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
- Spring Valley Science Magnet
- * Rosa Parks JBBP 367 with 4 K classes (2 GE, 2 JBBP)
- *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!