Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rachel Norton: Attendance areas and feeder patterns

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

As promised, tonight district staff unveiled the draft maps of attendance areas and middle school feeder patterns. I don’t have electronic copies of the maps, but they should be posted at the following site by tomorrow:
Tonight’s meeting was televised, and while you won’t be able to make out the teensy tiny maps on from the telecast, there was some interesting discussion and public comment.

Generally, I didn’t feel there were many huge surprises, or attendance areas that felt terribly “gerrymandered.” Parents from McKinley Elementary were on hand to protest the proposal that their school would feed into Everett Middle School; another group of parents pushing for a neighborhood-only school assignment scheme also came to speak for public comment.

The McKinley comments were difficult for me, because it’s a community I feel very connected to. My own daughter attended a pre-K class at McKinley for two years; more recently I have been honored to be a judge at McKinley’s last two DogFest fundraisers (a lovely and fun annual event). I also try to never miss the school’s annual Junior Olympics celebration, which manages to be adorable, fun and uplifting all at the same time. I understand that parents at McKinley have worked tremendously hard to boost enrollment at their school (a few years after my daughter went on to Kindergarten, McKinley ended up on the district’s dreaded closure list and had to “prove” it could attract more students in order to get off the list — thank goodness we don’t have a closure list anymore!). I also understand that Everett Middle School is on the state’s own dreaded list of persistently underperforming schools, so for many parents enrolling at Everett represents a leap of faith — trust that the school district can and will turn the school around. On the other hand, the whole reason we wrote middle school feeder patterns into the new assignment plan was to give families the reassurance that their child’s peer group would remain stable during the transition to middle school. As Commissioner Wynns said tonight, “Everett will be McKinley,” if students follow the feeder patterns.
Read the full post


  1. As a parent at McKinley, I feel a couple of things. One, I don't think the parents will follow the feeder pattern, Mckinley parents have been just emerged from a recent fight trying to save a school (McKinley) that was nearly closed. Now they're being asked to do it again, to join a school that is hard (at the moment) to feel good or secure about. I think this is too much. McKinley has only just gotten going. McKinley does not have the fundraising or organizing power that a Clarendon or West Portal has (or the money of a Grattan.) Why not ask that of a school that has had a few more years of comfort under it's belt?

    Secondly, if I were a parent at Milk, or Sanchez, or Marshall, I wouldn't feel all that great about Supervisor Wyn's comment: Everett will be McKinley. No -- it's about 4 schools, not just McKinley.

    I think it unfortunate that McKinley parents labeled or were perceived to have been labeling other schools being funneled into Everett as "low performing." Clearly that didn't go over well. But look at where schools quite near McKinley (Roosevelt, New Traditions) are going, and I think it's clear what parents were feeling, if expressing in a misguided manner.

  2. 9:48pm again - Meant to say - Grattan and New Traditions nearby (funneling into Hoover and Roosevelt.

  3. Visitation Valley MS will have no chance of staying open with 4 low-scoring elementaries feeding into this traditionally low-scoring MS. Why not just close VV MS and send the kids from the feeder elementaries to other school that they can help diversify?

  4. i CANNOT see how the new boundaries will improve diversity at elementary schools. how can that be when muir's attendance area for example draws from the lowest scoring (green) area vs. sherman's boundaries, pac heights and the marina? are you kidding me? is muir IB program a city-wide school? I don't get it.

    i see some attempt to create diversity by mixing feeder schools to middle school campuses, but even that is flawed. take hoover. do you think that malcomx families will bus their kids to hoover? they didn't do it under the old system even though they would have a high chance of getting in per the diversity index. that will make hoover (with clarendon, jefferson, grattan!) one of the most priveledged schools in the city. compare that, for example to roosevelt which will be fed by rosa parks, tenderloin, and new traditions.


  5. I wonder how Roosevelt will continue to do well with its feeder schools. Having Peabody and McKinley added would help, but I'm not sure if it's a capacity issue.

  6. Re Everett, there is a sizable group of Marshall SI kids there this year, with a few from Alvarado and (I think) Buena Vista. This is for the new SI program at Everett, and they did field a full SI class. It would be worth talking with these families about their experience so far (realize it is less than one week so far).

  7. Mckinley's CST 2010 scores are Lower than NTs 2010 scores. Also it's API is only 3 points higher than NT's which I suspect will change as well.

  8. I see that the Alemany Housing Project is now in the Junipero Serra attendance area, which will feed into 4/10 Denman Middle School.

    Funny how the Alemany Housing projects, three short blocks from Paul Revere School, are now magically in the Junipero Serra attendance area.

    This from the front page of the Chronicle Today:


    "At about 12:10 a.m. today, 20-year-old Raymond Twine was shot near the Alemany Housing projects near Alemany Boulevard and Ellsworth Street and died at the scene, authorities said. No one has been arrested, and police did not have a description of the suspect or suspects.

    The slayings were the second and third in San Francisco in less than 24 hours.

    Read more:

  9. Paul Revere is designated as a citywide school as a K8.

  10. The below is a link to a survey the district has put out to gather feedback, you might want to complete:

  11. It's useful to point out that a in a K-5 school parents have as long as 6 years to effect positive change and can strategize accordingly and successfully as we've all seen happen. With middle school that time line is halved and further challenged by the fact that more parents return to work full time as their children reach the upper grades and so have less time to devote to school fundraising and community building.
    In a city as demographically polarized as San Francisco I find this new M.S. assignment plan curious at best.