Friday, September 17, 2010

Helga's Tour Strategy: Do Over!

When I did my introductory post, I had the following schools in mind because they seem to fit Hugo's needs and our needs, but required further research into their curriculum (must haves: small groups/project-based, critical thinking; plusses: science integrated into the curriculum at the lower grades or Mandarin/Japanese as FLES).

In order of school size (our attendance boundary school Sutro is included; * denotes city-wide):

  • Peabody 235 with 2 K GE classes
  • *Claire Lilienthal 238 K-2 campus with 4 K classes (3 GE, 1 Korean Immersion)
  • Sutro 245 with 2 K classes (1 GE, 1 Cantonese Bilingual), since we're only interested in the GE our chances are just 22 less siblings & CTIP1
  • Spring Valley Science Magnet 346 with 3 K classes (1 GE, 1 Cantonese Bilingual, 1 Spanish Bilingual)
  • Sherman 383 with 3 K GE classes
  • Argonne 406 with 3.5 K GE classes (3 GE w/ Russian FLES, .5 for the K/1 mix), but there seems to be a pre-K associated with it which further limits our chances; need clarification of the extended # of classroom days in July since we need the summer vacation to visit family in DC
  • * Clarendon JBBP 528 with 4 K classes (2 GE, 2 JBBP)

After considering the comments to my intro post and reviewing this stress-inducing chart, I realized that Hugo's needs for a small school size would constrain our chances of getting assigned into popular attendance boundary schools such as Sherman and Peabody. I switched these out to include more city-wides and a larger neighboring attendance boundary schools to research. I left Spring Valley and Argonne on the list because their curriculum appear to fit what we want.

In order of school size (* denotes city-wide):

  • C5 International public charter for Fall 2011 - 100 with 2 K, but charter approval & location TBD
  • *Claire Lilienthal
  • Creative Arts Charter 240
  • Sutro
  • Spring Valley Science Magnet
  • * Rosa Parks JBBP 367 with 4 K classes (2 GE, 2 JBBP)
  • Argonne
  • *Clarendon JBBP
  • Alamo 549 with 4 K GE classes (large school, but Hugo's pre-K friend's older brother started in K so Hugo's pre-K friend will likely attend too)
  • * Lawton K-8 597 with 3 K GE classes, but need clarification if the lower grades are separated from the upper grades not only in terms of the playground, but also during lunch time and before & after school care.

I hope to winnow this list, because I can't take off this much time from work to do these tours. On the flip side (and in response to constructive criticisms re: the extent of touring from Fall 2011 K bloggers):

1) how else do we measure the "intangibles" of the classroom environment (students engaged)? of school environment (safe & orderly)? of student community during the school day?

2) the new student assignment system does not cap the # of choices and is supposed to give your highest ranked choice as priority (we need to see that programming algorithm to make sure!)

I intend to supplement (or replace?) the tours by attending a PPS-SF workshop with parent advocates for specific schools, leverage info from my fellow pre-K parents' tours, and perhaps check out some schools at the enrollment fair in Nov. I can't seem to shake the helicopter parenting in me.

That's the plan for now... subject to change, of course!

62 comments:

  1. Throw the dice. Add Rooftop.

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  2. I wouldn't get rid of Peabody and replace it with Alamo. Peabody fits more of your criteria, and there usually is A LOT of movement on the waitpool there. My educated guess is that this is because kids are getting into private schools (just given the location and likely demographic). This is not the case with Alamo. You're not going to get into either in the initial round if you don't live in the attendance area, and I think you'll have a much better chance at getting into Peabody off the waitpool (were you to waitpool it).

    Other suggestions: Lafayette. I know several families there and they LOVE it. Many people choose it over the other Richmond schools (though many others do not given its Outer Richmond location). These families have the same interests as you and all chose Lafayette over Alamo. I recall one telling me that she walked into Lafayette and said "now this is an elementary school!" And because it is a bigger school and one less likely for CTIP1 families to choose (given its location), there's actually a shot at initially getting into it even if you live outside the attendance area (and that's not the case with most good attendance area schools).

    New Traditions - Not far from you and a smaller school with an arts emphasis.

    Rooftop - Agree with the previous poster. It's city-wide and has many of the things you're looking for. You should at least tour it.

    DeVila - Not too far from you and is immersion, so city-wide. Very involved parent group.

    If you're looking to cut something else off your list, I'd cut Lawton.

    One other thing to consider, if you need aftercare, start asking about it now. Many of the schools have good options w/ several programs that ensure everyone can get in, but others do not (limited by income or first come first served). If this matters to you, this could help you narrow your list.

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  3. If you want Sutro, I think odds are good that you will get in.

    Historically Sutro has been in low demand compared to the surrounding schools, with few first-choice requests and fewer waitpool requests.

    We liked Sutro and put it on our lottery list. You just have to ignore -- or appreciate -- the fact that it doesn't have much buzz.

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  4. What about McCoppin? It's also small, and if you are in Sutro's assignment area, not too far from where you live.

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  5. What is "C5 International public charter"?

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  6. I'll also cast a vote your way for giving Lafayette a look. It's not a small school, but has a lot going for it and you'd actually have a good chance of getting in first round. We have a meek kid there now (in K) and he is doing well despite the size of the school. Kids change a lot over the next year and often can handle more than you realize by the time when they enter K.

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  7. This post epitomizes what is wrong with our system. The district was suppose to simplify the process as part of their response to the CGJ. Instead what we have is a more complicated situation than before.

    And how much more will it cost SFUSD now that it has to do the job twice on the MS placement? No accountability, no responsibility and nothing from the public's watchdogs of the Board of Education. More like a bunch of lap dogs or mushrooms - fed manure and kept in the dark!

    Fire Garcia now! Recall the Board. Mayoral or state control would be better than this gang.

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  8. Can we just help Helga and cut the crap, Don?

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  9. "(we need to see that programming algorithm to make sure!)"

    good luck with that.

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  10. Don, not all threads are about you. Stay away please, keep your agenda out

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  11. Reading Helga's post anyone can see how crazy it is for a parent to navigate this system. I think Don is right. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for this monstrosity.

    When the middle school system was released people on this forum screamed and cried how unfair it was. No one said they should stop.

    Don's point is well taken. He's looking for your interests but you are too fool hardy to figure it out.

    In any case I have read this blog long enough to know Don is not going to stop on your orders.

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  12. HELGA,

    THIS CRAP IS IRRELEVANT.

    News Flash It isn't surprising that Fenty lost in DC with his support for Rhee. This is fueling the rumors that Duncan may be one of the first of the Secretaries to go after the elections. It would not surprise me to see someone slow on the uptake like Obama start to shed the dead weight even before San Francisco liberals rise from their coma. The reason we have to do the SAS job twice is due to politically profligate ideologues who perennially fail to hold their elected officials accountable.Maufas is a prime example having been endorsed again by the union. But I cannot think of a single commissioner that deserves to be reelected.

    Xenophobe in SF.

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  13. C5 International Public Charter?

    I've never heard of this school, can't find it in a Google search -- nada. Helga, whatever source you're using is not reliable, since it seems to be dangling nonexistent schools in front of you. Ditch it and find a better one. Go immediately to www.ppssf.org, for starters.

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  14. Mibb: I hope you are right about our odds at Sutro, even if it would be only the 1 K class!

    Peabody & Lafayette supporters - I hear you! I will probably end up putting them on my unlimited choices list, but don't feel compelled to tour it just yet because there is some much positive info about them.

    C5 International School - I could be selfish and not publicize this at all, but that wouldn't be very Hufflepuff-ish (fair, honest). The info was posted by Anonymous at http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/thread/1535. I put it on my list because it will likely be small (K-3 initially) and the Reggio-Emilia-inspired curriculum is in line with what we're looking for. I posted my questions re: K capacity and whether the pre-K at C5 Children's School would have priority. Someone else asked about location which also a concern for me.

    As for Don, I didn't respond negatively in the comment section to or about Don. (That wasn't me.)

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  15. As far as I can tell, C5 is not a SFUSD pre-school nor a They must go to the BOE to get a charter and I'm pretty sure that has not happened. The BOE is not inclined to give more charters...one reason is that they have to provide a site. They can go to the State to get a charter like Edison did. But I don't see how they could get it together for next Fall.

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  16. SFUSD can provide a site to a charter. They have tons of surplus real estate. And charters can get state funding to upgrade them. The problem isn't the site though it would take time. It's that SFUSD is owned by the union which is firmly anti- charter. Occasionally they allow a charter just to keep up appearances. A great deal of LA's charters are union shops so you don't have to be anti-charter to be pro-union.

    The time to necessary to open a school is considerable. Unless the law has changed it used to be that the LEA had to deny the claim before an appeal could take place at the SBE. And that Board is made up of charter advocates like Ben Austin.

    I was rude last night. Hadn't taken my meds. I just feel like people focus on the details and lose sight of the big picture.

    But, yes, it is about me in a sense, to answer a critic. I am the consumer and the Board should represent its constituents instead of single-minded political ideology. This is why they dropped the ball as far as meeting the needs of real people - the students. They were so focused on their diversity agenda they forgot to consider the children when they made the SAS.

    SFUSD answered the CGJ assertions and now they have reneged. They are litigation driven and do what they want unless told by a jury to do otherwise. So I expect some suits after the first year.

    As far a looking for a school, it is entirely a personal decision. Of course in the end SFUSD will decide for you. If you are lucky they may grant you what you wished for.

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  17. Have your own damn blog, Don. Don't troll in every thread on SFK.

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  18. Sorry, off topic, but just to respond to Don: The Green Dot chain of charters in LAUSD are technically unionized, but with no job protections, which of course makes the union contract meaningless. Other than that, there are no unionized charters in LAUSD.

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  19. i guess they are across town, but what about creative arts or san francisco community school. small, project-based, k-8.

    what do you know about the location of the new charter with reggio emilia? we are kinda happy with our 3rd grader's school but considering something a little less worksheet-y for our preschool daughter.

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  20. If Anonymous stops over posting I will to. S/he's a whiner and coward, hiding like a scared rat.

    To the SFK Files southeast one voice lobby, it was your beloved far left leaning commissioners who all voted Aye to implement this assignment system. Then the Administration tells them not to do it and they get in lock step and effectively vote not to implement it. And if tomorrow Garcia tell them to vote to have a pure lottery they would jump at that chance without hesitation. What a puppet show. But who's the boss doen there?

    But you'll be hard pressed to read anything on SFK holding SFUSD accountable for the waste that is represented by this reversal? The fact that it will now cost much more money and cause even greater disruption is a non-issue for the parochial interests of the blog.

    And while the federal government goes about trying to remake education into a factory school model, SFK discusses the merits of classroom neatness and whether the principal cries when she speaks fondly of her students.

    The whole system is being redraw in a very child-unfriendly manner while you're discussing the merits of school tours. As long as parents are "busy in the kitchen" they won't smell the house is on fire.

    I know Caroline is very strongly opposed to Obama's radical agenda for education. But she won't say so on this blog. Not after I said it.

    As far as the unionization of charters in LA I'm sure you are right about the union protection issue. You're the expert. But private schools are not unionized for the most part and they by and large do a commendable job of educating and they do it with less money all told.

    I think the real issue isn't greater or lesser union power, but greater student success. I will not buy into the false debate between union control and student outcome. Clearly both teachers and students should be honored and respected with proper compensation and funding.

    I'm hoping the Board will appoint me to the Prop A Oversight Committee. It would be the courageous thing to do. Nah! I'd like to see there faces when they vote No.

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  21. Don, way off topic again, but I sharply criticize the Obama education-policy fiasco, publicly, all the time. Why would I be timid here in particular? Here's one post on the Perimeter Primate blog, reprinted on the Democratic Underground blog and linked to from many other education "resister" blogs:

    http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/07/grannan-in-village-no-one-can-hear-you.html

    Sorry, I'm letting Don take us far afield.

    (My correction on supposed unionized charter schools was simply a factual correction. This is certainly not the place for a debate about the role of unions in education.)

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  22. Thanks, Don, always appreciate your comments.

    "To the SFK Files southeast one voice lobby, it was your beloved far left leaning commissioners who all voted Aye to implement this assignment system. Then the Administration tells them not to do it and they get in lock step and effectively vote not to implement it. And if tomorrow Garcia tell them to vote to have a pure lottery they would jump at that chance without hesitation."

    I couldn't agree more.

    What's interesting here is that I don't see a way out for the Southeast. There are a few K-5's that are good, but it's the MSs that are the killer. The new assignment system only exposes what has been a problem all along.

    For at least five years, middle class parents have been very vocal about SE school options. Most have been pushed out of the system early on. They are vilified and told they are racist for not wanting to send there kids to many SE schools.

    Enter NPR. They do a segment on a mom who actually went to Everett and is screaming at the top of her lungs that she doesn't want her kids to go there. Because she is Latina, the supervisors and Garcia actually listen to her. No discrimination there, of course!

    I'm prepared to accept that there is nothing that can be done for SE schools. It's just a carved off section of the city for hipsters without kids, poor immigrants who work as nannies and hotel workers, and private school parents benefitting from lower home and property tax prices.

    I'm in the latter category.

    Until we move, I'm resigned to the state of the schools in the SE of the city.

    We weren't prepared to buy north of Market. We probably could have, but consider it a poor investment. We're happy with our private school and lower property taxes.

    What I see coming is a gradual exit of the middle class from SE public schools. There weren't many to begin with. Homeowners in the SE will probably be childless, landlords, or have their kids in private/parochial.

    Don, I agree that there is a lot of waste. Redoing the
    MS assignment system is an example. However, the greater problem of our schools is that virtually every school in the city needs considerable PTA dollars to function. SE schools don't have this. There are likely to have even fewer PTA dollars in the future.

    Even with some of the new grants that have been given to low performing schools, there is a HUGE gap. Low performing schools need many more dollars than schools packed with kids from middle class families. These LP schools won't get that kind of funding. State grants can't even begin to bridge the gap.

    So unless the supervisors were willing to do something radical, like remove the city sanctuary policy, SE schools will continue to languish.

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  23. Thanks, Don, always appreciate your comments.

    "To the SFK Files southeast one voice lobby, it was your beloved far left leaning commissioners who all voted Aye to implement this assignment system. Then the Administration tells them not to do it and they get in lock step and effectively vote not to implement it. And if tomorrow Garcia tell them to vote to have a pure lottery they would jump at that chance without hesitation."

    I couldn't agree more.

    What's interesting here is that I don't see a way out for the Southeast. There are a few K-5's that are good, but it's the MSs that are the killer. The new assignment system only exposes what has been a problem all along.

    For at least five years, middle class parents have been very vocal about SE school options. Most have been pushed out of the system early on. They are vilified and told they are racist for not wanting to send there kids to many SE schools.

    Enter NPR. They do a segment on a mom who actually went to Everett and is screaming at the top of her lungs that she doesn't want her kids to go there. Because she is Latina, the supervisors and Garcia actually listen to her. No discrimination there, of course!

    I'm prepared to accept that there is nothing that can be done for SE schools. It's just a carved off section of the city for hipsters without kids, poor immigrants who work as nannies and hotel workers, and private school parents benefitting from lower home and property tax prices.

    I'm in the latter category.

    Until we move, I'm resigned to the state of the schools in the SE of the city.

    We weren't prepared to buy north of Market. We probably could have, but consider it a poor investment. We're happy with our private school and lower property taxes.

    What I see coming is a gradual exit of the middle class from SE public schools. There weren't many to begin with. Homeowners in the SE will probably be childless, landlords, or have their kids in private/parochial.

    Don, I agree that there is a lot of waste. Redoing the
    MS assignment system is an example. However, the greater problem of our schools is that virtually every school in the city needs considerable PTA dollars to function. SE schools don't have this. There are likely to have even fewer PTA dollars in the future.

    Even with some of the new grants that have been given to low performing schools, there is a HUGE gap. Low performing schools need many more dollars than schools packed with kids from middle class families. These LP schools won't get that kind of funding. State grants can't even begin to bridge the gap.

    So unless the supervisors were willing to do something radical, like remove the city sanctuary policy, SE schools will continue to languish.

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  24. Correction to the "correction"

    You may consider it a factual correction but the fact is that Green Dot is unionized. You just don't like the union they formed - not enough job protection for your tastes. But isn't that exactly what the current union crisis is all about - too much job protection?

    The merit pay/competency crisis is all about the appropriate level of job protection. You are trying to manipulate the Overton Window to solidify the idea that tenure is a job for life when you say that a union is not a union without the level of job protection you consider acceptable.

    If people like you would stop making this argument, which is false on its face, then we would not have to engage in this manufactured debate between the interests of teachers versus those of students. It is a red herring and we should agree to move on and accept a clear level of competency to support and encourage tenure (and it should not be based upon test scores).

    Only the most radical privatizers think that teachers should be per diem. You are feeding their cause and keeping their argument alive.

    Look at UESF. When did they ever discipline their own members? Right now it is entirely up to the principal to push out the incompetent staff members. And it they make that herculean effort the end result is that person ends up at some other school. Is that a good system? Clearly it needs some reform. Your message is old hat just like your constant anti-charter message which puts good and bad charters all in the same boat.

    If SFUSD gets rid of AP, schools like SOTA and Lowell are going to be on very shaky ground and the only avenue for them will be to go charter or die..

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  25. "What I see coming is a gradual exit of the middle class from SE public schools. There weren't many to begin with. Homeowners in the SE will probably be childless, landlords, or have their kids in private/parochial."

    Maybe. Possibly. But on the other hand, there is a huge middle-class baby boom out here. My block on Potrero Hill has 11 kids under 5 just in the 6 houses I'm acquainted with. And I know there are several more families I haven't met with little kids. It's possible everyone will bail and move to the burbs by middle school, but a lot of the parents here have clout, energy, and vision.

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  26. The middle class has been exiting the public schools for decades and the flight continues all over the city.

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  27. The middle class has been re-entering SF public schools for the last few years. Try to pay attention.

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  28. Don, this is SO off topic, but I hate to leave any few people who are following it under any misunderestimations.

    Green Dot charter schools are unionized, yes. They are the only charters in LAUSD that are unionized. (there are about 15 of them -- very low-performing, BTW.)

    However, the contracts with Green Dot have no job protection. Within the labor movement, union contracts without job protection are universally considered to be toothless. Whether I personally like them is irrelevant.

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  29. C5 is the Civic Center Childrens School, a non profit that has been around for awhile. I could not tell from their website why they wanted to become a charter school or if they were planning to expand past kindergarten. That lack of clearly stated objectives and motivation is imo a warning sign.

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  30. Re: Sutro -- I can't imagine you will have any problem getting in. My kid went for Kinder but it wasn't a good fit for us
    (for our kid it was too worksheet-y) but as others have pointed out it in in extremely low demand (I was one of only a handful of people who put it as a first choice) despite having a lot going for it.

    Another mom I still talk to from the kinder class told me that she switched out at first grade because the 1st grade teacher has an appalling reputation. FWIW -- which probably isn't much -- this supports the statement that there is a lot of movement at Sutro. Maybe not for great reasons, but one person's appalling teacher could be someone else's favorite. If that is the school you have set your cap toward, I think you can be confident you will get it.

    We thought we would love Sutro and wound up jumping ship and loving CACS, which we handn't even considered. Somehow it all works out.

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  31. "There is a huge middle-class baby boom out here. My block on Potrero Hill has 11 kids under 5 just in the 6 houses I'm acquainted with."

    Just see how long that would last if the Potrero middle school ended up being Everett.

    Actually, that's a good idea. Assign the kids in Potrero to Everett. You can use your "clout" to fix that school. Got $100,000,000? That should be good for about five years worth of Everett Middle school improvements.

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  32. Another Potrero ParentSeptember 19, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Actually, according to what was originally proposed, our feeder MS would be Horace Mann. We'd opt out.

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  33. Well, I'd opt out of Mann too, no question. But I said that about Daniel Webster 5 years ago when my kid was born -- no way in hell I'd send a kid of mine to that sad sack of a place. Now, I'm unlikely to be able to get my kid in. And I've spent about $100 over the past 5 years on the place. In my kid's playgroup, 3/4 of the older set are there already (one went private). The other half aren't in K yet, but my guess is at least half of that remaining half will at least try to get into Webster. Out of 8 kids in the group, that's 5 at or aiming for Webster, all with parents in the middle to upper-middle class.

    With that said, middle school is a whole other kettle of fish, because there's only a 3 year span for parents to get things done, and the kids are at a much more vulnerable age when it comes to peer pressure, etc. You just can't fool around with middle school. So I predict that SE parents will continue to bring up the elementaries, but I think the middle school feeder patterns might kill off any long-term return to public in the SE. I deeply hope I am wrong, though.

    This is why middle school ought to have remained choice all along. If it ain't broken, why try to fix it? The feeder patterns seem a sure way to drive middle-class families out of the SE or into private.

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  34. What a bummer. A pass on Horace Mann, Everett and Denman by just about everybody. Who does send their kids to these torture chambers?

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  35. Whatever their issues, Horace Mann, Everett and Denman are school communities that kids and families are part of -- it's not just harsh but elitist to refer to them as "torture chambers."

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  36. Denman has an amazing 6th grade science program, Everett has a new SI program with active and involved parents, and Mann (and Everett) just got a huge amount of federal money in the form of a SIG grant. 3 years from now, parents may well be clamoring to send their kids to these schools. Rather than mandating a MS feeder system, I'd suggest adding attractive programs (MI, SI, science magnet) and keeping the class sizes small. Pioneer families will come, and others will follow.

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  37. How much did Mann and Everett get?

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  38. This is from a SFUSD release-

    "How much funding is available through SIG for the school district to aid these schools?

    The range of funding available for each school in the district grant is $50,000 - $2,000,000, per year for up to three years. The funding application does not identify a specific goal amount for any particular school."

    The education establishment is widely against the 4 turnaround models and for good reason. They all have a lousy track record of reform. Yet this is what the schools have to implement to get the money. The Superintendent spoke out against these reforms and so did Rachel Norton. But they are not going to turn down the money. It is the best thing that ever happened to these schools.

    What really works is a wrap-around package of reforms that focus on the causes of poor student motivation and study habits. But this money is not for wrap around services.

    To make matters worse, SF school progressives want to encourage students to use preferences to leave low performing schools such as those with SIG grants. How can the SIG grants help the very kids who need it most if they leave schools like Horace mann and Everett. And does it make sense to spend the money on high performing students that are assigned to these schools against the wishes of their families?

    The linked article below explains some of the downsides of the turnaround models.

    http://www.ceps-ourschools.org/pdfs/Communities_Left_Behind.pdf

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  39. Go to the SFUSD portam and search SIG. This is the link

    http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/news/pdf/7 2 10 SF Unified Submits Application for $50 million in School Improvement Funds

    Everett and Mann get between 1.3 and 1.4 mil in years one and two and a little less the third year.

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  40. This is what happens when Don joins any discussion - it is so off topic that the original question is no longer relevant.

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  41. Don, thanks for your very explicit information on the SIG amounts for Everett and Mann.

    1.3 or 1.4 million dollars is absolutely a drop in the bucket for these schools. That will be gobbled up in about a month.

    Never mind teaching and administrative improvements. Everett needs an exterminator and a building contractor. Desks? Maybe they could replace some of those desks that must have been very nice when they were bought in 1970.

    year 1, 1.4 million, poof!

    Year two could be used for comprehensive mental health and family support services.

    1.4 million, poof!

    Don, if these kids haven't been doing their homework since 1st grade and if they don't have parents who can help them with their middle school homework (most don't) they're not going to be headed for Lowell. Moreover, they're going to be a drag on the tenor of what can be taught in the classroom.

    $1.4 or even $20 won't fix that.

    So no turnaround at Mann, Everett and Denman. If assigned to these schools, there will be the inevitable withdrawal of the middle class from SE K-5 schools.

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  42. sock puppet hell ...

    when nobody responds to his meandering posts, Don invents people to 'talk" to him... and those people he invents always compliment Don on his "insight".
    GAG
    This blog is ruined by him, infortunately.

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  43. I'm glad SF has that new charter high school, and can't wait until they open a middle school.

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  44. The only people being invented was by Anonymous pretending to be me. Now that I post on my Goggle account anyone who writes in in agreement is accused by you of being a sock puppet.

    Someone asked a question and I answered it. If you are so worried about being off topic why do you fill up every thread with accusatory posts about me?

    I'm not going away. Deal with it.

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  45. Don,

    Thank you so much for the actual dollar amounts of those SIG grants. As I've pointed out, Everett, Mann and Denman need a massive infusion of capital to turn the tide. A few million here or there won't do it.

    For all you SF tax payers who are waiting for Superman, if you haven't already, you might want to start following www.thesweetmelissa.com.

    As Melissa Griffin has hinted, the city is headed toward fiscal insolvency. Unless there are private donors with hundreds of millions of $$s to pump into these SE middle schools, the idea that the middle schools will somehow improve themselves is a fairytale.

    There seem to be lots of SE "progressives" that would dump on our doorstep every social demand, without following it up with $$$. (Of course, they would never send their kids to Everett, Mann or Denman. Perish the tought!)

    SE Taxpayer.
    (not Don)

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  46. sf parent w/2 young kidsSeptember 20, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Don- get your own blog please.

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  47. I think that the 4 million over three years is enough money to provide significantly services -class size reductions, specialized reading and math programs, tutoring, etc. Whether the turnaround models work is highly questionable and there is little evidence to show that money alone can make the difference. DC gets 25K per pupil hand has horrendous achievement statistics. And what happens after three years passes?

    This IS a massive infusion when the school budget is doubled or tripled. But I see the kids at Presidio who come to school with no books and have never done a homework assignment in their lives. Unless this money can change that mindset and the mindset of the family, no amount of increased instructional support is going to make much of a difference.

    That is to say if you can't show some incremental benefit from 2X the budget why provide 10X? This windfall infusion of SIG money is beyond the wildest dreams of these schools. This won't happen again. The country, the state and the municipalities are going broke. There is going to be years of fiscal belt tightening with the conservative rebound. This is the last hurray.

    This grant experiment will be analyzed and crunched for years to come. It is going to be interesting to see if it provides any real value for student achievement.

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  48. "But I see the kids at Presidio who come to school with no books and have never done a homework assignment in their lives. Unless this money can change that mindset and the mindset of the family, no amount of increased instructional support is going to make much of a difference."

    Don, I agree.

    If it were one third of the students in this position, it might still be possible to make it work.

    But when it's two thirds or more, it's impossible.

    Everybody knows it's impossible.

    The new twist here is that a Latina mom who actually had to endure Everett is speaking out in the press. Loud enough so that the Board changed their position on hard coded MS assignment system.

    But as I've said, no assignment system will fix the impact of the city's sanctuary policy. You can't take some of the poorest, least educated, most traumatized people in the Americas, put them schools that are drastically underfunded compared to their significant needs, and expect even reasonable results.

    It is true that Campos is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala. But he is from a well educated Guatemalan family.

    Most people from Mexico and Central America who send their kids to Denman, Everett and Mann do not have the family background of David Campos.

    So it is irresponsible and dishonest of Campos and Garcia to imply to the families at Denman, Everett and Mann that we can persue an unlimited sanctary policy and, at the same time, provide them with a decent education and any hope for a brighter future.

    It's dishonest. Dishonest to the middle class and dishonest to the poor.

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  49. Another voice for New Traditions. If you're in the Sutro area, it's close. And, for better and for worse, it's the smallest school in the district. It has a 9:30 start, with easily available before and after care. Drive by to see if it's really close enough, and add it to your list, somewhere.

    Tour before or after you get your assignment. I agree that killing yourself over the tours is counterproductive.

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  50. "Tour before or after you get your assignment."

    Is SFUSD doing assignments or is this a misstatement?

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  51. Don,

    I am interested in this point you made earlier about the beneficiaries of SIG money. How many students who don't fit the profile of a low performer will get funded with SIG money? Isn't the agenda of diversity an impediment to get the grant-funded services to those students most in need? Great point.

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  52. 11:57 AM: SFUSD does assignments after you send in your application. So you list your 6 or 8 or 10 schools, then you'll get an assignment, either from your list or not. (If it's not on your list, it should
    be the closest school to your address that has openings.)

    So, you could tour say the top 4 schools on your list, then list 8 schools. Then if you get #6, go tour it before accepting the assignment. Going to tour 8 or 10 schools is a waste of time when you can just tour afterwards instead.

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  53. The idea of touring is to decide which school you want to apply for.

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  54. Whoa, reality check. Just looked up middle school ratings. Not that I take those Greatschool ratings all that seriously, but you usually don't see that many 1's and 2's.

    Greatschools.org ratings for Everett, Mann and Denman: 1/10, 2/10 and 4/10. Impressive!

    I don't know how any school administrator can bold face tell parents that they should accept an assignment to Everett or Mann.

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  55. Helga,

    Would you get investment advise from a stranger with no references?
    Why would you take advise for something as important as your children's education from the same. Some of the stuff written on this thread is way off base.

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  56. I would never take advice from someone who didn't know the difference between "advise" and "advice".

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  57. Hi -- here is a bit of information about C5 International Charter School: Please visit our Charter School Website: www.c5internationalschool.org

    Public Information Meetings — We will hold two public meetings to explain the C5 International School concept and plan, answer questions, and receive signed statements of meaningful interest from families who want to enroll in the school next year, 2011-2012.

    Meeting Dates – The dates are September 23 and 28. They will be held in the C5 Children’s School Preschool Center building at 455 Golden Gate Avenue (between Polk and Larkin), Suite 2400, San Francisco, CA 94102. The times will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. each meeting day.

    Parking — Parking is available above ground on Larkin Street in the middle of the block on the right hand side in the garage between McAllister Street and Golden Gate Avenue. These rates are more reasonable. Another garage is underground on McAllister Street in the middle of the block between Larkin and Polk Streets. It is under the park in front of City Hall. These rates are more expensive.


    FYI -- my daughter went to infant care from 5 months to 4 1/2 at C5 children's school (http://www.c5children.org/)

    we could not have been more pleased with her daycare situation. C5 is an exemplary infant and preschool center serving State of California employeees and others in the Ca State Builing on Golden Gate Ave.

    The public Charter elementary school is a new thing for C5, and they are working to open the school beginning next year (2011-2012) with an initial enrollment of Kindergarteners and first graders.

    Our daughter is in a SFUSD Kindergarten (Spring Valley) and we are very happy with that, but are still committed to supporting C5's efforts. Its a really great place, and she was very well prepared to be engaged, active and excited by school as a new kindergartener. I have no doubt that the Charter will afford an excellent elementary education. Please visit their website and, if you are interested, go to thier public meeting on monday sept 28th 2010.

    SD

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  58. Helga Hufflepuff,

    You are a NASTY WITCH!

    While you are busy poking fun at those who make standard spelling or grammatical errors in their off the cuff blog posts, some of us are actually doing our own research to become inform on matters of consequence in education and that does not include sitting in on PPSF workshops, to be sure.

    Tip #1 - PPS in SF is in general an organization with very limited knowledge on education issues on either a local, state or federal level. They give classes on subjects in which they have no idea what they are talking about. PPS is a whole owned subsidiary of SFUSD, an outreach arm. They do perform a service and they do some good work. But they only do their bidding. Sad what passes for parent advocacy nowadays. And, yes, I know - that is not a complete sentence.

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  59. Hi Don,

    I didn't leave the 7:10am comment.

    Helga

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  60. Helga Hufflepuff was an optimist and a do-gooder. I should have known.

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  61. We have 2 kids at Lawton in K and First Grade. The K's are separated from the rest of the students at recess. I've never heard of any problems btw older and younger kids. In fact, there's a strong buddy program. Diversity is lacking, but everyone is friendly if you make an effort, and the PTA is trying to build a stronger sense of community. Most of the teachers have been there for a long time and a few have their own kids attending the school. When the kids reach middle school, they can play Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball (Champs 3 yrs in row), and Track. I'm happy to talk to you if you have questions.

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  62. Jason - Thanks for your comment. Lawton was the 1st school I toured.. and it's great. I'll post the full review soon.

    To the various commenters that I hadn't responded to yet already:

    Creative Arts Charter - Thanks for the suggestion. I've added it to the tour list and will update this post.

    C5 International School http://c5internationalschool.org/ is a public charter school under development for Fall 2011 opening. I attended one of the public meetings in September. They need to submit their charter proposal to SFUSD and seek a facility from SFUSD through State of California Proposition 39 by end of Oct. There will be 2 more public meetings 5:30pm-6:30pm on Wednesday, October 13th and Tuesday, October 26th at the C5 Children’s School Preschool Center at 455 Golden Gate Avenue (between Polk and Larkin), Suite 2400, San Francisco.
    See http://c5internationalschool.org/timeline/ for more logistics on the public meetings. I'll post a mini review soon... so please save your comments on charter schools for that post. : )

    Rooftop falls into the same category as Peabody and Lafayette where there is such good buzz that I don't think I need to tour it. Parents from Peabody and Lafayette were at a PPS-SF panel that I attended last week. It was enough for me to put them down on our list of unlimited choices.

    San Francisco Community has a curriculum that sounds exactly like what we're looking for. Unfortunately it's really hard for us to get to! I'll put it on my list though since we get "unlimited choices" now.

    De Avila is an immersion program and we're only considering FLES "language light" right now.

    New Traditions is an interesting suggestion. A Pre-K mom's elder son went there, then Presidio Middle School and now School of the Arts. I'll ask her more about it.

    Thanks again everyone!

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