Monday, January 25, 2010

Why I love Starr King

I love that my kids read and write Mandarin Chinese. They’re often too shy (or just too ornery) to say anything in it when I’m around, but I hear from reliable sources that they actually can speak it, too

I love our teachers, who are some of the hardest working and most professional people I have had the pleasure to encounter. I am constantly amazing to find them at school or online at all hours of the day and night. Now that I see public school teachers in action day in and day out, I’m astounded they aren’t treated (and paid) more like the professionals they are.

And I’m so pleased that my 3rd grader (like all our 3rd grade Mandarin students) gets English class in a mixed (i.e. some Mandarin immersion, some general ed, some Spanish bilingual) English class so she’s getting one of Starr King’s great general ed teachers for English.

I’m grateful for a school that’s a warm community and where I enjoy going to the holiday pageant, even though I’ve heard the songs for three years running, because I’ll get to chat with a bunch of moms and dads who are fun.

I was really pleased that when some kids teased my daughter about having gay parents, I got a call from her teacher about the incident before my kids even got home from school that day. And when I went in to talk to the principal about it, just one hour later, my daughter’s teacher had already talked to each child that had told my daughter it was ‘weird’ and ‘yucky’ to have two moms and two dads and had them write notes of apology.

Most of all, I really liked that the school took it seriously without making it into a huge thing, which was just the right tone and didn’t give the teasers power.

And I love that our school is in San Francisco. Unlike a similar incident in an East Bay public school last year, when my daughter’s teacher showed her class the film That’s a Family, which is about how there are all kinds of families in the world, there were no protests, no Fox News filming through the school windows, no letter writing campaign. Just a dozen or so kids who hopefully learned that there are all kinds of families and what matters is that you’re loved.

I also love it that when we sing Happy Birthday on Monday during the morning assembly, it’s done in English, Mandarin, Spanish and Samoan. And that our annual Car Wash has a DJ better than many dance clubs I’ve been to.

And, although I know it doesn’t effect their learning, I love that Starr King’s second floor has some of the most amazing view of San Francisco Bay in the city.


  1. I love Starr King too. I am so very impressed by how dedicated and loving my children's teachers are. I am a teacher myself, so I can really recognize and appreciate Starr King's staff's efforts school-wide.

    I also love the families - truly diverse on many levels.

    I feel so lucky to have found a great school plus the second language experience.

  2. OK, this seriously brought tears to my eyes. Very sweet. I'm glad you have such a warm community where your children are learning.

  3. Starr King is on our list of choices, but I am not 100% sure of the school location/neighborhood, do you feel safe in the school playground and the neighborhood in general?

  4. I haven't posted in a long while but logged on to read the Starr King blurb since we're a SK family. To the poster asking re crime and n'hood safety: I had the same concerns two years ago and did a fair amount of research then. Check and sfpd's site at (click on crime maps). The district sfpd station is the Bayview station and they have an office at the potrero housing development. I think it's staffed 24/7 but you can call the station and ask. The officers there can tell you the real deal. I think the websites are also fairly accurate though they can lag by a couple of weeks. I checked my own neighborhood (close to Buena Vista and Flynn) and found more violent crime closer to where I live than at the school. When I was researching this issue for myself I called both the captain of the Bayview Station as well as the staff on site at the housing projects. Both actually took my calls and answered my questions straightforwardly. While there is crime in the neighborhood, there's not more there than other 'hoods. Also, it doesn't or hasn't come onto the school site.

    Once I was satisfied that I wasn't sending my kid into a center of violence or whatever, I put SK as our waitpool choice and was lucky enough to get in. My kid speaks, reads and writes Chinese and has an awesome community of friends... and as importantly so do I.

    I hope this is helpful and wish I could give you my name to call. I'm brave enough to live where I live and send my kid to SK but not to endure the snarks on this blog!

    --Bernal Single Mom (forgot my password)

  5. Bernal Single Mom, thank you so much for sharing the information. By talking with other parents of SK, some of them had similar concerns as I have, but they went to a similar or less process as you did, and decided to go to SK. So far, all SK families there (I only talked to those in Mandarin progrom) seem pretty happy.