Location: 235 12th Ave
School hours: 8:40-2:40
Principal: Andrew Poon
Web site: www.sutropta.org
School tours: Principal guided – call for Apt Tu & Th 9:15
Kindergarten size: 22
Total student body: 260
You should consider this school if you're looking for a place with:
A very small school (only one k class) with good API (836) scores, safe school setting, plenty of opportunity for parental involvement and a school with “better 1st round chances”
There is a newly paved yard at back of school with brand new attractive playground equipment. Campus was rebuilt in 1970 to meet earthquake standards and does reflect buildings of that era – boxy building built around courtyard with no halls, light coming from shuddered windows and not too much overall personality. Despite this classrooms are very lively and decorated with student work. Almost completely retrofitted with ramps for handicap accessibility. The small cafeteria also doubles as multipurpose room and is used for the after school program. New plants growing around campus.
After School programs
Sutro CDC (onsite) has afterschool hours (2:45-6:00pm) and serves both children from Sutro ES and neighborhood schools. There are also buses to afterschool programs at JCCSF, St James and the Golden Gate Christian Reform Church.
Small but active PTA who raise 20-25k a year, most of which goes to the PE Consultant (100% funded by the PTA). They also sponsor other events and activities including picnics, festivals, a holiday craft fair and movie night. Numerous fundraisers throughout the year.
Language program(s): Bi-Lingual Chinese (for ELL)
Library / Computer Lab
Cute welcoming library well stocked with books. Books were recently all electronically tagged for tracking. Through prop H funding the school has a librarian 2 days a week for 2 hours. Attached to the library is a computer lab with new Dell desktop computers. There is no computer consultant, though this may change if the PTA decides to reallocate funds from the PE consultant. Teachers sign up for 1 hour blocks for library and computer time.
Sutro is a Dance and Movement school. They also have a music teacher funded through Prop H. Lower grades have singing, 3rd graders recorder and 4th & 5th graders general music (with choice of instruments).
I gave my self plenty of time to find parking prior to the tour (not knowing what to expect that close to Clement) and ended up finding a spot directly behind the school. Since I was early I spent some time sitting in the car watching the parents drop off their children. The first thing I noticed was how cute and clean the campus looked from that side. Sure it was in the typical boxy 70’s style, but the school looked well kept with new blacktop, fairly new paintjob, seemingly brand new fencing and ramps and a very attractive play structure. The children reflected the neighborhood well, a rainbow of colors as I like to call it.
Since I had time, I walked around to the front of the building (I could have gone through the back too), and again I was surprised by the well-kept outward appearance. As I was walking through the gates a class of children were leaving on a field trip to the nearby Academy of Sciences. I was greeted by the friendly office staff and soon was being led on the tour by Andrew Poon the principal. It was a small tour, only a handful of parents, perhaps reflecting he limited popularity of this small school. After describing the new retrofitting (for handicap accessibility) we peeked into the tiny cafeteria, which echoed to me how small the school really is – only 260 students - my high school graduating class was that size! Andrew explained that the majority of students do eat school lunch, with a minority bringing their lunches with them. The kids have a 45 minute lunch time broken into 3 slots, kindergartners, the lower grades and then the upper grades.
Next we went to the kindergarten class. There is one GE kindergarten class with a capacity of 22 (there is also a bi-lingual class for ELL). Andrew said there were 3 siblings expected next year, which means 19 open slots for new students. The kindergarten class was colorfully decorated with student artwork and the children were engaged in station time. The teacher, an aid and two 5th grade students were all helping the children with different projects. They all seemed to be enjoying their work and were barely distracted as we peeked our heads in. I found the classroom warm and welcoming and could see Maddie there.
After that we went upstairs to the library and computer lab. Through prop H funding they have a part time librarian, though no computer consultant. However it sounded like if there were parents who wanted to volunteer in this or other areas they would be more than welcome.
Next stop was the 5th grade classroom, empty since the students were on the field trip. Much like the k classroom it was warm and welcoming with plenty of student work on display.
Finally we returned outside to the yard. I was disappointed to hear that the green garden was removed to make way for the retrofit (ramps) and was unclear if it was being replanted elsewhere. Andrew explained that the playground equipment was recently replaced in favor of the new structure with more area appropriate for the younger children. On the blacktop the PE consultant was busy with a class. The PE consultant is 100% funded by the PTA and it seemed that since it took up a large percentage of their budget there was talk of whether the consultant would be dropped in favor of other programs. Andrew was unsure if they could get $ for a PE program (from the district or state I forget which) since it depends upon the ratio of overweight students at the school.
All in all I was happy with Sutro, and would feel comfortable sending Maddie there, certain she would get a good education. I would have loved to see more extras, but being a small school the funding and the PTA budget was not there. I do like the idea of a smaller school, and how personal it is, yet also wonder if the transition to a large middle school would be especially hard.