Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot topic: Middle school enrollment

There has been some talk about the middle school enrollment process on the blog, so we're starting a separate thread. Please feel free to share where you're hoping to send your child to middle school. Did you get a good option in the SFUSD Round I lottery? Are you on a wait pool for a private? And so on...

27 comments:

  1. Aptos! Love the renovations, the music and arts, the honors program, the improvement manifest in test scores for every group, the diversity, the park next door, the families we know there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We listed Aptos as our 1st choice, got it, registered our son there and learned that as a GATE student he'd automatically be registered for all honors classes. That was easy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Step Up Saturday" for incoming Aptos 6th-graders will be on Saturday, May 8th--featuring jazz band performance and BBQ. Hope you can join us!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have mentioned this once before on SF Kfiles. Alamo will be accepting several new students in 4th and 5th grades next year. It is an excellent school and it will likely be a feeder school for Predidio MS as it is the closest elementary. Sometime later this spring the EPC should start assigning students that ask for the transfer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Dan for the information. We've been trying to transfer our kid at the fifth grade level. I wish I'd known this before I put in my waitpool/amended choice form last week. Doesn't anyone know whether I can go back to SFUSD, pull the one I gave them last week, and put in a new waitlist/amended choice form? PS -- While I am at it, does anyone know of other elementary schools that are likely to have fifth grade openings too? I feel like I'm shooting pool in the dark here!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are starting the neighborhood, SFUSD SAS program early and going to Francisco - our 1st and only choice. Just spoke to a Francisco 8th grader's mom and she reported that 20 students from the honors program there got into Lowell.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Community Advocate, Francisco's a nice school. I wish you all the best! We're on the other side of town so went with Aptos, but it's always good to hear of such efforts, especially at the MS level.

    Don, you may be right that Alamo will feed into Presidio, which is also a very nice school. I would only caution that the language for the new SAS system states that MS assignment pathways may not be contiguous to the school. I'm sure they will be trying for some diversity. Therefore, I would be cautious about assuming anything about MS assignment and making an elementary decision now based on that assignment.

    That said, how far wrong can they go? Presidio, Roosevelt, Marina: all good schools out there in the north/west of town.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You may be right. But considering Alamo is the closest elementary to Presidio SFUSD is going to be committing itself to some extreme gerrymandering in that case. I can understand that the boundaries may change and that diversity will play a part. But changing the boundaries in the Richmond is not going to fundamentally change the demographics makeup.

    To the person interested in Alamo, I would call the school and talk with Dr. Packer, the principal, to find out the exact timeline and the details. But he told the community that he plans to enlarge 4 or 5 to get the additional funding.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Correction- 4th AND 5th grade to be enlarged

    ReplyDelete
  10. Is it possible to send your child to k-5 public and then apply and get in to a private middle school?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Re: private middle school.

    You can apply to private middle school. There is generally some movement at 5th grade in any case. Some schools, like Live Oak and Synergy - expand their student population at middle school.

    A lot of privates also do their full scholarships for students at the middle school level.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "A lot of privates also do their full scholarships for students at the middle school level."

    Sorry - What does this mean? Scholarship based on need or academic merit or both?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Aptos was our first choice, but didn't get into any of our choices and was assigned James Denman. :-( We are currently on the waitlist for Aptos, but have moved forward in applying to neighborhood parochial schools instead.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Re: scholarships.

    My wife teaches/taught in BV/HP and Tenderloin. There are usually a few kids from those schools / communities in her elementary school that get full scholarships from privates (SFDS, Live Oak, Town that I know of directly) for middle school spots.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Glad to hear it, 12:45. How do they do? I mean, does your wife have a sense of which of these schools (maybe all) have an adequate support system for these kids and their families? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Independent schools are more likely to fund tuition assistance at a higher level for an incoming middle schooler than an incoming kindergartener as they are looking at a 3-yr versus a 9-yr commitment. The pool of potential applicants for 6th grade is also much smaller.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 12:45 here. She actually did touch base with a couple of her students afterwards when they graduated to high school. Anecdotal, but they seemed fine and happy to her. I don't know what sort of 'support' they provide beyond the tuition and they don't pay for the extras. One boy was super happy because he was feeling ostracized in his old school for being a 'brain' and reading a lot and he found more of a community who shared his interests. Just goes to show that fitting in or finding the right environment is not all about socioeconomics or ethnicity. I'm sure there are kids who struggle as well or may have feelings of insecurity. It's not a straightforward issue.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Independent schools are more likely to fund tuition assistance at a higher level for an incoming middle schooler than an incoming kindergartener as they are looking at a 3-yr versus a 9-yr commitment. The pool of potential applicants for 6th grade is also much smaller.

    Also that pool, aside from the contingent jumping ship from their current private K-8s, are coming from public school -- generally representing people of more modest means than those who started in K.

    ReplyDelete
  19. A friend just told me today that they'll be giving up their 6th grade spot in Presidio for private.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I know of a 6th grade spot that just opened up at Aptos.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm a public middle school student at Aptos and know many people around the district as well; I am loving my time at Aptos. The teachers are great, the students are great, the environment is great. I've heard the same things from many schools around the district.

    So, for what I an say on the subject: if you got into a good school, ie: Giannini, Aptos, Presidio, Hoover, even Lick--stick with it. Not only is the school free but it will provide a good education and life skills through a diversity not found in most private schools. Other schools are also coming up, so if the school you got into doesn't look so great at the moment, look at the programs and ideas it's trying to get and consider what it could be like in a year.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ^^^ Thanks for posting that. I was miserable in middle school myself (a long time ago that was, and it was called jr. high school), so it is good see a student posting positive thoughts. Education is obviously important, but I would rank general happiness as a goal for those years as well. They are not easy years!

    I wonder, do you think a big school or a small school is better at this age? I've seen parents debate this. Some assume that the smaller schools (public or private) are better because kids don't get lost. Others talk about the amenities that are offered at the larger schools--band, orchestra, clubs. Plus the larger number of kids means more potential friends, and everyone can find a niche.

    Btw, I'd add Roosevelt to the list of schools to check out along with the ones you mention.

    ReplyDelete
  23. 1:49 here again.

    I think the preferred size of the school really depends on the kid. For me, I wanted the larger school because I felt fully ready for the transition and wasn't nervous about making new friends or anything at all. But for many kids, it's a bit tougher, and a smaller, more community-based school might be more helpful.

    On the other hand, going to a smaller school has a risk; if the kid doesn't fit in, there really isn't anywhere else to go. In a larger school, not everybody knows each other and there's always opportunity for different people.

    So I would say, again, see what your kid thinks of each different school. Every school has its own feel to it, and there's always a place for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Has anyone been in contact with middle schools this week since the enrollment deadline came and went? Anyone have any ideas on how may slots are opening in some of the obvious MS choices (Aptos, AP, Hoover, Presidio)?
    I think offices are closed this week due to Spring Break, right?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes, the school offices are closed this week for spring break. They will re-open on Monday.

    It is definitely worth waitpooling and submitting an amended list. There will be movement.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just got word from EDU placement counselor that waiting Pool List will be posted on their web page www.sfusd.edu on April 5, 2010. After that day you will have until April 9, to make a change on your waiting pool school. If anyone is interested.

    ReplyDelete
  27. We got Presidio MS...

    W...e feel like we have won the lottery. This school has a great drama teacher and an annual musical featuring band/orchestra and chorus group as well. Also, a spring outdoor education program in Yosemite and good after school program that includes homework tutoring.

    ReplyDelete