Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hot topic: Anticipating letters

This from a reader:
Letters are coming out soon. How is everyone feeling?

87 comments:

  1. Burkes is having a big sib year we think so we are writing it off.

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  2. Nervous.... not expecting we will get our top choices both public or private. We have a daughter, late June. Trying to manage our expectations.

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  3. Very nervous as well. Public option vs. any private. I hear big sib year at Friends and Stuart Hall as well. Sigh...

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  4. calmer this time aroundMarch 7, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    My child is going to MS this year, and I have to say I'm pretty relaxed at this point--much more so than when we were applying for ES. We only looked at public schools (child is GATE-identified and would qualify for honors but is very high-energy so probably wouldn't get into privates). We would be happy with any of our top 3 choices and consider it likely we'll get our 1st choice as it's not Presidio (only SFUSD MS w/more 1st choice requests than spots).

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  5. I am not nervous. I know I tried my best. I have been touring public and private schools for 18 months. I have completed forms, applications,interviews, etc.

    Let's face it...That's all you can do. Then it is out of our hands. We have to rely on a lottery or an admissions director to get us a school we want.

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  6. 7:29, I could have written your exact words two years ago (right down the spirited child who wouldn't get into private anyway even if we wanted it). My kid got into Aptos no problem and it's been a great experience. Kid #2 is going for sibling preference there in this round, so I am very confident about the letter arriving this weekend or next week :-). The middle school lottery has been so unproblematic lately....I hope the new system doesn't mess that up. But you should be fine this year.

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  7. Does anyone know if there have been more or fewer lottery applicants for kindergarten this year as compared to last year?

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  8. Crappy, anxious, concerned, despondent (it didn't help that our "safety" parochial turned us down last week). Have been in full countdown mode since 5 weeks out. Now 5 days till publics, 11 days till privates (assuming we get our mail within a day of mailing by the school). I hope everybody makes it through with their sanity and livers intact.

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  9. What about the number of applications for private school for this year - up, down? We applied to both private and public schools.

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  10. I can't speak to all schools, but I went to an applicant parent night at Stuart Hall. The Little Theater downstairs in the main building, which looks like it seats at least 200, was packed to the rafters. They host more than one of these informational evenings to accommodate all the applicant families. The parents I talked to (not many, I'll admit) were there without their partners, who were home with the kids. The student chorus performed, so perhaps some of the adults in the audience were their parents.

    In case anyone's interested, Stuart Hall rejected us for 2nd grade. They did not even have our kid shadow, they said because there would be no openings. We were not terribly surprised because they warned us an opening was highly unlikely when we inquired. Nor were we heartbroken. The women in our family are alumnae, but while Stuart Hall seems like an excellent school, it did not feel like the most ideal fit for our boy, at least not right now.

    The applicant parent night at Cathedral was also very well attended, and also one of several evenings they were hosting. I've got my fingers crossed for that one. Our boy really enjoyed his shadow day, and I loved it.

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  11. I keep having dreams that the letter arrives, been having it every night for the last week. Everytime its a different school.

    I just wish I knew already! We're doing 1st grade, did private K after getting a sub-par school last year and NOT being able to stand to wait for the 10 day count. This year, we're all in. Let our priave spot go... so finger's crossed. I'm not hopeful we'll get one of our top 7s since we're doing 1st grade and how can they accept anyone? Unless they up the student # and I don't think they're planning on that.

    Good luck everyone, even though its too late for luck!

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  12. Keep sticking it out for first grade. Even if there aren't spots now (and there likely won't be), things can easily open up over the summer.

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  13. I hate to barge in on this string, but did folks see the Examiner article this morning about the Board's revamped preference system. (Amy -- you should probably do a new string on this one.) It looks like not insignificant changes from the version two weeks ago, at least from what the Examiner described. (Goodness knows if the Examiner got it right!) In particular, big change to the middle school assignment system. Now it seems you get a initial assignment to middle school based on the elementary school attended. This is very different from what had been described in the past that was tied much more to where you lived. They've also created a preference at both the elementary and middle school levels for "students living in attendance areas with insufficient capacity." That is quite interesting too. That preference falls after sibling, CTIP1, and attendance area preferences at both elementary and middle school levels. At the elementayr school level, there is still a high preference for kids in SFUSD preschool centers, but it also requires that the family live in the attendance area. The Examiner said nothing about special ed. Not clear if that is going to change. I'm kind of heartened by these changes, as an eastsider non-CTIP 1 family. What do folks think of these changes?

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  14. "Crappy, anxious, concerned, despondent (it didn't help that our "safety" parochial turned us down last week)."

    Which one? Aside from St.Brendan's NDV, and St. Cecilia's, I didn't think the parochials were usually oversubscribed.

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  15. "I'm kind of heartened by these changes, as an eastsider non-CTIP 1 family. What do folks think of these changes?"

    I think they're all changes for the better. It's more focused, and it looks like if you're bumped from your neighborhood school because of capacity constraintsyou get a slight but not insignificant advance getting into another school, and it looks like they're trying to keep kids from the same elementary school together through middle school. These all look good.

    I still think (in the short term) non-CTIP1 eastsider families get the shaft, but possibly in the medium term we'll see turnarounds in the GE programs at Flynn, Revere, Glen Park, etc. as fewer of the kids in their catchment area go trotting off to more glamorous GE programs in other schools.

    Flynn and Revere suffered back about a decade-and-a-half ago or more because Bernal was included in preference-by-zipcode scheme, which gave Mission, BV/HP and as it turned out, Bernal parents preference in getting into district schools, so Flynn and Revere lost a lot of good families in their neighborhood to other schools. Hopefully this more strictly neighborhood system will help speed those schools recovering from that the inadvertent effect of including Bernal in that system.

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  16. Over on the parochial school thread, people are getting wait-listed at Star of the Sea. I don't know anything about Star of the Sea other than that friends a few years ago preferred a different parochial. My impression was also that outside NDV, St. Brendan's and St. Cecilia's, most parochial schools were on an open-enrollment basis.

    Today we're in a different world. Public school financing is more precarious than ever. CA is now dead-last in per-pupil spending nationally. Parochial schools are relatively affordable. You can send 3 kids to parochial for what it costs to send 1 kid to Hamlin or Town or Live Oak. Many people, Catholic and not, hold the view that although it's not fancy and the classes are large, the Catholics don't mess around and their students get solid educations. It stands to reason that demand would be up.

    If you want to bash the church and its schools, go right ahead but please do it on another thread. This thread is about people anticipating letters, not about the relative merits of the schools they want.

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  17. 9:27 - In addition to going through the first grade lottery and the waitlist, ...etc. I'd go to the EPC and keep checking for slots in kindergarten in your favorite schools. It's not ideal to pull your kid mid-year but you can get lucky if someone moves toward the end of the school year and you're willing to switch. Much easier than going through the lottery. I know one Miraloma family who did that, rather than waiting to go through the first grade lottery - only works if you're coming from private or have just moved into the city.

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  18. 10:13--I could not find anything in the Feb. 24 Superintendent's proposal, or in the Feb. 24 Board feedback as reported by BOE member Rachel Norton in her blog to support the Examiner reporting of new preference based on elementary school or a new preference based on an area having insufficient school capacity. The preferences remain limited to pre-school, sibling, local, and census tract intergration preferences. It is more of an interpretation that where you went to elementary school affects what the initial assignment to middle school will be if the district likes the idea of keeping cohorts of students together. It is more of an interpretation that there is a preference working when an area has insufficient capacity when the local preference comes into play.

    To give the Examiner the benefit of the doubt, I think the article was just trying to use less jargon and more down to earth descriptions of what is going on. I mean, CTIP? How is the average reader going to understand CTIP?

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  19. I've been waiting for this thread. I've been trying so hard not to think about the letter, to just go about my business, live my life. But I feel like my whole fate is tied up in this one letter. We have no back-up. Can't afford real private and not into Catholic school. Just planning to make SFUSD work for us, whatever we get. So, I'll be checking back with all of you here on Saturday. Good luck!

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  20. 10:40 a.m. Right you are. People--ourselves included--forgot/ignored the fact that Star of the Sea has a preschool that feeds into its elementary school. Once those children were added to siblings there were either no spots of very very few, depending on whom you spoke to.

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  21. Does any one know what is the cut off point for the Lowell high school for this year (2010-11)?

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  22. 11:07, you mean for Band 1 schools? No, not yet.

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  23. Re: Middle school assignment (sorry for the hijack!) The district is distributing this info:

    All elementary schools would feed into a particular middle school. At the beginning of the enrollment process, SFUSD fifth graders would receive an initial assignment offer to a middle school based on the elementary school they attend. Students would have an opportunity to accept their initial assignment or participate in a choice process. Students who participate in the choice process would maintain their initial assignment unless they get an assignment to a higher ranked choice. Students would be assigned to schools using the following order of preferences:

    1. Initial assignment – students who received an initial assignment to attend that school.

    2. Siblings - younger siblings of students who are enrolled in and will be attending the school during the year for which the younger sibling requests attendance.

    3. CTIP1 - students who reside in CTIP1 census tracts.

    4. Attendance Area -students who live in the attendance area of the school.

    5. Densely populated attendance areas - students who live in attendance areas that do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all the students living in the attendance area.

    6. All other students.

    If it is correct that the initial assignment is based on current elementary school I'm thrilled! We were pretty unhappy that my kids' friends would be broken up.

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  24. To the parent in the first grade lottery - I'll second that suggestion to check with epc for an open K seat this year. We got a new K at Grattan today. Not really sure it's fair, but it happens so you might as well try to take advantage of it, particularly if things don't work out this weekend with the first round letters.

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  25. 11:40 am -- we are excited too. I've got my fingers crossed too that this fix stays as is. I would have preferred the old system with more parental choice, but I think these last-minute fixes are really going to help those of us in the "pipeline" who have our kids in out-of-neighborhood elementaries and also help the non-CTIP1eastsiders concerned about their neighborhood schools. And, to be honest, I am starting to think that this idea of having (for middle schoolers) a school that is "in your pocket" while you try to get something better in the choice system may actually help retain families that otherwise might get nervous and put down a deposite for a private. For us, for example, if this goes through, we are going to nix looking at the Catholic K through 8's, and just stay with public. Hooray!

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  26. 11:40--Thanks for staying ontop of the latest news from the district. It does sound like more changes after every committee meeting, and I'm sure more changes to come. I appreciate your information.

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  27. 11:40--Thank you for staying ontop of the latest news from the district. I appreciate your input. It does sound like there are some new concepts. And I'm sure it's not the last of the changes.

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  28. 11:40 - i have a question about immersion kids who want to stick with immersion through ms, as is recommended (i suppose it's not really dual immersion come ms, more like a strong language component). specifically, do you know if or how coming from an immersion es or program affects your ms placement? does the language offering trump area?

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  29. I'm assuming the feeder school to ms is in part to address the lack of articulation for language programs (including immersion) as well as a way to diversify ms populations.

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  30. here is the link of what is being voted on. I think the examiner got it right:

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/news/pdf/3%205%2010%20Board%20Vote%20Imminent%20on%20New%20Student%20Assignment%20System.pdf

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  31. Teh student will get the letter on Friday or Saturday.

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  32. Can someone clarify, do they mail letters on Thurs or Fri?

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  33. What I heard from people they say the letter will be mail on Friday. I could be wrong.

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  34. The feeder ESs for MSs sounds like it has the potential to particularly well for immersion programs. Also, the preference at the ES level for neighborhood kids in a school's CDC seems like it could diversify the CDCs, which would be a good thing.

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  35. If you're referring to SFUSD, they will mail the letters Friday and many people will receive them Saturday though some not til Mon or later. EPC will *not* tell you your assignment if you go to or call the office on Friday, they insist you wait til you get your letter. (I tried last year...)

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  36. @9:54 am

    why won't there likely be spots for first grade? I thought class size was going up.

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  37. 5:43 pm -- my question exactly. I asked about this on a previous string and the answer was kind of long and convoluted, but I got the feeling that the increase in class size was not going to lead to a lot more transfers getting accepted. It sounded like maybe a few extra slots would open up, but most of the increase in class size is going to get dealt with by creating split classes of 2-3 and 1-2 in particular schools. Here's the detail as best I understood it: A school that normally would have three classes of 20 in 1st and three classes of 20 in 2nd would have two classes of 25 in 1st and two classes of 25 in 2d and a split class of 1-2 with 25. So there might be an increase in grade size (in my example there'd be maybe two new slots in 1st and three in 2d created by this), but not a significant increase in grade sizes. The problem is that all those kids have to feed into two fourth grade classes and I don't think SFUSD (or let me say I pray that the District won't) increase fourth and fifth beyond the 33 class size current number. So, in this example again, they can't go much beyond total grade size of 65 to 66.

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  38. Everybody just remember, many of the choices spots to kids get handed out in September and October after the ten day counts, after kids families move, after people just don't show up.

    It ain't over till it's over. It's only over for about half of everybody this week. The other half gets sussed out over the supper and first two months of the school year.

    I got my spot in late October, and my daughter is now in third grade. Her brother is going to the same school next year with the sib pref. It was TOTALLY worth it and the public schools is a life saver for me, during this recession. We couldn't be happier.

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  39. Re: March 7 12:46pm writing
    "Burkes is having a big sib year we think so we are writing it off"

    Does anyone have credible info about how many K students any of the non-Catholic private schools will be accepting on March 18th? Is Burke's really having such a big sib year that it will take few non-sibs and if so, how few? Or is this pure rumor? If you have confidence in your info about K openings in these nonsectarian private schools, please post the number of openings here (by gender for the coed schools) and please give us as much detail as you know. Thanks.

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  40. I would also welcome information from parents or others who know spots.

    CAIS - 5 spots
    Cathedral - 15 spots
    MCDS - have heard 11 SF spots, do not know gender breakdown
    Friends - says 16-20 spots on website, no gender breakdown (heard in final analysis it is closer to 16)
    SF Day - heard 9 to 11 awhile back
    FAIS - no info on specifics but higher than usual
    Live Oak - very few spots, no specific numbers
    Hamlin - no info; website says they will have two classes of K this year branching into three 1st grade next year (same number students)
    Burkes - do not know but also doubt "all sibs"
    Convent- no info
    SH - no info
    Town - no info
    Presidio - no info
    Synergy - no info but sounded low

    Updates welcome from parents - this is from tour discussions and so is old.

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  41. I heard From the directors that equal boys:girls at MCDS and more girls spots at Day. This was around January.

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  42. Friends - 27 or 28 sibs (don't know total class size for what wld be the open spots) and that the open spots are evenly split btwn boys and girls.

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  43. Presidio Hill - was told by school in the Fall that there are very few boy spots but don't have exact figure.

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  44. Do the public schools balance classes boy vs. girl? Just curious from reading the posts on privates. Could a public end up with 90% girls or 90% boys just from the luck of the draw? I wonder if that ever happens?

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  45. Public schools do not balance boys vs girls, but schools tend to balance boys and girls between i.e. the various kindergarten classes.

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  46. Competitive private schools can look for all kids of balance. The public school lottery tries to balance many things but gender is not one of them. It would be interesting to see how the M:F ratio in public schools relates to API rankings, if at all.

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  47. This is a bit off topic, but my child's school, Kittredge, has a potential spot for a 2nd grade boy or girl (for this fall)and middle school spaces. We love the school and the price/value balance is exactly right for our family. Spanish 2/3x a week starting in K, PE daily, Music 2x a week, Art 45 min./week, great teachers and really kind children...with many different interests and backgrounds.

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  48. When we toured Grattan the principal mentioned that one year, by chance, the school ended up with something like 80% boys in their incoming kindergarteners.

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  49. Are there any other parents looking for a spot for a 3rd grader like we are? We're switching from private to public, though not by choice, and were wondering if there were other families in our situation.

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  50. It will be interesting to see what comes in the mail Saturday. We are trying for public 2nd grade, also by necessity not choice. I hear from public school friends that grades above K have spaces open up during the school year because people move. Whether that information about openings flows to the computer running the assignments I do not know. When we made a half-hearted stab at the lottery for 1st grade last year, the district's own enrollment data showed 1st grade space available at a school I put quite high on our list, but we got assigned to John Muir. And my high-ranked choice is certainly not one of "the 11" or one of the buzzed about "hidden gems."

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  51. Those of you who have indicated you are moving from private to public, but not your choice. Is it the finances? Shoved out by the privates? Just want to know so I can weigh options of hopefully a decent public and private dream school.

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  52. At least in our case, the move from private to public, or possibly a less expensive private, is prompted strictly by finances. Our son is very close to his teachers and friends at the private where he's been the last 3 years. The kids spend a lot more time per day on physical and creative activities than they do at any SFUSD schools or at any co-ed private and parochial schools I know of. (The independent boys' schools have PE every day.) The physical and imaginative outlets during the day help him stay calm and focused, as does the high teacher-student ratio, though he still struggles with some of his academic subjects. I know from my efforts to work with him at home that he's a tough kid to teach. He's reasonably bright, but his mind and body are all over the place. He's ambitious to succeed but also very emotional and shuts down when he gets discouraged, and he's easily discouraged. I may be pleasantly surprised, but I anticipate that larger classes and fewer physical and creative outlets during the school day will make things harder for him. We are in that odd place where we make too much money to qualify for financial aid but are so burdened by debt from past business failures and college costs for an older child that we can't afford $20K per year any more.

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  53. Good luck, 9:59. This must be a very stressful time for you and your family. I hope it all works out for your son and everyone else.

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  54. Keep hope alive. Last year, we were 0 for 7, assigned John Muir. Live one block from Alvarado and wanted Spanish immersion. Enrolled in private. After the 10 day count (at least 18 - 20 days, I'd say), was contacted about a space for Spanish Immersion at Alvarado. Here's the thing -- we didn't take it. After care there was already booked, they told me we would be last in line for after- care the following year, and I was on the hook for a year of tuition at private already. Plus, we liked the private. Ultimately, we gave up the space. The woman at the school district told me I wasn't the first to give up the spot (remember, I wasn't called at 10 days, so one or more families turned it down before I did). People do get their waitlist choices, even at some of the highest demand schools. Even crazier -- people who get their choice sometimes pass for lots of reasons. If you don't get your choice, spend some time thinking about your after care options if you were to ultimately get your preferred school. Hang in there!

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  55. Good advice about the after-care. Unless you get a choice you'll keep no matter what in Round 1, get in line Monday for after care at the school you expect to wait pool.

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  56. 9:59 am and 12:43 pm thank you for your candor. We can afford a private school if accepted without a struggle but I waiver on if private is really worth it. I was sort of dreading the public school assignments because if I get one of my top 2 choices it will make the decision harder. What 9:59 am said really hits home, its about your kid and the specific school. No one answer.

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  57. Does anyone know tuition at private schools next year -Friends, SFDay, Hamlin, MCDS? I know current tuition from tours but wonder how much they will increase for 2010-2011. Any current parents know?

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  58. If you are accepted, you should get an enrollment contract that includes the tuition amount with your letter. I think it's prudent to anticipate a 5% to 10% increase over the prior year's tuition.

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  59. MCDS will be 2.2 to 2.4 percent higher. Last year it was raised zero percent as the board felt it was not the time to be raising tuition. I believe Hamlin is 4% higher but don't have first hand knowledge.

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  60. So does that put MCDS around $26,500? How much for the bus from San Francisco? Trying to work out the budget. I hope financial aid is generous.

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  61. Good luck, 9:59. We are also paying off past debt (we sold our house in the Midwest at a loss) and it's brutal.

    We were lucky enough to get into a public we liked, which takes a lot of pressure off. Perhaps you can take some of the money you'll be saving by going public to buy some extra help for your son. Our kindergartner can get emotional and easily frustrated. We coughed up for an expensive after-care program to allow him to decompress in a small group after school and that's helped.

    I also adjusted my work schedule so I get home earlier and that means a shorter day for him. A little creativity helps a lot!

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  62. I am so pre-occupied by this letter. I keep thinking about opening it. And how what it says is either going to be great relief or the beginning of a long schlog thru the R2, waitpool, summer, etc. I'm trying to decide if I should stay home on Saturday and just wait for the letter or go about my day and then come home that afternoon and read it. Why don't I know what time my mail arrives? I've never paid this much attention to the arrival of a letter before. And how ridiculous is it that SFUSD doesn't send an email.

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  63. 10:16 a.m., I can't think of anything else either. It's just awful. We aren't going to stay home and wait for the letter, but rather will go about our day.

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  64. Oof! That's a lot for tuition (MCDS). We went through this last year, didn't get into any of the privates -- we were wait listed after applying to three. Then we waited for the big letter from SFUSD. We got our 6th choice, which wasn't a bad school at all. We'd been pretty strategic in our listing of schools, aiming to get something on the list of 7, rather than going only for over subscribed schools and aiming for top of the waitpool cohort. It felt rather deflating. Not at all what we expected or envisioned. I actually thought if we didn't get a higher up school, we'd get our seventh choice, and was already kind of thinking of being there.

    But it's turned out fine. You discover how much aftercare can influence the school day. You see how classes after school elsewhere can really enrich your kids' lives or educations. You see that kids honestly get tired at a certain point, and it becomes simply not feasible for them to absorb all you'd like them to soak in. You also see how the interactions with other families at your school will have an impact on how your lives change: who becomes a friend, who affects the way you think about an idea or an issue, who exposes you to something new. For us, none of this was anticipated. It's not what we envisioned, but our vision then was limited. Good luck all!

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  65. I'm 9:59 from yesterday and to 9:53 and others, thank you for your kind and non-judgmental words and suggestions.

    Please don't stay home Saturday watching your mailbox. It costs a fortune to live in this beautiful, cultured part of the world. Go out and enjoy something; walk the beach, ride your bike, visit a museum or the zoo. Maybe get a sitter. You've been obsessing for months about your kid and his/her future. It's out of your hands, so go take care of yourself for a few hours. Now isn't that wise advice? Think I can follow it?:-)

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  66. Go to the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday! That's what we did last year and it was good luck for us. I could hardly watch the parade, but it was smart to get out out of the house. We came home to the little time bomb in our mailbox, but fortunately it didn't explode -- we got a school on our list. Families should wear a sticker saying "Waiting for a SFUSD Letter" as they go around the city this weekend.

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  67. 7:58, I love that! Parents SHOULD wear stickers saying "Waiting for SFUSD letter", and next Friday parents should wear stickers saying "Waiting for independent school letter". It might get you a little extra luck, and extra smile or two (or fifty) from sympathetic parents, a joint sense of "we're all in this together" and a little humor to lighten the stress and heaviness of the situation.

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  68. Here's the 5 year demand document - http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/5yearDemandData.pdf

    For all the stomach churning glory of it all...

    Here's the highlights: http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/epc/Highlights2010-2011.pdf

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  69. Thanks for posting that link. The percentages are pretty similar to last years. The results for entering 9th graders looked off to me, so I computed them myself. Assuming the actual numbers are accurate, last year 83% got one of their choices, 17% shut out. This year it's 86%, so the situation for that group is actually better this year than last.

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  70. At long last...the letters come out tomorrow!!

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  71. Just great, there were 14 applicants for every spot at Peabody. So much for it not being a trophy shool. I had a better shot at Grattan, Sherman, Alamo or Argonne. Lets hope we won the lottery...

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  72. 2:20: We, too, put Peabody first. I feel like such a sheep! After we turned in our application it seemed like everyone I asked said they had also put Peabody first. I hope we both win the lottery, but it would involve some Serious Luck. I'm sooooo not optimistic. (We put Sunset second. Baaaah. As if!)

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  73. Also, I'm confused because I did a tour on the last day at Peabody and the principal said they only had 4 sibs coming for K, but apparently it's 12. That was some bum dope.

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  74. It's so hard to read tea leaves. I've been following this process for a long time so I could have told you that Peabody was about to peak (2 years ago it had buzz, last year it got more popular), but how could new parents know this? A long-time observer could tell that it was following in the footsteps of Alvarado, Miraloma, Grattan, Sunnyside. First you see a small bump in requests, then you see more parents on tour, and then: BAM. I do think that several folks mentioned on this blog that Peabody would not be a good "safety" choice this year, but in the mix of thousands of posts it would have been easy to miss that warning. I guess we should be glad that another school has made the list of popular, but....so hard for those who made it a safety option.

    I'm in the SE so of course I like choice, but I have to say that this is an area in which the new system will improve things. As I understand it, parents will be able to list any number of schools in rank order, and the system will do a better job of accomodating people's REAL choices, so that parents won't have to consider the relative popularity--or surging popularity--in ranking their options. That doesn't mean that if you list Alvarado SI as your #1 choice that you'll get it, just that you won't be penalized for listing it there compared to another choice that would be acceptable but is not much desired. Rachel Norton has described this a few times on her blog.

    Meanwhile, as a middle school parent, I am heartened to see how high Aptos and Roosevelt have climbed, and Galileo, Balboa and Wallenberg too.

    Good luck tomorrow, everyone!

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  75. Betty, you and I keep making the same mistakes! If I'm not mistaken, you also applied to Star of the Sea as a "back-up." I put Peabody number one of our list because I saw that it had approximately 30 first choice requests last year with over 40 available spots, and I also posted questions on this blog and got good feedback regarding our choices. Of course, I realize that people were just providin input--and I do appreciate it--based on information at hand, and that none of us have a crystal ball. I spent countless hours on this blog gathering as much information as I could, and touring umpteen schools in order to empower myself. Depending on tomorrow's outcome I wonder if I'll have found all the time devoted to the kindergarten search worthwhile.

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  76. 3:56, that's so funny that you're the fellow Star of the Sea (safety) wannabe on this blog. Perhaps we may have met in the K evaluation there? (Do you have a daughter and younger twins?)

    We have walked parallel paths. I, too, did tons of tours and research and felt Peabody was a safer option than, say, Grattan or others that I liked better. With that said, it did seem that Peabody was/is on an upward trajectory. We're a year too late!

    In any case, I'm sure we'll find the right school eventually. Good luck to you tomorrow!

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  77. Also very bummed having seen the summary statistics, because we put De Avila first like over 50 other people. Plus, they seem to have dropped a kindergarten class, so there are 44 slots instead of 66 slots like this year. WTH? And I want to smack whichever SFUSD rep was going around telling immersion-focused parents to "list it first because not many other people did."

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  78. 4:52, if only 50 people listed De Avila first with 44 spots, I'd say you have a better chance than at many other schools. Not a sure bet, but pretty decent odds. Especially considering it's a school with a good reputation. Good luck to you!

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  79. I know several people that put Grattan and Peabody first. For my first choice, I went for one of the most popular. But peppered the list with gems and up and coming gems.

    Hey...It's a lottery. Not much you can do to make your chances better. It all depends on when the computer chooses you. If you are chosen and your first choice is still available...BAM...You hit the lottery.

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  80. Peabody's 5-year demand #'s, from 06-07 through this year, 2010-11:

    1st choice requests:

    2-17-24-33-63

    Total requests:

    68-128-177-306-447

    My middle schooler is learning how to graph simple (linear) algebraic equations. One of the side activities they did recently was scatter plots--what is the trend. If the teacher had the class graph Peabody's requests/year for the last 5 years, the kids would tell you the trend was positive and the slope was steep.

    In the past the 5-year demand data has been useful for incoming parents. Rarely does a school leap from zero to the top of the chart in a year. Therefore, looking at the scatter plot trends, perhaps in combination with magnet programs or other good things that have been added (like the PreFund activities for Daniel Webster), has been a good way to judge popularity. Draw a line or curve through the scatter plot and assume that next year will be headed in the same direction, adding more steepness if there are special programs.

    But--no idea how useful this will be for next year's crop of parents dealing with a new system! Hopefully it will help them a little.

    Like the previous poster, I am excited to see the popularity climb for Aptos, Roosevelt, and also James Lick; and Galileo and Balboa on the high school level. Those three middle schools alone accounted for an additional 650 in total request over the last 5 years. I suspect the 125-request drop for Hoover in the same period of time is in part a shift to those three schools, for various reasons, but that's fine to spread the wealth around!

    Similarly, Balboa has seen an increase of almost 900 requests, and Galileo GE almost 500, which more than covers the 300-request drop at Lincoln.

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  81. 5:42: I don't suppose this matters much anymore with a new system coming in, but that's not exactly how the lottery worked. A person's name didn't get picked randomly, as in your number came up and you hit the jackpot. Rather, the system sought out all "fits" for the school using the diversity index. Once it found all those "fits" it would institute a system of tie-breakers to make an assignment. Then, it would recalculate the index and go looking for another "fit."

    Thus, if you wanted to maximize your chances in the lottery, there were some good rules to follow, such as trying to be a family that would add socio-economic diversity to a school (e.g., be a middle class family applying to high-scoring but low-income Taylor). Or, if you were applying to a moderately popular school like Sunnyside, whose applicant population was likely to look like your family in SES terms, put it first on the list, because rank choice mattered as a tie-breaker in the alogorithm.

    There wasn't much one could do to improve chances of getting Clarendon or Rooftop though, other than being deeply diverse in that school's context, or being willing to accept that you were shooting the moon--as in the Hearts game--taking all the tricks. So if you really, really wanted not to go 0/7, best bet was to avoid the trophies altogether. The vast majority of those who went 0/7 last year put a trophy school as #1 or #2 or both.

    Anyway, that is perspective for those opening envelopes tomorrow, but old, defunct advice for next year's folks :-)

    Good luck to everyone.

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  82. "4:52, if only 50 people listed De Avila first with 44 spots, I'd say you have a better chance than at many other schools. Not a sure bet, but pretty decent odds. Especially considering it's a school with a good reputation."

    And also especially considering that my guess is there are almost no siblings coming in this year since it only had two grades this year.

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  83. RE: De Avila. I'm a parent there. EPC made a mistake listing 44 K spots. It was supposed to say 66. Wouldn't that mean that everyone who listed it first would get it since there were fewer families that listed it first than the number of spots? Good luck to everyone - we'd love to have you join our school community!

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  84. DeAvila parent, thanks for clarifying. That is good news.

    Not true that all first choice applicants will get it though. That will depend on the applicant pool and how many provide diversity. It is possible that someone who provides diversity will not get his/her #2 pick, and will be given DeAvila.

    That said, the odds are really good. Especially compared to Clarendon!

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  85. This is 4:52 again. I can say quite definitively that not everyone that listed De Avila first will get in with 52 first choice requests and 66 openings. Because we did not get in (I also posted this on Round 1 letters). We are crushed.

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  86. DeAvila parent here again. I wonder if it's possible that half of the K spots were reserved for Cantonese speakers? If so, I think it's very possible that a bunch of spots will open up in the second round. Not that I know anything about how this process works, but I hope you won't give up hope!

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  87. 4:52 again. We will list De Avila as a waitpool request but we have, in fact, pretty much given up hope. If there are a lot of openings they will be rushed by people who didn't list it as a first choice request in Round 1 and went 0/7, and once again, we will not get in. If there aren't a lot of openings, we also won't get in. Heads we lose, tails we lose.

    With hindsight we would not have listed a dual immersion program as a first choice in Round 1. We don't get any extra credit for having shown we really wanted it. Everyone who took a flyer on AFY, Clarendon and the like is now better-positioned to get in than we are, because we tried to be realistic and pick lower-demand schools.

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