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

24 comments:

  1. I have been reading this blog for two years, and many wonderful families have been assigned to JS during that time, but none have come forward with the conviction of your group to accept the assignment, and even invite others to consider what can truly be called a "hidden gem." I hope many parents in your group see it through and stay (rather than waitpool out). We enrolled our first child at Miraloma when the scores were lower than JS. He thrived, and we had a wonderful experience. Now number two son is enrolled, and my-oh-my how perceptions have changed!

    I don't get it. Everyone on this blog wants to find a hidden gem. You put one right under their noses, and they cannot see it. Just amazing! Good luck to the New JS kindergarten parents!!!! Wait till you see how wonderful it feels to get sibling priority in a few years.

    Oh yes, and PS Frequent cocktail parties made Miraloma the strong parent community that it is today.

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  2. How many teachers at J Serra are receiving their final notices?

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  3. Parents,
    Sorry, I don't know how many J. Serra folks are getting noticed. It should be 0!!!!
    But...
    Hold the district's feet to the fire! Why are they laying off 350 teachers? How did we come up with that number? BoE President Jane Kim asked this question at the BoE meeting tonight. I couldn't begin to tell you the answer that was given. Because we have to?
    Have we heard other alternatives? According to the BoE and Sup Garcia, we have only two choices, lay off teachers or be taken over by the state.
    Really? If it is that simple then could one of those commissioner who voted "yes" to the lay offs please be kind enough to explain it to us all in lay person terms!

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  4. Jake, glad to hear that you and your group is still rallying for JS. FYI, it seems you needn't try for more interested parents as you have already achieved maximum capacity. We are 0/14, put JS #1 round 2 hoping for a spot but still leaving the WP for a coveted immersion spot. When inquiring at EPC was told although no wait pool as of 4/30 they had "overplaced" in round 1 knowing not everyone assigned would enroll. Apparently they were mistaken and you all did, leaving JS "over enrolled" and they are waiting to see after R2 how many drop for something new they might have been given. According to EPC 5/10 JS is still "over enrolled". So in the end, still frustrated Bernal parent with NO school as we didn't enroll in assigned cobb as we will not accept that as an option. Hope the coming weeks/months bring brighter news as we are at a loss.

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  5. Jake, I've written on this before, so I don't want to be too repetitive, but I so appreciate what all of you have done. It's a year early for me, but JS charmed me, and deserves all the love it gets (and already has from its previous population).

    Amazing that it's already full, 2:40. I hope there is enough movement for you to get a space there or somewhere else you are happy with.

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  6. 2:40, I encourage you to join our group. Your statements are a (pleasant) surprise to us. We know we've lost about 7 families to wait-pool assignments (mostly to immersion schools) and have about 5 families that are heavily leaning toward private school. We have one family that came in from the wait-pool. We have a strong, core group but I would predict there will be room. Thanks, Jake

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  7. " It will also be the only 100% neighborhood school in the Bernal Heights area next year (Flynn will still be 50% immersion)"

    Is Revere converting to 100% immersion, or is it retaining its GE strand like Fairmont has done?

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  8. Thanks, Jake.

    This is exactly what happened with Sunnyside two years ago....and other schools before that. Movement in R2 and waitpools leaves some room, maybe, but the school fills up and what was a patently safe fallback becomes hard to get.

    Still, it sounds like there is still some movement, so worth waitpooling and checking back in with EPC, especially after Open Enrollment.

    It's also not hard to see that with neigbhorhood default assignment, JS will be taking off in years to come.

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  9. 8:45

    Actually, Fairmount is ALL immersion. Flynn is half GE and half SI immersion. Revere is staying half and half. JS will be the only school to have no immersion, and therefore be considered a neighborhood school. It's going to be a strong school, bet on it.

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  10. good for you! good luck with this!

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  11. 2:40, how are you a bernal family that was assinged to Cobb? EPC assigns schools closest to your home with space available.

    You should go to EPC early on June 1 and snag a spot at JS in open enrollment. There will probably be at least one spot by then. That's the only way you can get a spot at JS and still stay in your immersion waitpool. Good Luck

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  12. JS will be the next hidden gem that rockets to the top. Believe me.

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  13. With the new system, schools like JS in middle class neighborhoods will definitely see a lot of improvements.

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  14. A related question - does anyone know of if there is a list that has been created of all of the schools that will remain as "neighborhood" verses "citywide"?

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  15. Adam

    It has been discussed many times - the current plan is that K-8 and immersion programs will be city-wide. All other schools will be neighborhood.

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  16. I think Argonee will be city wide too b/c it is year round.

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  17. Does anyone know anything about the CDC at Junipero Serra? I am looking for a pre-K. Under the new system, the pre-K will feed in to the kindergarten.

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  18. "Does anyone know anything about the CDC at Junipero Serra? I am looking for a pre-K. Under the new system, the pre-K will feed in to the kindergarten."

    The CDC there is being rebuilt this year.

    My kid goes to AFY, and a few kids from AFY get after/before care there, with a school bus picking them up/dropping them off. So, presumably there's space at the JS CDC if AFY kids can get in.

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  19. Jake - we also put J Serra in our R2 list and did not get it. Our original assignment stood. I was surprised, but expanation re overenrollment explains it.

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  20. 4:27, I'm sorry about that. I do know that some parents will be un-enrolling soon due to choosing to go the private school route. If you want more insight on how things are shaking up, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll put you on our private Google Group list.

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  21. I saw the JS kids (these were 5th graders, I think) today at a Young at Art event in the DeYoung. I thought they seemed quite charming. All kids need to learn to be quiet when musicians are playing in a performance & so did some of these guys. But they were overall, engaged and happy.

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  22. Wow, J.S. sounds like a great option. Being near your school is really nice. I worked at this school about ten years ago and even then, with a pretty lousy principal, it was a sweet little school with some great teachers.

    Nothing wrong with not being P.C. all the time. And there is nothing wrong with wanting some people you have obvious things in common with to join you. What is great is having people who look/seem like you and kids from other cultures and backgrounds for your kids to get to know.

    Good luck!

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  23. Help! We're moving from DC this summer with a rising K girl. I'm totally confused. Any posts to help newbies get their sea legs?

    Thanks,
    Jennifer

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  24. MomO4--

    You don't say what neighborhood you are moving to.

    First thing I would do is call or email the good folks at www.ppssf.org. That's Parents for Public Schools San Francisco. They have people who can advise and guide you through the process, and can also put you in touch with parents at actual schools.

    Good luck!

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