Monday, May 31, 2010

Check out the new SF K Files Community site

In the next couple weeks, The SF K Files will be launching a new Community site. This new section of the blog will feature a forum where you can start your own thread. You will no longer have to email questions and then wait for them to be posted on the site. Also, the site will feature a schools database that will allow you to easily access information on school and find related blog posts.

We're offering dedicated SF K Files readers the opportunity to check out the new site. If you're interested, send an email to thesfkfiles@gmail.com. Thanks!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hot topic: Another round of letters

Please feel free to share your news if you received a letter from the district.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another round of letters and address fraud

Another round of letters should be coming out. Feel free to share your news.

Note: The majority of comments in this post are related to address fraud and this news report that ran on ABC about the district kicking out 80 kids due to address fraud: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7466661

SF Teachers & SFUSD Ratify Contract: Hundreds of Jobs to Be Saved Despite Failure of the State to Adequately Fund Schools

Press release from SFUSD:

May 28, 2010 (San Francisco) - Today, the members of the United Educators of San Francisco officially ratified the recent contract agreement with the San Francisco Unified School District. The agreement provides $39 million in savings to SFUSD over the next two years, and saves hundreds of teacher and paraprofessional jobs. It was unanimously passed by the SF Board of Education at their meeting on May 25, 2010.

“The teachers and paraprofessionals of SFUSD have courageously stepped up for our city’s school children,” says UESF President Dennis Kelly. “But their sacrifice alone will not be enough. The people of the state of California must realize that any further cuts to our public
education and essential public services will spell disaster for our kids.”

The agreement comes as SFUSD is facing a projected $113 million budget shortfall over the next two school years, prompted by an unprecedented disinvestment in public education by the state of California – over $17 billion the past two years. That deficit may in fact expand, as the California Teachers Association estimates that the Governor’s May Revise budget could cut up to $3 billion more from K-12 education.

With this agreement, the district will be able to reduce the amount of teacher layoffs to 199, and to significantly reduce the number of paraprofessional layoffs as well. Due to anticipated budget cuts, SFUSD had to issue preliminary layoff notices to 701 teachers and other certificated staff and 101 paraprofessionals. Prior to a ratified agreement with the teachers union, final layoff notices were issued to 350 certificated staff by the May 15 State deadline. Today the district will begin sending out rescission notices to 149 teachers. Both the union and the district hope that the remaining teachers and paraprofessionals who received a layoff notice could ultimately be brought back before the beginning of the next school year.

“I am grateful to the teachers and paraprofessionals for agreeing to help us close the deficit gap and keep our district solvent,” says Superintendent Carlos Garcia. “At a time when our students need more services, our State is forcing us to provide less. We are doing the best we can to stay focused on our priorities and work toward a long term solution to our broken school finance system.”

The agreement includes four furlough days to be taken during the 2010-2011 school year. The total number of instructional days next year will be 176 instead of the 180 that has been in place.

The superintendent intends to close down the district on these four days, resulting in cost savings of $8.6 million as all staff, teachers, administrators and support personnel would not be paid on these days. The specific furlough days were just finalized between the teachers union and district. The revised instructional calendar will be reviewed by the Board of Education next week.

The proposal calls for schools and support offices to be shut down on November 1, February 4, March 25, and April 25 of the 2010-2011 school year.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hot topic: New principal at Jefferson

This from a reader:
Our son is starting at Jefferson in the fall, and we just heard that the principal, Victor Tam, is leaving, to be replaced by the principal of Fairmount, Mary Lou Cranna. This makes us nervous, so I'd love to hear some positive feedback on Ms. Cranna. She seems to have done a great job for Fairmount. And I wonder who Fairmount is getting now?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hot topic: Marin Prep head of school

This from a reader:
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".

3rd Annual El Rio Benefit for Flynn Elementary School

Music Benefit for Flynn with Marcus Shelby Trio, Rob Bayne and Temomo Mane, and One Louder with special Flynn parent guests!

Wednesday, May 26, 6:00-10:30 pm. Live Music from 3 Different (Flynn parent) Acts

At El Rio - 3158 Mission Street at Precita (just south of Cesar Chavez)

Sliding scale: $10 - $20. Food Available for purchase.

Adults Only.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hot topic: Open enrollment

This from a reader:
Open enrollment for SFUSD is on June 1. Could you start a hot topic on open enrollment? I'd love to get advice about time to arrive at the EPC and procedures for the process. I'd also love to hear stories from others who went to open enrollment last year or the year before.

Test-and-punish in schools

This from a reader:
If you don't support more "test-and-punish" in schools, please speak out now!

Along with fighting for adequate funding for our schools, we public school parents also have to battle the misguided mania for high-stakes testing and punishment of struggling schools and their children and teachers. Diane Ravitch (a former Bush administration education official who is now speaking out against the test-and-punish mania), met yesterday with Sen. Tom Harkin and was shocked that he had NO idea that No Child Left Behind and the testing madness are not wildly popular -- our leaders are in such an echo chamber. Ravitch sent a few advocates the message below, which I'm sharing with her permission. We're especially being urged to contact Nancy Pelosi (especially those in her district) and George Miller.

Please share this message in your own way, as far and wide as you can.

Our elected leaders, our opinion leaders and the business titans who are currently heavily influencing education policy are sold on "test, punish and privatize" as the solution. ESEA, aka No Child Left Behind, is about to be reauthorized, calling for still MORE high-stakes testing and more destruction wrought on struggling schools.

Below is Ravitch's message:

I met with Senator Harkin yesterday in DC about RTTT and ESEA. I told him that teachers and parents across the country (based on my recent cross country tour, where I met thousands) are deeply demoralized by NCLB, now RTTT. He was surprised, he never heard such things. He said the disabilities community loves NCLB, and as far as he had heard, so did everyone else. He also had been led to believe that ... teachers must be held accountable if students don't learn. You see the mindset. It permeates the policymaking world of DC.

I think he needs to hear from more people, as he is now head of the Senate committee that will preside over reauthorization of ESEA.

In addition to Senator Harkins, whose email is online, here is a list of House Committee members. Some know the facts on the ground, many others don't. It would be wonderful if they heard from more of their constituents.

Full Committee, 111th Congress

Democrats

* George Miller, Chairman (CA-07)
* Dale E. Kildee (MI-05)
* Donald M. Payne (NJ-10)
* Robert E. Andrews (NJ-01)
* Robert C. Scott (VA-03)
* Lynn C. Woolsey (CA-06)
* Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15)
* Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04)
* John F. Tierney (MA-06)
* Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10)
* David Wu (OR-01)
* Rush D. Holt (NJ-12)
* Susan A. Davis (CA-53)
* Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
* Timothy H. Bishop (NY-01)
* Joe Sestak (PA-07)
* Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
* Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
* Jason Altmire (PA-04)
* Phil Hare (IL-17)
* Yvette Clarke (NY-11) MET WITH HER; SHE IS GREAT!
* Joe Courtney (CT-02)
* Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
* Marcia Fudge (OH-11) MET WITH HER; SHE IS GREAT!
* Jared Polis (CO-2)
* Paul Tonko (NY-21)
* Pedro Pierluisi (PR)
* Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)
* Dina Titus (NV-3)
* Judy Chu (CA-32) MET WITH HER; SHE IS GREAT!

Schools, students sue state over funding

This from SFGate:

More than 60 children and nine school districts across California filed a historic lawsuit Thursday, arguing that elected officials have failed in their constitutional obligation to support public schools.

The case has the potential to completely overhaul how, and how much, money flows into schools.

In short, the case seeks to force the state Legislature and governor to fix a broken education funding system - one that has failed to take into account what it actually costs to educate a child, plaintiffs' attorneys said.

The lawsuit would require Sacramento to fund schools based on what state law requires they offer to children - qualified teachers, books, physical education, science labs, special education, English language instruction and more.

"Education is a fundamental right to each child in this state," said William Abrams, a plaintiffs' attorney. "The problem is the state unbelievably has not determined the cost of the educational services it requires."

San Francisco and Alameda unified school districts are among the plaintiffs, as are several local schoolchildren, the California PTA, California School Boards Association and Association for California School Administrators.

Legal representation is pro bono, plaintiff attorneys said.

A last resort

In Sacramento, attorneys and representatives for school boards, school administrators and California families repeatedly called the lawsuit a last resort.

Billions of dollars have been cut from school budgets even as higher expectations are placed on students and school districts - namely the California High School Exit Exam, increasingly rigorous academic standards and standardized tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind laws.

"This lawsuit now is about saying we have specific education programs, let's figure out how to deliver it," said plaintiff attorney Abe Hajela.

The California case follows similar lawsuits across the country, many of which have resulted in courts setting significantly higher levels of school funding. About 70 percent of such "adequacy lawsuits" have succeeded, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In New York, for example, a lawsuit resulted in a judgment requiring the state to spend billions more on schools - nearly twice as much as California's $7,000 per student.

The California case, filed in Alameda Superior Court early Thursday, does not ask a judge to put a price tag on a public education here.

Instead, it would compel elected officials to scrap the current education funding system, which is based on a 1970s formula that doesn't take into account varying costs from district to district or even student to student, according to the lawsuit.

The suit names the state and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as defendants.

"The governor will oppose this lawsuit and believes the state will prevail," said Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss in a statement. "The funding of public education in California has long been and continues to be a top priority of California, even in bad economic and budget times."

Read the full story.

SpringFest fundraiser at Sunnyside Elementary School

Sunnyside Elementary’s annual SpringFest, will be held on Saturday, May 22nd from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

Enjoy games for all ages, folklorico and hula performances, lunch and delicious baked goods. While you are there check out our sale of children’s art, plants, gifts, items in our
silent auction, and a raffle. The raffle grand prize is a Disneyland trip for 4 with lodging and airfare included.

The proceeds provide vital funding to programs such as science and sustainability, LEAP artist in residence, our school garden, a safe and healthy lunch program, reading
specialists, field trips, an art cart, and more.

Sunnyside Elementary is located at 250 Foerster Street, 1 block south of Monterey Blvd and 2 blocks north of City College. For information 415-469-4746 or www.sunnysidek5.org

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jose Ortega school carnival--Saturday, May 22

If you're interested in checking out Jose Ortega, this is a great opportunity...

Jose Ortega is throwing the school yard open to the community this year for its annual Umoja (“unity” in Swahili) festival. In global fashion, the day will include live American jazz music, salsa dancing, limbo contests, and a tale of the Chinese diaspora to Guyana as told through food. A real-life carnival tent of 20 games for families will entice fair-goers to play to win prizes and Supervisor John Avalos will take part in the games and a dance contest. Ortega’s PTA is hoping to raise as much as $30,000 in their biggest fund-raising effort in years. Profits will go to fill funding gaps the school faces during the current budget crisis.

When: Saturday. May 22 / 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Jose Ortega Elementary / 400 Sargent St.

Hot topic: releasing a public school spot

This from a reader:
My husband and I have decided to go with our Private School choice. Since we previously registered at our assigned Public School, we would like to release that spot before the 5/10-day count so that it can go to another family. How do we do this? We asked the school and they simply advised us to not show-up…but that means that another family has to wait before being assigned which makes no sense at all. Any thoughts? I know that there are other families who are doing Private School who are in the same situation.

SOTA Open House for 5th-6th-7th-graders

Please pass this announcement on to anyone you know who may be interested!

The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA)

invites students in fifth, sixth and seventh grades, and their families, to an

Open House

for younger students who are curious about SOTA.

Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m.-noon

Main Stage, SOTA

555 Portola Drive at O’Shaughnessy

Free parking onsite

Learn about the arts and academic offered at SOTA, what the audition requirements are like, what it’s like going to SOTA, why arts education is important, and more.

No reservations necessary, but come early, as a crowd is expected.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wanted: Stories about cheating in high school

Hi: I'm working on a story about high school students cheating. A small study just came out from Science Daily reporting that most high school students cheat. For example, 74 percent said they provided answers to someone else during a test. I'd love to hear anecdotes from parents of high school students and I'd especially like to hear from teachers who can speak to how cheating has changed in high school over the years. You can email me at thesfkfiles@gmail.com. Thanks!

Waiting for Superman

Movie trailer for film coming out about the state of education:

http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/trailer

Hot topic: Kittredge

This from a reader:
Can anyone share information / experience(s) regarding Kittredge?

Hot topic: Discovery Center School

This from a reader:
Can anyone share information / experience(s) regarding The Discovery Center School?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hot topic: Class size increases

This from a reader:
I read in today's Chronicle that the district will likely not increase class size in K-2 next year. I'm sort of bummed out about this. Honestly, I was hoping they'd increase class size by just a few students so I might have a better chance of getting into my wait pool. Anyone else in this situation?

SFGate: S.F. teachers, district reach tentative deal

This from today's Chronicle:

The San Francisco school board rescinded half of the 701 pink slips sent to teachers and administrators in March, vowing Tuesday night to save at least 150 more jobs after a preliminary agreement reached with teachers is a done deal.

The 5-1 vote to cut layoffs down to 350 positions followed an 11th-hour deal reached between the teachers union and district negotiators minutes before the board meeting started. Board member Kim-Shree Maufas voted against finalizing any layoffs. Board member Hydra Mendoza was absent.

Facing a $113 million shortfall over the next two years, district officials said that without contract concessions from the union, they would be forced to follow through with hundreds of layoffs.

The school board has until Saturday under state law to finalize how many teachers, counselors, nurses and administrators to lay off. The district sent out 700 preliminary pink slips to its so-called certificated staff in March. It also sent pink slips to 181 teachers aides.

"That isn't perfect, but it's better than 700," said Superintendent Carlos Garcia at the start of Tuesday's meeting.

The union was still scheduled to hold a meeting with members May 20 to consider a strike authorization vote, the outcome likely dependent on settling a contract, union officials said.

Garcia had said before the agreement was reached that it was a financial risk to rescind the 350 or so pink slips without an agreement, but one he would recommend to the board "because we can't afford to lose any more of our talented staff than absolutely necessary."

To stay financially solvent, district officials asked several unions for contract concessions, including furloughs and suspension of teacher and administrator sabbaticals. With those concessions, Garcia said he could commit to not exceed 200 layoffs.

The teachers union previously has asked for no teacher layoffs, which Garcia said was impossible.

"There's no way we're going to get down to zero," he said.

Several teachers spoke during the meeting, begging the board to rescind all the layoffs, including several from El Dorado elementary, where 11 of 15 teachers got pink slips.

"I am invested in my school, and my school and my students are invested in me," said teary-eyed, first-year teacher Johanna Woo, one of 11 who received a layoff notice in March.

Rachel Norton: recapping an eventful day

This is an excerpt from a recent post on Board of Education member Rachel Norton's blog:

I’m not sure whether tonight’s headline should be “Board approves 349 permanent layoff notices” or “District, teachers union reach ‘conceptual’ agreement.” Both are true, and equally newsworthy to readers of this blog.

I’m going to give a lot of credit to the leadership of UESF, who persevered and got to an agreement they could take back to their membership after many long and inconclusive hours at the negotiating table. This agreement, subject to ratification by the union membership in coming days, took shape just minutes before tonight’s Board meeting convened. I can’t give many details, but I can say that it keeps elementary class sizes at current levels through the 2010-11 school year. I can also say that earlier today, any agreement looked far away indeed. So kudos to the union leaders and to district staff, equally bleary-eyed after a very long and sometimes bitter negotiation. I truly hope the membership will agree that what UESF leadership will present is the best that could be wrought under the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Unfortunately, there will still be layoffs. Unlike almost any other urban district in California, we have not had to confront layoffs in recent years due to the City’s Rainy Day Fund. But that fund is now depleted, and it is unfortunately time to face what others across the state have been dealing with for at least the past 18 months, if not longer. First, let’s review the numbers:

  • $113 million — the amount of the district’s projected budget shortfall through 2010-11;
  • $3.6 billion — the shortfall between the estimated 2010-11 state revenues in the Governor’s January budget and the current estimate expected to be released in Friday’s May Revise (which could mean additional cuts);
  • $18.1 million — the amount the school district received from the Rainy Day Fund in 2008-09
  • $24.5 million — the amount the school district received from the Rainy Day Fund in 2009-10;
  • $6 million — the amount the school district expects to receive from the Rainy Day Fund in 2010-11;
  • 502 — number of FTE positions sent preliminary (“March 15″) layoff notices for 2010-11;
  • 348.72 — number of FTE positions to be sent permanent (“May 15″) notices for 2010-11.
Read the full post here.

Hot topic: Hillwood Academic Day

This from a reader:
Can anyone share information / experience(s) regarding Hillwood Academic Day (located at Scott & Broadway)?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hot topic: Frustrated Parents -- Think JS

This from a reader:
If you are like many of us that have been beaten down by the SFUSD assignment process, I would like to invite you to join us in exploring the viability of Junipero Serra for kindergarten.

We are NOT a group at JS trying to recruit. Rather, we are a group of 0/7 and 0/14 parents that were assigned to JS and have been pleasantly surprised with the school. We’ve found a principal that could go toe-to-toe with any principal in the SFUSD (hey, she was sent there to get the school out of STAR and she did). The scores are similar to where Miraloma was just a few years ago and compare right now with Sunnyside (Yes, I said that and if you dig through the scores you will see I’m telling the truth). The computer lab was second only to Grattan in my countless tours.

It is a small school (less than 250 students) so making positive changes appear to be a lot easier to do. It will also be the only 100% neighborhood school in the Bernal Heights area next year (Flynn will still be 50% immersion) and could very well be the neighborhood school for a big swath of Noe (since Fairmount will remain city-wide). Most importantly, in touring now several times, I have seen happy, engaged children.

Finally, there are a core group of parents and kids ready to commit from our group. Politically Incorrect Statement Alert: You would not be going it alone!

We have a Google Group and if you’d like to join (even just to kick the tires), please e-mail me at jake@pacificcrestlaw.com. There is NO pressure in our group. Every parent’s choice is respected—end of story.

Continued good luck with your search. The SFUSD has made it so much fun for all of us!

Sincerely,

Jake Schwarz

Hot topic: Open spots at private schools

This from a reader:
I posted a "SFS has space for a 2nd grade boy" to a dead thread.

Not sure if you think this is helpful, but if so, maybe a new thread: private schools: any one know of new spaces, or waitlist movement?
I remember hoping for that kind of information.

Superintendent’s Statement Regarding Teacher Layoffs and Negotiations with the United Educators of San Francisco

This from the SFUSD press office:

May 11, 2010 (San Francisco) - “We had our third mediated session with the teachers union last night and left at 2:00 a.m. without an agreement. The teachers union is demanding we agree to no layoffs next year. Given the economic reality in California, there is no way we can do this. The teachers union has held their economic concessions contingent to other agreements that would weaken teacher evaluation. Given our commitment to holding all employees accountable, there is no way we can do this.

“Regardless of last night’s disappointing outcome, we are committed to minimizing our layoffs and saving as many of our valuable employees as possible. Tonight I am going to propose to the Board of Education that we take a risk and lower the number of layoffs even without an agreement with the union, and without final budget numbers from the State, because we can’t afford to lose any more of our talented staff than absolutely necessary.

“On March 15, we noticed 701 certificated staff due to the State budget cuts. Tonight we are recommending that we rescind the budget related certificated layoffs by half – which means issuing final notices to 350 certificated staff on May 15. This number of certificated layoffs is still too high; however, we have a $113 million deficit projected over the next two years, which may increase depending on the State’s final budget. I remain hopeful that we will still reach an agreement with our teachers union in the near future and be able rescind even more layoffs as soon as possible. “

Jose Ortega school carnival

The Umoja Carnival is on May 22 (10AM - 4PM)

Food: Delicious delights such as BBQ Chicken, West Indian Chicken Curry and Roti, Grilled Corn, Lemonade, Snow Cones, and Popcorn

Family Friendly Carnival Games: Through a generous sponsorship by Plan It Interactive, JOES is proud to have real midway games complete with tents!

Most games just $1 a play

5 Pin Bowling – Bank Shot – Bean Bag – Bushel Basket – Can Smash – Cross Bow – Cue Ball – Dart Balloon – Down The Clown – Flip-A-Frog – Milk Bottles – Milk Can – Mini Golf – Ring the Bottle – Teddy Bear Toss – Tic-Tac-Toe – Wheel of Fortune – Fishing

Family Fun for Everyone: Face painting, kid-safe nail salon, gift boutique, and more!

In response to the state budget crisis, funds raised from the carnival will be used to support teaching/staffing positions and/or to compensate for other losses the school experiences. Help support public education.

For more information, visit the Jose Ortega Website:
http://joseortegaschool.org/

Silent Auction Preview:
http://joseortegaschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/umoja-carnival-catalog-preview.pdf

Live Multi-Cultural Entertainment:
http://joseortegaschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/umoja-entertainment-schedule-final-2010.pdf

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hot topic: Wait pools

This from a reader:
My daughter is spending 1 more year in her amazing preschool, but I am quickly getting overwhelmed at the idea that this fall I'll be going through this whole process. Sheesh! I should have been preparing for years!

Two questions that I can't find the answers to any place else -

1) If you choose a school for your wait list, will the school tell you where you are on the waitlist so you know whether to "work the waitlists" at other schools with a lower number of kids on the waitlist?

2) How do schools decide the order of the waitlist? What puts me number 15 on the waitlist and someone else number 2?

Thanks so much - ARG, this is already stressful!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hot topic: Donations and fund-raising

This from a reader:
I'm the parent of a K-age child who is currently waitpooled for our local school (we were 0/7 in Round 1, so maybe tomorrow we'll find out some good news!). We were originally looking at some privates as well, but I was shocked that, in addition to the $20K-$25K that most seemed to be charging, there was the assumption that parents would also donate not just time, but potentially significant amounts of money. However, is this practice also common in the public schools too? If so, what if we choose not to donate directly or get involved in fund-raising?

On a more general note, I have always felt that fund-raising for schools should be organized so that only a percentage (probably half) goes to the school where the fund-raising takes place, with the rest going to a general fund, to be spread across other schools which aren't able to raise funds as successfully. The concept would mean that it's not just a few schools which get all the money simply because they have a higher proportion of rich, generous parents who have the time and means to get involved in donating time & money. At the same point, schools where there is a higher proportion of low-income, single parent families who have less time and money won't get penalized.

Fairmount Elementary FiestaVal

Saturday, May 8th from Noon – 4pm
Location: Fairmount Elementary, 65 Chenery St., SF, CA 94131

You are all invited to FiestaVal, a fabulous Fairmount Community Event. Every year, Fairmount Elementary hosts an outdoor festival, silent auction and live auction. The entire San Francisco community is invited to enjoy and share in this annual celebration.

FiestaVal’s food offerings will again be overseen by parent, local celebrity chef, and cookbook author, Tara Duggan. She has planned a sumptuous selection of Latin influenced food with pan con chumpe, a Salvadoran specialty as the main course. Reserved for celebrations, pan con chumpe is roasted marinated turkey served in a bolillo (roll) with garnishes and a secret sauce that is never the same from cook to cook. Come hungry because there'll be lots more such as chicken mole and cochinita pibil (Yucatecan pork), as well as vegetarian options. Tara’s cooking will not disappoint!

This year, several local musical acts will be performing. Come out and see Los Bomberas de Bahia, Peein’ in the Dark, Gen 11, the Fairmount 5, and our own Fairmount Elementary School Choir!

For the kids, FiestaVal offers a host of rides and carnival themed events including jumpy houses, clowns, face-painting, and the YMCA Bike Rodeo. Best of all, the FiestaVal silent auction is Open to the Public. Come and bid on a great variety of gift cards, wine and food baskets, Giants and A’s Tix, kids camps and lessons, lunches with San Francisco Supervisors, stays at beautiful hotels and vacation get-a-ways, massages, art classes, babysitting, a set DisneyLand Park Hopper tix, and so much more. Check out the lists of available items and services ahead of time, and come prepared to bid:

Link to the Intangibles (certificates and coupons, tickets)
http://tinyurl.com/fiestival-1000s

Link to the Tangibles
http://tinyurl.com/fiestival-2000s

Link to the Fabulous Fairmount Services
http://tinyurl.com/fiestival-4000s

If you can’t make the live auction, this year, the Fairmount auction is venturing into the electronic medium. We will have On-line Bidding for a few select items at www.WeAreFairmount.com/Fiesta-online-auction.

You can also submit an absentee bid for any of the items listed via e-mail to heinonen.c@gmail.com. Provide your contact info, cc#, highest bid, and bid increments by 5 p.m. Friday, May 7th.

Auction items can be paid for by cash, check, Visa, MC, Amex, & PayPal.

FiestaVal Schedule
12:00 – 12:15 Performance: FAIRMOUNT CHOIR
12:30 – 1:15 Performance: LAS BOMBERAS DE BAHIA
1:15 – 1:30 Performance: FAIRMOUNT 5
1:45 – 2:30 Performance: PEEIN’ IN THE DARK
2:30 SILENT AUCTION CLOSES
2:45 RAFFLE LIVE AUCTION
3:30 – 4:15 Performance: GEN 11
3:30 – 4:15 AUCTION CHECK OUT

SpringFest fundraiser at Sunnyside Elementary School

Sunnyside Elementary’s annual SpringFest, will be held on Saturday, May 22nd from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

Enjoy games for all ages, folklorico and hula performances, lunch and delicious baked goods. While you are there check out our sale of children’s art, plants, gifts, items in
our silent auction, and a raffle. The raffle grand prize is a Disneyland trip for 4 with lodging and airfare included.

The proceeds provide vital funding to programs such as science and sustainability, LEAP artist in residence, our school garden, a safe and healthy lunch program, reading
specialists, field trips, an art cart, and more.

Sunnyside Elementary is located at 250 Foerster Street, 1 block south of Monterey Blvd and 2 blocks north of City College. For information: www.sunnysidek5.org

Argonne Mayfair Carnival this Saturday, May 8th!

The families at Argonne Elementary School invite you to experience our annual Mayfair Carnival this Saturday from 10am-3pm! It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Come play with us on this wonderful day and help support our public school. This event is open to the entire community, and, as always, admission is free and everyone is welcome!! There will be games, a dunk tank, a rock climbing wall, a photo booth, face painting, arts & crafts table, a bouncy house, a silent auction, a raffle, books and other goodies! Food will be available for purchase.

SILENT AUCTION ITEMS:
From “good eats” (gift certificates for popular restaurants) to “things you desire” (hotel packages for a weekend get-a-way), there's no better place to look for great gift items and excursions than our Mayfair silent auction! Here’s a sample of what we have:
• Strawberry 2010 music festival tickets
• Camp Mather: Complimentary tent site & meals for a family of 4
• San Francisco Giants: 4 club level seats + pre-game field visit
• 2010 Nike Women’s 1/2 or full marathon entry
• SF Fire Department Fireboat ride
• Timbuk2 classic messenger bag

RAFFLE PRIZES (tickets are $2 each):
• 1st Prize: $500 Cash
• 2nd Prize: Two Southwest Airline Tickets
• 3rd Prize: Apple iPod Nano 8GB 5th Generation

For more details check out: www.argonnesf.org/Mayfair2010.html

Our school is located in the Richmond District on Cabrillo between 17th and 18th Avenue.

Po Bronson at Grattan

Join us on Monday May 17 at 6:30 to hear Po Bronson speak at Grattan about his new book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. This event is free and open to the public.

NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we’ve mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razorsharp analysis, Bronson and Merryman demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring—because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors’ work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children’s (and adults’) lives: intelligence, racism, civility and aggression, honesty and deception, morality and kindness, peer pressure, risk-taking, and the growth of family relationships. NurtureShock is a fun, fascinating, and challenging book—unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Grattan School is located at 165 Grattan Street in Cole Valley. Doors open at 6:30 for purchase of books, coffee, and sweets. Copies of NurtureShock will be available for purchase courtesy of The Booksmith. 20% of your purchase benefits Grattan!

You're Invited to the Starr King Spring Fling!

Sunday, May 23, 2-5pm
Potrero Hill Neighborhood House
953 deHaro Street
Suggested Donation: $10 adults, kids are free

Food! Fun!
Entertainment! Kids Activities

Silent Auction Items:

*Museums and Family Entertainment:
Disneyland, Great America, Gilroy Gardens
De Young/Legion of Honor Museums,
Asian Art Museum, SF Symphony,
House at Incline Village, NV.,
Chinatown Alleyway Tour

*Dining:
Soup of the month club,
Dinner of the month club,
Dinner parties, Liberty Cafe,
Pacific Catch Restaurant, Progressive Grounds Cafe,
Wine and Cheese AG Ferrari Wine & Cheese Tasting,
24th Street Cheese Company, Venga Empanadas

*Kids
Recess Urban, My Gym,
Shan-Yee Poon Ballet,
Wheel Kids, Project Commotion,
Kids' CDs from Charity and the Jam Band and Laurie Berkner

*Plus Art, Jewelry, Massages, Hotel Packages and much more!

RAFFLE:
Grand prize: Playstation 3 plus games
1st prize: barbeque grill
2nd prizes: Storypeople art print, Highlights subscription, grown-up
and kids' books, DVDs, games
3rd prizes: gift certificates to Bed, Bath&Beyond, Books Inc, and more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

June's Story - Assignment letter - take two

It has been a long road to this moment; I never thought a month and a half could feel so long. Since we got our Round I letter, going 0/7 and assigning Maddie to Cobb GE we have been busy.

Knowing we were unable to wait any longer than the first waitpool draw, we decided to play it safe and list our 2nd choice school, Lafayette, as our waitpool choice. When turning in our application initially we debated whether to put Peabody or Lafayette first. We loved both schools, and could see Maddie at either, Peabody won out only because of the later start time. This time around we figured Lafayette would have less waitpool demand – increasing our chances - and additionally many of Maddie’s friends were going to Lafayette, so it would be nice for her to go to school with them.

At the same time we were hoping for a small wait pool and enough openings, we were also preparing for bad news. After all we did not feel we had a risky list in round 1, so we could be deluding ourselves again. We drove all over the East Bay looking at neighborhoods, researched school districts, questioned why we want to stick to SF at all and spent many anxious nights wondering what our future would hold – all based on the results of the letter that was to go out April 30th.

I checked out the waitpool cohorts nervously on April 30th, Lafayette had no one left in our 0/7 pool. Dare we hope? Or could the EPC had made a mistake; there was one in the sibling pool, which should have had priority over us. I dared not get excited till I had the letter. And the letter that was to arrive on Saturday, did not arrive. Then on Monday it did not arrive either! I knew, reading here that everyone was in the same boat, but I felt like I was going to loose it! My family’s whole future was riding on that letter!!! Today I waited, and waited, and waited – for our mailman who always comes after 4pm. Finally I had it in my hands. I ripped it open and…. WE GOT IN!!! Lafayette, our waitpool choice school!!!

I am soooooo happy, I can’t even describe the relief. I can finally make plans again, know we will not be moving, not need to begin a frantic search for a new place to call home. We can stay in SF, can tell Maddie where she will start Kindergarten, who she will see on the play-yard. I can breathe again.

It is just too bad my joy comes with such a sour feeling towards the placement system. This long drawn out process totally sucked, that is all I can say about it. And for many people who did not get a good letter today, it sucks even more. They may decide to upend their lives and move, they may decide to wait again and again for another letter that may or may not bring better news. If you are in that spot I am sorry, I am so so so sorry. I hope whatever you do it all works out and you will be happy very soon. I also hope that the new system will be easier for K applicants next year, that middle school will be easier for us in 6 years, but call me a pessimist - I will not believe it till I see it.