts are a good snapshot of public school life.

    ReplyDelete
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    任選六組關鍵字”首頁”價格最多只要6000/
    同業做到的,也許是你所想要!
    我們做到的服務與價格,卻是同業所無法想像的!

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  40. 你想要到高雄/墾丁旅遊包車或是租車旅遊嗎!!!

    你想了解高雄/墾丁旅遊的景點與住宿資訊嗎!!!

    歡迎你到我的網站參觀與指教喔^^

    高雄旅遊 高雄旅遊

    高雄一日遊 高雄一日遊

    墾丁旅遊 墾丁旅遊

    墾丁一日遊 墾丁一日遊

    墾丁旅遊網 墾丁旅遊網

    高雄縣旅遊 高雄縣旅遊

    阿里山旅遊 阿里山旅遊

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  41. Am I the only one seeing a bunch of stuff in chinese? (usually linked to spam/phishing/scam websites)

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  42. Oh I don't think the private process was really THAT bad. People take it personally because you go for personal interviews/essays/appys. Really it was no different than what a typical work day would be. It gets to be ugly when you have 6 applications and 6 interviews and coffee's and meetings etc on top of your typical workday. Also doesn't help to be stressed about it all rather than just approach it like a regular work task. I applaud you for holding back from it all because you know it would cause you stress financially. While I think it's great if you can afford it, if you can't then you shouldn't stretch to get there.

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  43. 室內設計 歐化廚具
    系統櫃 系統傢俱
    傢俱 廚具 歐式廚具
    裝潢 室內設計作品
    抽油煙機 廚具工廠

    你想為愛的小窩重新換個造型ㄇ! 你想為甜蜜小窩重新添購家具ㄇ!

    歡迎進入全台灣最具規模的廚具裝潢網^^

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  44. 12:26...

    I recently saw an ad in a parent's magazine for St. Peter and Paul in which they were advertising openings in kindergarten. Also, the last I heard, St. Monica's and Zion Lutheran have availability for kindergarten.

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  45. 室內設計 歐化廚具
    系統櫃 系統傢俱
    傢俱 廚具 歐式廚具
    裝潢 室內設計作品
    抽油煙機 廚具工廠

    你想為愛的小窩重新換個造型ㄇ! 你想為甜蜜小窩重新添購家具ㄇ!

    歡迎進入全台灣最具規模的廚具裝潢網^^

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  46. For parochial, also try St. Anne's in the sunset. That is where we are ending up after going 0/15 in the lottery. I was impressed on the tour and parents I have spoken to are very happy there.

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  47. "For parochial, also try St. Anne's in the sunset. That is where we are ending up after going 0/15 in the lottery. I was impressed on the tour and parents I have spoken to are very happy there."

    I've heard good things about St. Anne's also, and it's a good backup for parents close to Clarendon & Rooftop, which are heavily oversubscribed.

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  48. 'My take away from the whole ordeal is to forget about touring public schools: way too much of a time suck and lots of the information can be gleaned on line and from other parents.'

    Don't agree with this, as the point of touring the publics is to find the "underappreciated gems". I'd skip touring the Rooftops, Clarendons & West Portals (although I think odds of getting into Rooftop are too low to be worth listing it), and focus instead on your Moscone's, Ortegas, Monroe's and Fairmounts.

    Additionally, if you're interested in language immersion, there's much more going on in SFUSD than in the privates, and the odds of getting into CAIS or FAIS are roughly the same as AFY or Alvarado.

    Plus, if you don't make the tour of the publics and private, you can't make an accurate comparison of the different sectors. I toured one private, and to be honest I didn't see a $25K difference in value between the privates and the publics.

    There's a good sector of the SF population who are affluent enough to drop $25K on their kids' education and it not be a stretch: I'm not one of them. Given that there were a lot of public options I found more than acceptable, I could limit myself to public, with a few parochial applications as a Plan B.

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  49. Your lurking BOE member chiming in - I haven't been to the site for a while but once I read this thread I thought I should wade in:

    1)There are NO plans to open a Montessori on Jackson St, at least as of a month or so ago.

    2)The Montessori and GE programs will continue to operate as strands within Cobb Elementary. Originally the plan was to have the entire school become Montessori but that has been rethought -- partly because members of the community pushed back and wanted to keep a GE strand at Cobb.

    3)When looking for a K for my oldest I did my touring over two years as well. I looked particularly at schools I considered marginal, so that I could go back after a year and see what trajectory the school was on. (I am someone who really likes certainty so I focused more on schools I thought we could get rather than "reach" schools). We did not consider private schools.

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  50. Thanks for the Cobb info, Rachel!

    My information came from a response to an entry (5/31/09) at San Francisco Arts and Lit, titled:
    "SFUSD plans to close yet another general education program in the Western Addition"
    http://tinyurl.com/lhnsnt

    Here is the response:

    “Wednesday Reynolds-Wilcox Says:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 23:21

    SFUSD representative Kevin Truitt (whose job title includes the phrase “Leadership and Equity), surprised and delighted both the traditional education and Montessori education communities in the Western Addition by coming to the June 1, 2009 meeting at Dr. William L. Cobb elementary school with a proposal to please all.

    The current plan is that BOTH programs will remain options in the Western Addition. In mid-June letters will be sent to families of both programs confirming that the Montessori will indeed get its proposed future home on Jackson Street and that general education will continue on at the Dr. William L. Cobb site.”

    (I guess that was just a hoax.… or some kind of misunderstanding.)

    The other question I have, Rachel (if you are still reading), is do students have to enroll in the Montessori program while they are still three (for the multi-age classes spanning ages 3-6)... or can they come in for KG without that background? And if it is true that students have to already be enrolled at a younger age to qualify for KG participation, will that be true for the older grades, too, as they are added? (That it will sort of like immersion, in that you have to get in from the beginning?)

    Thanks for any insight!

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  51. Thanks for the cite - that rumor was circulating in May/June and being spread by some in the Cobb community. But when I asked Superintendent Garcia about this rumor back in late June he clearly and definitively told me there were no plans to relocate Cobb's Montessori program at Jackson St.

    I don't think the Montessori is like an immersion program in that children cannot transfer in if they didn't start in the program. I believe that children enrolled in the preschool Montessori at the Cobb site -- which includes mostly children from the surrounding Western Addition neighborhood -- are getting priority to continue in K spots at Cobb but I might be wrong about that.

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  52. Make a list of your top 10 and tour them. Make your list of 7 in rank order. Make sure all 7 would be schools you would be comfortable with and include at least 2 less popular schools on your list. Tour one charter, one catholic school and one independent school (to compare value).

    As luck would have it, we applied this formula and came out with our first choice school in round 1....and our first choice was not any of the popular schools mentioned on this blog, but a popular one none the less. We where able to enjoy our summer stress free.

    For those who will be starting this process this Fall, don't look over the least mentioned schools. There are great finds all over the City. Spring Valley, Yick Wo, Sherman are all within route to downtown/northside commutes. Commador Sloat is a great west side option.

    Good luck to all...and please don't leave to City, we need you!

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  53. If you need financial aid, do not bother applying to private schools, at least not until the economy improves.

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  54. 3:50-

    That's an incorrect blanket statement.

    The school we attend has given out a record amount of financial aid this year. Families that haven't needed aid before do now and the school really stepped up.

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  55. 7:23

    those already enrolled who requested financial aid where given priority over new applicants who needed financial aid...there's only so much of an endowment to go around, and there wasn't enough for the incoming kindergarden candidate, and will most likely remain that way until the economy improves.

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  56. 7:23, that may be the case, and kudos to those parents who raised the money. However, it is my understanding that several schools have had to limit or curtail the financial aid packages offered to potential incoming families because they needed to extend financial aid to existing families whose circumstances changed for the worse. There is also a question of whether the extraordinary fundraising measures can be sustained for another year or two of recessionary times.

    Less-than-wealthy applicant families have to weigh the probabilities: what are the odds of receiving sufficient aid--or even getting an offer if they need aid, and how does that compare to the work and money shelled out of going through the process (paperwork, coffees, interviews, child assessment)?

    Also, for many families, there is a question of what might happen if they need even more financial aid (for example, due to job loss or furloughs causing a dip in income), even if they are accepted and given a package. If a family has no cushion--yikes. Or if a school has to provide a lesser package in a subsequent year in order to spread the grants more--also yikes. For my family at least, there is not fat to trim.

    Just to say--many families make a realistic assessment that it is not worth applying to the private schools. Sure, some may hit the jackpot in terms of financial aid, but it's probably not a bad decision not to go through that for the majority of us that just can't afford to pay full freight or even half. The whole process of finding a school of any type is so stressful anyway. I (speaking personally) chose to put my energies in a direction that seemed more realistic for us.

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  57. I just went on the EPC website and July wait pool numbers aren't posted yet! This process has become a second job for my husband and me. It's sad that some families making huge life changes rather than put their child in the assigned school. When we found out we didn't get any of our schools after two rounds, I considered home schooling our son which would have meant quitting my job. We also considered moving out of the area. I understand, in theory, what the EPC is trying to do but many families who aren't disadvantaged end up getting the short end of the stick. About a month ago, we started calling parochial schools -- very late in the game. We got on several waiting lists and ended up getting St. Finn Barr. What a load off my mind... Hopefully, the EPC will fix this broken system at some point. I hear some changes are being made next year.

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  58. "About a month ago, we started calling parochial schools -- very late in the game. We got on several waiting lists and ended up getting St. Finn Barr."

    I recommend St. Finn Barr. Also, it works on a first-come-first-served basis. So (for 2010 kindergarten applicants), if you apply early (like October) to St. Finn Barr's, you can know you have a place there before the January SFUSD deadline.

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  59. It is not August 11th, school starts in less than 2 weeks. Anyone know when the July waitpool numbers will be posted. Frankly, if they are going to have this ridculous system, then SFUSD should staff throughout the summer.

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  60. July waitpool #'s are up

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  61. Yikes! The numbers are depressing. There are more than 25 schools with double-digit waitlists. Does it matter when you put yourself on the waitlist? Are the families who have been on it since after Round I given greater preference if in the same cohort.

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  62. I believe everyone in the same cohort has the same chances, no preference for the length of time you've been on a given list.

    Good luck.

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  63. That waitpool list is interesting. There are almost 600 incoming high school freshman in waitpools. I remember the success rate this year was actually worse for them than the K lottery results, but I guess I haven't heard that much about it.

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  64. "I believe everyone in the same cohort has the same chances, no preference for the length of time you've been on a given list."

    I thought there was some preference given to those who went 0/7 in Round 1. Is that correct?

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  65. Just remember, the waitpool numbers really are not accurate. They are fluid. People drop in and out of the waitpools daily and the numbers do not reflect that. I call SFUSD almost weekly to inquire about my waitpool and always get a different answer. But then again, they are so unreliable that may be the reason as well! But really, those numbers are only as accurate as the day they were keyed in.

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  66. 3:12

    "0/7 Round 1" is a cohort. Yes, this cohort has relatively high preference--lower than siblings, but higher than those who went "0/less than 7, no choice" etc. On the waitpool list, the cohort priorities read left to right.

    However, within your cohort, whatever it is, there is no priority, for example, for being in there longer. It is not a waiting list, but a waiting pool. Kids' names will be picked by lottery from these cohorts, in priority order by cohort.

    My 2 cents: if there are few or none in the cohorts above you, and few within your cohort (say, 2-3 people, maybe 5 at the very most), then you have a shot. Otherwise, your odds are not so good--which doesn't mean that someone won't get lucky. If you really want to move from your present assignment, you would improve your odds by looking to those schools with low single digits in the cohort--and cohorts above--that you are in.

    If I were in this situation, I'd be looking at Paul Revere SI and Rosa Parks and Glen Park as schools that have some initial buzz, organized parents, and will be on the move in the next 2-3 years.

    But again, that is my 2 cents and it is up to the family to judge the odds against what you have now and what you need/wan--so that is not a judgment on those who would choose differently.

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  67. Katherine Michiels School still has 2 Kindergarten spots available.

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  68. Well school starts tommorow, however, not for my daughter. I am so saddened and frustrated by the system, and feel extremely gipped that we are missing out on the official first day of kindergarten, and events that have led up to it. We actually crashed our waitpool back to school party today, it was slightly awkward, and we left feeling a bit alienated, having nothing to do with what seemed great families, but the awful situation we're in. We've been in the fight since the beginning, only to be beaten up over and over, a bloody mess. Tommorow, while all the kids are excitedly embarking on a new adventure, to what is their school years, I will take my daughter to buy school supplies with fingers crossed (and at this point the fingers are quite crampy and sore), that soon we will get a call.

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