Friday, September 18, 2009

Hot topic: Lakeshore

An SF K Files visitor asked me to start the following thread:
What's going on with Lakeshore? This has always been a solid school yet I have heard some families are switching to other schools. What's going on? This has always been a great place.


  1. i would bet it has to do with the location. now that there are other options (more schools than just the historical golden 5) parents are switching to something closer to their home or commute. in the past, i've heard, parents only considered a few public schools (Lakeshore being one of them) and so were willing to haul it over to that corner of town. this is just a guess.

  2. "Some families" as in older families or kindergarten families?

    We're new Lakeshore parents. Seemed like there was a lot of waitpool movement even after school started, but that was great for us...we got in off the waitpool, and we love it!

    Lakeshore is comparable to the school in Marin we were considering (minus the sunlight of course). Strong PTA, lots of teacher support, good selection of enrichment classes...Lakeshore has a lot going for it.

    My guess is the same as 1:47pm -- Lakeshore is less in demand now that more schools are considered acceptable, because of its location way out by the Zoo. I think people are putting it on the list as a safe choice then waitpooling for a school closer to home.

    There's also a lot of construction right now, but I can't imagine people leaving because of that.

  3. "mean girl" bullying by the 2nd & 3rd grade girls is unchecked

  4. woah, we need more info on the mean girl puhleaz. did this happen to your child or did you hear about it from a friend? is it so bad that people are leaving the school?

  5. My daughter is a Lakeshore alumna and was subjected to mean-girl bullying in third grade. This is not unique to Lakeshore; third-grade girls can be really mean.

    The teachers did try to work with the girls, and the upshot was that the meanest mean girl's parents transferred her to Synergy (where parents I know told me she continued to be mean until she grew out of that phase). The mean girl's parents said they were transferring her because she was having trouble making friends -- no surprise.

    The same teacher who dealt with all this is still teaching third grade at Lakeshore.

    Make of that outcome what you will. It wasn't perfect in that the mean girl continued to be mean somewhere else, but things improved at Lakeshore.

    Also, don't forget that just because other parents don't hear about steps the school is taking to work with a problem child doesn't mean it's not happening. It's not going to be announced to the heavens.

  6. If the girls are still there and still bullying, whatever "steps" the school is taking is not working.
    If the bullies are the offspring of the main PTA and SSC parents, they turn a blind eye to how badly their mean children treat other people.

  7. Same in private school with the big-donor families, ugh.

  8. Yes, it does happen anywhere.
    I think more bullying is allowed to happen in private schools.

  9. Families are switching to other schools because the honeymoon is over. Kindergarten was great and first grade not so great. Children there do badly on the STAR tests in 2nd and 3rd grade and parents want to get them out of there. Many children at that school in 2nd and 3rd grade test below proficient.

  10. Yikes, I looked up the numbers!

    Lakeshore's 2nd graders, on the last STAR TEST:

    61% below proficient in English Arts

    44% below proficient in Math

  11. "If the girls are still there and still bullying, whatever "steps" the school is taking is not working."

    As noted, the mean girl left and transferred to Synergy.

  12. @2:01pm -- Not sure where you got your numbers from. I pay attention to test scores as much as anybody else, and here's what I see.

    30% below proficient in English in 2nd grade decreasing to 2% by 5th grade. 24% below proficient in math in 2nd grade decreasing to 12% in 5th grade.

    Compare this to SFUSD as a whole: 22% below proficient in English in 2nd grade decreasing to 16% by 5th grade. 17% below proficient in math in 2nd grade increasing to 21% in 5th grade.

    What that tells me is that 1) Lakeshore kids show improvement over time, and 2) Lakeshore does a lot better than the SFUSD average over time.

    Here's where I got the numbers from:

    SFUSD 2009 Star test results:

    Lakeshore 2009 Star test results:

  13. Maybe you also went to Lakeshore, which would explain for your poor math sense. Or perhaps you are just trying to spin the numbers to make it all look rosier?

    I got the figures here:

    2009 Star Test Results

    You are only quoting the basic number, to get the number of children who failed to score proficient, you have to add up all three categories below proficient.

    2nd grade, English Language Arts:
    basic 31%
    below basic 14%
    far below basic 16%
    total failing proficiency: 61%

    2nd grade, Math:
    basic 20%
    below basic 20%
    far below basic 4%
    total failing proficiency: 44%

    Yes, it gets slightly better, but considering how low it is, there is nowhere to go but up, isn't there?

  14. your comparisons to the district as a whole are also incorrect

    Lakeshore is far below the already shockingly low district average for 2nd graders

    District: 46% failing to score proficient in English
    vs. 61% at Lakeshore

    District: 36% failing to score proficient in Math
    vs. 44% at Lakeshore

  15. Wow. That is depressing. It is supposed to be one of the "gems"?

  16. Since there's one likely poster who combines proficiency with test score figures and a proclivity for anonymous personal insults aimed at other posters:

    Creative Arts Charter School
    percentage "failing proficient," as that poster put it:

    Creative Arts
    Percentage scoring below proficient in English
    2nd grade: 45%
    5th grade: 25%
    But uh-oh! 8th grade 63%

    And a very important thing to note in comparing Lakeshore students' English scores to Creative Arts' students' English scores:

    Percentage of English-language learners
    Creative Arts 2.6%
    Lakeshore 29.1%

    Creative Arts
    percentage scoring below
    proficient in math
    2nd grade: 50% (compared with Lakeshore's "shockingly low" 44%)
    5th grade: 60% (Lakeshore figure 33%)
    And things improve a little by 8th grade, but only to: 55%

    Yet Creative Arts students are overall getting a good education and their parents are happy -- just like Lakeshore's. Test scores just aren't a very effective way to judge a school.

  17. Dear Mr./Ms. Snarky Anonymous --

    You're right that I was looking at "below basic" numbers while we both said "below proficient". For that, I'm sorry.

    But the numbers for the "below proficient" 2009 STAR test tell the same story:

    Lakeshore 2009 STAR English:
    61% 2nd grade below proficient decreasing to 27% 5th grade.
    Lakeshore 2009 STAR Math:
    44% 2nd grade below proficient decreasing to 33% 5th grade.

    SFUSD 2009 STAR English:
    46% 2nd grade below proficient decreasing to 43% 5th grade.
    SFUSD 2009 STAR Math:
    36% in 2nd grade below proficient increasing to 38% in 5th grade.

    Where I suppose we disagree is that Lakeshore is to blame for how kids score in 2nd grade. 2nd grade is a baseline number reflecting the background of the children more than the quality of the school.

    The numbers suggest to me that the SFUSD as a whole doesn't do a good job as a whole raising its kids to "proficient" or above, while Lakeshore does a good job with the kids they've been given.

  18. You're calling me snarky when you told me I had my numbers all wrong?

    I don't know why that person is comparing your school some charter school, the scores are similarly bad at both schools.

    If people are going to make comparisons, my children go to Clarendon, and here are the 2nd grade results there:
    11% below proficient in English.
    4% below proficient in Math.

    A person was asking why parents are leaving Lakeshore, and poor test results could account for that.

  19. Apparently there's more than one poster who combines proficiency with test score figures and a proclivity for anonymous personal insults aimed at other posters.

  20. It's an interesting discussion. I looked up Alvarado, which last time I heard was the most-requested school in SFUSD.

    2nd graders below proficient in English:

    2nd graders below proficient in math:

  21. Ok Caroline, if you are going to try to drag my son's charter school through the mud AGAIN (this time with test scores) because you think I am the only person who ever insults people on this blog ...

    it's fairly obvious that nobody picks Creative Arts or Lakeshore because of test scores ...

    luckily I have the kind of kid who tests well (so far, anyway) and he will hopefully do well at whatever schools he goes to ...

    but if you want to toss numbers around

    here's some "shockingly low" SOTA numbers for ya:

    SOTA's test scores:

    11th graders

    below proficient in chemistry

    below proficient in High School Math

    below proficient in integrated math

    below proficient in geometry

    below proficient in algebra II

    There's a lot of talent at SOTA, but apparently not much for test-taking.

  22. Oh, this is a re-post from a thread above and then I discovered something else.
    SOTA is known for its weak math and science scores on standardized tests, though interestingly, the SAT and ACT scores are high.

    In one case those figures are misleading because they're for 11th grade. Both my kids (SOTA students, classes of '09 and '12) scored advanced in geometry on the CST, and certainly some of their friends did too -- there are some super-smart kids at SOTA. BUT they took geometry in 9th grade and thus took the CST in 9th grade, so their scores will not show up in that 11th-grade number.

    11th-grade geometry is for remedial students -- students who test out of algebra I take geometry in 9th grade, students who don't test out of algebra I take it in 9th grade and geometry in 10th, and only students who are seriously struggling wind up in geometry in 11th grade. Of course in a perfect school those 11th-graders would get through geometry and then score well on the CST.

    I don't know what other test scores might show a different picture under close scrutiny in that way. It could be that some of those Oakland Tech figures would, though I'm not sure how.

    My son's math score on the SAT was 760, 98th percentile -- it has no science. He scored 34 in science (99th percentile) on the ACT and 33 in math (99th percentile). So an individual student's mileage varies. That's a reason not to be so obsessed with schoolwide test scores.

    ... addendum -- the same is true with chem; students normally take it in 10th grade and thus take the chem CST in 10th grade.

    That said, again, SOTA is not a bastion of high math and science scores on standardized tests. It's different with the SAT, ACT and AP tests, which students know make a difference to them personally.

    Katy, I didn't think you were the only person who insults people on this blog, but you combine that characteristic with high proficiency with numbers and test scores, which seemed like a distinctive combination. You have a doppelganger at Clarendon!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Mr./Mrs. Anonymous -- I didn't say you had your numbers wrong. I said I didn't see where they came from, and I apologized for my misunderstanding.

    If your kid got into Clarendon -- great, congratulations, you won the lottery. We all know the place has great test scores.

    But since most of us have to decide among less-stellar options, and you've raised the question of Lakeshore's test scores:

    Are Lakeshore's 2nd grade test scores worse than the district on average? Yes but by fifth grade the test scores are much better than the district on average.

    Are Lakeshore's test scores worse than Clarendon's? Yes along with pretty much every other school in the district.

    What factors might affect those 2nd grade test scores? Let me pull some more numbers from that same 2009 report that I think are relevant:

    % of 2nd grade students classified as economically disadvantaged:
    Clarendon 7.5%
    Lakeshore 54.9%

    % of 2nd grade students clasified as English Proficient and English Only:
    Clarendon 86.3%
    Lakeshore 58.8%

    My opinion is that Lakeshore is a solid school that does a nice job with the kids who enroll there.

    Without knowing any more about the rumor that started this thread, it's hard to say where it might have started. From my own experience I can say it seems like there was a lot of movement in Lakeshore's waitpool this year. But I doubt anybody looked at the STAR test results when they were released on Aug. 18 this year and said, "Oh my God, we have to get out of this place."

  25. Hang in there, Irene & Mike. You are absolutely right to point out that test scores are all about socio-economic status. They don't call API the Affluent Parent Index for nothing. And you are also right to point out that those schools who beat their demographics--especially over time--are the ones to be cheering about, not the ones who skate along on their demographics. I mean, seriously, yay for Clarendon, and I do mean that, but three huge cheers for Moscone, Taylor, and others who get stellar scores despite not having a preponderance of middle class kids.

    As for Alvarado, I can't judge about what they could be doing better, but it would be good to remember they start with a significant number of English language learners there by design because of their SI program. I know for a fact they get newly arrived kids in their SI program each year, kids who barely speak English at the beginning of the year who are expected to take the CST and STAR tests in English in the spring. How much is their performance supposed to reflect on their one year of schooling?

    Irene & Mike, if your kid is happy at Lakeshore and you are too, don't worry about the naysayers. Trust your gut. Test scores are one measure of a complex issue, and are most certainly not the be-all.

  26. We heard a lot of families left Leonard Flynn last year.

    Anyone know the scoop on THAT?

  27. RE: TEst score numbers.

    How about comparing SUB-GROUP scores?

    How do white kids do?



  28. here's the place to look up subgroups:

  29. "We heard a lot of families left Leonard Flynn last year.

    Anyone know the scoop on THAT?"

    Don't know the scoop, but Flynn's API scores have been dropping for the past two years. While other Sp.Imm. schools (Monroe, Buena Vista, Marshall) have been improving.

    This was surprising, because I'd have though its Spanish Immersion program would be maturing, and bringing in more higher-SES kids and you'd see a consequent increase in the API (aka the Affluent Parents Index). Plus they were introducing the International Baccaleurate program. However, it looks, eyeballing the stats, like the drop in API scores was primarily because of a drop in ELL APIs.

    I'm disappointed, because it is our neighbourhood school, and was our number 1 pick last year. Even though we didn't get in, I'd like to see it succeed. But the API scores aren't going in the right direction. Long term, it's a good bet, given the demographics of Bernal, but there's evidently some challenges.

    It's possible that the Spanish immersion program is getting new monoglot Spanish kids each year, which is affecting the scores, but you'd expect the same effect at Buena Vista and Monroe, which (especially Buena Vista) saw their APIs grow healthily last year, although Fairmount and Revere saw their APIs drop - substantially in the case of Fairmount, for the same reason as Flynn - a big drop in ELL scores.

  30. "How about comparing SUB-GROUP scores?

    How do white kids do?



    Stats for subgroups:

    Overall API: 812 (Similar schools average was 848)

    Asian: 855
    White: 870
    Socioecbnomically disadvantaged: 777
    ELL: 792

    The ELL number is great, but down from last year (when it was 844, which is a fantastic number for ELLs)

  31. API scores can fluctuate wildly at any school from year to year, partly because the sample is so small at even a medium-size school. If one grade has a larger number of bright kids than average, the scores can drop dramatically when that class graduates. My son's 5th grade class had 19 GATE identified students out of 30. When they left, the API nosedived 60 points.

    It's far more instructive to look at the percentage of kids who are at or above proficient year over year. In other words, how do this year's 5th graders compare to last year's 4th graders? If the school is moving kids up, they're doing their job.

  32. I was part of the Lakeshore class of 2005, and let me tell you, it was a great school. Those six years were the best years ever. I did in fact get below proficient, specifically below basic on my STAR test, but after that, I got proficient/advanced on everything. You can't just take one year and use that as a base for comparison. And I don't get why parents stress over these test scores. After all, I go to Lowell now, and I'm just like the rest of them. We're all the same, regardless of what elementary school we went to.