Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and the suggestions. After going through details about many west side schools Mathias and I narrowed down our list of schools we want to tour. It was difficult; if circumstances were otherwise I would love to tour even more, to get a better feel of what really mattered to us. We have been told that we should tour 12-15 schools, which did not seem like much till I we had to deal with the logistics.
School tours are all around 9am in the morning, on various days of the week, making it impossible to blitz in a day or two. While I work part time from home, and am flexible in that regard, Mathias works in the east bay. Maddie is in preschool only part time, and Noah is home with me full time. This means that for every tour Mathias has to arrange to work from home and I need to find a babysitter for 1-2 kids. Lucky for us Mathias has a very nice employer who will allow him to telecommute and we also have friends and family to help many mornings so we do not have to pay $15-$18 an hour to a sitter. But it does make me wonder, if I already find this frustrating, what about the people the lottery is supposedly supposed to help? How is a single mother with 1-2 low paid inflexible jobs for example supposed to do this? Or parents who have no childcare help, no money for sitters, no employers who will allow them to take time off? I understand it is best to tour while class is in session, but why do they offer it only in the am, why not a few times so parents can squeeze in a few tours a day? Why is there also not an evening or two in the fall where parents can attend and hear a teacher and principal speak and perhaps at least see the facilities if they can not take the time in the day? Why does SFUSD not see this? It seems to me only the moderately well off can seriously tour 12-15 schools, and where does that leave the rest?