Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can't make up your mind? Have questions about a school?

Are you undecided about which school to list first? Still wondering about the culture at a certain school? As you develop your Round I lists feel free to pose questions in the comments and other parents can try to answer your questions

22 comments:

  1. I'd love to know more about Harvey Milk, if anyone cares to share; specifically, I'm curious about the quality of the school in the older grades. I love their culture of inclusion and justice, and would like to know how the academics hold up in 3rd to 5th grade. Anyone have any experience or wisdom about that?

    Thanks!

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  2. I have a copy of Adam's Amazing Spreadsheet, but the version I have only goes through the 2008-2009 school year. Is there a new spread sheet covering 2009-2010, and if so, where can I find it?

    I'd really like to know how many families chose which schools as first choice this past year, as I know things changed considerably at certain schools. If someone can point me in the right direction, I'd really appreciate it.

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  3. "I have a copy of Adam's Amazing Spreadsheet, but the version I have only goes through the 2008-2009 school year. Is there a new spread sheet covering 2009-2010, and if so, where can I find it?"

    http://www.ppssf.org/Enrollment/Adams_spreadsheet.html

    Be aware that the algorithm used in Adam's spreadsheet to get probabilities isn't anything like the actual algorithm, given the important role of where you rank a school in the probability of getting in. It's a rough estimate at best.

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  4. I'd love to hear from current Sunnyside parents. I loved a lot about the school, but am concerned the curriculum is too focused on standards. Do you see any project based learning? Do your children seem engaged?

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  5. "I'd love to hear from current Sunnyside parents. I loved a lot about the school, but am concerned the curriculum is too focused on standards. Do you see any project based learning?"

    If you're interested in project-based learning, then you should check on SF Community, which is not far from Sunnyside.

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  6. Does anyone have advise on how to change schools without loosing your seat at your current school? I have 2 children at a school I am unhappy with but I do not want to separate my kids. If we transfer we loose our seat automatically. They will not guarantee to keep my kids together. Any advice?

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  7. 1:16, thanks for the link, but the five year comparison only goes through 08/09. I am hoping to get the comparison for 09/10. Anyone know where I can find this. (For instance, how many first choices and overall requests for each school in 09/10 apps.

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  8. Peabody - is there are lot of worksheets? homework? How much recess/Lunch time are the kids given?

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  9. 12:23, the sfusd 5-year-demand list goes through enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year. It lists total and first choice requests. A great way to see trends and probably the best way to assess odds (though you need to take into account the schools that may be getting more buzz this year). I urge every parent to study this document carefully, and make decisions based on the real numbers before your eyes, and not some fantasy that you will be in the lucky 4% at Clarendon.

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/09-10%20round%201%20results/5%20year%20Demand%20Data.pdf

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  10. If you are interested in project based learning, also consider Creative Arts charter.

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  11. We toured and like our neighborhood school but it is on Rachel's notorious list. I have no idea if we would add diversity but we do not have any of the socio-economic factors listed on the enrollment form. We are torn if we list it as #1. Does anyone know if there is a breakdown from Rachel's list (e.g. of those who did not receive one of those schools, how many were in the attendance area) or info on the applicants who did not receive their neighborhood school who listed as their first choice?

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  12. Dude - If you like you neighborhood school - put it #1 on your list. It's your only shot and best shot for getting it. You can fill out the rest of the form with undersubscribed schools if you like.

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  13. "We toured and like our neighborhood school but it is on Rachel's notorious list."

    Echoing 1:25, you can still put it down as #1, but put another school where you do add diversity as #2 or #3. If it's a trophy school, it probably does not have high %ages of ELLs or free/reduced lunch kids, so look for a school with a higher percentage of ELLs or free/reduced lunch kids that is both OK logistically and which is an OK fit academically, school environment, etc. Examples might be Milk, Moscone, E.R. Taylor, Visitacion Valley, Longfellow, SF Community. {I don't know where you are so I can't say specifically what might work for you). The reason to do this strategy is that you have high odds of getting into the school where you add diversity, so you don't go 0/7 if you don't get into your dream school.

    If no backup school like that seems apparent, try listing just less-insanely in demand schools as #2, #3 etc., cross your fingers and be prepared for a waitpool campaign.

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  14. To December 21 at 4:56 pm -- welcome to my world. I've been trying for the past four years to transfer two kids. The best situation is if your older kid only gets in, then your younger kid gets a sibling preference on the wait list and "should" eventually get in. But that doesn't work vice-versa -- if your younger kid only gets in, you may find yourself stuck with kids in two different schools. So you really have to want that school you are applying to. So . . . the way we have dealt with this is to only put down the one or two schools that we REALLY REALLY want to transfer our kids to. In other words, we'd be willing to live with two pickups for a nontemporary period of time. But, to be honest, we have had no luck over the past four years, so I'm not sure that's a winning strategy. I'd be happy to hear whether other parents have had better strategies.

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  15. Dec. 30, 2009 at 10:16 a.m. and December 21 at 4:56 pm. Do you mind sharing what schools and why? It would be very helpful to know what to look out for as we enter K as signs that it is not a good fit.

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  16. This is December 30th at 10:16 -- I appreciate that you'd like to know what schools are not working, but, in our case at least, I would have to say that our problems have been unique to our kid -- and particularly to our eldest. So I don't think it is quite fair for me to tell you the school's name, when it is really not applicable to others at all. I do think our experience is a reminder that it is not all that easy to transfer between schools -- particularly if you've got two. So it is a reminder to make sure to pick wisely for the eldest's K class, as that may drive things for years to come.

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  17. is there any sort of software program etc where i can put my address and the names of certain schools and it tells me immediately how far away they all are? i do this on great schools by zip code but the base address i'm not sure about. i just want to look super quickly to see what the top 5 closest schools are. i know the top two...(diavala and mckinley). i really want to walk and would walk up to 1.5 miles but beyond that is hard, esp the earlier start times. john muir sounds like it gets v poor reviews. (btw i'm sorry to be lazy - i know i could do this manually with mapquest)

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  18. When I cut and paste the link below into my web browser (firefox) it says 'Page not found'. Anyone else having this problem? I really want to look at the most recent demand stat for schools we're interested in:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/09-10%20round%201%20results/5%20year%20Demand%20Data

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  19. Might be an easier way but this was my route. Go to SFUSD site then Enrollment, then FAQ. On the right side click on 2009-10 School Year enrollment, then again on the right side yellow box down towards the bottom, historical information - 2009-10 School Year. Third document down is 5 year demand document

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/09-10%20round%201%20results/5%20year%20Demand%20Data.pdf

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  20. 9:06, thank you SO MUCH! I have been looking for this info for a while and you helped me finally get there.

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  21. "is there any sort of software program etc where i can put my address and the names of certain schools and it tells me immediately how far away they all are?"

    Greatschools.net will give you the nearest schools from one particular school. Choose the school closest to you and you can get the distances from there.

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  22. Jan 2 at midnight, who wants to walk to your kid's school and lives near McKinley, DeAvila and Muir:

    Sorry, no techie advice, but try as well Harvey Milk, Rosa Parks (esp the Japanese program), New Traditions, Grattan, maybe Marshall depending on where you are--is not so far a walk from the Lower Haight.

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