Thursday, January 7, 2010

SFUSD Round I lists

Many parents have already turned in their Round I lists and more will be handing them in next week. Feel free to share your lists in the comments.

339 comments:

  1. Rooftop
    Grattan
    Sunnyside
    Miraloma
    Feinstein
    Clarendon-GEN
    Clarendon-JBBP

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  2. Here is mine:
    Miraloma
    Clarendon Gen
    Rooftop
    Alvarado Gen
    West Portal
    Sunnyside
    Clarendon JBBP
    It will be interesting to see how this works out.

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  3. I hate to say this, but I'm seeing lots of 0/7s coming down the pike if many of the lists look like this.

    Sunnyside is a great pick if you put it FIRST on the list. It's not exactly under-subscribed anymore, so putting it further down makes it not such great backup.

    All the other schools listed in these first two examples are 0/7 bait. Notice how many of these are on the list of eleven--the vast majority of 0/7 families last year listed the same eleven schools as #1 or #2. Clarendon, Miraloma, Alvarado, Rooftop, Grattan, West Portal ....

    I hope these families have a back up plan or fortitude for waitpooling through the start of school next year!

    Sorry to be harsh, but people who haven't turned in their forms yet should know how risky these lists are.

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  4. I agree the lists are risky, but there's hope. We had a backup plan last year. Our top three were:
    Alvarado SI
    Alvarado GEN
    Milaloma

    We got Miraloma, did not waitlist and are very happy!

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  5. I'll share my list January 9! ;)

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  6. 10:54

    Sure there's hope, but it's still a huge gamble to list the most uber-popular schools like that. Hopefully 7:42 & 9:19 have backup plans and/or a strong willingness to wait it out through the summer, in which case, more power to them. It is a strategy that has worked for others. I just hope they're clear that's what they are doing, most likely.

    Meanwhile, 10:54, congrats on your kid's R1 placement in a school you are happy about.

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  7. Peabody
    Lafayette
    Grattan
    Jefferson
    Sunset
    Argonne
    Claire Lilienthal (just to reach 7)

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  8. I sincerely hope 7:42 PM and 9:19 PM have private or parochial back-ups. 7:42 PM has a fair chance of Sunnyside being the backstop, but aside from Sunnyside everything lower than second choice is a waste of a pick, unless you're intending to go 0/7 if you don't get a trophy school.

    I wish luck to you both, though.

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  9. 6;27 has a very sensible list!

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  10. Probably nobody has any serious hope of getting in on Round I and is setting up for the waitlist. Oh, and talking to a real-estate agent, or at least considering a move over the long term.

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  11. Would be interested in hearing where the guest bloggers apply - both private and public if that is what they ended up doing. I believe they were June, Debbie, Marcia and Claire.

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  12. Can people post their lists without all this commentary and critique? You're discouraging people from posting. Anyone using this blog already knows the party line (only top two matter, don't pick popular schools, etc etc).

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  13. "Probably nobody has any serious hope of getting in on Round I and is setting up for the waitlist."

    Meh. 78% of non-sib folks last year didn't get one of their 7. of the 22% who didn't, 4/5 of them had a trophy school at #1 or #2 or both.

    7:42 pm and 9:19 pm's list are self-sabotage, IMHO. Especially as there's no immersion/language programs in their list, execept JBBP at #7. There's plenty of non-trophy but solid GE programs in that geographical area. Why not throw in McKinley, Harvey Milk, or SF Community into the mix, say?

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  14. "Can people post their lists without all this commentary and critique?"

    Look, three months from now there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on this blog because of the 20-25% of folks who go 0/7, most of whom were shooting for the moon and then get upset when all that's left for them are the unpopular schools. And getting assigned the Timothy O'Leary Recreational Pharmaceutical Academy instead of Rooftop is a big fricking shock.

    If people are posting lists that have 80% chances of going 0/7, we're going to have a lot more wailing in March than necessary. I'd like to minimize the angst by suggesting better choices.

    "You're discouraging people from posting. Anyone using this blog already knows the party line (only top two matter, don't pick popular schools, etc etc)."

    I'm not sure about all knowing the party line, based on the first two posts. [They are better than one guy in my kids karate class who just put down one choice (Jefferson), though.]

    Besides, others reading may read the feedback and make more optimal lists.

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  15. "Anyone using this blog already knows the party line (only top two matter, don't pick popular schools, etc etc)."

    Not *quite* true, imo. It's more subtle than that. Top two matter most when the school is oversubscribed:

    If the school is way, way oversubscribed (Clarendon, Rooftop, West Portal etc.) then listing them anywhere but #1 or #2 is indeed a waste of time, unless you are choosing to try the waitpool strategy and are using them as filler, or of course if you add diversity to the mix. Even listing them #1 or #2 is a longshot, but still, your only shot.

    If the school is moderately oversubscribed (McKinley, Harvey Milk), then listing them as #1 or #2 gives you a good shot at avoiding 0/7 status. This is a great strategy for knowing your kids' school in March. And many of these schools will have NO spots in Round 2, so if you like them, put them high in Round 1!

    Finally, spots #3-7 DO matter if you list schools that are either not oversubscribed or to which your child adds diversity. A great strategy, again, for not going 0/7.

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  16. Does anyone know if we can turn in apps next week? Or must we all wait for the week of 1/4?

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  17. 1:46pm, you can turn them in any time between now and the last day. I would not do it the last day if I were you. I turned mine in a week after the school fair and there was no line. I hear it is picking up now though. Just make sure the office is open (not sure if they are closed on Christmas Eve for example)

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  18. "7:42 pm and 9:19 pm's list are self-sabotage, IMHO. Especially as there's no immersion/language programs in their list, execept JBBP at #7."


    Why on earth should anyone put down an immersion program if they don't want one? Your comment makes no sense.

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  19. "Why on earth should anyone put down an immersion program if they don't want one? Your comment makes no sense."

    That wasn't my point. There are a metric buttload of solid GE programs all over the city, outside of the trophies, some of which have great odds of getting in. If you're only interested in GE, then there is a wealth of choice of great GE programs, especially outside the SE of the city. There's no reason to have a list containing 5-7 trophy GE programs unless you have a secret crush on one of the EPC staff and want to spend as much time as possible in their company.

    By contrast, if you're wanting Spanish or Cantonese or Korean Immersion, your choices are limited, and all are moderately popular (Revere) to very popular(Flynn, DeAvila, Jose Ortega) to insanely popular (AFY, WP, Alvarado). And they're not evenly geographically distributed - if you're in the Richmond and want SI, Alvarado may be the only option that remotely makes sense logistically. So a parent going for immersion has a limited set of choices and has to make tradeoffs (really crappy odds of getting in and/or lower overall APIs for the school and/or miserable logistics) in return for the admittedly cool immersion programs.

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  20. So here's my list.

    1) West Portal - neighborhood school
    2) Grattan
    3) Miraloma
    4) Feinstein
    5) Cobb Montessori
    6) Sunnyside
    7) Commodore Sloat

    I realize what I'm getting myself into here. I'm hoping for the best, but prepared to waitlist, Round 2, etc. I don't have to know the K in March. I'm also open to starting K in one school and changing to another. Fingers crossed. Somebody gets into the popular schools!

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  21. @2:20, I believe the person meant: Why choose super-popular trophy schools if you are not set on some kind of specific program, such as (ever-popular) magnet programs such as immersion? There are other wonderful GE schools out there, that are way less likely to set you up for 0/7.

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  22. I'm not a math/stats expert, but when I went through this process a few years ago I tried to find at least 2 or 3 schools where the odds I'd get a spot were 50% or greater. I don't think listing only one back up school (and I don't even think 50-50 is a great back up) is enough to make sure you'll get one of your 7. I realize some might have other valid strategies and are willing to wait it out. Just don't want anyone to fail to understand the odds.

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  23. 75% of the lists posted here so far (granted, a small sample size so far) list "infamous list of eleven" schools at numbers one and two spots. 80% of those who went 0/7 last year--hundreds of families--had lists that looked exactly like these.

    There is no accounting for personal taste, pro or con, but imo there are other perfectly nice schools besides Clarendon, Miraloma, West Portal, Rooftop, Grattan, Alvarado, yada yada. As others have written here, I hope sincerely that these folks know fully what they are in for--a long shot at one of these schools, and more likely a long summer of not knowing (unless you have backup).

    I also sincerely hope that others not do this! There are other good choices out there. Some of them have been written up on this blog, even.

    And in all cases--muy buenas suerte--good luck!

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  24. "That wasn't my point. There are a metric buttload of solid GE programs all over the city, outside of the trophies, some of which have great odds of getting in. If you're only interested in GE, then there is a wealth of choice of great GE programs, especially outside the SE of the city."

    Yes, the SE of the city where most families live.

    "Aim low for your child and get used to it."

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  25. 8:26 here again. Again, there is no accounting for personal taste, but I don't consider applying for my kid's not-impossibly-popular school to be aiming low. More like aiming smart; it is a lovely school with great teachers. That's not saying that Grattan, Rooftop, Miraloma etc. aren't nice schools too, but they are not the only ones. Sorry, but it just looks like lemmings going off a cliff sometimes....

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  26. Here's mine. Does this look plausible? I don't have a back up. I'm hoping this is sufficiently balanced... :
    Miraloma
    Sunnyside
    Alvarado GE
    McKinley
    Flynn GE
    Harvey Milk
    Moscone

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  27. !. Alvarado GE (in attendance area, the only reason I'm putting it first)
    2. Miraloma
    3. Grattan
    4. McKinley
    5. Clarendon GE
    6. Clarendon JBBP
    7. Rooftop

    I know this is an 0/7 list, but I just can't give up the chance to get into the schools I felt excited about. I was thinking about Sunnyside 2nd and Harvey Milk 3rd to be safe. But the less popular schools were where I noticed Houghton Mifflin. Funny how at the "trophy schools" you don't see kids filling in grammar worksheets (they're busing making hot chocolate from a recipe or tiles for a new mural). I want to be like you elbow grease, start a garden, I'll turn down MCDS kind of parents.... but I just can't do it. I promise I won't whine here in March. You warned me!

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  28. 9:59 I am wondering since you don't have a back-up plan if you'd consider putting McKinley, Harvey or Sunnyside first choice. I'm not sure about Flynn GE. I think that would give you a better shot at not going 0/7 than with Miraloma first. If you get something out of the lottery with some of those less high-priced choices (although they are getting up there too) you could still waitlist at Miraloma until the bitter end.

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  29. Good advice, but realistically, if you get one of your 7 choices the chances of getting into Miraloma off the waitlist is extremely low.

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  30. "Here's mine. Does this look plausible? I don't have a back up. I'm hoping this is sufficiently balanced... :
    Miraloma
    Sunnyside
    Alvarado GE
    McKinley
    Flynn GE
    Harvey Milk
    Moscone"

    That looks pretty good. I'd flip Moscone and Flynn GE, but that looks pretty damn good.

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  31. "But the less popular schools were where I noticed Houghton Mifflin. Funny how at the "trophy schools" you don't see kids filling in grammar worksheets (they're busing making hot chocolate from a recipe or tiles for a new mural)."

    I'm an AFY parent, and every week there's a shedload of Houghton Mifflin sheets sent home to review. You can't escape them: they're in the parochials too. Don't know how extensively H-F have penetrated the independent privates. It's the flipside of having widely propagated standards.

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  32. 'Yes, the SE of the city where most families live.'

    And where a lot of poor families live, also.

    "Aim low for your child and get used to it."'

    Yes, we are all inferior parents to you. Can we carry on now that we've conceded that point?

    As pointed out by me, SFUSD is on par with Alameda and Mountain View, despite more challenging demographics.

    In the SE, there's Moscone, E.R. Taylor - two years ago both of those schools were ahead of Rooftop in API scores, despite having distinctly more challenging demographics. Monroe, SF Community, & Visitation Valley aren't too shabby either in terms of test scores.

    Most of the poorer schools are in the SE, but there's still quality if you can get past your sense of entitlement, do your homework, and have the confidence in yourself and your kid to not be a herd animal.

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  33. "Miraloma
    Sunnyside
    Alvarado GE
    McKinley
    Flynn GE
    Harvey Milk
    Moscone"

    6:58 am again. Actually, I'd tweak it a bit by taking out Alvarado GE (which is probably a waste at #3), moving up McKinley and the rest, and then adding a choice for #7, maybe SF Community or Monroe GE or New Traditions depending on your logistics.

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  34. "!. Alvarado GE (in attendance area, the only reason I'm putting it first)
    2. Miraloma
    3. Grattan
    4. McKinley
    5. Clarendon GE
    6. Clarendon JBBP
    7. Rooftop

    I know this is an 0/7 list, but I just can't give up the chance to get into the schools I felt excited about. I was thinking about Sunnyside 2nd and Harvey Milk 3rd to be safe"

    It's probably a 50-60% chance of going 0/7. I'm assuming that everything after McKinley is "I wanna go 0/7 if I don't get my top four". If Sunnyside and Milk aren't scratching your itch, why not move up McKinley to #2 or #3, though, and drop Miraloma or Grattan down the list?

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  35. Funny how at the "trophy schools" you don't see kids filling in grammar worksheets (they're busing making hot chocolate from a recipe or tiles for a new mural).

    Funny, because those are things that my students at my very non-trophy school did this year. (Well, not hot chocolate - not a very exciting recipe, and often not a very healthy one. However, we cooked and baked weekly. We painted tiles. We sewed. We introduced and mastered several state standards. We had daily free and structured play. We covered phonics, sight words and English language structure, although not necessarily using HM workbooks (to my mind, they're not very effective).

    So I am wondering if you saw what you expected to see.

    That said, one reason non-trophy schools do fewer of these hands-on learning projects is cost. I actively solicit donations to my classroom and am pretty successful. But in addition to what I get through Donors Choose, scrounging, flea markets, letter-writing and so on, I supplement my classroom out of my own pocket to the tune of two thousand dollars or so annually.

    I'm willing and able to spend my money in this way, but not all teachers are lucky enough to have an employed partner and low personal expenses. Trophy schools fund through PTAs. Non-trophy schools can't. Again, it's an equity and privilege issue, and I encourage you to think through the implications of what you report seeing on school tours.

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  36. "Most of the poorer schools are in the SE, but there's still quality if you can get past your sense of entitlement, do your homework, and have the confidence in yourself and your kid to not be a herd animal."

    Here we go on the entitlement thing again.

    Don't be fooled.

    We've already been through this many times. I think it is only indicative of how broken the overall atmosphere in the public school system is.

    Let's modify that SFUSD motto:

    "Aim low for your child and get used to it. Should you choose to not be silent about mediocrity, be judged self-entitled."

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  37. 9:20, you sound like an incredible teacher. I'd love to know where you teach (or maybe best to keep anonymous)? I'm glad to hear that you're making it happen. My concern has been that it requires not only money for resources, but motivated teachers and a supportive principal. And if it isnt happening at a school already, it may be unlikely to happen with the coming budget cuts (which is what the principal of Sunnyside specifically told me).

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  38. To 9:59pm with

    Miraloma
    Sunnyside
    Alvarado GE
    McKinley
    Flynn GE
    Harvey Milk
    Moscone

    It's pretty good. You'd have a better shot with McKinley and Milk--which are, after all, generally over-subbed if not wildly so like Clarendon--if you ranked them higher. It all depends on just how much you don't want to go past Round 1. I too would probably drop Alvarado at #3. But you have some real shots here, including in terms of adding diversity at some point (assuming you are not-poor, preschool, English-speaking, all of which is just an assumption on my part, so apologies if I am wrong).

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  39. Trophy school kinder parent here.
    My child's kinder teacher DOES do
    HM worksheets just like any other
    public school. They also do projects that are absolutely wonderful. See, at our school, parents try hard to fulfill the needs of the teacher by volunteering (a lot) and making donations to the school AND THE CLASSROOM! Making donations to the school is important BUT when parents donate to the classroom, wonderful projects arise.

    I think it's important for families to realize that at ANY school whether it be in the SE section or a trophy school, it's the parents who need to support the school AND TEACHER through volunteering and donations that make the school a better environment.

    There will always be parents who whine, whine, and whine. It's interesting because in my kid's class those are the parents that DO NOT DONATE THEIR TIME OR ANYTHING ELSE.

    With budget cuts here and there, where do you think wonderful class projects arise from? Certainly not the teacher's salary, but FROM PARENTS!

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  40. interesting... i met a woman in an afterschool class whose daughter goes to a trophy public in SF. is a private school teacher herself and she complained about the endless worksheets at this trophy school. at the same time, my son's school was doing all kinds of interesting things in class - drumming and yoga and other things - and few worksheets (usually when there was a sub).

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  41. "Here we go on the entitlement thing again."

    Monroe has an API of 844, and had 38 first choice applicants for 22 slots for its GE program last year.

    Miraloma has an API of 851, and had 116 first choice requests for 60 slots. Eyeballing it, you have a roughly 50% better chance of getting into Moscone than Miraloma.

    Can you tell me exactly why telling someone to consider Moscone ahead of Miraloma, I'm condoning mediocrity? [Here I was just thinking I was being helpful.]

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  42. Starr King
    Jose Ortega
    Daniel Webster
    Monroe
    Alvarado
    Fairmount
    Flynn

    All immersion programs.

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  43. Great list, 5:48!

    I predict you will get either Webster or Starr King.

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  44. Round 1 List

    Grattan
    Peabody
    Lafayette
    Yick Wo
    Claire Lillenthal - GE
    McKinley
    Argonne

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  45. If an elementary school meets the following criteria:

    1) high demand, but not highest demand (i.e., the number of families who ranked school #1 last year represent 70%-90% of available kindergarten spots), see http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/09-10%20round%201%20results/5%20year%20Demand%20Data.pdf
    2) it's an attendance area school that is not in my attendance area
    3) based on current student body, it's not obvious that my kid would add diversity based on any of the four diversity factors

    Is it a "waste" of a choice to list the school as choice #2 in Round 1? If not a waste at #2, is it a waste to list it at #3?

    I don't have a particular school in mind in asking this question -- rather, it seems like these same criteria describe a good dozen "hidden" and "not so hidden" gems.

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  46. "Starr King
    Jose Ortega
    Daniel Webster
    Monroe
    Alvarado
    Fairmount
    Flynn"

    Great list.

    Personally, I liked Ortega a bit more than SK, but YMMV, especially if you're in Potero.

    Minor quibbles: Alvarado, even for Spanish-proficient kids, is tough odds, and at #3 probably isn't gonna do you much good. I'd take out Alvarado, and put in Revere or Buena Vista or Marshall, according to your taste. (Buena Vista's afterschool program is very good, BTW.) Webster at #3 may be a bit conservative, based on demand in previous years; you might be able to get away with listing it #4 or #5, and putting one of the other SI programs above it, if you liked those programs better.

    FYI, Webster emptied its 0/7 waitpool cohort last year by May, as did Revere (and Buena Vista came close to emptying its 0/7 cohort by August).

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  47. "Grattan
    Peabody
    Lafayette
    Yick Wo
    Claire Lillenthal - GE
    McKinley
    Argonne"

    Swap McKinley and CL. You don't have much chance of getting into CL ranking it at #5, wheras there may be a chance of getting McKinley at #5. Peabody at #2 and Yick Wo at #4 are good choices.

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  48. "Miraloma has an API of 851, and had 116 first choice requests for 60 slots. Eyeballing it, you have a roughly 50% better chance of getting into Moscone than Miraloma.

    Can you tell me exactly why telling someone to consider Moscone ahead of Miraloma, I'm condoning mediocrity? [Here I was just thinking I was being helpful.]"


    Miraloma is almost impossible to get into if you are middle class/English speaking. Don't know about Moscone or Monroe. E R Taylor was mentioned earlier. It is also very difficult to get into.

    API scores are not the best indicators of performance. CST scores are.

    Here are the grade four and five CST scores for Miraloma, a school that is very difficult to get into.

    Grade 4:
    English Language Arts: 86%
    Math: 84%

    Grade 5:
    Science: 72%
    English Language Arts: 74%
    Math: 61%
    Math (White, not Hispanic) 67%

    The above percentages are the "proficient" percentage in each class. To be proficient, a student must get approximately 65% of the questions correct on the CST. That means that at Miraloma, in grade 5, 39% of the students did not "pass" the California Standard achievement math test. That's a lot of kids. You can quickly see why so many kids are not prepared for Algebra in middle school.

    Miraloma is considered to be a "trophy" school.

    The bar is low. We're setting our kids up for failure.

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  49. 11:24 p.m. I think that is a good question thought I am not sure if the criteria hold up. My logic may be flawed but for example, last year Lafayette has "first choice" requests for 78% of its spots but the total requests were 328 requests total for 88 spots. So, if you did not list Lafayette as your first choice it is unlikely if you listed it as #2-#7 you would get in. By July of last year 15 people remained on the waitlist, that included 8 families who received no choice with 7 selections in Round I (which makes no sense to me if they had listed it in Round I and there were open spots why some of these families were not assigned during Round I). New Traditions also had 73% of its spots in Round I requested as "first choice" and had 140 requests overall (as a percentage to open spots because they only have capacity for 34 it is the same as Lafayette). By July of 2009 there were 11 families on the waitlist (32% of capacity), including for some unknown reason 2 siblings and 3 families Round I no choice (again I am at a loss why these families were not assigned New Tradtions at Round I).

    Personally, to be a "hidden gem" you have to look more at 50% or less first choice spots and what the waitlist looked like as the summer went on. For example, Harvey Milk had 21 first choice requests for 44 spots and 131 total applicants. There was no waitlist in July for families who had gone 0/7 in Round I.

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  50. "Miraloma is almost impossible to get into if you are middle class/English speaking."

    This is not true, O Concern Troll.

    Miraloma is 24% free/reduced lunch and 8% ELLs, as opposed to district average of 54% free/reduced lunch and 31% ELL. IT's also 48% white as opposed to the district average of 10%. The reason it's hard to get into Miraloma for middle-class non-ELL parents is because of all the other middle-class non-ELL parents applying there, not because it's stuffed to the gills with poor non-English speakers.

    "Here are the grade four and five CST scores for Miraloma, a school that is very difficult to get into.

    Grade 4:
    English Language Arts: 86%
    Math: 84%"

    Up from 38% and 28% respectively in 2006. Would that affect your opinion?

    "Grade 5:
    Science: 72%
    English Language Arts: 74%
    Math: 61%
    Math (White, not Hispanic) 67%"

    Up from 41%, 27%, and 22% in 2006. Over a 200% increase in some subjects, and puts it ahead of the state average and above the average school in suburbs like Mountain View.

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  51. "E R Taylor was mentioned earlier. It is also very difficult to get into."

    You are not even close to being a reliable source of information. E.R. Taylor had 44 slots in its GE program, and 62 first choices last year, 211 applications total. Those odds are much better than any of the trophy schools.

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  52. "This is not true, O Concern Troll."

    Best of luck to you.

    I hope some of the parents out there are onto the problem with math and science standards in our schools.

    A 60% score on the CST in grade five will likely not lead to a well prepared child in middle school. In order to excel in rigorous subjects like algebra, it would be expected that a child had scored well about the 60% minimum proficient performance level.

    Without preparation in algebra, trigonometry and the sciences, our children will not be able to consider a career in medicine, engineering, computer science, economics, commercial flying, biotechnology research, science, etc.

    Have a look at the greatschools CST data, especially in grade four and five, before you finalize your list!

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  53. Ditto 11:07. HOWEVER, it's impossible to know how the "up & coming" schools are going to perform on the CST tests in 3-4 years. It is risky to know if & how much the scores will improve.

    For as popular as it is, it seems as though Grattan should have better CST scores. The CST scores are not that great.

    New Traditions and Stevenson are good bets if you're looking for impressive science scores. I was blown away by New Traditions and put them as #1 in Round 2 last year but didn't get it. (I didn't tour until after we went 0/7 on Round 1. And I didn't find out about Stevenson until this year!)

    Sunnyside shows promise but you're still taking a pretty big risk not knowing what the CST scores will show in the future.

    I'm a traditionalist, I suppose, in that test scores are very important to me. It was my only factual barometer for how well a school teaches to a minimum state standard.

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  54. Concern Troll is confused. The math and science *standards* are very good in California. In fact, there is some worry among math and science teachers that the current move to push national standards will be a negative for California (though a positive for some other states), because they may not match what we already have. The issue at hand is *proficiency* at meeting the standards. Proficiency has been climbing (certainly at Miraloma, but also other schools like, yes, ER Taylor), but is not at 100%, which of course is the goal.

    This is the achievement gap that you hear about so much. It is correlated to poverty and other socio-economic factors. Special needs kids' scores are also included in these figures. I say that not to let the schools off the hook in closing the gap, but to say that you have to understand the demographic issues in order to interpret these scores. To its credit, Miraloma has recently focused on raising achievement among its more at-risk students, not only relying on the demographic shift to white/middle class that is surely also a part of raising its test scores so much in the last eight years.

    The real achievers in my book are ER Taylor and Moscone, because they have high test scores compared to their demographic peers. What they are doing should be emulated.

    In terms of making your lottery lists, sure, look at the situation of the 4th and 5th grade. But also look at the shifts that are going on in the school--has a magnet program been added in the last three years? Then the changes have yet to hit the 4th/5th grade. Also look at how your child's demographic peers are doing ... the Spanish immersion schools in particular have evident gaps due the divergent populations that attend them. Just quoting the big numbers does not tell the tale.

    I don't think every SFUSD school is great, but I think there are many, many schools that are just fine. Certainly there are several dozen beyond the trophy schools that are appearing on several lists here. Savvy parents will figure out which ones these are!

    Here's the thing. I guarantee your child will learn math at schools besides Clarendon, et al. And barring some learning delay he or she will end up in 8th grade Algebra, probably in an honors class. Actually--ALL 8th graders in SFUSD are supposed to be taking Algebra soon, but right now there are hundreds of kids already taking it--believe me, San Francisco public schools do not not lack for math and science geeks, and your child will find out there is a lot of competition to do well at that level (especially among those aiming for Lowell, whose admission standards climb ever higher).

    --8th grade parent

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  55. Concern toll here again.

    Yes, 12:00, I agree that you have to think about schools like New Traditions that have a new and great principal and are showing great results in the lower grades.
    I'd say New Traditions is worth a shot, but I agree that Sunnyside is a tremendous gamble, especially in the current budget climate.

    To the person that said I am confused, you have obviously misinterpreted what I have said.

    The California curriculum is excellent.

    The problem is not the curriculum.

    You know there is a problem when a school is viewed as "good" when only 60% or 70% of kids are passing math at the "PROFIECIENT" level in grade five.

    I haven't seen the advanced numbers for our schools. The CST does publish these. It is probably only the kids that are excelling at the ADVANCED level that are going to have the background to take the math and science AP classes in high school.

    Again, the problem is not the California curriculum. The Cal curriculum in both math and science are world class.

    The problem is that the vast majority of our kids are not learning the curriculum.

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  56. "Again, the problem is not the California curriculum. The Cal curriculum in both math and science are world class."

    Do you understand the inverse relationship between setting high standards and the percentage of kids meeting those standards?

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  57. Yes, the California curriculum standards are excellent. Proficiency started at a very, very low level when they first starting testing on this curriculum, and has been climbing--although faster for certain groups and slower for others, which is a source of concern (it's called the widening achievement gap). That's why SFUSD celebrated last year when African American and Latino kids made higher percentage gains.

    It's not possible for the district to make achievement jump from abominably low to 100% in a short time. It is an arduous climb. And the obstacles are bigger than the district (poverty, to start). The thing to look for is partly high CST scores, yes, but also what is the trend--if they are climbing, that is a good sign about the focus and effort of the school.

    With regard to our supported, middle class kids, I would tell nervous parents (as a veteran parent myself) that you want at least a critical mass of high-achieving kids. You don't need all the kids to be high-achieving, but enough so that your kid will have a reading group to be in, or a math group in the 4th and 5th grade. This helps focus the teachers' attention on the kids that need extended learning opportunties, and allows for peer support (reading each others' papers, for example, during an extended writing project). Four kids in a class of twenty-two is plenty!--and I say that from experience. My kids both score well into the advanced range on all subjects and have always had a few fellow students who were their academic peers. They have learned a lot from all their classmates--there was a poetry project in 4th grade that produced some amazing work--but the academic peers were crucial in sustaining a higher level of work. Again, this doesn't have to be all twenty-two kids to be effective.

    Then, at the middle and high school levels, in large numbers at several of our large comprehensive schools such as Presidio, Aptos, Hoover, Roosevelt, AP Giannini, and Lincoln, Bal, Gal, Washington, and of course Lowell, there are plenty of kids who are studying at a high level. We simply have many bright and focused kids in our school district who are aiming for Lowell and then UC and in many cases want to be first in the family to do it. They are hungry for it. No, not all the kids, but enough to create honors classes and AP classes.

    Another thing, the academic pace quickens in 6th grade. I am constantly amazed by the level of math and science being taught in middle school--it is at the level of high school work I did back in the 70's and 80's (genetics, cell function, dissections, etc.). Long research projects in social studies. Strong grammar studies and much writing in language arts. Geometry and algebra by 8th grade. I do not remember doing this level of work in middle school.

    Re Sunnyside, I think it is a good sign that the principal has a background in science and has established a collaboration with SF State in science.

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  58. "Yes, 12:00, I agree that you have to think about schools like New Traditions that have a new and great principal and are showing great results in the lower grades."

    New Traditions for Science, English and Math is at 55%, 55%, and 40%, respectively, proficiency at Grade 5, and in Grade 4, 35% and 21% proficiency in English & Math at Grade 4.

    I do not understand, again, why you say that I'm endorsing "aim low" pointing a parent at GE programs outside of the trophies like Moscone, McKinley, Milk, SF Community or E.R. Taylor or Monroe GE, you mocked me for recommending parents to aim low, while you recommend a school with worse scores in the CST at Grade 4/5. Can you explain this inconsistency in your thinking?

    Yes, New Traditions does have promise, and good luck to them. But it's got further to go than other GE programs in the city which are not in the "trophy" category.

    Plot out the [2008] API similar-school rankings of the SFUSD elementary schools, and you'll find the distribution is bimodal, like this:

    Rank 9-10 (excellent): 19
    Rank 7-8 (very good): 14
    Rank 5-6 (good): 7
    Rank 3-4 (mediocre): 5
    Rank 1-2 (poor): 19

    So, there are a lot of excellent-to-solid schools, not many in the middle, and a fair few schools that are not performing. There is quality beyond the 11 trophy schools.

    In the "similiar school" rankings, Miraloma is a 3, and McKinley is a 9, SF Community is a 7, and Milk is a 5.

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  59. "New Traditions for Science, English and Math is at 55%, 55%, and 40%, respectively, proficiency at Grade 5, and in Grade 4, 35% and 21% proficiency in English & Math at Grade 4."

    12:00 here. I was looking at New Tradition's SARC on the district website, which shows that 89% of all students were at or above proficiency in science in the 07-08 school year.

    In looking at the STAR CST website, I see the scores you're referring to above for 2009.

    When I look at the scores for 2008, I see a whopping 88% at or above proficient, 11% at basic, and 0% below or far below basic. These were the scores I was looking at when I was doing my research last year.

    And here I thought New Traditions was a hidden gem for science curriculum! Surpising what a year can do. I'm curious why the scores dropped so dramatically in just one year.

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  60. A couple of questions for the veterans here. Could you more fully explain the similar schools ranking please? What does that mean exactly, and why can the similar schools ranking be so different from the overall ranking? Does it mean that similar schools are no necessarily the best schools, but are just similar for some other reason?

    Also, how much does zip code figure into placement? If you live in a relatively low income zip code (regardless of whether you are or not) does that help your chances of getting a higher placement?

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  61. 2:47

    Similar schools rank takes into account socio-economic differences or similarities. Thus, a school with high numbers of kids who do NOT qualify for free or reduced lunch might have a low SSR even with decent test scores, because such a school would be expected to rank high on the charts, and indeed compared to many similar (in demographic terms) schools, its rank is quite low; whereas a school like E.R. Taylor, with high test scores and a significant majority of kids who qualify for free/reduced lunch, would score very high on the SSR. The weighted rank itself is a little crude, and doesn't tell the whole story of a school, but it is definitely a green, yellow, or red flag. A school that is beating the expectations of its demographics should merit another look, even if its scores are lower in absolute terms compared to one across town; conversely, a school that falls below its demographic expectations should merit some questions. Its not the final answer, rather a guidepost.

    Regarding zip code--NO, zip code counts for nothing in this process. It used to count for a lot (and wow, did Bernal Heights families benefit from being in 94110). Neighborhood--or more accurately, assignment area--matters a bit but not as much as whether your kid adds diversity to a school. (Hint: families here should be trying E.R. Taylor for that very reason.)

    To find out whether you are in school's assignment area, check out the enrollment booklet, which is available in print and online at sfusd.edu. Note there are satellite zones for some schools, and also that some neighborhoods don't have an assignment area (old Cabrillo and Edison areas, to name two). These particular areas will be granted "assignment area status" at the first non-"alternative" --i.e., non-citywide-designated--school on their list.

    Bottom line, if you live in a poor zip code, it won't help you. It may help you to live in an assigned area for a particular school.

    Hope that helps.

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  62. Zip codes don't matter. Being in the "attendance area" of a school can help getting in.

    Similar schools compare schools based on demographic population. I believe that it takes into account race/ethnic demographics, but it might just be the poor/English learner/preschool demographics.

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  63. So Grattan (a "trophy school," at least by number of requests) is a 2 when compared to similar schools. Doesn't seem to stop people though.

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  64. @3:46

    I know, right?

    Can't seem to stop the lemming phenomenon no matter how hard anyone tries. I guess each cohort of parents has to go through its 0/7 experience to understand and be pushed to look beyond the trophy buzz. I think many people go on "feeling" in the first round, which often translates to "where people look most like my family" rather than taking into account test scores and programs on-site.

    That's not to put Grattan down or the experience described by Grattan parents here. I'm sure it is a lovely school and I'm certain it does a fine job for supported, middle and upper-middle class kids; but then, supported, middle and upper-middle class kids, to an almost extreme degree, do well at almost any school, except for the most chaotic and overwhelmed.

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  65. Thanks 3:26 and 3:43. Your answers were very helpful!

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  66. It was my only factual barometer for how well a school teaches to a minimum state standard.

    Test scores may be a factual barometer of student mastery of state standards, but since they correlate better with race and class than with anything else, I'm not sure I would use them so heavily. But then, I'm not a traditionalist.

    The significant increase in Miraloma's scores is almost certainly a result of its demographic shift, so that the 4th graders compared are very, very differently comprised groups.

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  67. Haven't seen a list so far that didn't look like an 0/7.

    Ours:

    Harvey Milk
    New Traditions
    SF Community
    McKinley
    Flynn GE
    Rosa Parks
    Peabody

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  68. Certainly a fine list in terms of trying very hard to have a definite school assignment that you like by March, and more importantly, these are all very sweet schools with lots to recommend them. You will most likely be the happy one when lots of others are freaking out because all the "fallbacks" are full up before Round 2. The only thing I'm wondering is where you live, since these are literally all over the map. But if that isn't a problem for you, that's great!

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  69. Sloat
    Sunnyside
    Fairmount
    Flynn SI
    Flynn GE
    SF Community
    Monroe SI

    Fingers crossed for going 1/7 in March!

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  70. We put Peabody #1 our list for the very reason that it had the fewest first choice requests from the schools we listed, and we were feeling pretty confident.

    I thought I knew about attendance areas, but I clearly I didn't. We are white, kid speaks English, goes to preschool, etc. I was feeling pretty good about our chances. Then I took a look at the attendance area. We are literally half a block outside the attendance area. Yikes!

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  71. Sorry to have disappeared -- family matters.

    I'm not applying this year, and yes, I understand that the system will change. But if I were applying, here would be my list:

    Flynn SI
    Flynn GE
    Daniel Webster, Paul Revere, or Marshall (not sure what order)
    Monroe
    Sunnyside

    Notes on my list:

    Distance matters (Sunnyside is a way off and otherwise deserving of a higher place on my list). I've taken really seriously people's "what I wish I knew" lists, and my work commute makes my carbon footprint way too big as is.

    I was unable to see Fairmount or Milk because I was given the wrong information about tour times and could not return this year. Because of the family stuff I've been fielding this fall, I could not go to Ortega or Taylor, places people other people thought deserved a look.

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  72. thx, marcia. I think you're offline as of now but a question (maybe someone else can answer from their own perspective?):

    what is your thinking in mixing in some immersion and some GE programs? I know some people will have all immersion lists, some all GE, and I'm curious about the mixer-uppers (as I may end up being one myself!).

    thx!

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  73. As far as the particular mix of schools adding to the likelihood of going 0/7, I wanted to repost a link to one of my blog posts that discusses this issue:

    http://rachelnorton.com/2009/10/17/kindergarten-assignment-the-sibling-effect/

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  74. Our family has sibling preference at Fairmount, and we put it first. We also put other Spanish Immersion programs down. We expect to get Fairmount.

    I have some comments about people are considering putting an alternative less in demand school first, e.g. like Fairmount.

    Although it's just my anecdotal experience, I don't know of anyone who put Fairmount first and who persisted in that request through all rounds and waitlists who did not get into our school. I even have a friend who put Fairmount 2nd and persisted in waitlisting (was 16th on the list) whose son got into Fairmount the third week in October.

    So, in many ways, the "lottery" aspects of the lottery system really applies more to the high demand schools. If you have your heart set on one of those schools, go for it, but have realistic expectations.

    My honest advice, however, is for those families who were really attracted to a not so high in demand school, put it first and stick to your request and you will have a great likelihood of getting that school.

    Lastly, one of the really great things about the past few years is the increase in interest in public schools by San Franciscans across the economic strata. It benefits the school system, and the individual schools, as well as the students and families who don't have any choice about where they attend. I believe it truly contributes to the greater good, promotes equality, tolerance, diversity, and confers equity when the entire San Francisco community endeavors upon making our public schools the best they can be. The easiest way to do this is to join the ranks of the public school system.

    Good luck to everyone.

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  75. Oh, no, 10:37, I'm around -- just not posting main posts anymore.

    Here was my thinking around GE and SI. For whatever it's worth, I think my kid will have completed most of the K curriculum by the end of preschool, not because she's in a very academic one but because it seems to just kind of happen along the way. So I only chose schools with SI or with a GE program that struck me as somehow unusual. SI will keep her brain busy no matter what the curriculum. Flynn's Primary Years International Baccalaureate GE seems really promising. Sunnyside's science focus intrigued me -- I'd like to know more and need to see classrooms, but in that area, as a parent, I can't compensate for weaknesses as well as I can in language/visual/performing arts or math. I didn't get to see Milk, but a strong civil rights focus might also put them in #7 for a GE. SF Community School is a hike, and didn't strike me as a good fit for us.

    In a nutshell, I want Cindy doing something new during her K year, whether it's SI or an interesting GE.

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  76. Our list:
    Would love to have feedback and comments from veterans!
    1 Paul Revere SI (in attendance area)
    2 McKinley
    3 Fairmont
    4 Flynn SI
    5 Buena Vista
    6 Miraloma (just to make 7)
    7 Rooftop (just to make 7)
    Thanks

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  77. 4:20, I think you have a good shot at Paul Revere.

    (went thru this 2 years ago)

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  78. Hi Marcia:

    Just curious--did you take a look at Creative Arts?
    Maybe it was just not a good fit for you? Just curious. (they are still offering tours)

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  79. 7:43 PM -- Creative Arts is just too far, sad to say. I may reconsider the commute issue the year before Cindy actually goes, but for right now I see enough within a reasonable commute not to rock that boat. Even Sunnyside is really too far, so if I get to visit Fairmount and like it I'd be likely to substitute that.
    Ditto anything that charmed me as much as Monroe but was closer.

    4:20, from what I hear, you have a good shot at Revere and a decent one at McKinley. If those really are your #1 and #2, seems like you can probably plan to relax in March. I don't know about Fairmount, but Flynn SI is too far down your list to be useful there. Ditto Buena Vista.

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  80. Rachel, thank you for re-posting the link to your blog. For those parents who do not have a strategy that is based on going 0/7 and waiting it out, I think it is worth giving out this information over and over.

    Rachel's post has two important pieces of information (full post is accessible from the link she posted on Dec 26, just above in the thread here).

    1) 74% of *non-sibling*-benefited kindergarten applicants got one of their 7 choices in Round One last year. In other words, approximately three out of four families who applied with NO sibling preference got one of their choices, and one out of four did not.

    2) Of the approximately one-quarter of non-sibling kindergarten applicants who didn't get any of their seven choices, approximately 84% of them (about 800 out of 947 who went 0/7) listed the following schools as their first or second choices, or both. Just 16% of the one-quarter of non-sibling K applicants who went 0/7 in Round One in 2009 listed none of these schools in the number one or number two spots (147 families). So here it is again, the "List of Eleven" that tends to drive families to 0/7:

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

    If you don't want to go 0/7, don't list these schools as #1 or #2! Not doing so is not a guarantee of not going 0/7, but it sure correlated with better results last year.

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  81. anyone here doing the creative arts charter lottery as well?

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  82. Can anyone post a link to the attendance area map? Can't seem to find it.

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  83. For the map go to te SFUSD website and in the search button on the top right, type in "map" it is the first link that appears if this does not gt you there:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/apps/SCHFIND/showmap.cfm

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  84. Still don't have our list finalized. If I had to make it today it would look something like:

    Miraloma
    McKinley
    Fairmount (our attendance area school)
    Sunnyside
    Ortega MI
    Monroe SI
    Rooftop (to fill out -- though we liked it very much)

    We are applying both public and private. List above is intended to be medium-risk. We might consider shifting things around for more of an 0/7 waitpool high-risk strategy.

    Also, a comment on the "three-quarters of non-sibling families get one of their top 7 choices" statistic. Three-quarters of families get one of the seven choices they LISTED. Almost all of us are not putting down the seven schools we truly would want most. That is, most Round I lists already represent significant compromise off our ideal shoot-for-the-moon lists. So to have a 3/4 chance of getting those doesn't strike me as all that impressive. If we all put down our true top seven a lot more of us would go 0/7.

    I also agree with the posters who say there are good reasons many parents prefer the same schools, especially among those of us who live in the SE quadrant. It's not just lemmingness. I do wish I lived in a part of the city where I could more easily make a list like that Peabody/Lafayette/Jefferson list above, or a Sunset/Ulloa/Argonne type of list, stocked with good but not-that-hard-to-get schools.

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  85. Thank you 8:33! What if there's no regular school within my boundary? There is an alternative school, but that doesn't count, right?

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  86. 10:24 here. I think I found the answer to my own question. If you live in an area with no school, the first school you list becomes your attendance area school, unless it's alternative, then you would have no attendance area school. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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  87. Hi, 10:24. That's my understanding as well after reading the enrollment guide. In answer to another question you had, I also believe there is no "attendance area" for the alternative schools. It's my understanding that even if you live right across the street from an "alternative school," that counts for nothing in the lottery.

    Good luck!

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  88. Classic. I just called SFUSD's placement center to see if they were open this week to submit our application and the message before you can get a live person gives you all of the info for the 2009-2010 school year, including the deadines for last year to apply. By the way, they are open Mon-Weds regular hours.

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  89. 10:16 AM, who posted about why so many parents choose the same schools and why these lists are already a compromise: This is 1:51 from yesterday posting again, who wrote about the list of eleven and the fact that so many 0/7s had the same schools.

    You may very well be right, that lots of people are already compromising and so forth. My point in posting that was not to judge people's choices good or bad, or call anyone a lemming, or even to suggest that you shouldn't ever put those schools on your list. My point was simply to post those facts. If you do choose to list those schools, you are much much much more likely to go 0/7, if the recent past holds up. I think that is useful information for parents, setting aside all the feelings that people have about it. So many 0/7 parents were posting in shock last year, not understanding how their lists were not "balanced," and they were full of Clarendon, Miraloma, Grattan, etc.

    Some folks are willing to go for a waitpool strategy (and hope for private as backup). That's fine, if you are aware of what you are doing! I just think everyone should know that that is what they are doing if they list Miraloma et al as #1 or #2. I know some here know these facts very well, but I'm aware that there are plenty of others who are just now digging in, finding this blog, etc., who may not know just how bad the odds are at some of these schools, perhaps even based on friends with older children who remember Grattan and some of the others as an easy pull.

    Here's where I will post my own opinion as a fellow SE resident and veteran parent. There are so many more good schools in our neighborhood than there used to be! I would be thrilled to have some of these to choose from: Webster, Flynn, Revere, Sunnyside, Marshall, Taylor, Monroe, Community, Fairmount, McKinley. As it was, back in the day, we chose Milk (in one of the earliest lottery iterations, much more of a blunt instrument than it is now) for accessibility, leadership, and school focus on social development. We were very happy there and would absolutely do it again. I never thought it was worth it to trek over to Clarendon, make my kids take the bus to Lilienthal from Fairmount, or even go all the way up the hill to Rooftop; Milk was just great and the kids were very happy there.

    Btw, middle school was much less stressful in terms of choices. We're finalizing a high school list now, with Balboa the current leading contender for various reasons.

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  90. Our list:

    Grattan
    New Traditions
    McKinley
    Harvey Milk
    De Avila

    Looking for two more as filler but have to say that we liked ALL the schools above better than Clarendon, Rooftop, Miraloma, Alvarado and Lilienthal. Grattan is our #1 choice only because we live 2 blocks away, not because we thought it was better than the others on our list.

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  91. Yick Wo
    Spring Valley
    Garfield
    John Yehall Chin
    Gordon Lau
    Cobb

    We only put five choices. We want to "Go Local" (Northeast San Francisco), and know Claire Lillenthal and Sherman are IMPOSSIBLE.

    I wouldn't mind being a pioneer and help lift a school such as Spring Valley or Garfield to its full potential.

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  92. To 7:21 am
    if you are looking at schools close by to Cole Valley/Inner Sunset, then think about putting Jefferson down on the list too.

    To 7:35 - please put 7 schools down on your list!

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  93. 7:35: nice list. I'd put 7 for security (Parker, plus maybe Redding over in Polk Gulch, a true hidden gem), but if you are not poor, ELL etc then you have a really good shot. These are unusual choices for the families who post on this blog, but there's lots of good things going on in each of these schools. If I lived in the NE side of town I'd have a list like this.

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  94. "We only put five choices. We want to "Go Local" (Northeast San Francisco), and know Claire Lillenthal and Sherman are IMPOSSIBLE."

    Stick em'down at #6 and #7 anyway, so if you get none of your picks you're in the higher priority 0/7 waitpool cohort.

    Trivia: Garfield was the school used in the filming of "The Phantom Tollbooth".

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  95. "Also, a comment on the "three-quarters of non-sibling families get one of their top 7 choices" statistic. Three-quarters of families get one of the seven choices they LISTED. Almost all of us are not putting down the seven schools we truly would want most. That is, most Round I lists already represent significant compromise off our ideal shoot-for-the-moon lists. So to have a 3/4 chance of getting those doesn't strike me as all that impressive."

    1. You don't know how much those who didn't go 0/7 compromised.

    2. About 15-20% of the SFUSD elementary intake can fit in the 11 trophy schools. The rest have to go somewhere else. You can't fit a gallon in a pint pot. [Neighbourhood allocation would ration the "trophy" schools on a less fair basis, as housing costs would rise near trophy schools.]

    3. It wasn't until this year (ironically, the last one of the lottery in its current form) that the effect of rank on probability of getting in has become widely known. Hence, you're seeing schools like Peabody and Milk and McKinley at the top of people's lists as they optimize their odds and look more intensely at GE programs outside of the trophy schools. Up until last year, the advice given was "rank the schools in the order you prefer them": PPSSF found out about the effect of ranking last year, but I don't think many parents knew the effect of ranking. I'd expect many of this year's lists to be better optimized for not going 0/7 than last years. Out of the 22% who went 0/7, four-fifths had a trophy school at #1 or #2.

    I'm pretty hopeful about this year. I think we'll see a lower proportion of people going 0/7, and see the popularity of a broad swath of schools increase in terms of first-choice rankings, and the number of first-choices to the trophies drop slightly-to-moderately.

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  96. Chinese Imm (DeAvila)
    Alvarado SI
    Alvarado GE
    Miraloma
    Sherman
    W Portal
    Clarendon JBBP

    We have a backup plan since our preschool goes thru K.

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  97. Spring Valley.
    (I posted this school on my list above)

    This is my neighborhood school (and the oldest grammar school in California). I met the principal and was really impressed with the K teachers. And I know a number of wonderful parents living in the neighborhood.

    We could make this into the next Sherman School with a coordinated effort.

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  98. 7:35 and 5:28 - Yick Wo and Spring Valley are AWESOME choices! Congratulations and good luck to you!

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  99. Just turned it in today (and the line was short!):

    Sunnyside
    Clarendon GE
    Sloat
    Rooftop
    Miraloma
    Alvarado GE
    McKinley

    Really hoping for Sunnyside -- absolutely loved it.

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  100. Wow - Sunnyside is getting a lot of press. Sounds like it is on the rise fast.

    I feel like there is a void b/c there is so little chatter on this site this year. I have been following this site for, I guess, 2 years now. This is the year that our family is actually participating in the lottery. Yikes!

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  101. Awesome list, 7:35. (PLEASE do fill out 7 choices; just complete it with Claire Lilienthal or Sherman.)

    We're also in the NE corner of SF, but I'm going for Sherman #1 and using the strategy of listing #2-7 with trophy schools (Clarendon, etc) with the exception of Marshall (all SI).

    I figure we either (a) get Sherman and be done with it, (b) get Marshall and waitlist Sherman (I know I'll be in lower cohort for getting assigned a choice) while we more seriously consider Spanish Immersion and the daily commute to the Mission district, or (c) go 0/7 and move to Round 2 at which time I'll consider more schools from 7:35's list and probably waitlist Sherman.

    (We have no problem with waitlists and not knowing where our kindergarten will be until the last minute or even changing schools. I have to believe something will work out.)

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  102. Here is my list. If we don't get one of these, we are moving to Marin, so that is our back up plan.

    1) Alamo
    2) Argonne
    3) Peabody
    4) Lafayetee
    5) Sutro
    6) Sherman
    7) Rooftop

    We live in the Richmond, which greatly guided our choices. Thiking about switching Peabody and Argonne but Argonne is just a few blocks from our home.

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  103. Oh, I hope everyone comes back and says what their list was and what they got -- I really want to know if the new info about #1 and at least some people's concerted effort to give up on the "trophy school or die" program made a difference. And it seems a shame that just as people get it, they change the system again.

    There was a lot of chatter on this site, but mostly about schools in the southeast quadrant.

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  104. List:

    1. Sherman (will be assignment area school)
    2. Claire Lilenthal
    3. Peabody
    4. Yick Wo
    5. Grattan
    6. Alvarado SI
    7. Clarendon GE

    5-7 are fillers so we can go 0/7 and waitlist one of the schools listed at 1-4. Having talked to many parents, geography and start times were a major theme of importance and are what guided our choices (preference for 7:50 a.m. pushed Sherman and CL to #1 and #2 despite the risks). Our plan is to wait it out through the Fall.

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  105. 11:58 PM:

    "We're also in the NE corner of SF, but I'm going for Sherman #1 and using the strategy of listing #2-7 with trophy schools (Clarendon, etc) with the exception of Marshall (all SI)."

    I've heard that Marshall is a good school, but has pretty limited afterschool options. Is that going to work for you, given you're in the NE? Would Buena Vista or Webster be a better option, given they're closer to Potero or 280 for commuting?

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  106. 1) Flynn SI
    2) Sunnyside (atttendence area)
    3) Fairmount
    4) Alvarado SI
    5) Paul Revere SI
    6) Flynn GE
    7) Miraloma

    Would love to hear some fair opinions. really interested in the immersion programs but didn't have enough time to tour all of them and didn't want to put down a school we didn't see.

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  107. Luckily afterschool programs are not an issue for us (11:58pm here).

    Decided against Daniel Webster, but did like Buena Vista as a SI option. Marshall is closer on the map but Buena Vista might actually be an easier commute with 280/101. Liked the "feeling" from Marshall. Buena Vista is solid but more difficult to get in to.

    Still making list adjustments!!!

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  108. I have heard through the grapevine that things at Flynn SI program are a bit hectic.

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  109. 11:18 AM, would you elaborate? hectic in what way? thx. I'm on the fence about listing flynn si...

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  110. I think Flynn SI is probably really hard to get into even if it is hectic. Flynn had like 1 spot last year and based on what I have been hearing, the Flynn GE - side of the school is rising rapidly as well, making it a great option for families that want immersion for one child (but not necessiary for all of their children).

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  111. I'm curious as to how Flynn is rising. Based on test scores - by no means the only or best evidence - academic performance is falling, and Flynn is in the 5th year of PI, which is when the consequences get severe.

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  112. I've included my list below and would love any feedback. As you can see, we're very interested in Spanish Immersion and are hopeful we'll land at an SI school. Please note: I'm constantly tweaking the order of schools on my list and will likely be tweaking it while standing in line to turn in my application. Please also note: this entire process has led to wicked stress-eating. My stress foods of choice (as I type) are peppermint bark and Dibs ice cream. ;)

    1. Flynn SI
    2. Paul Revere
    3. Buena Vista
    4. Daniel Webster (our attendance area school - can't decide where to rank it on our list. I'm not completely *sold* on Webster, but I do appreciate the convenient location and tremendous community rallying behind Webster...I'm guessing this school will rock the house in years to come)
    5. Monroe
    6. Fairmont
    7. Flynn GE

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  113. 9:47 - I think you have a pretty good list. Curious - Tell me your thoughts on Paul Revere? We will likely have this school on our list but don't know where to rank it. I toured it only once last year.

    I am not super stressed, I just can't believe the deadline is next week. We had all of these plans to tour more schools and talk to more parents...

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  114. Regarding Flynn - over the past few years there were issues with the principal and the teaching staff and some upheaval on the SI side. From what friends told me it was more to do with the principal then with the teaching staff.

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  115. My list:

    Miraloma (live one block away)
    Jefferson
    Grattan
    Sunset
    Feinstein
    McKinley
    Sunnyside

    I love all of these schools (and many more), but have certain leanings based on location and commute. My priority is to walk or bus to school, and if we don't get into Miraloma, we may move to the Inner Sunset. I'm not at all sure we're going to get any on the first round, though.

    Since I'm posting, can I just complain a tiny bit about how unfair I think it is that someone at our same socioeconomic level, who lives in, oh, Noe Valley or the Richmond or the Outer Sunset, may get into Miraloma, while we, who live ONE BLOCK away, will have to drive across town and pollute the air? I don't care that it's a trophy school (I didn't even tour it); I just care that it's my neighborhood school. Ok, sorry, I'm done!

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  116. Is Feinstein a K-4 school? Why does it say K-4 on the District Map?

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  117. 3:12, it's called desegregation, which is the undoing of neighborhood schools. I can't for the life of me figure out how to change it. Let in only disadvantaged kids from across town along with neighborhood kids? So that for all but the disadvantaged who can do tours, real estate determines your school? Sorry, but that would mean that a lot of us who live near less desirable schools would end up leaving the city. I'm not saying the lottery is perfect, but how do you avoid resegregation, skyrocketing real estate in certain neighborhoods while others go to pot, and middle-class flight?

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  118. 7:38PM,
    What if economically advantaged people living in neighbourhoods with poor schools go local, enroll in their kids in their poorly performing local schools, and help turn those schools around?

    Sending upper-middle-class kids all the way across town to good schools, and thereby forcing kids living close to the good schools to go all the way across town the other way is...

    ... a zero-sum diversity game.

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  119. "What if economically advantaged people living in neighbourhoods with poor schools go local, enroll in their kids in their poorly performing local schools, and help turn those schools around?"

    A decade ago, Noe Valley parents were clamoring to get away from Alvarado. Now parents in the same area are clamoring for neighbourhood selection.

    I think the lottery sets up a quasi-market, and gets a faster virtous-feedback effect on schools that start doing the right thing than is the case with a strictly neighbourhood system. Schools in SFUSD have done well during the lottery system - if you believe Greatschools.net district rankings, it's on par with Alameda and Mountain View, despite more challenging demographics. I think the lottery has helped in this.

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  120. 10:28, that's what people are starting to do -- take a look at their actual neighborhood school and invest in it. That's what happened with Alvarado and Miraloma a decade ago, and it's happening with Flynn, Paul Revere, and Daniel Webster now.

    So -- don't drive across town, silly! There is a perfectly good school within a decent commute of you, I am quite sure. If you are near Miraloma, try Sunnyside or Glen Park. Claire Lillienthal? Cobb. And so on. You think all these up-and-coming Southeast Side schools came about because middle-income people in these neighborhoods just moaned and groaned and drove up to Rooftop? Take a look around, roll up your sleeves, and pitch in -- or drive across town. Those are the alternatives while SFUSD funding is what it is.

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  121. Oh, I don't mean literally "across town"--I just mean drive at all. I'm a walker (that's why I live in a city, not the suburbs), and had really hoped to be able to walk my kids to and from school. I know there is no shortage of great schools to choose from if one is willing to drive. And I'm not even remotely interested in schools like Rooftop and Clarendon (not that they're not good; I just feel that many other schools that are easier to get into are perfectly fine). My point is simply that moving so, so far away from a neighborhood assignment system feels very wrong, as far as building community and creating a walkable city (things we are all supposedly striving for). I'd rather a so-so school down the street from me than a trophy school a few miles away.

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  122. Completely agree. Being able to walk to school is a top priority for us. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the two schools in walking distance of our house are considered trophy schools. So, we put them on the list and hope that we win the lottery!

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  123. If it makes you feel any better, you do get SOME edge from being in the assignment area. Good luck, I hope it works out for you!

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  124. I meant to add that while I value diversity in schools, I also value the environmental impact of not only driving to school but then driving all over town for play dates because none of the kids in your child's class lives remotely close to your house. As I kid, I walked to school and have fond memories of managing to lose my milk money in K (yes, I walked in K) on the way to school and dawdling on the way home with my friends who all lived nearby. Has there been any studies on the environmental or social impact of the current system? If so, I would like to read them. Perhaps, it would change my mind.

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  125. I think the notion that kids are driving all over town is slightly exaggerated. We are a 5 min drive from our school, which is not our neighborhood school, but is the next closest school. Most of his friends live within a 5 to 7 minute radius of us, quite a few within a few blocks. While there are the random children from way across town, it's the exception not the norm.

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  126. 2:32 - some people drive across town due to programs such as wanting immersion due to family ethnicity, but the family lives on the other side of town from all the immersion programs in that language. Most people would like to walk to their school, but some programs are concentrated where there is a large amount of target language speakers living. The beauty of living in a city is also that you can take advantage of such opportunities.

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  127. 2:32, 11:08 again. I'm completely with you on the environmental issues, and therefore somewhat puzzled. What gives with SF's school bus system? Is it completely incompatible with choice?

    I realize that walking and taking the bus are not the same thing, environmentally. But a good school bus system would be a start.

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  128. Rooftop
    Alvarado Gen
    McKinley (live in attendance area)
    West Portal
    Grattan
    Clarendon - GEN
    Miraloma

    We're fine waiting til Sept, changing schools etc - should we also apply to Creative Arts ? I've heard that spots do open at trophy school after Oct 1 but then you can't get in if you're at another public whereas if you are at charter or private you can?

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  129. Starr King ImmM
    Monroe ImmS
    Marshall ImmS
    Leonard Flynn ImmS
    Buena Vista ImmS
    Jose Ortega ImmM
    Fairmount ImmS

    I loved Chinese Immersion at De Avila, but it's just a wee bit too far away from home. And I only put Fairmount because I live very close and thought it would be silly not to list it. At the moment, we're actually willing to go into Round 2 for Starr King if we don't get assigned in Round 1.

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  130. 11:46: You can switch from one public to another as long as the waitlist still exists. I don't know exactly when they dissolve the waitlist; I think it varies year-to-year. I heard in the 08/09 school year they were still waitlisting in mid October, possibly later. In this current school year, I'm not sure when they dissolved it. Does anyone know when they officially dissolved this year's waitlist?

    We got into our popular elementary school off the waitlist on Friday of the first week of school. There was no movement on the waitlist for K after the beginning of the second week of school (at least not in my son's classroom). All three K classrooms are at the maximum 22 kids.

    Of course, the larger the school, the better your chances of getting in off the waitlist.

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  131. I'm encouraged by all the parents here who want to go local and turn around their neighborhood school rather than apply to the Trophies/Privates and move to the Dreaded Suburbs if they don't get Clarendon, etc.

    Also, it is absolutely true that Trophy/Private Parents spend hours and hours driving back and forth to play dates. If your child attends a Trophy, he/she will have friends from the four corners of San Francisco. And you will be driving to each of those four corners on a weekly basis.

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  132. Here's our likely list:

    Peabody (our attendance area school)
    Argonne
    Lafayette
    Lilienthal (GE)
    Clarendon
    Rooftop
    Grattan

    The last three are filler. We intend to go to the JCC for aftercare, and thus only looked at schools that bus to this program. We are also applying to privates, and haven't decided what we will do if given a choice. We ranked Peabody first as it is our attendance area school. We debated in our ranking of Argonne, Lafayette and Lilienthal, and ended up choosing Argonne based on its later start time. That said, we recognize that it doesn't really matter. Argonne and Lilienthal are out if you don't rank them first, and Lafayette is likely also out if you live outside of the attendance area and don't rank it first. We understand that if we don't get Peabody, then we're 0/7 and spending the summer on the waitlist.

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  133. Make sure you check the process for getting into the JCC aftercare program. It's very popular and fills up quickly and early.

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  134. Does anyone know the incoming sibling count this year for Peabody? We are considering putting it first on our list but if there's a large sib number we might not since it's such a small school. Thanks!

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  135. 11:08
    I agree! Good bus system would be a plus. I also agree with someone else that driving five minutes is not the same as driving 20 minutes. Still not ideal, but what can you do.

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  136. Lot of Grattan, Peabody, McKinley and Miraloma picks on folks lists. I wonder with Grattan and McKinley being more central to the city, if they end up being popular with both north side and south side applicants as a result.

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  137. We have been planning to put Peabody as #1 for a few years but are now concerned that it has become too popular. It's a bummer because it's close to our flat (but not our neighborhood school, McCoppin is) and has the right start time. We also like that it's small and we know a lot of families there. Hmm....

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  138. 3:12

    I understand your frustration that you don't have a higher priority of getting into the school near your house than someone from across town... but at the same time, I've almost always noticed that this argument comes from people who live near the trophy schools. As someone who doesn't live near a trophy school, I'm pretty relieved to know I still have a chance of getting into the school right near your house, even if I have to take the bus to get there.

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  139. 8:02
    Fair enough. I can't belittle you for selecting Trophy schools on the other side of town for your child.

    But the whole strategy behind eliminating the neighborhood school and switching to a free-ranging choice system was to create diversity.

    Clearly, this is not happening. Upper-middle-class kids are shlepping across town in opposite directions...

    ...in a zero-sum diversity game.

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  140. "Clearly, this is not happening. Upper-middle-class kids are shlepping across town in opposite directions...

    ...in a zero-sum diversity game."

    You've also got 70% of Bayview/Hunters Point parents sending their kids to non-neighborhood schools, as opposed to 50% average district-wide (according to a post on Rachel Norton's blog). The idea that only upper-middle class parents are trying to optimize their kids education through the lottery is not accurate.

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  141. "My point is simply that moving so, so far away from a neighborhood assignment system feels very wrong, as far as building community and creating a walkable city "

    There's several problems with that.

    Firstly, you can't both provide choice and a guaranteed place at a particular school. Personally, I value being able to choose from 85+ SFUSD elementary school programs as being more appealing than a guaranteed slot at my neighbourhood school.

    Also, where you might think the kids are isn't where they actually are, e.g. there are more kids in the K-12 age range in Visitation Valley than in Bernal, and Bernal has almost 2.5 the kids than Noe Valley. (And there are very few kids in Potero Hill, surprisingly).
    In general, there's a shortage of capacity in the SE, and a bit of slack in the N and W. If you go to a strict neighbourhood system, you'd have to open more schools in the SE, and close some in the N and W. That isn't a trivial process.

    Also, it's easier to provide programs (e.g. immersion, special-ed inclusion) on a district-wide basis than trying to balance them across the district. (This is the reason splitting the city into three or more "zones" is going to be a nonstarter.)

    Finally, this city isn't a homogeneous well-mixed lump. There is great variation ethnically and socioeconomically from neighborhood to neighborhood. I'm not just talking Pacific Heights versus BV/HP; there are huges differences between Bernal and Excelsior and the Sunset. Allowing a district-wide lottery acts to even this out in a fair(ish) way.

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  142. So what is the definitive list of situations when the rank (1 through 7) of ones choice actually applies ?

    I am aware of two situations, but can someone please confirm/deny them ... and, are there other situations ?

    (1) My understanding is that rank is a tie-breaker in the wait pool. Is that correct ? Let's say family EXHAUSTED went 0 for 7 in round one and family WORNOUT also went 0 for 7 in round one and they both got on the wait pool for the school KEEPONDREAMING. If EXHAUSTED had put KEEPONDREAMING as number 1 in round one and WORNOUT had put it as number 2 in round one, EXHAUSTED would get preference, right ?

    (2) I understand that in round one itself (and presumably round two as well), if families FREELUNCH and CALWORKS both increase the diversity index of the school LONGSHOT ALTERNATIVE by the exact same amount, then once again, the rank would break the tie, correct ?

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  143. Just returned from visiting friends in Seattle. They revamped their "full city draw system." They re-drew the neighborhood school lines and starting next year, students get an initial assignment at an elementary school in their area. Families can then choose to pursue an assignment at an option school (SF calls them Alternative schools), or another attendance area school, if they wish.
    I like it. I think SF should do the same. Seattle's old system was similar to ours where families ranked choices and waited. I think SF should assign kids to their neighborhood school (the ones in black on that map) and if you don't like your assignment, then you can put in for one of the many alternative schools (the ones in blue only on the map). I also think they should change all the Immersion programs to Alternative so everyone in the city has the same access to these special programs.
    However, this doesn't help me this year! sigh.

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  144. 9:47, your 1) is incorrect. by the time you get the waitpool, there is not rank or tie breaker. they randomly select from the waitpool (that's why they don't call it a wait list b/c your not in any order on the list). Your 2) is correct. The ranking also works if you somehow get into more than one of your 7 choices. SFUSD will assign you to the one highest on your rank list.

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  145. "Just returned from visiting friends in Seattle. They revamped their "full city draw system." They re-drew the neighborhood school lines and starting next year, students get an initial assignment at an elementary school in their area."

    You'll notice that the actual system in Seattle hasn't been implemented yet, so you haven't yet heard from the problems in implementation.

    Seattle's new system is similar to the old OER system that the lottery replaced.

    There's several issues with it: neighborhood assigment looks good if your local school is good. If its a not-so-great school, then neighbourhood assignment doesn't look so great.

    Maybe in 5-10 years the secular trend of schools upward will have went far enough to go for purely neighbourhood assignment, but there are too many schools (around 15) that are scoring in the 1-2 range on state rankings for that to be done yet.

    Also, it will impact Real Estate values, as houses near good . Great if you're in Forest Hill, not so great if you're in the Excelsior.

    " I also think they should change all the Immersion programs to Alternative so everyone in the city has the same access to these special programs."

    As a SE resident, if you're going to leave me with zip chance of getting into Grattan, I want your chance of getting into the immersion programs in my local school to be similarly reduced.

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  146. Feinstein (live 1 block away)
    Rooftop (should we list this lower?
    Sunset
    Miraloma
    Sloat
    West Portal
    Clarendon

    We did not tour Clarendon (just a filler) but we didnt like Sunnyside, Jefferson, Francis Scott Key or Robert Stevenson, Glen Park - which are the others we toured around our area.).
    We just want our daughter to go to the neighborhood school at Feinstein. She's caucasian and we do not meet any special criteria.
    Is this list ok?

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  147. If Feinstein is an attendance area school, I'd say you have a pretty good shot at getting it. It's large and fairly diverse. Just to be picking though, the fact that your child is caucasian is irrelevant to the outcome.

    Assuming you want a round 1 assignment even if you don't get Feinstein, I'd bump Rooftop and Miraloma lower and Sloat and Sunset up.

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  148. "Feinstein (live 1 block away)
    Rooftop (should we list this lower?
    Sunset
    Miraloma
    Sloat
    West Portal
    Clarendon"

    As already noted, Feinstein had less first choice applications than slots last year, so your odds are good, though not certain.

    West Portal is a wasted pick, unless you're intended it to just be filler like Clarendon. Miraloma is also too low to be useful.

    Have you considered listing Lakeshore? It's an alternative school, but has been dropping in # of first-place applications over the past few years because of competition from immersion programs and other rising GE programs. Test scores are decent: 812 API. Last year, there were 88 slots but only 60 first-place applications. Might be a good #2 or #3, if you really don't want to go 0/7.

    Be aware that last year Feinstein had a large waitpool
    (27, 19 of which were in the 0/7 cohorh) even as late as July 2009, so you may have to have patience if you go 0/7 and waitlist.

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  149. Miraloma (our assignment area)
    Rooftop
    Sunnyside
    Alvarado IMMS
    Feinstein
    McKinley
    Lakeshore

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  150. 3:46, I assume you are prepared to go 0/7 and through the waitpools. If not, move up the Lakeshore, Sunnyside, and McKinley picks--certainly no guarantees there, still hard odds probably, but not deadly ones like your current priority order.

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  151. Curious why so many who are listing Sunnyside and Monroe don't have SF Community. It's just down the street from Monroe, is K-8, has some distinguishing features (small school by design, project based learning) and gets decent scores. Is it location, reputation, or non-immersion? It's on our list (#2, after Fairmount).

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  152. Here is my list, just turned in this afternoon ( about an hour wait):

    Peabody
    Alamo
    Argonne
    New Traditions
    Claire Lilienthal
    Sutro
    Lafayette

    The truth is that the last four are filler for me. Due to location, start time and in the case of Sutro, lack of more than one GE class for K. I have twins and I need them to be at a school where I can separate them if I choose to do so. Anyway, hoping for the best but definitely do not have high hopes of both getting in somewhere! Curious to see what people think of this list.

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  153. "Feinstein (live 1 block away)"

    Note that according to the SFUSD school map, Feinstein is not an attendance area school. Unless I'm mistaken, that means that living one block away gives you no advantage in the lottery. If you live a block away, my guess is that your attendance area school is Ulloa.

    I'm getting this information from the map on the SFUSD website. The symbol next to Feinstein on page 2 indicates it's a non-attendance area school, fyi.

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/Map_final_SFUSD_map_layout.pdf

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  154. Here's our list as it now stands:

    Peabody
    Argonne (may switch order of first 2)
    Sunset
    Lafayette
    Grattan
    Alamo
    Claire Lilienthal (last three are fillers)

    Any thoughts?

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  155. Here is our list:

    Miraloma
    Sunnyside
    Sloat
    McKinley
    Glen Park
    Milk
    West Portal (would love it, but at #7, it's a filler)

    Any thoughts? I'm not sure about the order of the first three...

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  156. "Feinstein (live 1 block away)"

    I live two blocks from Feinstein and put it 1st on my list last year. I went 0/7 in Round One. I listed Feinstein as my waitpool school in Round Two and went 0/7. Feinstein remained my waitpool school throughout the summer and into the first week of school. That Wednesday, we received a call from EPC offering us a spot at Feinstein. However, we turned it down because we decided to stay at Jose Ortega (great smaller school!).

    If you are willing to wait it out your chances are pretty good for getting Feinstein off of the wait list. There was a lot of movement there during the first few weeks of school.

    By the way, I drive by Feinstein every day and don't regret our decision to stay at JOES even though we drive 10-15 minutes to get to school.

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  157. Paul Revere IM
    Monroe IM (assignment area)
    Fairmount
    Buena Vista
    McKinley
    MIlk
    Rooftpo

    According to Adams Spreadsheet we have 74% chance of getting one of these pick

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  158. I'm also curious about the lack of interest in Lakeshore this year--could it be the (temporary) bungalows in the playground are a turn-off? My kids are in high school now but when we were at Lakeshore, it was much more popular. I guess this demonstrates the "herd" mentality at work! If I had it to do over I would NOT listen to the chatter but still wouldn't change my choices. Best of luck to everyone.

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  159. 6:20 (mother of twins): Is Peabody your assignment area school? If so, keep it first and move Lafayette and New Traditions up to the second and third spots (better chance at these schools). If not, what is your assignment area school and is it acceptable to you? Given how popular it seems to have become, I doubt anyone outside of the assignment area with the diversity factors I'm assuming you have (preschool and neither poverty diverse factor) will get into Peabody in Round 1. You should consider ranking your assignment area school first (assuming it is not Peabody) or moving New Traditions or Lafayette to the first spot (and the other second). If you are not interested in Sutro, I wouldn't put it on your list. Pick another "filler" school (which is what Grattan, Alamo and Lilienthal effectively are on your list, since you are not ranking them first). Good luck!

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  160. 6:20 - Sorry - I just re-read your post and saw that you already turned in your form, so my comments aren't very helpful. Best of luck!

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  161. Yeah, the Seattle program is regressive, not progressive. Come on! The reason SF has so many up and coming neighborhoods is that people can choose to live in a nongentrified or not-yet-gentrified area and not sacrifice their kids' education.

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  162. 7:32 - Is Peabody your attendance area school? If so, then I'd leave it first. If not, then consider putting Argonne first as it is not an attendance area school (so the lottery is not run first for the attendance area families, opening up to all only after the attendance area families cannot further add to the required diversity balance...rather it is run for all families all at once). Or consider putting Lafayette first. It is getting more popular, but I do know of at least one non-attendance area family who ranked it first last year and got it in Round One. If you put Lafayette first, then I suggest Argonne second and Peabody third. After that, it's all filler (ranking Sunset fourth if it is not your attendance area school is equivalent to filler). Good Luck!

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  163. 8:02 - Is Miraloma your assignment area school? Given how popular it is (and assuming your diversity factors include preschool and no poverty diversity factors), I would not bother listing it unless it is your assignment area school (and then keep it first) or you want it above all else and are willing to wait it out over the summer (and have back up options). Although not as popular as Miraloma, McKinley has gotten more popular, so if you are not in the assignment area and really want it, you need to put it first (otherwise it is probably just filler). You already acknowledge that West Portal is filler. That leaves you with Sunnyside, Sloat, Glen Park, and Milk as good possibilities. Consider ranking them 1-4, in the order that you like best (unless one is your assignment area school, then put that one first). Good Luck!

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  164. Yeah, the Seattle program is regressive, not progressive. Come on! The reason SF has so many up and coming neighborhoods is that people can choose to live in a nongentrified or not-yet-gentrified area and not sacrifice their kids' education.

    Seconded. Seattle fought very hard to keep their system for enrollment, and it was overwhelmingly popular with city residents. They changed it because of the Supreme Court decision (they were one of the two districts directly involved in the case). Teachers and principals resigned over this. The schools are expected to resegregate.

    If you believe that diversity, in and of itself, is an important value, then Seattle's new enrollment system is not one to emulate. Beyond all other factors, including equity and equality, I believe that diversity is enormously important.

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  165. Our schools are becoming more segregated each year, despite the Pick Seven system.

    One solution:
    Establish direct-feeder school buses from Hunter's Point to Clarendon, Rooftop, and Lillenthal. These are among the most segregated schools in the city, and setting aside, say, 1/3 of all placements at these schools for kids in SF's very poorest neighborhoods would help solve the re-segregation problem.

    What would be wrong with direct-feeder bus lines? We already do this for high schools (from Richmond and Excelsior to Galileo, for example).

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  166. Help with filling out the enrollment application! For "Date First Attended School in the US" do they want the date they started preschool or the date they will start kindergarten? Thank you for your help!

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  167. The concern is not so much Clarendon et al. not reflecting the District's demographics. It's that there are schools whose populations are over 80% under the federal poverty line, or whose students are overwhelmingly African American or Latino - say, 70% or more one race.

    These are the schools that are segregated.

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  168. Right, Clarendon, Miraloma, etc are not the ones that are deeply segregated--though they are not as balanced as say, SF Community or Harvey Milk. Because the lottery can balance schools to the degree that they are a) fully subscribed and b) the applicant families are, on the whole, a diverse bunch, the lottery can have an impact on schools such as Clarendon.

    However, the lottery cannot have an impact on schools that are hugely under-subbed, or which have a plainly non-diverse applicant base. Guess where those are? Mainly in poor neighborhoods. Clarendon's applicant base is more white and middle class than the district as a whole, but it is far from being a "racially isolated" school compared to some of the privates (going one direction) or to Malcolm X (going the other)--in the sense that there is no one racial group over 80%, by far.

    The days of "forced busing" and then OER had many problems, but one thing to recommend it was that no school could get as segregated as some of those in the Mission and BVHP, given the 40% cap of those days.

    By the way, it is a fair assumption that pure neighborhood assignment would lead to worse segregation, beyond what we have now. What we have now is a *compromise* between the busing the old, and very segregated (by race and socio-economic factors both), neighborhood system.

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  169. '"The days of "forced busing" and then OER had many problems, but one thing to recommend it was that no school could get as segregated as some of those in the Mission and BVHP, given the 40% cap of those days.'

    Well, the 40% cap is now illegal, so the district has to twist itself in pretzels to mitigate segregation of the schools without being able to use ethnicity as a factor in assignment. It should also be noted that many of the neighbourhoods the schools are in are predominantly one or two ethnic groups, which makes the task harder.

    The problem with using socioeconomic variables to encourage ethnic diversity is that the two largest ethnic groups in the SFUSD intake (Asian and Hispanic) have so much socioeconomic diversity within themselves that the economic & linguistic diversity variables used in the lottery don't prevent e.g. Alice Fong Yu from having a 90% Asian intake in the past few years.

    Also, there's a lot of resentment still from the "forced busing" days - a lot of native SF residents have bad associations with the forced busing, and because of that are very skeptical of the publics.

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  170. "I'm also curious about the lack of interest in Lakeshore this year--could it be the (temporary) bungalows in the playground are a turn-off? "

    The overall application numbers to Lakeshore have been going up. But the number who list Lakeshore as a first choice has been dropping. I'd put it down to Lakeshore's location in the far SW of the city, so it's more remote than the other alternative schools, plus the increasing number of GE and immersion programs that are perceived as desirable (e.g. Jose Ortega MI & GE are close by).

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  171. "Curious why so many who are listing Sunnyside and Monroe don't have SF Community. It's just down the street from Monroe, is K-8, has some distinguishing features (small school by design, project based learning) and gets decent scores. Is it location, reputation, or non-immersion? It's on our list (#2, after Fairmount)."

    I suspect it's lack of marketing by SF Community. It doesn't have a principal, and the guide on tours was a bit uninspiring. But it is in an area where there are a lot of SI programs close by, which would siphon off demand.

    Also, project-based learning isn't for all kids: I feel my kid needs a lot of structure, and project-based learning wouldn't suit them at all. But for some or even most kids, SF Community would be great.

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  172. 7:32 p.m. - I'd switch Peabody and Argonne. With twins,you will have better odds at the larger school and a bigger pool of classes should you decide to split them up. Argonne had 1st choicers of 91 for 78 spots last year and its not likely to change all that much this year.

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  173. 1/4 10:00pm Establish direct-feeder school buses from Hunter's Point to Clarendon, Rooftop, and Lillenthal ... for kids in SF's very poorest neighborhoods would help solve the re-segregation problem.

    Parents in the SE quadrant of the City would like their children to go to their neighbor school, just like the majority of parents on this Blog. I can't imagine any mother wanting to put her 4 1/2 year old baby on a bus every morning to go across town and then not have the resources to go meet with teachers, see performances, etc. It seems that the approach that has been working is to continue to add popular alternative programs to SE neighborhood schools, i.e. immersion.

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  174. Clarendon currently has a bus route to/from Vis Valley. Rooftop has bus routes to/from Vis Valley and Hunters Point.

    The really rough part is that the bus leaves at 6:50 from Hunters Point to get to Rooftop. That is tough for anyone.

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  175. I am contemplating putting Starr King Mandarin Immersion on my list. If I don't put it first, are my chances of getting it pretty low? (we aren't native mandarin speakers, my child went to preschool and don't qualify for free lunch, etc) Thanks for any insight.

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  176. 10:00 a.m. says: "Clarendon, Rooftop, and Lillenthal. These are among the most segregated schools in the city..."


    Clarendon:
    33.5% white, 13.1% Japanese, 12.9% Chinese, 9.1% Other Nonwhite, 8.1% Latino, the rest "other."

    Lilienthal:
    31.4% white, 12.1% African-American, 10.9% Latino, 10% Chinese, the rest "other"

    Rooftop:
    23% Latino, 21.5% white, 14.5% African-American, 13.5% Chinese, the rest "other."

    The court's definition of "segregated" is 60%+ of any one subgroup. While Clarendon is pretty low on African-American (4.5%) and Latino students, these schools aren't segregated by any definition. Any private or high-end suburban school would kill to be able to claim a fraction of that level of diversity.

    It's really a good idea to confirm before you make damning statements like that.

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  177. "Parents in the SE quadrant of the City would like their children to go to their neighbor school, just like the majority of parents on this Blog....."

    We live in the SE and although it would be great to send them to our local neighborhood school, until the GE program has improved in the schools near us, we're willing to travel across town for a better education for them.

    (Current API for Webster= 645, Flynn=668)

    Language immersion is a great option for those who want it, but it's not right for every child and unfortunately it's not a good fit for ours. Eliminating choice really does NOT help those in the SE section of the city.

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  178. "Clarendon:
    33.5% white, 13.1% Japanese, 12.9% Chinese, 9.1% Other Nonwhite, 8.1% Latino, the rest "other."

    Lilienthal:
    31.4% white, 12.1% African-American, 10.9% Latino, 10% Chinese, the rest "other""

    Both those schools are significantly different from the SFUSD average of 41% Asian, 10% white, and 24% Hispanic.

    Personally, I can't see, given that the SFUSD intake is 41% Asian and the concentration of Hispanics in the SE of the city, how the district can avoid having schools that is going to be over 60% of one ethnic group.

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  179. "I am contemplating putting Starr King Mandarin Immersion on my list. If I don't put it first, are my chances of getting it pretty low?"

    SK had 44 slots and 30 first choice applications. You have some chance of getting it if you don't place it first, depending on what the socioeconomics of the MI applicant pool look like. But to be sure, place it first. IIRC the waitpool for SK MI wasn't too large last year, so you could always try waitpooling if you don't get it.

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  180. 2:46--
    Thanks for your advice.

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  181. @2:01 - last year we put SKMI #2 on our list (not in the attendence area, not Mandarin fluent) and went 0/7 in R1, we got it in R2. We know quite a few families who got in off the waitlist over the summer (at least 4? maybe more), and another couple of kids who started during the first week of school. So if you don't get it in R1 keep trying.

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  182. The least diverse schools seem to be Cesar Chavez, Bryant and Sanchez at 80% or more Hispanic/Latino; Marsahll at 78% Hispanic/Latino; Yehall Chin, Lau,Parker, Sutro and Ulloa at 77% or more Asian; Charles Drew and Willie Brown at over 70% African American; RLS, Francis Scott, Lawton, Garfield at over 70% Asian and then West Portal, Jefferson, McCoppin, Alice Fong Yu, Taylor and Alamo at 60% or greater Asian. That is 21 schools.

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  183. FYI just turned in my papers to EPC today (Tues) at 2pm. The line was into the hallway, about 45 minutes long, and moved smoothly.

    Grattan
    Miraloma
    Harvey Milk
    Clarendon JBBP
    Fairmont SI
    Alvarado SI
    Rooftop

    I probably had a 0/7 list, but we're willing to wait it out.

    Good luck!

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  184. 6:20 PM twin Mom here. I think the comment regarding switching Peabody and Argonne may have been directed to someone with a similar list but thanks. I've already turned in the list though I've heard I can amend it. Truth is, while I may have a better shot with Argonne, Peabody is closer to my house and I like the school better. Curious how many people put schools they have better odds at rather than schools they really want to go to?

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  185. I do think you should go ahead and apply to Creative Arts Charter, too. I had no intention of actually going, but wound up sending my kid there and loving it. What's the harm in spending two minutes on another piece of paper?

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  186. Thanks but Creative Arts is not a good fit for us.

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  187. Turned in yesterday morning, 15 minute wait.

    1. New Traditions (greening grounds, clean school, great K teachers, onsite CDC, believe it will be the hot school in the next few years - people like trees and art in this town)
    2. Jefferson (onsite CDC, great API, happy/polite kids)
    3. ER Taylor (reputation...sans rats)
    4. Alamo (feeder to Presidio MS)
    5. Lafayette (on site CDC, good API, good after school activities)
    6. Miraloma (reputation but chance is slim so this is really a filler)
    7. Sutro (filler)

    Really, I feel this whole process was a crap shoot. But in taking our chances of getting what we requested seriously, a big decider for us was needing a school with an onsite CDC since we work traditional FT jobs. Rooftop was not an option because even if we got in, then we'd have the CASA nail biter and I don't need the additional gray hair.

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  188. I am a product of forced busing in SF and I am eternally grateful for the unique and diverse experience it provided me to not be scared of diversity.

    I am also a parent from Bay View who had a 4 1/2 year old who went to Rooftop. I did not put him on the bus. I drove him there.

    Contrary to some people's assumptions, there are many white, middle class people living in the Bay View due to affordability of real estate in this area and the spectacular views.

    When I applied for kindergarden, I listed Rooftop as my #1 and got in on the 1st round without any diversity factors.

    Just wanted to share a different perspective.

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  189. Sorry to even have to ask this, but if we have already turned in our list, is it possible to go back to 555 Franklin to change it before Friday? I am having ranker's remorse.

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  190. 8:54, thanks for your shout out from the Bay View.

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  191. 2:46 here. I said:

    "SK had 44 slots and 30 first choice applications. You have some chance of getting it if you don't place it first, depending on what the socioeconomics of the MI applicant pool look like."

    I forgot to mention that 1/2 of the slots in the MI programs are reserved for Mandarin speakers. As there's not many Mandarin speakers applying to SK and JOES MI programs, these slots open up in R2.

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  192. If you don't want to stand in line at the EPC to turn in your application, you can go to a Satellite Collection Site instead. Our school had one tonight and the EPC staff were just sitting around waiting for people to show up. The remaining locations are:

    • Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010 4:00-7:00pm
    • New Traditions Elementary School
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 4:00-7:00pm
    • Francis Scott Key Elementary School
    Friday, January 8, 2010 4:00-7:00pm

    (This is on p.18 of the enrollment guide.)

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  193. "I am a product of forced busing in SF and I am eternally grateful for the unique and diverse experience it provided me to not be scared of diversity."

    That's great you had that experience. However, last week I met a SF native with a 3-year old who'd been in publics during the forced busing era, and was very averse to the idea of looking at the publics *at all*. I mean, my kid's at AFY but I still couldn't persuade him to consider publics as an alternative.

    So that's why I said that there's still a lot of resentment from the forced busing era.

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  194. "When I applied for kindergarden, I listed Rooftop as my #1 and got in on the 1st round without any diversity factors."

    You are not the first person from the Bayview who has said this. Though they say zip code does not matter, I suspect that they do give it a look.

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  195. Hey January 5, 5:57, My Creative Arts suggestion was actually directed to January 1, 2010 11:46 PM, who asked whether s/he should go ahead and go for CACS too. Sorry, I should have clarifbied.

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  196. Hi,
    I would appreciated any insights here. I am really hoping for Spanish immersion (my son has a decent chance of passing the language test as Spanish-speaking/bilingual). He's stronger in English. At any rate, my husband and I will be compromising on our list (I'm more immersion focused than he is), and I think we'll agree to this:

    1. Alvarado
    2. Flynn
    3. Fairmount
    4. Sherman (near home)
    5. McKinley
    6. Spring Valley Science (near home)
    7. Peabody (senu-close to home)

    Would very much welcome feedback! I realize these schools are competitive (Alvardo being extremely competitive) with the exception of Spring Valley Scinece).
    Thanks.

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  197. 10:58
    The computer run doesn't look at zip code - so there is no way to 'peek' and do anything of the sort.

    Time to give up on some of the urban myths about the assignment system - this is one of them.

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  198. Lisa again. Regarding the list just posed above, I should have designaged that both Alvarado and Flynn would be for the Spanish Immersion programs.

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  199. While my 'baby' is now in 7th grade, I must remark on how interesting it is to see the lists of 7 (back then we only got 5) and how different they are than when I applied. And it's all good!

    It's a testament that viral marketing works and that perceptions (imagined and actual) really do change.

    Schools considered off the table backthen are highly desirable: Miraloma, Gratten, McKinley, Ortega, Peabody, Argonne, Ortega, etc. And of course, there were only 3 Spanish Immersion programs at the time (Fairmont, Alvarado and Buena Vista.)

    I only put down the most popular, in demand schools at the time (shame on me, didn't follow PPS advice at the time), didn't get any of our choices and had to 'settle' for Miraloma while we hoped to get one of our other choices after the 10 day count.

    Of course, Miraloma was a great school then, but very few knew it or believed it at the time - and the rest is history (along with dozens of other schools that got on the radar and now people are clamoring to get into.)

    It makes me happy to see these lists because I know that there is no shortage of great options. I'm somewhat saddened by the idea that we may move to a more neighborhood based system because it limits choices. But I must admit that things have changed and it's a testament to the positive changes in SFUSD that now people see so many good schools that parents generally feel that their neighborhood school is a good option. This was certainly not the case (due to perception) when my 7th grader was applying to kinder.

    Anyway, now as an 'experienced' public school parent, I can look back and tell all of you with younger kids that things generally work out fine.

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  200. We are thinking of two different lists. We have no attendance area school, so the first non-alternative school we list becomes our aa school.

    The slightly more pie in the sky version:
    Miraloma (attendance area)
    Clarendon GE
    McKinley
    Sunnyside
    Monroe SI
    Commodore Sloat
    New Traditions

    The don't want to go 0/7 version:
    Miraloma (attendance area)
    McKinley
    Sunnyside
    Monroe SI
    Commodore Sloat
    New Traditions
    Fairmount

    Any opinions?

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