Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hot topic: Marin Prep

This from a reader:
Would you please consider starting a thread for families admitted to/attending Marin Prep? We were accepted, and are seriously considering the offer but somewhat hesitant since it is a brand new school.

90 comments:

  1. We got a yes letter and are seriously contemplating it. It is bright and airy, the class seems positively enriched with light, science, technology, animals, and a teacher that is 110 percent awesome (and the aftercare, while expensive, is in spanish.) But thats the problem: its just one class. Is this how Friends started?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's normal for schools to start as just one class -- that happens with public schools too. It's not that easy to get enough students to transfer from other schools at higher grades to fill a class.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Exactly right. In fact Marin Prep's building previously housed Friends and Live Oak when they were starter schools. I agree it is a wonderful location and very bright and airy. I believe they will have 3 class grades next year (jr K, K and 1) and continue to build from there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We received a yes letter too. We really love this school.

    During my child's interview, they really focused on her. Unlike all the other private schools we visited, they summarized the interview process and reviewed the results with us.

    The facility is totally renovated. They use the website to inform parents of lesson plans and homework assignments. (I was checking out the weekly lesson plan on their website.)

    Since it is a new school, class size is not a concern. The headmaster and teachers seemed genuinely excited about their school.

    I believe it is the perfect school for my child.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Try to find out how many of the existing students are leaving as that might be revealing. I have heard that there are some unhappy families there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We originally liked Marin Prep, but started have concerns once our child's observation was scheduled at the end of March (even though we applied more than ahead of time)and the head master did not understand why this was a concern. Once we finally got an earlier date, we were told after a 10 minute evaluation that our child was not ready for Kindergarten. Also thought it was interesting that there was not parent interview. I really appreciated that the other private schools took the time to get to know the families. We realized this is not the place for us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't heard about any unhappy families. Our child attends. There are only 11 other families. So if more than one family is unhappy, they're doing a pretty good job of hiding it.

    On another note, I believe there are going to be 2 kindergarten classes next year.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We are a current Marin Prep family returning next year. We did our diligence this year in checking out schools elsewhere, but quickly realized what a gem we have here with Ed, Jess and the other members of the team. Our child has done exceptionally well in this small school environment, socially and academically. We love the hands-on approach to learning. It definitely is an academically focused environment, and it is amazing how quickly our children have absorbed everything from science experiments to reading to Spanish. No school is a perfect fit for every family, but we can't say enough good things about our own experience here. We are very impressed with the phenomenal start of this school and the personalized attention the team is able to place on each student. We feel very lucky to be at Marin Prep and are thrilled to be part of it as it grows.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We are a current Marin Prep family with no plans to move. Our child has had an extremely positive experience at the school, gaining confidence, a positive outlook, good social skills and an amazing academic experience.

    I have had a few applying parents approach me and ask if Head of School Ed Walters seems too good to be true. I can guarantee you that he really is that good! Just go onto our website and read some of his newsletters where he expresses his many thoughts on the education process, and that's exactly what you'll get at Marin Prep. He's compassionate, fair, level headed, patient, loves education for the sake of learning, and deals well with the parent body.

    The parent group is active in making the school a vibrant community and receptive to all. We have made sure the teachers are appreciated, are active in fundraising, create opportunities to bond socially and supplement any aspect of the school's extracurricular activities that we feel needs attention because it's a young school.

    Please feel free to contact Ed Walters if you want to talk to any of the parents, and he'll find someone to call you. We are so happy you applied to Marin Prep!

    ReplyDelete
  10. My child also attends and he loves it! It has been a rewarding experience for our whole family on many levels. The parent group is very engaged and fun!
    Ed is committed to keeping the class sizes small and the application process as transparent as possible.

    As the above poster said, if you have more specific concerns or questions, please have Ed put you in touch with a current family. We would be happy to talk to you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Since there are only 11 families attending this school, could each family write a review?

    ReplyDelete
  12. We are Marin Prep parents and we love the school. Our daughter has blossomed under the watchful eyes of Ed, Jess, Cameron, Alice and Taira. She is doing well academically and socially. Whenever we thought our daughter was having a problem, the whole team helped us move past it. We are the only parents leaving as far as I know, but it is because we are moving out of state. We would never leave such a great school otherwise. We are grateful that our child loves her school and will be so well prepared for 1st grade after her great year at Marin Prep.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Another great advantage of Marin Prep: Ed is deeply committed to keeping class sizes small.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We are a current Marin Prep family and we are not altogether happy with the school, and we know of one other family also very unhappy. We may or may not leave. We don't want to trash the school publicly, as it's possible that our experience is unique, and the problems are just part of it being a new school. On the other hand, we think some of the problems are not due to its being a new school, and if you're thinking of going there you should be aware. Post your email here and we'll write to you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We are applying for k this fall and Marin Prep is one of the schools we are interested in. I'm glad to hear that children are thriving at the school. I'd like to learn more about some reasons why it is not working out for the two (maybe more?) families. Thanks for sharing your experience.


    jayeely at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. @11:09 - we had the EXACT same experience! Our child has a mid-March birthday and before they even evaluated him were trying to push us into Jr. Kindergarten in the hopes of filling that class. We pulled out right then due to the lack of honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 8:38pm: Our daughter got into Marin Prep and we are very interested in the school. I would be grateful if you could e-mail me about your experiences.

    llll_33@yahoo.com (Those are four lower-case letter L's, not number 1)

    Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Interesting discussion thread going on here...I think it is important to remember that kindergarten is a big step for a lot of children and finding the right fit for your child is a huge challenge. The fact that Marin Prep may have a couple of children moving on is normal.

    My child needed a kindergarten where he feels safe, loved, challenged and understood. For being in its first year, Ed, Jess, Cameron and the rest of the staff have done a wonderful job so far providing that for our child.

    Admittedly, our child has struggled with some of the reading, writing and math curriculum. In our case, we have been very involved in working with Ed and Jess to identify and correct these challenges. To their credit, they have been very proactive in giving us feedback, making themselves open and available to bringing in outside help if need be, and, most importantly, continually monitor and boost our child's self esteem. In spite of our child's struggles and seeming frustration, our child is extremely excited to go to school every day, which speaks volumes to the teaching and care he receives there.

    In my opinion, one of the challenges of starting a school from scratch is having enough staff to meet the needs of every child. As the school continues to grow, I am sure the school will consider bringing in a learning specialist (for example) to help meet the needs of every child. They are not the kind of school that will force a child out if they are struggling. Not to steal a slogan from another school, but Marin Prep has "no floor, no ceiling," and is a great place to educate all your children.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'd also like to hear from the the poster 8:38. My email is margolies77@gmail.com.

    THANKS

    ReplyDelete
  20. 8:38, we would also appreciate learning more. We have heard mostly good things so far, but want to make this decision with as much input as possible from the parent community. treefern at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. For those who are posting their email addresses to learn more about Marin Prep from one particular parent, remember that this is one person's point of view.

    For those who would like other points of view, I suggest you contact Ed Walters, and he can give you phone numbers of other parents.

    I am perfectly happy to talk to prospective parents and am somewhat dismayed that a Marin Prep parent would be warding off parents on a public forum like this.

    We are very happy with the school and intend to stay. We understand that there will be little bumps along the way initially. But if we have problems, we'll go to the teacher, then the headmaster, then the parent group--but not to SFK files first.

    ReplyDelete
  22. We are a Marin Prep family. Not every school is going to be a fit for every child or family. But, our family is thrilled beyond our wildest hopes with our school. It's an incredible community of educators and families that all care about creating a truly unique and loving experience for our children. Although we are a small group of families this year, we are all very committed to growing the school into a robust and active part of our great city community. The current parent group is a tightly knit group of caring people that are working together with the faculty to make this school something truly special. I am more than a little shocked to see that one of our families feels unhappy. We have parent meetings monthly in which thoughts and ideas are shared, welcomed, considered, and adopted. Not one person has voiced concerns. If they decide to do so, we will all work together to make the improvements that we deem are necessary. This is a very open and loving community in which we are all determined to raise assertive, thoughtful, caring members of society. Our kids already have a genuine sense of accomplishment concerning being a part of a brand new institution. They feel that they are a part of something that they have had a hand in crafting. Next year is going to be incredible! I look so forward to meeting all of our new families in the coming months!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. We explored Marin Prep, but did not end up applying. We thought it seemed like a great group of parents and a really warm building and environment, but found Ed Walters to be beyond arrogant in a manner that was rather surprising for a new Admissions Director at a new school. He was openly dismissive of many of the other private schools in the area, and came across as a total salesman. This general feeling was shared by at least one other family I know who also visited...and since it is such a small/new school, we both felt that it was very important we felt good about the director.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It is good to see all constructive viewpoints voiced on this thread. The differing views, to me, are indicative of this entire school process -- no school fits every family.

    We are a family who has been impressed with Marin Prep from the moment we walked into Jess's sunny and inviting Kindergarten classroom. We and our child immediately felt at home. The atmosphere is wonderful -- old San Francisco and neighborhood-based yet with the latest teaching devices. We also have appreciated Ed's professionalism and seasoned background (unjaded by the unique circumstances of the San Francisco school environment) as much as his warmth and personalized attention. The 5 staff:1 student ratio is certainly impossible to beat. The families are very friendly and dedicated to their kids' education and the school. Most importantly, this is a school in which we see ourselves as being a part of a growing community and where our child will thrive and learn to love learning.

    We will be part of the Marin Prep community in the coming year and hope that everyone finds a school, Marin Prep or otherwise, where they will be equally excited.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Not affiliated with Marin Prep and did not apply but I gotta say, no one school fits all and give the director a break. Of course he is selling the school, it is his job. That is what they all do, though most of them have DOAs to do most of it for them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. We would also like to hear from departing families at Marin Prep. We are considering the school for our child in the fall.

    sfkfilesmisc at gmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  27. I find it odd that this thread was started by someone wanting to hear all about Marin Prep, and yet the current parents are "shocked" and "dismayed" that anyone would depart from the orthodoxy, and they accuse 8:38 of "warding off" parents on a public forum like this. They also accuse 8:38 of not approaching the teachers, the head, and the parents group ... what makes them think that these avenues were not explored already?

    Signed: 8:38

    ReplyDelete
  28. I liked my visit to the school.

    The principal was informative about the school and their goals. He spent a lot of time walking my wife and I through the nice building showing us the class projects and explaining various teaching methods in a very easy-going manner.


    I resonated to the small class size, challenging academics, creative thinking and strong language skills (English and Spanish).


    Like another commenter, I liked the explanation of the "evaluation" process and the 1-1 nature of the process. It was very measured and low-pressure. Since they are such a new school, they can probably take more time to walk people through the process.

    Most importantly, my child had a great time during the evaluation.


    I look forward to being part of Marin Prep community in the fall.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am a current and very happy Marin Prep parent, but not one of those who previously commented about not being aware of one current family being unhappy at the school. I too was unaware of any such discontent until reading these postings.

    I have attended every parent meeting and can confirm nothing has been brought up in this forum. Perhaps this family has raised these issues with the school. I do not and frankly should not know. Ed and his team are consummate professionals, so I would be very surprised if they ever spoke about one family's issues with any other family.

    It is of course unfortunate when a school ends up not being a good fit for a family, but I know I speak for all of the families at Marin Prep in saying that we wish the best for each child. We want to work to make Marin Prep an even better school for all of its students, but if Marin Prep isn't the right fit, we hope that you find your perfect school.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have to say sfkfiles is better than watching TV.

    Ok. So what we have learned on tonight's episode. There is one family perhaps more, who are unhappy. The remaining families were not aware.

    What will happen next?


    Tune in tomorrow for more.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Funny post 10:28!

    Hey, if you don't like Marin Prep, leave. Oh yeah, and I'm sure there will be so many openings for first grade in the other privates. Or, try your luck in the public lottery. You'll need it. Better yet, move to Novato.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is certainly an interesting thread - the most revealing part of it is how incredibly hostile one or more current parents are to anyone criticizing the school. "If you don't like it, leave?" "Move to Novato?" Wow. I would think very hard about joining a community where the parents are obviously going to squelch and drown out anyone with any concerns. That's absurd, it's a human institution (and a new one!) so of course it's going to have problems. Shouting down, and insulting or hounding out of town anyone who wants to bring them up is hardly my expectation of a community for my child. Thanks for helping me decide - we're going to go elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This post addresses the one at 11:10 pm on 3/21/10: Why are you assuming it's a current Marin Prep family who posted the 10:57 pm comment? It could have been anyone. That's the problem with anonymous posts, no one ever has to be accountable.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm curious about the corporate parent (Bright Horizons). What role/impact do/will they have in the school? Kinda makes me wonder about "for profit" and "management fees"

    ReplyDelete
  35. My name is Chris Whitt. My son Jack is a student at MPS and I am the mother that posted at 3:57 pm yesterday. I am new to this forum and it seemed like a hassle to have to go and get a google id in order to post without being anonymous. I had heard from one of my friends at MPS that some prospective parents were looking for input about our school on the SFK files and decided to see if I could be of help. I personally emailed the few people who left emails on this blog and said just that to them. I suppose that saying that I was "shocked" to learn that someone at our school is so unhappy that they would post something anonymously on this blog was hyperbole. One has to understand that this year our school really is only a handful of families. I see almost every parent at least once a week if not more often. We communicate with each other all of the time. We are all working so hard to build something here, and it is a bit confusing to me that someone could feel unhappy enough to post here and yet not to mention it in either our monthly meetings or in the parking lot! Every family tries very hard to have a representative at our monthly meeting, and Ed Walters not only listens to our thoughts but has sought out our opinions regarding policy and the school direction time and time again. People do voice ideas and criticism. And, to me it feels like we are all heard and that consensus is reached. I love being a part of this family community and the school community. That is all that I was trying to convey in my post.

    I also come from a perspective of knowing what is not a fit for my son and my family. We came to the Marin Day School/Bright Horizon community after leaving a local preschool that ended up being a terrible experience for our family. Other families loved it there. My son however developed nightmares, night terrors, bit his nails until they bled, and he stopped eating. He was eventually diagnosed with failure to thrive resulting in numerous exhaustive tests that yielded nothing. We put him into therapy and eventually removed everything from his life that we could so that we could figure out why a four year old little boy could be so depressed. It turned out that the school was the culprit. Were they doing anything bad to him, no. But, nonetheless it was a horrible environment for him. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned to go with my gut. When I walked through the doors of Marin Day school, it felt like a home to me. And, that is how I have felt at Marin Preparatory school. When you go through all of the SF private school tours, you know what fits and what doesn't. They are all so different for a reason. No two children are the same and no family environment is the same. You have to find one that fits. MPS may not fit you and your family. That's totally ok. I would love to reach out to any of our families that is going through what I went through in our past. Sometimes little changes can make all the difference, and sometimes nothing will change the fact that something isn't working for you. To any parent that is trying to decide the next five to eight years of their child's education, I would like to say that you have to make the best decision for your family that you can with the knowledge that you have right now. If something isn't a fit, you aren't stuck for eight years. It gets easier to transfer down the line as families move and shift and change within a school. Just do your best, it'll be fine! To anyone that would like to ask me any specific questions about our school, please feel free to email me at whitt_christian@hotmail.com. You almost need a support group to make it through the grueling search process in SF! And, I find that this forum doesn't feel very supportive. I am going to move on, and wish all of you dealing with these decisions the very best! Chris

    ReplyDelete
  36. Chris:
    WHat was happening at the preschool?

    ReplyDelete
  37. My name is Claudia Cohn (ccohn25@gmail.com) and my daughter, karina Bary attends MPS. I left a comment earlier, since we are the family leaving MPS to move to another city. I mentioned before that we were happy with the school and found it to be a good fit for us.

    This thread is disturbing and I think it reflects the anxiety parents go through while moving through the selection process. I was not aware of an MPS family being unhappy, but as others said, its bound to happen that some schools are not a good fit for a child/family. Airing that unhappiness in a public forum should be taken in context with all the other positive comments left in this thread.

    Some of the MPS parents are disturbed that one of the group is unhappy. This surprise likely reflects the extremely close-knit group we have created at MPS. This closeness works well for most of us, but maybe not for all of us.

    As Chris W. said, choosing the right school involves a lot of 'gut' feeling. If you like the idea of a very supportive, close-knit community, then you cannot go wrong with MPS.

    Can't we drop the angry tone? We all want the same thing: a school where our children thrive.

    ReplyDelete
  38. As a current parent at Marin Preparatory School I want to take this opportunity to tell you all how VERY HAPPY our family has been with this new school. I am sadened to read negative remarks about the school. We too were prospective parents once, concerned about if this was the right choice for our daughter. Marin Prep is exactly what we searched for in a school and more. Our daughter loves her school, teachers and head master, I see it in her actions. She is always eager to go to school. She sings songs she has learned in school, comes home and pretends to be a scientist and when a friend asked her if she had a good day in school, her response was "I always have a good day in school". She is learning in a fun environment, with people that care about her and want her to succeed. She is challenged everyday. The staff has always responded promptly to our questions. We are VERY happy with our decision. My best advice would be to visit the school, see for yourself and ask questions of the staff. It will be your "gut" instinct that should lead you to a decision NOT what someone else has said. Afterall, you are your child's best advocate. We too are returning next year and look forward to meeting new friends and families.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Obviously, this 8:38 person has some problem with the school that they are not discussing with the school or with other families. I think it is in poor taste for this 8:38 to invite strangers to speak privately with them about their school issues when they haven't even approached the school with their problems!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jeez. Quietly sharing that you aren't entirely happy with a school is not something that others should be "saddened, surprised or shocked" about. There are all kinds of reasons a school might not be a good fit, and frankly, those reasons are not always everyone's business. The original poster may very well have brought up her concerns privately with the school administration and/or teachers.

    Frankly, the parent community is one of the reasons people do or don't feel a strong connection to their schools. Speaking for myself, if I didn't feel a good fit with the parent community, the last group I would want to discuss it with would be the parent community. Your "tight-knit" might be someone else's "oppressive".

    People need to chill. If you love the school, that's great. But stop acting like everyone else needs to drink the Kool-Aid

    ReplyDelete
  41. I too, am a bit surprised by the negative tones that are being used when discussing Marin Prep. Just like any other school, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Just because it isn't the right school for one family, does not mean that another family won't find it to be the perect fit. It is a personal choice, and an important one. It is not a decision that should be made based on what people write in a blog. Go to the school, visit with the teachers, then decide for yourself what is best for your child.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I am the mother of a Marin Prep student returning for first grade. I love Marin Prep and our daughter is thriving there. I feel privileged to participate, in a deeply satisfying, very personal way, to the creation of our school's community and the shaping of its mission.
    I'm sad to learn that a one or more of the Marin Prep kindergarteners may not be returning this fall, but I respect their parent's decisions about what best suits their family's needs.

    I read the SF K files obsessively during our school search, also on acceptance letters day, and for the couple of weeks that followed. I tried to seperate out postings with information that appeared to come from direct experience from other types of postings, but, in retrospect, nothing I read in the SF K files informed me as much as my own, gut response to any particular school and the people I met there.

    I'd be happy to share my own experience at Marin Prep with any prospective parents. My name is Christy and my email is cwspoon@pacbell.net

    ReplyDelete
  43. 1:57

    You're right, not everyone needs to drink the kool-aid. But if there was something about the culture of the school that bothered a parent, we, as a community here, would have liked the opportunity to change it. We still would like to address whatever is bothering the family or families. But if the aggrieved parties only favor prospective families with this information, there's not much we can do about it. And prospective families may believe that the school will continue on in the same vein and decide not to send their kids here.

    ReplyDelete
  44. We liked Marin Prep but thought the admission process was not child friendly. Asking a 4 year old to spend time (and perform at their best) in a classroom of children who have been together for a long time, wwhere they may be speaking in another language and who is the only "new" person in the classroom is not an appropriate way to evaluate a child for readiness- social or otherwise. It is not an even playing field and they should seriously review how they do admissions for the next schoool year. It felt really wrong to us and we decided not to continue with the admission process. The building looks great and I like the Spanish infusion. I don't think the Head of School understands the way to do admissions.

    ReplyDelete
  45. We got none of our private or public choices and were wondering if this school still has openings. If you know, please post!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I don't know that there are any openings, but it can't hurt to call the Head of School and find out. I believe the school has 2 Kindergarten classes of 14-18 planned. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Ditto...let us know. School sounds like it has enthusiastic parents...defintely a good start.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I see that some people are concerned with parent interviews and that this school does not interview parents. At other schools, I worried that the emphasis was placed on the parents and not on our child. Why would a school interview the parents if they are accepting the students? Are the parents going to be sitting in class?

    ReplyDelete
  49. If your kid didn't get into kindergarten, maybe they aren't ready for it yet. That is why some schools offer a junior kindergarten.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Our family loves Marin Prep and we know that Ed or Jes would have dealt with any concerns brought in by another family. So our question is, is this 8:38 an honest poster?

    ReplyDelete
  51. I don't think 8:38 doubts the veracity of her situation.

    The question is, "Did Ed and Jess deal with the problem in a manner that was satisfactory to her?"

    If the answer is no, then maybe Marin Prep isn't the place for her.

    I have to say that all 12 kids seem really happy at Marin Prep. But if the parent isn't happy, then usually the kid is pulled out--which is a shame.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I am a parent at Marin Prep and having gotten to know all of our parents -- some very well and some less well, but I believe they are all good people. More importantly, I have gotten to know all of our Marin Prep children and they are really special and unique.

    For anyone who reads and posts on this site, please do not lose sight of the fact that doing the best for our children is the whole purpose for this blog. For our family, Marin Prep fits the bill, but I respect the right and need of others to find what fits for them and, most importantly, for their child. As others have said, stop, look and listen at the school itself. Then follow your gut.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Saw a Craig's List ad for three teachers for Marin Prep: Jr. kinder, kinder and first.

    Are the current teachers leaving?

    It mentioned a class size of 24, which seems much larger than most privates (or even most publics pre-cuts)...

    ReplyDelete
  54. Marin Prep is run by a for-profit company. To me, this suggests possible problems with accountability up the chain. It may not be a problem for everyone, however.

    My biggest issue is that I don't think it provides any better of an education than Harvey Milk next door, in terms of rigor of curriculum or quality of teaching. I'm sure the two communities are equally filled with nice families. The neighborhoods are equal. Biggest difference is price!, and Milk isn't so hard to get into off the waitpool. Up the street, Alvarado is a deeper school in terms of both arts and Spanish curriculum, and is free, although admittedly hard to get into.

    ReplyDelete
  55. The teacher postings are for the new classes for next year -- jr K, a second K, and first. Jess is returning to her existing K classroom. Each classroom has at least a lead teacher and an asst teacher. Ed Walters has estimated class sizes in the lower grades at 14-18.

    ReplyDelete
  56. 7:35...I toured both Marin Prep and Harvey Milk. The differences between the two schools are very apparent.

    From the Harvey Milk tour, the budgets cuts are having a huge impact. No music, no art. Harvey Milk's class sizes are much bigger. The books being used by the kids were very old and seemed outdated. The play structure needs to be replaced.

    Marin Prep is a completely renovated. New everything...furniture, play structure, etc. They have a Smartboards in the classrooms that are utilized for lessons. They use their website to keep parents aware of weekly lesson plans and homework assignments.

    You are definitely getting more for your tuition at Marin Prep. Harvey Milk sounds like a good school. Marin Prep sounds like a great school.

    ReplyDelete
  57. WARNING: Do not post your email on a blog spot! You are just asking for trouble, identity theft, scams, etc. Scam artists ask people to post their email addresses online so that they can access your information.

    ReplyDelete
  58. "Our family loves Marin Prep and we know that Ed or Jes would have dealt with any concerns brought in by another family. So our question is, is this 8:38 an honest poster?"

    Oh my goodness! I don't have a dog in this fight as I'm several years down the elementary and middle school path, but you people! Accusing the poster of being dishonest, just because her experience differs from your own?

    In 4 -5 years, you will have a more complete understanding of the notion that no one school is perfect for every child, and you probably will be less defensive when someone has a reaction that doesn't mirror your own. Especially once you get past K, you'll find that families leave schools for all kinds of reasons unrelated to the skill or popularity of the administration: social issues, learning issues, logistical or financial issues, curriculum misfit, etc. etc.

    Honestly, perfectly reasonable people with marvelous children might not adore your school the way you do. That doesn't make them liars.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Wow, there are only about 12 families currently at Marin Prep, and about 12 current parents have posted on this thread so far, so it makes me think that every single current family must have come here to post. I can just imagine the crazed, frantic emails going around between the parents this morning. "OMG! Someone dared to say something negative about Marin Prep on a blog! We all need to go there now and post how great everything is!"

    I must say, you all seem like a cult. Why don't you just chill? You're way too defensive. So what if one parent is dissatisfied. Big deal. You're scaring people away with your fanaticism.

    By the way, what's up with Ed's flashy red convertible sports car? The guy seems like a bundle of contradictions.

    ReplyDelete
  60. 7:48,

    Excuse me, but Harvey Milk does have music and art. It's part of the curriculum both separately and as part of the other classes. Sorry you missed that on the tour! Yes, class sizes are going up as they are in the rest of the SFUSD elementary schools; they will remain lower than most parochials and are going higher than most privates. There is an active community at Milk that is working to fill gaps and more.

    I agree that the public schools can look very scruffy by comparison with private schools. Money sure does buy beautiful new furniture! I just don't think that is the best way to judge the most important elements of education, which are teaching skills/experience and curriculum. Harvey Milk is comparable there if not better. The old adage of not judging a book by its cover applies here. What is key is what is taught and how well. In that sense, Harvey Milk is the better value, particularly as a cost/benefit comparison. If money is no object at all, by all means spend away--it doesn't matter if it's value or not, right? Hedge your bets with the smartboards. I do envy the smaller classes, just don't think it's the best value for the money. Research indicates class size is most important for low-income kids; the kids whose parents read this blog will not be adversely affected by a class of 25.

    I definitely realize others differ--which is why people choose schools like Marin Prep over schools like Harvey Milk. I'm just saying there is a counterview to the idea that if it costs more and looks pretty, it really is better.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I really didn't miss anything on the tour. The principal said...They didn't have music or art classes. And now that the rainy day fund was pretty much gone. She sounded really worried. The after school program might not be free in the future, etc.

    I would love to go to Harvey Milk, but the amount of money that the PTA is raising is not enough to cover the obvious limitations from budget cuts. (This is not counting next years cuts.) You need cash to have a well rounded curriculum. That's just a fact. If the school district cuts and cuts, the school and the students will suffer for it. In my opinion, it is a tragic scenario that will take years to correct.

    The sup of schools said...He is going to have to cut the budget..."old depression type cuts." This is going to have a major impact.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Sorry..."Great depression type cuts." Maybe I should go to Harvey Milk and sit in on a history lesson. I might learn something.

    Look...Harvey Milk seemed like a fine school. But you can see where the budget cuts are impacting the school.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Has it really come to this? Cars? Come on, people. This blog is a forum for families to share their experiences at Marin Prep (bad or good) with others.

    ReplyDelete
  64. The red mustang belongs to an assistant teacher. She likes flashy sports cars, so what?

    ReplyDelete
  65. I toured and was impressed. I don't know what the fuss is all about one parent whose child doesn't fit. In any other K, you'll find at least one mismatch. No big deal at all.

    We decided not to proceed in application but that was mainly due to distance from our house. No issue with head of school, who is doing a great job as far as I can tell.

    For profit doesn't bother me either. They will take a huge financial bath for several years while most of building is empty. This is intentional as they buid the school. That's long term investment for current kids. Maybe they'll make money on kids eventually, but not on YOUR kids.

    Good luck, everyone, with your decision. I'm glad new to see a new school opening in SF. Choices are a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Melinda Kanter-LevyMarch 22, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    WOW! I'm Melinda (Lynn) Kanter-Levy from Marin Day Schools, Bright Horizons and Marin Preparatory School. Couple of things come to mind regarding all that is being written about Marin Prep.
    1. It is wonderful that our current families and some of our applicant families have said such really supportive statements about our school. We hope they are happy and absolutely want them to share any concerns they have with us directly. That is how we become an even better school.
    2. Marin Prep is a work in progress and we continue to grow and evolve. We want and need parent input from current and potential families. Parent feedback is our most valuable resource. We need to hear what you like and what you didn't like in terms of the Marin Prep experience and the admissions process.
    3. We fully understand that every school is not the right match for every child or family.
    4. Marin Prep is NOT in competition with Harvey Milk or any other school- public or private. Harvey Milk School is our closest neighbor and we hope to build a strong relationship with them as we grow together. There is much to be said and done regarding public/private partnerships- especially in a wonderful neighborhood and city like ours.
    5. The other more established, well known and highly respected independent schools in SF and the bay area have been extremely generous and helpful to us this first year. We regard them as our true and dear friends.
    6. Presently, Marin Prep plans to have 3 classes next year- a Jr. K for children who will turn 5 by Dec. 2 but are not quite ready for K, a Kindergarten and a Grade 1. We plan on having a teacher and an assistant in each class. Class size will actually depend upon the numbers of enrollment. But we are anticipating group sizes of 16-20 per class.
    7. We are "growing" a school much like our predecessors Live Oak and SF Friends did in this location. That has been the plan all along- to add a grade each year until we reach full capacity of Jr. K through Grade 8.
    8. The Spanish infusion aspect of our school has worked out really well. Because of our really dedicated, creative and capable faculty, our young students really are becoming bi-lingual. It is wonderful to see the school in action as it is vibrant and exciting.
    9.The anonymous nature of these blogs makes it possible (and easy) for anyone to say or write anything about anyone or any school- regardless of the facts. That is unfortunate for all entities. While we naturally so much enjoy the positive statements, we do take the negative ones seriously and very much want to address issues head on. Please do call or email us discuss any and all issues.
    10. Because we are a new school and maybe not the "first choice" for some families, we will certainly continue to accept new applications for the 3 classes for the next school year. Please look at our website and contact us directly if you would like to schedule a tour. We would be so happy to meet you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Why does the Craigslist ad say class sizes could go up to 24, then?

    The three job descriptions sounded like head teacher positions, not assistants.. so, is Jess really staying?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Not that it really matters, but the crazy red sportscar *is* Ed's. I asked him, and he told me it was his.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Get a life, 8:20.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Like so many skewed unimportant issues discussed here, you got it wrong. Its a blue sports car and its beautiful and I'm happy for Ed that he enjoys it. What is wrong with owning a sportscar?

    ReplyDelete
  71. Where did Ed Walters come from before Marin Prep? Since the school is new, I would like to get an idea of his prior experience.

    ReplyDelete
  72. To the sports car poster
    What kind of car do you drive?
    I would like to make some judgments about you based on the vehicle you drive

    ReplyDelete
  73. I encourage anyone with questions about Ed's prior experience or a desire to learn more about MP to contact him directly. You'll find his contact info and more at www.marinpreparatory.org. Ask to come in for a visit--he loves to give personal tours of the school.

    ReplyDelete
  74. From Eric -

    I commented at March 21, 2010 9:52 PM.

    Disclosure - I'm not a current Marin Prep parent.

    I would recommend checking out Marin Prep. I enjoyed my visit to the school. My child enjoyed her visit as well.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Wish Marin Prep had stuck to its original vision of a well-run, private, Spanish-immersion program with a progressive, hands-on curriculum.

    "Spanish infusion" sounds nice, but the two kids we know at Marin Prep still can't speak the language and our nephew, a kindergartener at Fairmont is now speaking the language fluently (full sentences, not yet paragraphs).

    ReplyDelete
  76. Fairmount is a great school, but it's absolutely going to be decimated by these cuts. The PTA only raises about $20,000. Alvarado would be the place to go.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Everyone keeps talking about schools being decimated. They are bad cuts, no question, but I don't know that they'll have a huge impact on middle class kids. They will mean larger class sizes and/or fewer school days, yes, but according to most of the research this will have the biggest impact on lower-income kids. Besides that, the teachers will be just as professional, just as certified, just as strong and creative as before. It's not like one day you walk in and all is rubble. Fairmount has an excellent set of teachers. I don't mean to downplay the impact on them, but seriously, the person's nephew is going to be okay. I worry more about the kids who are losing resource specialists or extra attention who really, really need that (for not getting what is needed at home).

    ReplyDelete
  78. From Eric -

    My gut says both schools (Fairmont and Marin Prep) will be fine.

    There's just too many parents in the adjacent neighborhoods wanting quality education and wanting to get involved.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Why do the job ads for Marin Prep imply class size might go up to 24?

    ReplyDelete
  80. It looks like the class size is TBD. I wouldn't be too concerned about the ad--there will still be two teachers in each classroom.

    ReplyDelete
  81. It was a mistake. I heard that the person who posted the ad is from another office and made a mistake. The class size is supposed to be around 16.

    ReplyDelete
  82. anyone know if MP has openings for next fall?

    ReplyDelete
  83. They are still accepting applications for the second kindergarten class. Call Ed Walters.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Wow... I don't often read these blogs so am posting late. But my son is going to attend Marin Prep's pre-K program next fall and we couldn't be more thrilled. We are excited to become a part of a close knit community where we can play a significant role in helping to "build" something going forward. Two other families from our son's current (Bright Horizons)preschool are also attending and equally excited. Everyone needs to find the right fit for them, and both the non-immersion Spanish program and Ed's personal committment to math and sciences in a fun and age appropriate way were key decision points for us. Not everyone will like every school, and that's how it should be. But I encourage you to contact Ed and explore Marin Prep if you are still looking for options for next year. - Sara

    ReplyDelete
  85. Does anyone know if the school is offering financial aid as it is so new? And any info about the aftercare would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Does anyone know if the school is offering financial aid as it is so new? And any info about the aftercare would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Does anyone know if MPS is offerring financial aid for next year and how generous or not they are? Also what info is there about the afterschool program, cost and times. We are going to visit next week.

    ReplyDelete
  88. MPS has a great before/after-school program called Ademas ("in addition to"). It is primarily Spanish-based with great programs, from art and writing segments to various outings through the City (e.g., Ferry Building, Yerba Buena Gardens, GG Park) -- not simply day care. There are different pricing options, from daily to annual. It goes until 6 pm, but you can just use the time that you need too. Coverage also is great during school breaks. Check in with Cameron when you visit -- she has been the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Can anyone confirm that there is a significant staff change? I heard a rumor ...

    We checked out Marin Prep a month or so ago, met with Ed, Jess, etc. Beautiful school, kids seemed happy, Ed is a science nut in a good way, built a hovercraft out of duct tape and a battery-powered leaf blower and sent my boy sailing across the lunch room floor. Walked us through the evaluation, point by point. Its true, they did recommend pre-K and we were a little surprised, even though their evaluation seemed to justify it, because neither our preschool, nor any of the other privates gave us that indication. Still he indicated that the Jr. K would matriculate to 1st grade which I was a little confused about.

    Anyhow we got into Rosa Parks JBBP which is a major improvement over our initial assignment, so we have less momentum for MPS.

    Good luck to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Kate,
    My child is starting at Marin Prep this fall. I just received a letter informing me that the Head of School, Ed Walters, is not returning. He really is the reason why we applied to Marin Prep. I find it very scary that a brand new school can not retain their Head. I put a lot of faith in Marin Prep, with Ed at the helm. Does anyone know why he is leaving? Does anyone share in my fears for my child's future at Marin Prep?
    I would really appreciate it if you were to post this as a Hot Topic. You know how scaring enrolling your child in elementary school is, and now to top it off- I have to be afraid of the "unknown".

    many thanks, ~dtr

    ReplyDelete