Monday, March 15, 2010

Debbie's Story: Our School Assignment

We couldn't believe our eyes, but we got our #1 choice - Commodore Sloat. We're very happy and relieved. I don't know if it was our strategy or if the sun and moon just aligned right for us. Whatever it was, I'll take it.


As some of you may know, we did a late tour of The Stratford School and loved it (and we were accepted). However, upon much thought and deliberation, we've decided to have our daughter attend Commodore Sloat. It's our neighborhood school, it's a great school, and it just feels like the right choice for us. I'm looking forward to getting involved (and have already emailed the Parents' Club!) and doing whatever I can to make this school even better.


Even though my application process is over, I know that many of you are in the thick of it. I read through most of the comments in the "Round I Letters" post, and there's a lot of great advice out there. Take the path that feels right to you.

25 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Debbie! I'm glad you had an early happy ending to your search. Commodore Sloat is a great school community and you will love being close to home. (Down the road, you can look at Aptos MS, another great school around the corner from Commodore Sloat. It will happen sooner than you can imagine!)

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  2. Debbie, Sloat was our first choice too and we got it as well! Look forward to meeting you!

    Nevada

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  3. Congratulations! We love it at Sloat and look forward to meeting & working with you!

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  4. Congrats Debbie. I'm glad one of our bloggers had a happy ending. We did not so on we go. I'm jealous that you are done and can get excited about your school and even start to get involved. We'll wait it out through the summer and hope for the best. Thank goodness this stupid system changed. If only my son was a year older. . .

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  5. The Seattle School District instituted a neighborhood school SAS this year. They have a side by side choice system. We need to look north to see how to make all our schools worthy of attendance. Increase student achievement and build support for community schools through involvement in your neighborhood. If you decide the local school does not suit you, apply to get into an alternative. Support Students First. Vote for neighborhood schools and choice.

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  6. Congratulations Debbie! I have followed your story from the very beginning as I am also close by to your neighborhood (West Portal) and our round 1 listd were similar. I also have a preschooler, now pre-K in Stratford and love it there. But are going the public route for K as we have another child. Glad it all worked out for you.

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  7. 11:01, what school did you get? We're in West P too. Didn't get WestP, Sloat, Feinstein or anything close by.

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  8. Hi Debbie: I'm a member of the PCO (parent club) at CSS and am delighted to hear you'll be joining us. When you come to school to register, you'll get a flyer with all of the ways you can connect to our school community. Very excited to welcome you and all the new families - it's a wonderful place and we're eager to welcome your children and your talents :-) (PS: For those who did not get in to Sloat in R1 - I, too was 0/7 in R1, also in R2. I opted to wait list at Sloat because it appeared to have more movement off of the wait pool than some of the other schools on our list, and we got in at the 10 day count. (In hindsight, wish I had put it as first choice.) Take a close look at the waitlist numbers when they're available...we'd love to have you, too!) Stephanie

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  9. Congratulations! I wanted to thank you for sharing your story with us. I am a couple years behind you, looking for a preschool with space available for the Fall. I had considered touring Stratford School but dismissed the idea. After your positive review I went for a tour and now will likely send my son there for preschool. (Still hoping for public K though. We'll see how the new SAS works out.) Good luck at Commodore Sloat. It looks like a great school.

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  10. Welcome to Sloat! We are excited to have you at our school!

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  11. Debbie, congratulations. Good to hear some good news!

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  12. Congratulations Debbie! We are also going to Sloat - it was our first choice on our list and we are so delighted.

    With the folks that I know that are going to be going this year as well as current CSS families, I can only imagine how amazing the community is going to be there. I can't wait for the first day!

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  13. Congratulations, Debbie. Sloat was our first choice last year and we got in the first round (whew!). It's a terrific school - my daughter is happy and learning and that's what's important in the end.

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  14. I feel sick. This entire process has been agonizing. Reading all the congratulatory posts from people who got one of their TOP choices (very popular schools, too) and pondering which private school letter they should accept, while I have been lying awake at night, and crying multiple times per day since we got our news. We are now faced with leaving San Francisco, which will devastate us financially. We own our home but can not afford private school. I got 0 of my 7 choices, even though I was not just listing top schools. Granted, my neighborhood schools are not good, except for the Immersion tracks, AND, apparently, you must be willing to put all Immersion schools on your list (we only listed 2)to "prove" you are serious about it. I do not think anyone should have to send their child to an awful school - where they are very uncomfortable. Yes - we all know it - there are many awful schools here that every educated, involved parent would fight tooth-and nail to not have their child attend. I was however, open to anything that was a reasonable commute from my home, and along my husband's morning commute route. Varying start times and the extra expenses of after school care only complicated things more for us. (Don't tell me I should move neighborhoods -I can not afford to in this economy. Plus, we only purchased property because we understood that the school system did not discriminate by where you live. We are truly middle class - barely scraping by paying our outrageous property taxes. I have lived here for 15 years, and had settled into what I thought was a nice "community" to raise aware, hard-working, caring kids. I toured 16 different schools to find 10 I would have been happy with, then had to "strategize" my best guess of which we might have the best chance with. I followed all the advice I heard, and still somehow am among the 30% (of families without older sibling already enrolled) left out. How on earth do any families who DON'T have the time and resources I spent - to join PPS, tour schools, attend PTA meetings and research online blogs, reviews and articles benefit from this system? We are just another middle-class, involved, community-minded family driven out. San Francisco hates me - I will never see it the same positive way I used to.

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  15. Um, 7:29, I totally get your emotions: but they are not facts. No amount of research, PPS membership, or PTA attendance will get anyone their top schools. It's a lottery. I just watched someone who struggled for 5 years to save a local school and was successful, go 0/7 for her K assignment. In this system the only advantage is low SES, but the disadvantages of that outweigh the advantage of getting into a top school, believe me.

    Do Round 2 and the wait pool, at least. If you really truly can't leave the city, get through kindergarten however you can: your kid won't lose ground academically as the K curriculum is covered in most preschools, and you can do reading at home. Then try the publics again with the new system for first grade. OK, then, if you are 0/21 or whatever it will be, then, yes, maybe SF hates you. But rumors of your specially cursed status are premature.

    Sorry you have to go through this pain or uncertainty, though, truly.

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  16. Um, 6:55, no - you don't "totally get" my emotions. I don't appreciate your condescention. I never stated that all of my efforts would GET me top schools, only that it was grueling to put in all the stress and effort to seek out the best possible "up and coming" schools that would work with our commutes/schedules, only to apply and be denied for "diversity factors", as I am now told by the district. (I will not be taking your advice, based on the round 2 /waitlist data I have read, plus additional information I have now learned about entering the district at an unacceptable school at this time. You can look into that for yourself, if you wish.) Apparently, you do not have all the facts. It is not only low SES that offers so-called advantages in this system, but ethnicity, and honesty. I am now learning of several people who I know lied (yes, flat out lied) on their applications, and got "top" schools. I was willing to educate myself about less-than-perfect options and participate in a lottery, I was not willing to lie.
    I do not have the luxury of being merely concerned about my child losing some ground academically. I am busy worrying that I am headed for marital separation, total upheaval for my children, and financial devastation. You don't know the half of my story and you actually have no idea how I feel. I can only hope you don't continue to go around offering your brand of "consolation and advice", especially to your poor friend who sounds like she/he is in yet another frustrating, unfair, prolonged and difficult situation.

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  17. Correction:
    That should have read, "It is not only low SES that offers so-called advantages in this system, but honesty as well."

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  18. Someone get this woman a drink, quick.

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  19. Hmph...given that this mixed race family (granted a fairly wealthy one at that) wound up at Glen Park (which has been wonderful btw) and my white friends wound up at Clarendon and Rooftop, I'm pressed to believe that there is some sort of preferences for ethnicity.

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  20. March 19, 2010 7:29 PM

    Hi there - I just wanted to offer some support. It sounds like things are really rough for you. Sometimes you just need to be heard. I agree that this system can be crushing. It sounds like it is very difficult for your family.

    I hope that your friends and family are offering you the support that you need. I hope you take it one day at a time right now. Most of all, I hope that you get your waitpool school.

    Kindest regards

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  21. 8:01, I think I remember your story from last year. So glad to hear Glen Park has been wonderful--I wonder if you would ever write about it for one of this blog's "why I love our school" series. Glen Park is one of those not-talked-about schools.

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  22. 12: 58:
    Yes, the San Francisco school assignment system is grueling. I am generally a major opposer to private schools in this city, but your situation does sound particularly bad.

    You say that you cannot afford private schools--have you yet considered applying for a scholarship? There are many schools that offer full scholarships for people in financial situations like yours.

    And, believe it or not, I WOULD apply for wait pool and R2. It can never hurt you, and you might get into a fabulous school. Giving up altogether is definitely the worst thing you can do.

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  25. Thanks to those of you who had supportive words for me (I am the unhappy poster from 7:29). I was saddened to see how many people can't resist their opportunity with anonymity on a blog to bash other parents needlessly just to amuse themselves, to be so flip and cruel over others' life struggles. I swore I would never put myself out here again after slowly realizing how many nasty people read/contribute to this blog. But, I decided to post again in case there are others out there feeling left out and as frustrated as I still am. We did go ahead and do round 2, and a waitpool, and again got none of our choices. I even listed a completely different list of 7 this time, compromising start times, driving in the opposite commute direction, schools I had not even toured, but had heard a few positive things about - taking district waitpool numbers into consideration. What I don't think people understand about round 2, is that they only go to round 2 lists after ALL waitpools have been emptied. That means the only chance of getting a spot in round 2 is if it is still an under enrolled school at that point. Round 2 is pointless. We remain on a wait pool list just in case, but are pursuing home-schooling options (as an emergency plan if our house doesn't sell), and are now meeting with realtors in other cities, knowing we will lose many tens of thousands of dollars of the equity of our house. I wish I had not trusted this process - people are still trying to tell me to trust this process. I am feeling so discouraged and disillusioned. We will be o.k., whatever happens, we are all healthy and employed, so, better off than many others these days. I have a feeling that this district (and parents new to the district) have no idea how many people it is driving away, because those people don't end up contributing to these conversations once they have made the decision to just give up and leave. Very sad. Good luck to all of you.

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