Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why I love Zion Lutheran

We are a military family and we move A LOT, so when we choose a school for our kids we need a pragmatic approach. When the Army said, ‘you’re moving from Germany to San Francisco in 6 weeks’, we drew a 3-mile radius around our new address and started calling every school in the circle. I wanted to find a place my kids would be safe, challenged and happy, and where they could get some individual attention in case the transition was challenging.

Luckily, I was only 4 or 5 schools into my phone list when I reached Zion Lutheran School, a small, diverse religious school in the Inner Richmond. After the call I hung up the phone and called to my daughter to ‘come look at your new school website!’ Sometimes it pays to go with your gut.

Zion is a tiny school, with an average class size of less than 20, but is packed with quality programming and an astonishing level of commitment from the teachers and staff. The academic programs are rigorous and challenging, and after school activities include additional languages, cooking, Lego engineering, art and music lessons, all offered through the school, which is no small thing for a working parent concerned with transportation. The school musical in the spring is the highlight of a tremendous music program, and is far better than many high school productions I’ve seen.

But even more important than the programming is that the teachers truly know and care about my kids. Before Christmas my oldest finished a dance class through the JCC- just a dance class she wanted to take for fun, and both her current and last year’s teacher arrived unannounced at the last class to see the recital! Each of the teachers routinely attends the girls’ soccer games, even though the team is run through a city program – they just care enough to come. And on my daughter’s birthday, both of the outside chaperones had wished her a Happy Birthday before they even shut my car door.

In a city where we arrived not knowing a soul, my kids found an instant family. To anyone looking for a wonderful, high-quality school with personal attention for your kids, I’d recommend calling Zion Lutheran.

10 comments:

  1. Just wanted to add: The kids at Zion Lutheran were the most lively and engaged in their classrooms of any school I've toured, and I've probably toured at least 20 public, private and parochial schools by now. This is not the fanciest physical plant you will see, but the warmth of the diverse community and the commitment of the teachers make Zion Lutheran a real stand-out in my eyes. The school follows the Core Knowledge Curriculum.

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  2. Any idea how much tuition is at Zion Lutheran?

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  3. I wrote the original post - I don't have my statement handy, but it's around $650 per month per student.

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  4. sounds reasonable. thanks!

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  5. Are there kids with gay and lesbian parents at Zion?

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  6. I toured Zion Lutheran in 2008 and my son attended their pre-K playdate. I just loved the school -- the principal and Jillian Maguire were wonderful. We were lucky enough to nab our first choice in the lottery, or our son would probably be attending Zion Lutheran. I'm still on their email list and attend events. I'll definitely tour again when we start considering middle schools.

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  7. Jan. 5 at 5 am -- Since there's been no response to your question, nor any attempt by the proponent of this school to answer the bigger issue lurking behind your question -- namely is the school welcoming of gay and lesbian families -- I think we can conclude that the answer to your question -- and likely the answering to the larger question above -- would likely be in the negative. Which got me thinking. If gay and lesbian families suffer discrimination in private school enrollment (which they certainly do), why aren't they given a preference in the public school assignment system? Just a thought . . .

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  8. "If gay and lesbian families suffer discrimination in private school enrollment (which they certainly do), why aren't they given a preference in the public school assignment system?"

    What?

    Give an example of private school discrimination of LGBT families. And even if it existed, why should the public school enable and accommodate this injustice. Fair and balanced access for everyone.

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  9. I can certainly give you examples. First, there are fundamentalist Christian schools that most assuredly would not be welcoming of gay and lesbian families. Some of the local parochial schools in the city may be OK with it, but my family had a fairly negative experience with one of them. Moreover, there have been suggestions among Catholic school management officials (widely reported in the press) that perhaps Catholic schools should bar gay and lesbian families. So, yes, gay and lesbian families have fewer private school options than straight families. While some private schools are welcoming of gay and lesbian families, those tend to be the most expensive -- schools in teh $25,000 and up category. So, if we are going to give preferences to ELL and to poor people because they lack alternative choices, why not to gay and lesbian parents?

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  10. Hi Jan. 11 9:17am.

    Private schools discriminate on a whole laundry list of criteria. That's why they're private. Money is one thing they look at. I think people that can't afford private schools should be given a preference in the public school assignment system.

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