Friday, July 30, 2010

WSJ reporter wants to talk to families from Marin Prep


I’m a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and understand Marin Prep has lost basically its whole K-garten class after the headmaster quit. Do you know more about this, know others who can talk to me? Please email me at Thanks! Best, Jim Carlton

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hot topic: Three-day count

This from a reader:
Could you start a thread about the August 3-Day Count, how it will work (based on past year's 10 day counts), how we will be notified, and how long we have to respond, etc.?

NY Times: The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

An excerpt from a recent NY Times story:

How much do your kindergarten teacher and classmates affect the rest of your life?

Economists have generally thought that the answer was not much. Great teachers and early childhood programs can have a big short-term effect. But the impact tends to fade. By junior high and high school, children who had excellent early schooling do little better on tests than similar children who did not — which raises the demoralizing question of how much of a difference schools and teachers can make.

There has always been one major caveat, however, to the research on the fade-out effect. It was based mainly on test scores, not on a broader set of measures, like a child’s health or eventual earnings. As Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, says: “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes.”

Early this year, Mr. Chetty and five other researchers set out to fill this void. They examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.

On Tuesday, Mr. Chetty presented the findings — not yet peer-reviewed — at an academic conference in Cambridge, Mass. They’re fairly explosive.

Just as in other studies, the Tennessee experiment found that some teachers were able to help students learn vastly more than other teachers. And just as in other studies, the effect largely disappeared by junior high, based on test scores. Yet when Mr. Chetty and his colleagues took another look at the students in adulthood, they discovered that the legacy of kindergarten had re-emerged.

Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.
Read the full story

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SFUSD press release: Superintendent’s Statement Regarding California Being Selected as Finalist for Race to the Top Funding

July 27, 2010 (San Francisco) - "San Francisco is pleased to learn that California has been named a finalist in Phase 2 of the federal Race to the Top competition. As one of seven districts asked to lead the development of our state's application, we believe our proposal reflects the best approach to education reform and respects our teachers, honors our students and prepares our state for the future. The opportunity to work with our colleagues across the state allowed us to bring the best approaches together and create something greater than any one of our individual school districts. In San Francisco, it furthers the work we have begun in partnership with our teachers and administrators unions to recruit, retain and develop effective teachers and school leaders. We have laid out a plan that is ambitious for California yet achievable. If our state is selected, we look forward to being a part of a statewide reform network."

Hot topic: CDC program at Grattan

This from a reader:
my son just got a spot at the CDC program at Grattan, where my daughter will enter K in august, and i cannot find anyone, or any listing, that reviews or shares an opinion on the program. do you have any suggestions for me? my son is currently in a private preschool but putting him in the cdc program at grattan who be a logistically dream and take a very heavy financial load of my shoulders. still, i want to know more about the program before i make the jump.

Rachel Norton: Update on the new student assignment system

An excerpt from SFUSD Board of Education member Rachel Norton's blog:

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from parents on the new assignment plan, mostly centered around the planned release of the new attendance area boundaries and middle -school feeder patterns next month. In a recent meeting with district staff developing the new plan, I received some further information about how the review process for the new boundaries and feeder patterns will work:

  • The proposed list of citywide schools, draft attendance area boundaries and draft feeder patterns — as well as a proposed transportation policy — will be formally released to the public on August 18, the date of the next Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment.
  • After that meeting, members of the public will have several weeks to comment on the proposed citywide schools list, the draft boundaries and feeder patterns as well as the proposed transportation policy. In addition, these proposals, draft boundaries and draft feeder patterns will be further discussed by the Board at a yet-to-be-scheduled Ad Hoc Committee meeting in early-to-mid September.
  • The citywide schools, attendance area boundaries and feeder patterns will be finalized after taking into account any public comment and Board discussion; the final version of the boundary map and feeder patterns will be released by September 28.
  • The Superintendent’s proposed transportation policy will be formally presented to the Board as an action item for final adoption at that September 28 meeting.

Read the full post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot topic: 5th grade teacher bikes to D.C.

This from a reader:
definitely worth a blog mention:

Kelly Clark Completes Cross-Country Ride!

On behalf of the faculty, parents, community, and especially the students of Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy and across the country, we congratulate our fifth-grade teacher Kelly Clark and her team at WE RIDE for completing their 3,200 mile bike ride across the United States just hours ago. We’re proud to announce they arrived at Washington Circle Park in Washington, DC today " July 17, 2010 " at 4:35pm Eastern time.

Hot topic: Edison charter school

This from a reader:
Some writers have expressed concern that Edison Charter Academy did not have their website up. Since our technical coordinator has returned from his summer vacation he has cleared the website of the old Edison Learning material and we have a new website up and running: Since it is new there will be additional information each day, so it is a work in progress. I would appreciate it greatly if you could let your readers know. Also, we are only 3 students shy of being able to add our fourth kinder class and many parents have stated they read your blog so we appreciate the opportunity to share our new programs and many changes. You may consider posting that we have hired a fully qualified and experienced teacher to do our Spanish/English dual language Kindergarden and have many interested parents changing into that class so its almost full!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Newsweek: America's creativity crisis

An excerpt of a recent Newsweek article titled "The Creativity Crisis":
Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?” He recalls the psychologist being excited by his answers. In fact, the psychologist’s session notes indicate Schwarzrock rattled off 25 improvements, such as adding a removable ladder and springs to the wheels. That wasn’t the only time he impressed the scholars, who judged Schwarzrock to have “unusual visual perspective” and “an ability to synthesize diverse elements into meaningful products.”

The accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. There is never one right answer. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).

In the 50 years since Schwarzrock and the others took their tests, scholars—first led by Torrance, now his colleague, Garnet Millar—have been tracking the children, recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published, and every grant awarded. They tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed.

Nobody would argue that Torrance’s tasks, which have become the gold standard in creativity assessment, measure creativity perfectly. What’s shocking is how incredibly well Torrance’s creativity index predicted those kids’ creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.

Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
Read the full article

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hot topic: Wait pool

This from a reader:
I'm still waiting to get into my wait pool public school. I'm 0/15. When will the district start calling people? What's the latest on the 10-day count? Are they still doing a 10-day count? I've heard they're now doing a 4-day count.

Reform Prop 13 event


Please join San Francisco Assessor–Recorder Phil Ting for an organizing town hall to reform Prop. 13 and restore funding to public education and services.

Who: Concerned Citizens, Students and Community Leaders
What: Organizing and Leadership Meeting
When: July 27, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Where: Laney College Student Center, Oakland
(1 block East of the Lake Merit BART station)
Sponsors: Associated Students of Laney College
Wellstone Democratic Club
East Bay Young Democrats
Learn more:
Join us on Facebook:
Questions or RSVP:, 415-418-8435

Please join San Francisco Assessor–Recorder Phil Ting for an organizing town hall to reform Prop. 13 and restore funding to public education and services.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's new at Creative Arts Charter School

The Board of Directors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Greenwood as Director and Fernando Aguilar as Assistant Director.
For more details see:

CACS has also recently launched a FaceBook page:!/pages/San-Francisco-CA/Creative-Arts-Charter-School/104292155025?ref=ts
where visitors can find out all of the unique things that are happening at the school.

Please visit or website in August to find out about fall tour dates:

Come see for yourself what a great school CACS is!

Open house: Alta Vista School

Open House - Saturday, July 17th, 10 am - 12 pm
Welcome to Alta Vista School
Please join the founding families and faculty of Alta Vista to learn more about us, this exciting new school, and what we have planned for the coming school year. Children and families invited.

Alta Vista School
245 Valencia Street (at 14th Street)
RSVP or more info:
Tel: 415/407-2967

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot topic: First grader and higher

This from a reader:
There are some families reading your site who have been hoping for new first grade (and higher) assignments. While I am sure many of us are happy with our current schools, my family would like to try for a better fit.

Much upper grade shuffling will take place the first week of school, but could you please make a hot topic for first grade (and higher) families? I wonder who else is out there and what their wait lists look like.