Monday, March 22, 2010

Junipero Serra parent meet-up

This from a reader:
Approximately 50 parents that are in the 0/7 JS club have been meeting as a group to discuss the viability of accepting our spots a JS. Almost all of us have now toured the school and met with the principal, Eve Cheung. Parents living in the Noe/GP/BH area that have been assigned to other schools (Sunnyside, Flynn, Caesar Chavez and Bryant) have expressed an interest in joining the dialogue. Our group is meeting again this Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. and if others would like to join us, please have them e-mail me at so I can let them know the details. Ordinarily, I would just post the time and place but we need to be respectful of the meeting facility due to space limitations.


  1. Parents are foregoing Sunnyside?

  2. There might indeed be parents for whom Sunnyside's location is difficult compared to Serra's.

  3. And with Junipero Serra sure to be a neighborhood assignment school for part of Bernal next year, it is a school with a real chance. Bernal is a strong neighborhood in many aspects (Bernal Neighborhood Center, Democratic Club, new library, walkable shopping on Cortland, etc.). As a neighborhood it will support an effort to build up JS. If someone lives nearby and wants to be a part of this action, and to be able to walk to school, it is easy to imagine that person giving up Sunnyside for this opportunity if there is clear energy to go forward. It is also easy to imagine that same person also persuading her/his neighbors to accept a default neighborhood assignment to JS next year rather than seeking transfer through the lottery.

    The conversation re Sunnyside looked much like this on this blog two year ago. The blog didn't exist for Miraloma seven or so years ago, but it was the co-op preschool crowd that organized back then. This is how it is done. It is also exciting and fun to be a part of something like this.

    Good luck to everyone involved!

  4. Wasn't it also the Miraloma co-op parents who got assigned to Sunnyside that triggered the change in Sunnyside's popularity? And Miraloma Elementary's turn-around.

    Miraloma Co-Op preschool parents are like the shock troops of turning around a school. I've seen a single piece of art sell for $16K at a Miraloma Co-Op function.

    Why private school admissions directors aren't hanging around Foerster and Monterey offering guaranteed places and financial aid to families at Miraloma Co-Op is beyond me.

  5. Coop preschools are really the engines of change at lots of schools - any parent who's been in one (and I wasn't) hits the ground running the first day of school. They can seem to breath without organizing and making things happen. I've often thought that knowing the percentage of former co-op parents at schools should be given along with their API scores - it's equally important in guessing where a school's headed.

  6. 2:24 PM

    Beth, I'm kind of surprised that your still using API scores. Even the school board, for the purpose of evaluating CTIP, is using CST scores.

    API scores are not a direct measure of student performance against an absolute standard, but a relative score, indicating improvement or not.

    Most of us are not interested in a relative score, but an absolute one.

  7. I agree with you, 3:35, but many parents still look at API. Many parents also don't know to drill down into sub-group breakdown of scores for the most accurate picture.

    That said, Beth's main point stands: co-op parents bring a skill set and energy that is very helpful.

  8. 2:24
    A good example is Glenridge co-op parents making things happen at Glen Park ES.

  9. As one of the Miraloma Co-Op 'army' that joined Miraloma Elementary years ago, I must plug Glen Ridge Coop as an equal partner at the get go! And there were others there before that - you know who you are ;-) !!

    It was a "tipping point" strategy of a few Miraloma Coop parents when are kids were kindergarteners to do all we could to get our coop friends to consider the school.

    I literally had my own personal "draft picks" that I worked on in hopes that they would consider our school, enroll and eventually contribute their time -- grant writers, do-bees, and hard working volunteers of all sorts.

    It resulted in taking a good thing and making it stronger and better for everyone involved - most importantly the kids.

    I'm SO heartened to read about what's happening at JS (just like happened before that at Sunnyside, and before that at Ortega, and before that at Sherman, and before that, etc. etc.)

    It was one of the most personally rewarding life experiences I had. I'm sure all of you organizing this will find it to be as well!

  10. "Beth, I'm kind of surprised that your still using API scores. Even the school board, for the purpose of evaluating CTIP, is using CST scores."

    API scores are based on CST scores.

    "Most of us are not interested in a relative score, but an absolute one."

    It's pointless taking an absolute measure if you have nothing to calibrate it against. Further, it's pointless decrying "ABC school has only x% proficient at CST Grade Y" unless you have a context to put it in. California tests have a relatively high bar compared to other states.

    Grattan gets 65-75% proficiency in CST tests at Grade 5. Does that mean Grattan is a dud?

    The most useful scale I've found is the "similar school" API index. I've drilled down into the guts of CST scores, and generally, the schools with high similar-schools indices are the ones with the best indicators of quality.

  11. Instead of using one data point at one point in time, look at trends. See what schools have done better on their API over time - and with what populations.

    Of special importance: schools that are doing well with ALL populations of students. I've found schools that are doing well with not only high performers but also the historically low performers are usually things that have it going on.

    Similar schools index gets at this, but again it's only one point in time. See that it has improved in recent years.

  12. I thought people on this string might be interested in a book I'm reading: How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance, by Jacqueline Edelberg and Susan Kurland. It's the story of how some Chicago moms transformed their local elementary school from a scary place no one in the neighborhood would touch, to a gorgeous, vibrant school local parents were clamoring to get into. I read about it somewhere and requested it from the library, and it's incredibly inspiring. It's very nuts-and-bolts, describing exactly what the parents did to make over the school and get local parents to consider it. They also have a website,
    Maybe could be helpful?

  13. I have a feeling that if we don't take our spot at JS, I'll be kicking myself in 2 years when it's my #1 choice and I can't get my youngest daughter in.

  14. 8:21

    When I sent my oldest to Alvarado, many years ago, I was told it was a ghetto school.

    Then came Miraloma and Grattan

    Then McKinley, Fairmount

    Amazingly, Flynn SI


    Webster is on its way.....

    and many more

    This is how it happens.

  15. I went to the JS parents meet up at the Bernal Library today. I left excited about an option I had never before considered. Not only is the school sweet, small, with a great principal, dedicated teachers and kids that look happy (while listening to the visiting symphony), but the potential group of parents are smart and talented with a variety of skills that they can dedicate to this little school. It's like watching the little engine that could. AND....there were parents there who got assigned to other schools who are putting JS on their ammended lists! I feel lucky to have been assigned JS, what a difference a week makes!!!

  16. I was at the same meeting tonight -- it's getting exciting! Suddenly, my husband and I are beginning to worry that if our waitpool school comes up (and we're automatically switched, as is the case I guess) we'd have trouble getting back into JS if we decided we wanted to stay with this vibrant and energetic group. I wish the district gave families an opportunity to say yes or no before making the switch, as they do in the 3-day count.

  17. Exciting news--thanks for sharing!

    If any community can do this, it is Bernal. And JS is such a nice school to start, in many ways, just hasn't had the middle class base.

    1:10, you obviously have your own decision-making process with your husband, just to say that if you are the kind who likes to be in the driver seat rather than leave it to the fates, you might want to make your choice about where you really want to be. I think you can still switch your waitpool. Because, yes, with the waitpool, once you get it you are done. Not presupposing your decision, just saying....

  18. I am so excited to hear this! I myself only visited Serra because people had had good things to say about it on this blog a year or two ago. I had lots of positive things to say about it, too, in my review. And the parent who organized the meetup used the sfkfiles to bring in other parents. So if this blog ended up helping bring a critical mass of parents to just one under-resourced school in the SE, I think Kate should feel really proud. The snark that goes on here will be water under the bridge, but *this* will last. Sorry to go all Pollyanna in this forum (snarkers, kill me now) but it's really moving to see this unfold, and as a mom with a kid going to K in 2011 I'm grateful to this year's parents.

  19. How exciting! Just remember the folks at the meeting are the ones that help put together the Bernal Children's Day, raise funds for the library, were the inaugural members of the Bernal Parents yahoo group and more. If any group of parents can turn around the school, this group can. Go Bernal!!

  20. Interesting how no one thinks Malcolm Z, Visitation Valley and El Dorado are anywhere near being up and coming schools.

  21. Oops. Sorry Malcolm X!

  22. Uh, what do you mean by "interesting?" Sounds kind of passive-aggressive. They may well be up-and-coming schools from their immediate communities' point of view, but there are a lot of Bernal Heights, Mission, and Potrero parents on this list for whom another strong neighborhood school is a plus. Why should we drive down to Bayview to appease you?

  23. It's one school at a time, 10:19. No one group can do it all. These folks were assigned to JS, or live around there. No need to put down a good thing.

  24. "So if this blog ended up helping bring a critical mass of parents to just one under-resourced school in the SE, I think Kate should feel really proud."

    Hear, hear.