Sunday, November 8, 2009

Enrollment Fair: Share your impressions

An SF K Files reader asked me to post the following:
I just got back from the Enrollment Fair and would love to hear about everyone's experiences. Can you start a topic? I think it would be helpful to the EPC staff and schools to get constructive feedback while it is fresh in people's minds.

13 comments:

  1. http://rachelnorton.com/2009/11/08/reflecting-on-todays-enrollment-fair/

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  2. I was a parent volunteer for our school's stall and I had a blast. It felt great to pass on information about the lottery process and give tips to new parents. Also was good to see people from PPSSF and from other schools I hadn't seen since last year. Like Rachel said on her blog, there's a very good vibe about the event.

    Hope something like it will persist under the new system.

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  3. We got there at 9am sharp with our list of 8 schools we wanted to visit - most we had already toured and wanted a refresher on, a few we figured would bottom out our list and we would most likely not tour. I could not believe how BIG it was, and how many people were also there at 9am! Wow!!! That being said we had some wonderful conversations with parents, teachers and principals from our list of schools. We left around 11:00 and went home and filled out our application with our list of schools.

    It is nice to be done! We plan to sit on the application for a week and make sure we are happy with the order, then turn it in. I would not use the fair as the only way to get to know schools, but it is a great way to ask all those questions and meet a few parents with kids at the school. I am glad we got our tours in early and were able to use this to firm up the order of our choices.

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  4. oh I am so jealouse you are done. i went to the fair around 10am. it was a zoo. i sort of walked around in a fog. i picked up two applications in case i mess one up. i talked to some nice parents. i liked that the principals were right there and we had such easy access to them. now i need to do some tours. i've been putting it off. i think i'm in denial about the whole thing. at least the school fair made it real and now i know i've got to get busy. i can't believe 7:26 is done. congrats to you!

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  5. http://tinyurl.com/ycwtews

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  6. I got there late (around 1:30) and thought the ambiance was great. It was really a high-energy, good-energy thing. It was pretty impressive having all the schools there.

    Unfortunately for me, the schools started packing up just after 2 (I thought it went to 2:30). So I got to do my top priority things (like get all the application papers), but there were some of my bubble schools that I wanted to evaluate to see if I wanted to tour, but they were gone.

    I do hope that something like this continues to exist under the new system.

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  7. Like Frank, I got there around 1:30 and was surprised to see a few schools were packing up at 2:00. 1:30 was a good time to go, busy but not crazy. I made a quick loop and got to all of the schools in which I was interested. Left with really good feelings about three schools that were in my top seven and will likely now be my top three (really enjoyed the parents with whom I spoke). Also added a school to my list to tour. I'm someone who has thought about this for a LONG time, so it was a pleasant surprise to add a school to the mix. Overall, thought it was a great event.

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  8. As someone who was there promoting their school from 8:45 (yes, they opened the doors early) until 2:30...I'm glad to hear people found it useful. Now, I'm going to go suck on some more throat lozenges.

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  9. I've done a blog series listing 10 myths about the SFUSD assignment process, for those who want a lot of detail:

    http://tinyurl.com/ycwtews

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  10. Re: feedback on enrollment fair: I'm glad there is one, but I found it daunting to say the least. The mass of people was overwhelming. I found myself standing and waiting, and then leaving, several booths. And when I spoke with people, sometimes the onslaught of people and the din made it so I couldn't hear or process what was being said.

    I did get a couple bits of useful information, but in general I wasn't sure of what questions to ask that didn't result in simply, "Yes our school is super great."

    I had to leave after an hour, I just wasn't finding it productive.

    I didn't notice the posting, "How to prepare for the enrollment fair," until after the event :(

    I'm not sure what to do about it though truthfully, I think that may just be the nature of the beast. If there was another one, I would surely go and be much more prepared going in.

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  11. 'I did get a couple bits of useful information, but in general I wasn't sure of what questions to ask that didn't result in simply, "Yes our school is super great."'

    Funny, I was there at 11 am volunteering, and there wasn't the volume of people I expected.

    Well, the fair won't tell you the seven schools. What it would do is change the schools that you tour, either because you find out about schools you hadn't considered before, or because you get a bad vibe from the parents/teachers/principal of the school, and decide that it's not worth touring.

    If there was a massive rush on certain schools, that tells you something about the likely popularity (and hence ratio of applicants to slots for that school). Which in turn can inflect your decision on what to tour.

    As ours is a 'trophy' school, my spiel at the fair was "Yes our school is super great, but the odds of getting in are low. You need a Plan B. Where are you in the city? Right, look at X,Y and Z school as well [if I knew the schools in that neighborhood]. List only one trophy school. Good luck. You'll get into a great school for your kid, but it might be a bit of a saga, so chin up."

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  12. Talking to all the principals really got me thinking about what my criteria are for a great school...so much so, that I decided to start a blog on my own process.

    Check out my "Top Ten List" and add your own ideas.

    http://sfpsmom.blogspot.com/2009/11/top-10-reasons-for-choosing-public.html

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  13. I had a great time meeting old friends (parents, teachers, principals) from back in the kiddies' elementary and middle school days.

    The fair did not seem as well attended as in the past. I attribute this to the large amount of data now available online and from PPS, meaning that attending the fair is no longer a necessity.

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