Glen Park Elementary
Reviewed by Marcia Brady
Location: 151 Lippard Avenue (Glen Park)
School hours: 8:40-2:40
Principal: Marion Grady
Web site: none except via SFUSD portal
School tours: 9 AM Tues., call to sign up.
Kindergarten size: 40 in 2 classes of 20, capacity is 44. One class is for Spanish ELL, which is not immersion.
Total student body: oops, forgot to ask because I was there before I knew I was doing this. It’s small.
Odds of getting in in Round 1:
12.8% on Adams's spreadsheet, but 5-year comparison of Round 1 demand shows 14 requests for 22 spaces in 2009-10. So I am unclear on the concepts here, obviously.
You should consider this school if you're looking for a place with:
Good organization, emphasis on comportment and traditional R & R skills, intimate atmosphere, solid school with an old-fashioned feel.
Class Structure / Curriculum:
2 K classes of 20 each, desks in rows. Kids did a lot of reciting in unison in one classroom, but the teacher had also combined memorization of calendar information with pattern recognition base-10 and base-5 counting, and other exercises that went beyond memorization. There is a big, big emphasis on discipline and behavior here: all students are charted daily from “green” (good) down to “red” (note or phone call home) for behavior, and they move paper clips on their own chart up or down throughout the day. Teachers use homework folders as “in/out” boxes to communicate with parents about behavior and academics.
Curriculum includes Reading First, standard math, social studies integrated with Language Arts and Technology, science, tech literacy, library media literacy, penmanship. Also has special ed for severely impaired kids.
Extremely clean 1930s building, nicely renovated with old features like wood doors, old hardware incorporated into the renovation. Dedicated lunchroom which serves as home base for afterschool programs. Auditorium with gym floor which serves double duty for PE and Assemblies (no basketball hoops or PE equipment that I could see – kids were running obstacle courses built from refrigerator boxes and chairs). Upper and lower yard are asphalt, with a new play structure in the works.
After School programs:
Free afterschool learning club.
None beyond enrichment provided by district, that I could see.
New and in growth mode. Parents said there were lots of opportunities. I didn’t yet know to ask about numbers or funds raised, but it’s clear both are small.
Spanish bilingual for English Language Learners.
Library / Computer Lab:
Library / Computer Lab:
Small automated library, small media/computer center which had just been equipped with new Mac computers.
Instrumental music, chorus, dance, visual and performing arts experiences weekly (includes dance and rhythm, circus skills, chorus, ballet for 2nd and 3rd graders).
2 20-minute recess sessions daily. Recess supervised by teachers and parent volunteers who organize games. Close supervision discourages bullying. Lunch in two 20-minute shifts, with kids sorted by age. Snacks in AM and aftercare are provided by school with no snacks from home allowed for reasons of equity.
The tour was low-key with just parents and a handful of visitors, no principal. We spent a few minutes in each K classroom (one was being taught by a sub; the other by the regular teacher described above), and the majority of our time in the lunchroom. The special education kids were there eating with their paraprofessionals, and I was pleased to see that both tour parents knew the names of kids who came up to interact with us.
The parents were very earnest and very happy with the school; one was treasurer of the PTA and emphasized that all skills and contributions were gratefully received but that there was no pressure and no parent cliqueyness. The school clearly does not have the resources of some of the more established “trophy” schools, but they run a tight ship. I could see it as one of those schools that a group of parents decide to enter all at once and transform, but I wonder what would happen to the culture already there. It almost seemed like a world of its own, and I found myself wondering if, when middle-class parents move in and spearhead changes, the people who were there first are always happy. I would like to know more about the principal of this school, how she is serving the existing population there, and what she envisions for the future.
It’s a very sweet little school, and would be perfect for a kid whose home environment was challenging and/or who did well with a lot of structure, routine, and clear expectations. It would also be good for parents who have specific worries about bullying to investigate, since recess is so closely supervised and discipline monitored so tightly. I would not recommend it to parents of children who are offbeat or impulsive, or parents committed to nontraditional education.
I keep hearing people say that tours can give a lot of false impressions, so I hope that parents who are involved with Glen Park will chime in and correct any false impressions I got and have inadvertently reproduced here.