Friday, November 13, 2009

Marcia Brady's Half-Time Roundup

While there is a lull in postings here:

Well, I am halfway through my tour schedule! It has been both exhausting and illuminating. I may as well come out now as someone whose initial relationship to all of this was deep anxiety and skepticism. I'm lucky to be highly educated by a series of private institutions, and I have upper-middle-class yearnings on a middle-class income. I could have been a happy millionaire Marxist, or at least a limousine liberal. So I was pretty sure I'd go into the schools and confirm my sense that no way was this going to work, and then go quietly bonkers because I can't afford private, leave the city, or homeschool (and I didn't plan to blog about any of this in the beginning).

After 7 schools, I'm in awe of the parents with (and without) other choices who first gave SF public schools a chance, and of what they have done so far. I'm moved by the communities that have formed around particular schools, especially in cases where a neighborhood has rallied around its own school, whether or not the lottery was going to yield every involved parent that particular school. I'm amazed at teachers who do so much with so little. Like anyone, I fret about public school and the budget cuts, the space and facility issues, the possible emphasis on behavior management, the worksheets. I also worry about having to commute a long way and work full-time, so that I can't lead any PTA charge to change a school. And no one school has struck me as absolutely perfect no matter what.

But here is the thing. I have seen schools that are both academically viable and socially vibrant, where I can actually imagine my kid. That's the test for me: I close my eyes and imagine my daughter's round, hard little head among the little heads in every classroom, and I see if that image makes me happy. I honestly thought that imagining her in public school would make me want to cry. And instead, I can imagine her in several of the schools I have toured with a feeling of excitement. We will look at public, charter, and independent schools, and I really can't predict what we will choose until there is a concrete set of possibilities in front of us. But I'm here to say that the parents, teachers, and administrators who have given their hearts and wisdom to the public schools have made possibilities for the rest of us--for which I am very grateful.

Now, onward to Part II.

109 comments:

  1. Thank you for this, Marcia Brady. Very heartfelt. And thanks too for your contributions through writing up and sharing your reviews. I also want to say that as a longtime SFUSD parent, my request to new parents is simply to *consider* the public schools as an option--that's without they (or me for that matter) prejudging the outcome. Wherever your child ends up, you are doing that, and I thank you for that too!

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  2. I love you, Marcia Brady!

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  3. Cindy from SE sector of SFNovember 13, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    Marcia, you're the best. Your reviews are like a breath of fresh air. Keep up the good work.

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  4. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

    It is really nice to see someone's community view change by the simple act of opening the door and seeing what is inside. It gives me hope that other parents will take your lead and look around at all of the options out there.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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  5. Thanks Marcia - You are adorable...
    and pretty down to earth..

    On a lighter note - thank god for the new post! I was dying here waiting for something new!

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  6. Marcia Brady, you are such a wonderful writer, and so candid. Your honest admission about who you are, what you thought, what you're thinking now, and where you may end up makes me want to run right along beside you. Thank you.

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  7. While I also enjoy your posts, don't take the positive feedback too seriously. God forbid you muse about sending your kid to private school. Learn from Amy/Kate's experience.

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  8. 7:22 - bah humbug.

    As a veteran public school parent who once was in your shoes, I, too, found a lift in my day through your post. We almost left the city, and through our public school journey have found a community that will be part of our family for the rest of our lives. And not only are my own kids getting a great education, but I know that the efforts of my family are helping make education better for kids much less advantaged than ours.

    And as you note, Marcia, no school public or private is perfect or for every student. I'm glad you took a look - that's all most of us public school advocates hope for and has proven to one of the factors in increasing kindergarten applications in recent years (reversing a 30 year trend.)

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  9. Paul Revere School:

    Demographic:
    Free or reduced lunch: 67%
    English language learner: 44%

    Test Scores:
    Grade 2 Language Arts: 22%
    Grade 2 Math: 33%
    Grade 3 Language Arts: 12%
    Grade 3 Math: 36%


    E R Taylor:

    Demographic:
    Free or reduced lunch: 71%
    English language learner: 63%

    Test Scores:
    Grade 2 Language Arts: 74%
    Grade 2 Math: 78%
    Grade 3 Language Arts: 54%
    Grade 3 Math: 83%

    What gives?

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  10. All reduced lunch qualifiers and language learners are not the same - take a look at the ethnic breakdown. Unfortunately it explains the difference.

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  11. Honest opinions please, am I screwed?

    1 West Portal - GE
    2 West Portal - CN
    3 Grattan
    4 Clarendon
    5 Miraloma
    6 Sunnyside
    7 Feinstein
    8 Sloat

    We live 2 blocks from West P. THX!

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  12. Marcia -- I'm with 7:22. Either you've already made up your mind, or you're tougher than nails; ~they~ will not let you choose private and live to talk about it... too late now!

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  13. 1:10 PM

    11:00 AM here.

    "All reduced lunch qualifiers and language learners are not the same. Take a look at the ethnic breakdown."

    Yes, there are more Asian kids at E R Taylor. But there is still a significant proportion of Latino/Hispanic kids at E R Taylor. The test results are dramatically different for this group between the two schools.

    Paul Revere:

    Demographic:
    Hispanic or Latino 57%
    African American 20%
    Filipino 8%
    White 3%
    Pacific Islander 3%
    Asian 2%

    Hispanic and Latino Test Scores:
    Grade 2 Language Arts: 11%
    Grade 2 Math: 19%
    Grade 3 Language Arts: 15%
    Grade 3 Math: 38%


    E R Taylor

    Demographic:
    Asian 60%
    Hispanic or Latino 27%
    African American 5%
    Filipino 3%
    White 2%

    Hispanic and Latino Test Scores:
    Grade 2 Language Arts: 37%
    Grade 2 Math: 56%
    Grade 3 Language Arts: 61%
    Grade 3 Math: 76%


    Is the difference the result of the PR immersion program. Still in grade 3?

    Is the difference the result of the influence of the Asian kids?

    Something else?

    I find it surprising and misleading that we are promoting PR as a "College Preparatory" school when its test scores are very low and another school, E R Taylor, is producing dramatically better results, even for the same demographic group.

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  14. Paul Revere calls itself a college preparatory school, so no "we" is promoting that. E.R. Taylor is too far a commute for me going the wrong way, but anyone who toured it is welcome to send me (or Kate) a review.

    Also, whoever "they" are, I haven't met them. My most diehard public school advocating offline friends have never read me the riot act for taking a look at everything that's out there. Nor have my parent friends with kids in private school laughed me out of the room for considering public. But I did want to end my post with "let the snark begin!" Really, honestly, I can take it. And I hope June, Debbie, and Claire take it with a grain of salt, too.

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  15. "We" in my previous email, refers to us all.

    I do think that the term should be used carefully, especially when an economically disadvantaged family may sign up for this school, without considering or even having the ability to consider, the effect of the demographics and test scores. "College Prep" is a very misleading term for Paul Revere with respect to its current test scores.

    It is not my point to be snarky.

    If, after a number of years of trying, a school's test scores are very low for a particular demographic group and quite good at another school, I think we should be asking some questions.

    I think we, San Franciscans, have a social obligation to look at that.

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  16. 3:43: It depends how risky you want to play it and how important it is to you to get something that will be acceptable for you out of the lottery rather than having to tough it our through the waitlisting process.
    We went through it last year and my kids got into one of the high demand schools that you have on your list in round one. We had it in the third position, we had another two tough ones in position one and two, but position 4-7 were very reasonable choices with promised high success. Also, our twins were already in a private where they could have stayed through 5th grade, so we decided to try a more risky approach. When we got our 3rd choice in round one we did decided not to waitlist for our top choice. We might have waitlisted if we had gotten choices 4-6. A good number of kids got off wait lists this year, even at our school, in my kids' K class probably 2-4 kids started after the 10-day count.
    I think your list is a tough one.

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  17. @3:43 I think your list is very high stakes. The neighborhood assignment area will help you for WP but it's unclear how much.

    Total reqs last year / spots:
    1 West Portal - GE (986 / 66)
    2 West Portal - CN (446 / 34)
    3 Grattan (630 / 66)
    4 Clarendon (1128 / 66)
    5 Miraloma (582 / 60)
    6 Sunnyside (162 / 66)
    7 Feinstein (535 / 66)
    8 Sloat (365 / 66)

    The only reasonably balanced school on your list is Sunnyside at #6. We put a similar list, statistically maybe even a little more balanced last year (no Clarendon but 2 immersion programs). If you think Sloat is a no brainer it is not that easy to get into (and anyway you don't get 8 picks).

    I do know someone in the 'hood who got into WP GE in Round 1. I heard a friend say just the other day "well *someone* gets into the high demand schools". So sure, put 1 or two of these schools on your list, but don't put all 7 of them!

    I live in the WP area as well and I don't have much advice on what else to put on the list. All of these schools are hugely attractive. I didn't tour Glen Park but it seems to be turning a page on its rep this year, maybe a gettable school to add to the list?

    And at the end of the day, if you are comfortable with a high stakes strategy meaning either you have the stomach for going 0/15 and waiting all summer, then maybe this is the way to go. I have a friend whose daughter got into Clarie Lillienthal Korean *6 weeks into school* and took the spot. Change does happen. But you can't count on it 100% and some people are left in the cold.

    I would also advise anyone with a high stakes strategy to tour their likely assignment schools just so you know what your 'worst case' will be if you have no private/parochial backup and don't get off any waitlists. In the west side that would mean touring either Jose Ortega (GE) or Sheridan, though that was for this year and who knows if they will be the assignment schools next year. I would not put these on your list if you don't want them, since you'll just be assigned anyway... but good data to envision what your summer might look like.

    We went 0/7 did not register at our assigned school and got off the waitpool in round 2 - in the end not THAT bad an outcome but we were plenty stressed for the month until Round 2 went.

    Hope taht is helpful to someone.

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  18. The comparison of Paul Revere and ER Taylor is interesting. But those who are familiar with public schools have known for a long time that ER Taylor has long had a strong reputation for serving its population of students well.

    A couple of thoughts on the comparison of the two, though:

    1. Look at trends over time. PR has new leadership as of 3 years ago and they are making strides. A snapshot of one year simply isn't the way to look at scores.

    2. Demographics:
    Some here are saying these two schools are similar, but if you consider that the 'predictive power of demographics' among Latino/African American vs. Asian/Caucasian kids, one could see why ERT scores may be higher:

    77% of Paul Revere's students are Latino/AA and only 5% are Asian/Caucasian (3% is Asian)

    32% of ER Taylor's are Latino/AA
    62% are Asian/Caucasian (60% is Asian)

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  19. "Honest opinions please, am I screwed?

    1 West Portal - GE
    2 West Portal - CN
    3 Grattan
    4 Clarendon
    5 Miraloma
    6 Sunnyside
    7 Feinstein
    8 Sloat"

    That's a good way to go 0/7. All your choices except Sunnyside, Sloat, and Feinstein had more families putting them first choice than there were slots. See http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=policy.placement.round_one, and click on the "Five Year Demand" link for a handy pdf.

    So you're wasting the Grattan, Clarendon, Miraloma slots, and probably also the WP Cantonese slot. I'd move up Sunnyside, and take a look at Ortega GE or MI or Glen Park, Jefferson, Lakeshore, or Longfellow. Or keep your list as it is if you have the gonadal fortitude to wait it out on the waitpool to get into WP, in which case you'll want to go 0/7 to get into a higher priority waitpool. If parochial doesn't bother you, check out St. Cecilia's as a Plan B.

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  20. "I find it surprising and misleading that we are promoting PR as a "College Preparatory" school when its test scores are very low and another school, E R Taylor, is producing dramatically better results, even for the same demographic group."

    As others have said, you have to look over time. It was just a few years ago I rememeber that Revere was threatened with closure. The immersion program is still young there. Two years ago Miraloma's APIs were still down in the low 700s, but everyone there knew there had been a turnaround. It takes time.

    E.R. Taylor, like McKinley and Moscone, is a school that focuses strongly on the 3Rs, and Taylor's been recognized on the state level and nationally. Taylor does a great job; so will Revere.

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  21. " In the west side that would mean touring either Jose Ortega (GE) or Sheridan, though that was for this year and who knows if they will be the assignment schools next year."

    Odds look good for Sheridan as a pick. 55 slots, only 14 applications with it in first place, total applications 42, API of 833, Greatschools rank of 7. Not too shabby for a safety pick at #3-7.

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  22. "While I also enjoy your posts, don't take the positive feedback too seriously. God forbid you muse about sending your kid to private school. Learn from Amy/Kate's experience."

    You guys are so biased you can't believe that Amy turned down MCDS against Ortega MI voluntarily, but because us public school parents brainwashed her, eh?


    I'll claim some responsibility, as I remember noticing that year that Ortega MI applications were low and emailing Amy after she went 0/7 and suggesting that Ortega might have slots. So hey, I was part of the brainwashing crew.

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  23. SFUSD may have time to wait for the results at Paul Revere school to improve.

    Unfortunately, the kids at Paul Revere do not have that time. How many grades are these kids going to be glad-handed through before someone admits that these kids are not going to "college"?

    If things don't change dramatically in the next one or two years, many of these lower grade kids will not even graduate from high school.

    I don't see any point to putting on the rosy colored glasses and not looking straight on at the state of schools in the southeast of the city.

    Hard choices and honesty are what is required, not more questionable immersion programs and lottery contortions.

    Many public school advocates I've spoken with will tell me that the public schools are fine. Then I find out that although many of them live in the Southeast of the city, they've got their kids in Grattan, Rooftop and even Lilienthal, not Paul Revere, Junipero Serra or Glen Park.

    I'm tired of our schools and our kids being used as political footballs.

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  24. 9:19 AM, this makes me mad. You want my credentials? I studied child development in high school and college, working in university-sponsored private gifted and talented programs for kids ages 9-15 in the summers. I would have gone into primary education, but in the 1980s that wasn't a great place for an out lesbian to be. So instead I have a Ph.D. in the humanities from a world-class private university, and I teach in a Research I public university (Research 1 is the top rank for universities). I've published two books. My family has Ph.D.s going back to my great-grandparents on both sides.

    Talk about an education snob -- I was privately schooled from Day 1 of my life, and brought up to believe that public school was the worst fate that could befall a child. I had not set foot in a public school before I picked up a friend's kid at Alvarado a couple of years ago, and then not again until I started these tours. I can't imagine anyone wearing a clearer, less rose-tinted set of glasses--that's why I wrote this entry. And I think the Southeast side has quite a few impressive public elementary schools. Yes, they need more resources; yes, the challenges of actual diversity (as opposed to various hues of upper-middle-class) are considerable. But these schools are not warehouses for disenfranchised kids; they are doing a job I consider absolutely viable right now. If test scores (easily manipulated, correlated with affluence, and, especially in the lower grades, an absolute failure at predicting academic success) are your measure, then no, these are not the schools for you. But if academic rigor, a commitment to social justice, kids who seem engaged, and dedicated parents and teachers are, then come on over and take a look.

    OK, enough from me. As I said, I can take personal snark. But I can't take blanket, blind dismissal of a project that impresses even overeducated and snotty me.

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  25. I love your reviews, "Marcia."

    I'm dying to find out what kind of parents you have, though! What was their thinking?

    "Talk about an education snob -- I was privately schooled from Day 1 of my life, and brought up to believe that public school was the worst fate that could befall a child."

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  26. Marcia, your reviews are well-written and informative and your sense of humor so welcome.

    I'll stir the pot with one 21-year-old's perspective: Our daughter switched from top-ranked, lots-of-PTA-funding public K-8 schools to an independent high school. She says she wants to make a lot of money when she gets out of college so, in case something happens to mom & dad, her (much) younger sibling will never have to set foot in a public school. Well, she's young and still on the parental payroll for a few more months as a college student. It would not be surprising if her ardor cooled were she ever faced (heaven forbid) with the financial reality. Still, it's kind of startling how strongly she feels.

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  27. oh please 2:35. Maybe what your child is really saying is that she has turned into a Republican and she wants to get as far away from SF liberal-land ASAP.

    I mean seriously... Not all publics are bad, not all privates are good. Without any context, I am feeling nothing from your "stir the pot" comment.

    You're her mom right? What did she mean by her statement about public school?

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  28. It sounds like 2:35's daughter probably fell in with a bad crowd somewhere along the way -- elitist, snobbish, shallow, materialistic -- and is vulnerable to negative peer influences. Luckily she may mature and develop enough strength of character to form her own good set of principles!

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  29. i think the revere/taylor thing may also reflect what a lot of people do not want to say here--there are certain variables in a child's home that will affect their test scores. so, there may be more of these kids at revere than e.r. taylor. i have been in the public schools for a while and i say look at the leadership, look at the teacher turnover, talk to parents who are currently there, look at the kids' feelings towards school--these will tell you more than test scores, and will also tell you more than a snapshot tour. e.r. taylor is a great school with some very experienced teachers and leadership but there are other factors going on, including some community-based intervention for at-risk families, starting at infancy. if the kids with families that are likely not to be involved with their child's education get support from the community, and then land in a good school like e.r. taylor, than everyone, including the middle class kids in the neighborhood, are going to benefit. e.r. taylor is a "whole child" school--i do not think paul revere is quite there yet, but it looks like things are going in the right direction.

    again, readers on this blog, your kids would be fine at either of those schools.

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  30. Yes, 2:35, please elaborate.

    What did she object to, specifically? Was it the educational method? The other kids? The facilities?
    Worksheets? Please tell us.

    Teenagers are funny, though. They do have a tendency to be pretty intense about every statement they make. My big declaration as a teenager was that I'd NEVER have kids. Oops.

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  31. I'm 2:35 from yesterday. Let's say this much: In terms of population, the schools were not that different. Affluent populations, majority white, next biggest population Asian. Most of the parents at the suburban public K-5 and 6-8 could have easily afforded the tuition at the independent high school but thought, quite logically "Why bother? We pay a lot to live here where our public schools are blue ribbon schools ranked 10 on Great Schools. We'd be dumb to spend money on private school." Those were the schools our daughter compared so unfavorably to her independent HS. I just wanted to throw a recent student perspective out there. I am sure there are lots of other college age kids who could say what idiots their parents were to send them to private schools or who could sall the private school kids at their colleges are stupid spoiled hothouse flowers.

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  32. "SFUSD may have time to wait for the results at Paul Revere school to improve."

    Again, how long did it take test scores to turnaround at Miraloma, which by all accounts is considered about as fast a change as could be managed?

    Personally, I'm tired of critics of U.S. education preaching revolution when the best thing is evolution.

    "I don't see any point to putting on the rosy colored glasses and not looking straight on at the state of schools in the southeast of the city."

    Compare last year's scores in the Asian-american demographic of Monroe versus Rooftop and then get back to me. When you control for demographics and SES, there is less difference in schools in the SE than you think. Crosstabs are important, not just raw numbers.

    "Hard choices and honesty are what is required,"

    Google 'Superintendent Garcia' and 'achievement gap'. This is Garcia's emphasis compared to his predecessor.

    "not more questionable immersion programs and lottery contortions."

    Immersion programs, like any magnet program, are tools for drawing families into school that are currently sinks for low-SES kids to get the numbers of low-SES kids below the magic number of 40-50%, where research shows you see a big pop in test scores across the board, presumably because the teachers are spending less time fighting fires as proxy social workers. Personally, I think the district is doing exactly what it needs to be doing.

    I actually think the lottery accelerates changes in schools, because it changes the behaviour of parents, and because it gives parents in the vicinity of a failing school the option of going somewhere else, forces the district to Do Something about failing schools on a short timeframe, be it close the school or add a magnet program, in a shorter timeframe than a system more strongly weighed towards neighbourhood schools.

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  33. 9:31, I think she felt that the system was indifferent to her, that most of the teachers were indifferent to her, and that many of the students did not take school seriously. She preferred the private school environment where she got a lot of attention and direction from the teachers and the student culture was very focused on academic achievement. She probably won't like real life much . . . .

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  34. ' Those were the schools our daughter compared so unfavorably to her independent HS.'

    I'm still not getting what exactly your daughter disliked about the public versus private.

    Is it possible the awfulness and cruelty of middle school in general is affecting her perspective, is it that certain demographics weren't in the independent school (like,was she picked on by a certain set of kids), is it the quality of the teaching, or is it the enrichment options, or is it the chance to form social capital with a more affluent strata of society (which would make a significant difference to her earning power later in life)?

    She's to be commended for her fierce protectiveness of her sister, though.

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  35. "I think she felt that the system was indifferent to her, that most of the teachers were indifferent to her, and that many of the students did not take school seriously. She preferred the private school environment where she got a lot of attention and direction from the teachers and the student culture was very focused on academic achievement. She probably won't like real life much."

    Well, the two ways to be prosperous are to either have skills most people don't have, or to have valuable social links most people don't have. Looks like your daughter has the focus to get both.

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  36. Thanks to everyone who commented on my list of 8. Based on your feedback we will be making some changes. I'd love to see more of this. Different people's list and then other people's comments. It helped me.

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  37. 12:56, for whatever it's worth, I was exaggerating a bit by saying I was raised to believe "public school was the worst fate that could befall a child." But for what it's worth, I grew up with a single working mom, impoverished through divorce, who saw a scholarship to private school as her kids' ticket "up and out" of the mess we'd been left in. She wasn't wrong about that, because my brother did exactly what 2:35's daughter wants to do: he's not "elitist, snobbish, shallow, materialistic," just able to support my mom in middle-class comfort now.

    So I empathize with parents who worry that they don't have the luxury of taking risks with their kids' educations. I just don't think public school in SF is the horrifying risk some say it is. That's my point in writing, and de-anonymizing myself somewhat. Over & out, I promise, until my next review.

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  38. Here is our list as of today (changes often). We are willing to hold out through the 10 day count, all suggestions welcome. We also know that Clarendon is highly unlikely and its on the list so we will be in a better cohort going into the subsequent rounds. We are on the fence about Yick Wo and are considering adding a oversubscribed school to have a better cohort if we get nothing (any thoughts?):

    1. CL
    2. Sherman
    3. Grattan
    4. Alvarado - SP
    5. George Peabody
    6. Clarendon - GE
    7. Yick Wo

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  39. "We are on the fence about Yick Wo and are considering adding a oversubscribed school to have a better cohort if we get nothing (any thoughts?):"

    Looks a bit unfocused geographically: I'd look at schools that are closer to you but off the radar.

    If you're close to Claire Lilienthal, and that's the one you're going to waitlist, then Alvarado, Clarendon and possibly Grattan are going to be pains-in-the-ass to get to.

    If you're for CL or bust, double-down on CL by adding the Korean immersion program in number 1 or 2.

    If you're not wholly committed to going CL or bust, then look at Parker, Chin or Yick Wo as well. If not, and you're determined to go 0/7 if you don't get CL, lose Yick Wo and Peabody (unless Peabody is a school you want).

    Just don't be demoralized if the district gives you a school you haven't heard of in Round 1. Hang in there.

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  40. 12:34 - If you're going to go with a wait it out strategy, then there is no reason to put Yick Wo on the list. Just put another popular school in slot 7 and let someone who wants Yick Wo have a slightly better chance in the lottery. (That said, you're virtually guaranteed to go 0-7 with this list, so it likely doesn't matter).

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  41. As long as you truly want all the schools you list in Round 1, I don't have a problem with a "go for broke and ride out the wait list" strategy. It seems to work for most people most of the time.

    I would not judge anyone too harshly for doing what they need to do. I would, however, feel morally squirrely about putting high-demand school I did not want on my Round 1 list for strategic reasons, because I might get it and someone else for whom it was their dream school would not. Even one spot is one spot, one family walking away from Round 1 with a glass of champagne instead of a hank of pulled-out hair in hand.

    Don't underestimate the power of geography. Unless the school is walkable for your family, I recommend a "real-time" drive or bus ride to and from each school you are considering, especially if you work, timed to arrive at the school's start time. One of my tests for each school I toured was finishing the tour and either (a) parking in that neighborhood and figuring out how to get transit to work, if the parking permit situation allowed that, or (b) if I did not have a residential permit, driving back to my neighborhood and catching transit from there.

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  42. 12:34, five of your seven picks, including your top four, are on the "notorious list of 11" schools recently identified through some sleuthing by BoE member Rachel Norton as being the schools most likely to land you in the 0/7 catogory. That is, the vast, vast majority of those families that went 0/7 last year put one of those 11 schools as their #1 or #2 pick, or both.

    Which isn't to say you can't get lucky with one of them, but that your odds are very low (maybe 5%) at some of these. And if you put these as your top picks, you are less likely, given certain tie-breakers that privilege the #1 spots, to make the cut at moderately popular schools like Yick Wo and Peabody.

    You may very well want to go 0/7 if you don't get one of these, and it's not a crazy strategy to do that, since most people do ultimately get a pick they like, but you have to have the fortitude for that strategy; understand you may be holding out through the 10-day count or beyond to score that spot at CL. In other words, no fair complaining about the evil lottery knowing if you know these stats and put these schools as your top picks. With this list, you will most likely go 0/7 imo.

    You don't say what neighborhood you live in, and it's hard to guess that from your list, but I concur with the other responder who suggests finding some moderately popular schools near your home. There really are lovely ones out there in every part of town; it is not like the quality drops off a cliff from the top 10 most popular ones (though there is something of a cliff drop for the bottom 10 or so, I'm sorry to say). Check out the 5-year deamnd list that is available on sfusd.edu for the best sense of your odds. Be brutal in your assessment of this factor.

    In any case, with whatever strategy you choose, good luck.

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  43. 12:34 p.m. here, we live in the Inner Richmond. We have crossed off for various reasons Sutro, McCoppin, McKinley, Creative Arts, New Traditions, Rosa Parks, Alamo and Argonne. We would likely go to Clarendon if that was our lottery pick since it has a 9:30 start time which makes it WAY easier to get across town. Depending on which parent you ask, first choice is CL or Sherman both reasonably close with 7:50 am start times. We, however, keep going back to Grattan as also a top pick. Love the idea of a Spanish Immersion but they happen to all be located across town! Alvardo is the closest and we really liked it so we are willing to gamble. I thought adding Peabody or Yick Wo would give me a shot at a school in the first round. At this point, we would take Peabody and not sure about Yick Wo (though compared to other alternatives, yes).

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  44. 4:02 PM

    Forget Alvarado. Unless your child tests as a Spanish speaker, your chances of getting in there are less than getting into Clarendon. Seriously. We know families that got Clarendon, but not Alvarado, even though Alvarado was first on their list.

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  45. What about Alvarado GE?

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  46. "Forget Alvarado. Unless your child tests as a Spanish speaker, your chances of getting in there are less than getting into Clarendon."

    Even the odds of getting in as a Spanish-speaker are not that great: Alvarado is the most popular school amongst the Latino community.

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  47. "We have crossed off for various reasons Sutro, McCoppin, McKinley, Creative Arts, New Traditions, Rosa Parks, Alamo and Argonne."

    Sutro's got an API of 864. Argonne's in the same league. Just sayin'. Rosa Parks has an awesome JBBP program.

    You've eliminated most of your options there. But good luck.

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  48. "12:34 p.m. here, we live in the Inner Richmond."

    I'd look at the five-year demand data on the SFUSD website (posted above).

    From that you can glean:

    CL Korean immersion has a lower ratio of first choice requests/slots than CL GE (although they may reserve half the places in R1 for native Korean speakers). You like immersion, so I'd list that top rather than CL GE.

    Peabody has 44 slots, but only 33 first-choice requests. All the others you list, even Yick Wo, have more first choice requests in R1 than slots.

    If you want to go safe, list Peabody first. If you want to be riskier, list CL KN then Peabody, but you'll still have a high risk of going 0/7. Any other choice/order is probably 75% certain to be 0/7, which will mean getting an assignment for an unpopular school.

    Which is OK if you can hold out on the waitlist. A private or parochial Plan B may be advised for mental health purposes, though, or enter the lottery for Creative Arts Charter (it's a separate lottery) as a fallback: their waitlist moves pretty fast in April/May.

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  49. I wouldn't count on Creative Arts as a "fallback". There is only 1 K class of 20 next year and a whole bunch of sibs coming in.

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  50. If I had no other option than to go public, I would rather send my child to El Dorado, Junipero Serra or E R Taylor than Creative Arts Charter.

    Touring CAC last year made me feel like I had truly seen the lunatic fringe in terms of parent gullibility and willingness to throw academic standands and any knowledge of the California curriculum to the wind.

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  51. ^ Real nice. It's pretty easy to attack a school you know nothing about, isn't it?

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  52. 8:53 PM

    Well, I certainly know as much as anybody who has gone on a tour. I certainly did observe that many of the kids in the classes seemed extremely bored. I could see that there was a discipline problem in the classes. I have heard more than one family tell me that there was a crisis in the kindergarten class several years ago. And I can certainly look at the appalling test scores. Right. Those don't matter.

    I certainly don't know everything about CAC, but I know more than nothing.

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  53. Not the poster above but I also was not fond of CAC after our tour this year but seems the parents I saw were enthusiastic about the school. Not for our family but good for you if you are happy with it or its on your radar. Perhaps you will free up some spots at a school I did like.

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  54. Marcia you're hot. No matter what Jan says.

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  55. Again, how long did it take test scores to turnaround at Miraloma, which by all accounts is considered about as fast a change as could be managed?

    and

    When you control for demographics and SES, there is less difference in schools in the SE than you think. Crosstabs are important, not just raw numbers.
    ------------

    Good points, both. For many years, Miraloma's overall test score was middling (600s) but when you looked at the subgroup, you'd see that the two largest subgroups looked quite different: the Asian subgroup was scoring in the high 800s while the African American students scored in the high 500s (!). The result was a middle to high 600s. The Asian students were doing as well as any other high scoring school where they were the dominant group. And, of course, this disparity in scores reflected a concerning achievement gap.

    The demographics have changed at Miraloma, yes. But also in that time the various subgroups - especially historically lower performing subgroups - are all scoring higher than in years past.

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  56. I have to second that Alvarado is a tough one. We had 1) Alvarados SI, 2) Alvarado GE, 3) Miraloma and 4-7 lower demand schools. We got our 3rd choice.

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  57. 10:09: You got really lucky. As crazy as it sounds, we would have moved to be closer to Miraloma if we'd gotten it. (it was our 1st choice by FAR)

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  58. "I wouldn't count on Creative Arts as a "fallback"."

    6:07 here.
    OK, then, scratch that idea. The spousal unit toured CAC, and wasn't that crazy about it, but also not that negative against it either.

    We did apply, and got in on the waitlist, but declined it as we got our second choice on the SFUSD lottery.

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  59. "E.R. Taylor is too far a commute for me going the wrong way, but anyone who toured it is welcome to send me (or Kate) a review."

    Hmm. E.R. Taylor's less than a mile from Revere - about as far a Fairmont. So don't quite understand how Revere works but E.R. Taylor wouldn't. But horses for courses, I guess.

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  60. 11:26 PM

    I don't buy the commute thing either. It's not like the lottery leaves any of us here in the SE with an easy commute.

    E R Taylor is on top of our list this year. The 3Rs. Bring it on!

    We'll see what happens.

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  61. "I don't buy the commute thing either. It's not like the lottery leaves any of us here in the SE with an easy commute."

    Yeah, but at least we have more choices now than we might when they lottery design kicks in in 2011.

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  62. sorry---I meant to say when the new school assignment redesign kicks in in 2011. Need caffeine.

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  63. 9:04; Why did you even bother touring CACS if you were so negative going in?

    For the record, both my kids LOVE going to school there (FAR from being bored), the parent community is excited, active and involved and I have never even heard of this "Kindergarden crisis" you speak of. Unless you are referring to the negative press the school received when the first graders decided to surprise their teacher at her (then legal) lesbian wedding last year. Our school emphasizes tolerance, hands-on learning, love of the arts and the Responsive Classroom approach in regards to discipline.

    If you are only looking at test scores, though, I hardly think it's abysmal. We've come very close to 800, unlike some of the other schools you mention. Yes, the middle school does need improvement; but it is being addressed and we are working hard.

    In short, you didn't like it, fine. Attacking the parents who go there is still rude.

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  64. Also, to CACS Credit, last year a first-grader class went to the marriage of their first-grade teacher to her same-sex partner.

    [Which just made the homophobes heads explode.]

    But, if you want GLBT friendly, it doesn't get much better than that.

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  65. 6:07 p.m.. We live in the Inner Richmond and are list looks very similar to 12:34 p.m.

    Our preference is Lilienthal but the truth is that we don't have the stomach to go 0/7, so our list looks like this:

    1. Peabody
    2. CL Korean
    3. CL GE
    4. Clarendon JBBP
    5. Clarendon GE
    6. Lafayette
    7. Grattan

    I realize that we might go 0/7 nonetheless. I don't know if you have the answer but if you do I would greatly appreciate your input on these two questions.

    1. Are we helping ourselves by putting Peabody first?
    2. If we get into Peabody and enroll, do our chances of getting into Lilienthal off of the waitlist drop to zero?

    Thanks again.

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  66. "9:04; Why did you even bother touring CACS if you were so negative going in?"

    I wasn't "so negative going in." I went with an open mind and I was shocked by what I saw. If you want a definitive list, when I get the time, I'd be happy to give you one.

    "Unless you are referring to the negative press the school received when the first graders decided to surprise their teacher at her (then legal) lesbian wedding last year. Our school emphasizes tolerance, hands-on learning, love of the arts and the Responsive Classroom approach in regards to discipline."

    The crises in the kindergarten class refers to a child in the class consistently beating up on another child. The school refused to take action and the family of the attacked child withdrew from the school. Nothing to do with a lesbian wedding, but good try!

    "If you are only looking at test scores, though, I hardly think it's abysmal. We've come very close to 800, unlike some of the other schools you mention. Yes, the middle school does need improvement; but it is being addressed and we are working hard."

    "In short, you didn't like it, fine. Attacking the parents who go there is still rude."

    Perhaps you can accept that middle class white kids at CACS are performing at the same standard as economically disadvantaged english language learner kids at Junipero Serra. I can't.

    It is still a democracy here, last time I checked. You don't have to agree with me, but you can skip it about being attacked. Why don't you instead worry about the kids in the kindergarten that physically, not verbally, suffer that fate.

    CACS is not beyond criticism.

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  67. "Yeah, but at least we have more choices now than we might when they lottery design kicks in in 2011."

    If you are concerned about the new lottery, organize and make yourself heard. Go to the school board meetings. Talk to your friends and go with them to the board meetings.

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  68. "[Which just made the homophobes heads explode.]"

    I find these false inferences between a school that is doing a mediocre job of teaching and "homophobia" to be perfect examples of why I would avoid CACS.

    I could care less, one way or the other, about someone's gender orientation. People are entitled to love whomever they please, as far as I am concerned. To be honest, I do wonder about the priority setting of a school that chooses to have children attend a wedding, of any gender orientation, on school time. The school year is short enough. I don't want my daughter to be worried about getting married right now, thank you very much. I'm having enough trouble dealing with "Ariel" as it is.

    It would seem that as soon as you raise a concern about academic curriculum at CACS, you have a bevy of people pointing the homophobia finger at you. How convenient!

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  69. Hi 12:24pm (11/17).

    I think you may still have a difficult list. I'd argue that you're essentially throwing away the spots you put Clarendon (both kinds) and Grattan and Claire Lilienthal GE in. I think those have to be at the way top to be even worth a shot. But I like your first two. I would just switch and put Korean first. I think it's harder to get into given the number of spots available. (I went through this last year.)And if you like Lafeyette, I'd bump that up to third. Then I would put some other schools not on your list currently that you'd have a realistic shot at. Sutro, Alamo maybe (or maybe you already discounted that one). I'd also go look at Dianne Feinstein if you haven't done so yet. And maybe Lawton. If you really liked those, you might need to rejigger your list.

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  70. 2:15 p.m., 12:24 p.m. here. Thank you very much. I sincerely appreciate your input.

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  71. The Prop 8 proponents loved the pictures of school kids attending their teacher's same sex wedding that were plastered all over the Chronicle. It was very helpful ammunition for them to use in their fearmongering.

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  72. Did this roundup even mention CACS? How did that happen?

    Marcia, loved this. Also, I love your rant.

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  73. Argh, I'm sorry to feed the troll, (or at the very least further the digression) but -- in 2006 CACS started the Responsive Classroom approach. If there was trouble with bullying and violence in the K a few years ago, and then they started Responsive Classroom, it sounds like the school really did take action, and is continuing to do so.

    We are a Kindergarten family at CACS and find it very supportive. Others can hate with the burning heat of a thousand suns, that's fine with me, but I didn't want others thinking that the school did nothing when faced with a serious problem.

    Marcia, you rock!

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  74. '2. If we get into Peabody and enroll, do our chances of getting into Lilienthal off of the waitlist drop to zero?'

    Checking the July waitpool data from SFUSD, there were 34 in the 0/7 cohort and 8 in the 0/(less than seven choices) cohort. So, essentially, yes, your chances of getting into Lilienthal would be zero if you got into Peabody, (regardless of whether you enrolled or not).

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  75. to Tailypo,

    I've been reading this blog since its inception (my guilty secret) and I've noticed that as the touring season wears on and then collides smack into the holiday season, hate becomes the default setting for some people.

    In the words of Rev. Lovejoy's wife, "Won't somebody think about the children?!"

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  76. "In the words of Rev. Lovejoy's wife, "Won't somebody think about the children?!"

    Somebody *is* thinking about the children. Someone is pointing out that at least as of three years ago, CACS failed to take action to stop a child from repeatedly beating another child in kindergarten.

    Someone is also pointing out that it is unfair to not fully develop a child's skills. For some reason, the scores of minority students at the school are not reported. Must be one of those charter school freebies. It is clear however, from the data for all students, that the achievement gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon at CACS.

    Good try with the troll thing. Every time someone points to the data, instead of some pie-in-the-sky accusation like "homophobia", we hear the troll thing. Such a sophisticated counter argument!

    Yes, I do care about the kids. Maybe we need to think about what it will be like for these kids when they are stuck in a liberal arts ghetto with a $50,000 student loan to pay back and no means to do it.

    Not to say that liberal arts isn't a worthy field, but it really is pretty limiting to be stuck there because one has bombed out in Algebra I. (CACS grade 8, 12% proficient)

    Actually, judging by the grade 8 history - social studies score, 20%proficient, these kids won't be able to pursue a liberal arts career either. That's no surprise to me. I noticed in the projects posted on the wall last year that the kids had confounded Greek and Roman historical facts. It was quite consistent so it must have been a result of teaching and not a student mistake.

    Let's skip the accusations about homophobia and hate. CACS needs to do something about its achievement gap and its middle school.

    Also, the math teaching is really sub par. If CACS is interested in taking a project approach to teaching math, it should look at what Alvarado is doing. Their grade 5 math score, even with many second language learners: 68%.

    CACS: 40%.

    I know, I know, the test scores don't matter. Go tell that to the kid who just dropped out and is looking at earning minimum wage, at best, for the unforseeable future.

    "Won't somebody think about the children?!"

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  77. 1:36/1:19/6:58 (same person, right?)

    Enough, already. You've said your piece.
    Time to move on. Oh, and I'm not a parent at CAC but I'm getting more than a little tired of your rant. I think you have some rage issues of your own.

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  78. "1. Are we helping ourselves by putting Peabody first?
    2. If we get into Peabody and enroll, do our chances of getting into Lilienthal off of the waitlist drop to zero?"

    1. Based on historical demand data, if you put Peabody first, you are decreasing (but not eliminating) the chance of going 0/7 in round 1.

    2. Enrolling at Peabody has NOTHING TO DO with whether you would get Lilienthal out of the wait pool, as 4:30 said. Whether you get out of the waiting pool has to do with whether you got one of your choices in Round 1 (and how many choices you put on your list). Whether you enroll at your assigned school or not does not affect wait pool placement. If you DO get Peabody and DON'T enroll, you would have no school assignment after Round 1, and your chances of getting off of a high-demand wait pool would be low given the fact you'd be in a lower-priorit cohort.

    If this all sounds like I'm speaking a foreign language, you may want to get in touch with a counselor at Parents for Public Schools. I always found them to be extremely helpful, and they can walk you through all of this.

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  79. November 17, 2009 7:03 PM

    You're right. I am on a rant.

    I do feel rather angry that children are not being given a fair shake. It annoys me that we gloss over schools that are not preparing children for a 21st century economy. We pay dearly for that with high rates of incarceration for high school drop outs and welfare. It is an incredible waste of human capital.
    Not to mention, a travesty of justice.

    Well, judging by the current budget situation, things are only going to get worse. So why even bother worrying about it? Take the ostrich approach.

    I would have been happy to leave it with my initial comments about CACS. However, when someone starts to go on about hate and homophobia to silence the real shortcomings of a school, I do feel the need to say something.

    Or is this blog just about happy, happy, sweep it all under the rug?

    If that is the case, why even bother with a blog? The whisperings in the playground would be a better source of information.

    Sparing that, I've noticed a pretty strong correlation between test scores and recognized teaching excellence.

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  80. 1:36/1:19/6:58, and 7:03 -- sorry about calling you a troll. Although I do think you hijacked the thread, I don't think you were trying to upset people and I apologize. I will be more careful with my word choices.

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  81. Talypo- why should you apologize?

    This person called parents at this school part of the "lunatic fringe" and then proceeded to rant about how criticizing this school makes one homophobic. NOBODY ever called her a homophobe, that was her idea. I understand she's upset about the state of education in California (understandably) but singling out one school to blame seems counterproductive to me.

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  82. "I would have been happy to leave it with my initial comments about CACS. However, when someone starts to go on about hate and homophobia to silence the real shortcomings of a school, I do feel the need to say something."

    You need to calm down. I was the one who suggested CACS as a backup to a poster whose list had a 70% chance of getting them 0/7. I had no idea what CACS API was - int eh SE of the city, I could quote you API scores for most elementaries off the top of my head (we all need a party trick), but for NW of the city I don't have that feel.

    I'd suggest McCoppin, Sutro, Peabody and Rosa Parks JBBP as well as CACS as alternatives to the original poster.

    I mentioned the kerfuffle about the 1st grade teachers wedding as how open a school is to GBLT parents is an issue for some parents, and CACS seems to be very welcoming to the GBLT community. It's a positive that may offset issues with pedagogy for some parents.

    CACS API has been in the high 700s - not stellar, but not a disaster, although given it has low %ages of low-SES students, it's not performing as well on test scores as its demographics would indicate.

    "I do feel rather angry that children are not being given a fair shake. It annoys me that we gloss over schools that are not preparing children for a 21st century economy."

    And how do you propose we resolve this? Saying "all school should be great" is a goal, not a strategy or a set of actions to get there. We're in a better position of choice now relative to ten years ago because parents decided to give once-marginal schools a chance. Some of those schools had been doing a great job all along and were just under-marketed, and some needed an involved parent community to turn the school around, to raise funds, volunteer, and encourage better teaching. I believe the lottery aids this process of schools being "discovered".

    CACS is in a more difficult position than most charters in other cities because, well, there's a lot of other good choices now.

    "However, when someone starts to go on about hate and homophobia to silence the real shortcomings of a school, I do feel the need to say something."

    That's your projection. Nobody was accusing you of homophobia. I thought the kids going to their teacher's wedding was sweet, and the hyperventiliation of wingnuts over the wedding was a feature, not a bug.

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  83. Very thoughtful post. Thank you, 10:09.

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  84. I strongly suspect that 1:36/1:19/6:58/7:03 is simply anti-charter school.

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  85. Speaking of charter schools...has anyone toured Edison Charter Academy? I live nearby, but can't find any info on the school. I think it is a K-8, but I'm not sure. According to Greatschools, it has an API of 775 and climbing. The subgroup numbers are good. Overall, a better showing than many of the other schools discussed here. From the outside it looks okay, nice campus and respectful students. Anyone have any details?

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  86. Oh god, step aside; here comes Caroline!

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  87. To understand this comment you need to refer to posts from last year around this time.

    ahhhh, never mind....

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  88. 12:24 p.m. from 11/17 here again. Firstly, I want to thank those posters who provided constructive criticism on my original list. I toured Lafayette yesterday (loved the principal) and Lilienthal today. Aftewards I went down to the EPC and submitted our application. There was a gentleman in front of me, submitting his application. He only listed both strands of Clarendon and Rooftop! I gently prodded him to fill out other choices as well as he'd be in a lower cohort (thank you all the posters on this blog from the past couple of years), but he didn't seem deterred. Told me that he had spoken to a manager "Danielle" yesterday and she told him that if he didn't get one of those three, then he'd be assigned to "the school closest to my house." I didn't want to be too pushy so I let it go.

    Here's our final list.

    1. Peabody
    2. Lafayette
    3. Grattan
    4. Clarendon JBBP
    5. Clarendon GEN
    6. Lilienthal ImmK
    7. Lilienthal GEN

    I am extremely hopeful that we won't go 0/7 and am grateful to have my application in.

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  89. Good luck, 2:19!! FWIW, I have a friend who sends her two kids to Peabody, and she love, love, LOVES it there!! (So do her kids, obviously...)

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  90. "There was a gentleman in front of me, submitting his application. He only listed both strands of Clarendon and Rooftop! I gently prodded him to fill out other choices as well as he'd be in a lower cohort (thank you all the posters on this blog from the past couple of years), but he didn't seem deterred. Told me that he had spoken to a manager "Danielle" yesterday and she told him that if he didn't get one of those three, then he'd be assigned to "the school closest to my house." '

    *Bangs head on wall*.

    i.e. The manager probably told him he'd get the school *with space* closest to his house, but he heard what he wanted to hear. That guy's probably going to have a severe disappointment in March.

    I had a friend do the same last year, only list three choices. It really screws up your odds on the waitpools.

    Well, you tried.

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  91. "Here's our final list.

    1. Peabody
    2. Lafayette
    3. Grattan
    4. Clarendon JBBP
    5. Clarendon GEN
    6. Lilienthal ImmK
    7. Lilienthal GEN

    I am extremely hopeful that we won't go 0/7 and am grateful to have my application in."


    Both Lafayette and Peabody had fewer 1st choices than slots last year, so that improves your odds.

    Also, looking at the waitpool data on:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=policy.placement.round_one

    It looks like Peabody had a small waitpool in April (3 kids), which cleared completely by May (inferred from Peabody K not being listed in the waitpools after May). So even if you went 0/7, you would probably get into Peabody through Round 2 or by the waitpool without a summer-long ordeal.

    Good strategy. Best of luck.

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  92. "Speaking of charter schools...has anyone toured Edison Charter Academy?"

    Edison's come into some real criticism over the past decade. I'd do some Googling first for the backstory. No idea how you apply.

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  93. You'd probably apply directly through the school, like most charters.

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  94. Commentary on Edison Schools, the for-profit corporation that runs Edison Charter Academy:

    http://www.pasasf.org/edison/edison.html

    But this doesn't say anything about Edison Charter Academy itself.

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  95. 4:18 p.m., thank you for your comments. When I chose my final list I reviewed last year's data regarding Round 1 and that's why I chose Peabody and Lafayette 1 and 2 respectively. I wasn't aware of Peabody's waitpool situation. Hey, I can live with finding our son a school in May :). Thanks again.

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  96. Does anyone have feedback on Garfield in North Beach?

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  97. I'm a little disheartened to see so many slots taken up with Clarendon, Lilienthal, Grattan, and Alvarado on recent "this is my list" postings. I guess I'd just like to remind people of the information Rachel Norton posted recently about high-demand schools. If you are okay with going 0/7, then great, but maybe not everyone knows this information (posted on www.rachelnorton.com on Oct 17):

    Of the 947 families who did not receive any of their Round I choices last year, almost 800 listed one of these high demand schools as their first or second choice:

    * Alamo
    * Alice Fong Yu
    * Alvarado
    * Clarendon
    * Grattan
    * Lawton
    * Lilienthal
    * Miraloma
    * Rooftop
    * Sherman
    * West Portal


    There are other good schools, ones with high test scores even (though I don't think that is the be-all factor anyway).

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  98. I would also love feedback on our list. We are near Glen Park and our goal is to get a round 1 choice with an easy commute (we have younger kids in preschools):

    1. Sunnyside
    2. Fairmount
    3. Paul Revere SI
    4. Sloat
    5. Flynn SI
    6. Flynn GE
    7. Feinstein

    I am feeling pressure from someone in our house to put trophy schools on our list in order to go 0/7 and have waitpool priority. This seems insane until he says it over and over.

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  99. Why are you disheartened (or surprised) that people still put those schools on their list?

    Those schools are popular and appealing for many different reasons, so naturally many people want a shot at one of them. After all, not listing a school pretty much guarantees that you will not get in, while listing it first might still give you a shot at it, even if it's a really long shot.

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  100. 7:00 AM, I'd be surprised if you didn't get one of those schools! Sunnyside, Flynn GE, and Paul Revere SI have decent odds. Do you have "the spreadsheet?" It can calculate your odds.

    Is Glen Park your attendance area school? This and a few other schools within shouting distance would not be bad places to get placed and either wait out the waitpool or be surprised and satisfied: Webster, Serra, SFCS alternative, and Monroe (which I haven't yet visited, but have heard raves about). None of these are places you'd feel you had to keep your kid out of from Day 1, in my opinion. You could even do a year at one of them and try again for 1st grade--even a trophy school-- if you weren't happy, without hobbling your kid.

    But I'm not the expert on the lottery....

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  101. I think your list is reasonable, and I think Marcia's suggestions are good ones in the case that you got unlucky. You wouldn't be caught in the 11 schools listed by Rachel anyway, which according the odds she cites from last year is a huge indicator of not going 0/7. Sunnyside as a #1 pick from Glen Park is a great idea. I know the principal and she's wonderful. Even though Sunnyside is becoming more popular, you have a decent shot with a #1 pick. I would say no guarantees, but a lot better chance than putting Clarendon, Clarendon, Miraloma, Rooftop etc.

    I would also point out that Daniel Webster isn't that far of a commute from Glen Park using the 280N (compared to using surface streets). Once you clear the 280/101 jam, it would be an easy jaunt over there.

    I'd forgo the trophy schools, 0/7 thing myself; so much stress, and they are not all that compared to the very nice schools on your list. Wouldn't it be nice to get into Sunnyside and share a celebratory glass of wine when the assignments come out next March? Then you can spend the spring getting to know other Sunnyside families, many of whom live in that Monterey Ave. corridor or up the hill.

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  102. Thank you for the feedback. It's appreciated. We are actually in the assignment area of Sunnyside.

    I wish I could feel better about adding Glen Park to our list, but I just can't. If the principal changes, I think it would be great.

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  103. 7:00 AM, I plugged your schools into the famous spreadsheet and it gives you a 94% odds of getting one of your 7 in Round 1. I'd say that's pretty good! I don't think you need to put Glen Park on your list -- I just think that if you get placed there (as your *nearest* attendance-area school likely to have open slots) and go 0/7 even in Round 2, you can send your kid there for the 10-day count with no fears for his/her safety, and wait it out with a very high likelihood of getting into one of your other 7. So with that list, I can't see how you could come up with a disaster scenario.

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  104. Glen Park facts - they've had a waiting list for four or five years now, so if anyone is expecting to get assigned there, I wouldn't bank on that. It's a small waitlist though. Most people were assigned to Cesar Chavez last year who were Glen Park denizens in the 0/7 category. Sheridan seemed to be the location for Sunnyside. Hillcrest occasionally pops up as well.

    I also found out today that the principal (who has ben rumored to be close retirement for a thousand years) is in Year 2 in a 3 year contract. Honestly, I wouldn't expect her to be there much longer

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  105. "I would also love feedback on our list. We are near Glen Park and our goal is to get a round 1 choice with an easy commute (we have younger kids in preschools):

    1. Sunnyside
    2. Fairmount
    3. Paul Revere SI
    4. Sloat
    5. Flynn SI
    6. Flynn GE
    7. Feinstein"

    That list is good, maybe even too conservative. Monroe Elementary is closer than Flynn for you, and has better test scores. I'd swap out Flynn SI and GE for Monroe SI and GE, put Monroe SI as #1 or #2, and Revere SI as #3 or #4. Unless there's a specific reason you left out Monroe.

    Listing Feinstein as #7 is a waste of a slot. Swap it out for either SF Community or Longfellow.

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  106. 10:12 thanks for the comments. I'm the list poster. Your comment raised a question for me about order of the list. I thought I read that the order of the list is irrelevant when the assignments are made. Is this true? If so, then how can a 7th spot choice be a waste of a spot? I can see how Feinstein is a waste if the list order does matter of course since it's so popular. Thanks!

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  107. Because, for over-subbed schools, the rank order is in fact used as a tie-breaker when all diversity factors have been used up and there is a non-diverse pool left. So the spots that are left are likely to go to neighbors and to those who listed it #1 and maybe #2. This would not be a factor for an under-subbed school.

    It is true that if you are lucky enough to receive an "offer" from more than one of your choices, the computer will automatically give you your higher choice (this was not always the case).

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