We have been pleasantly surprised by how many lovely schools that we have seen, McKinley, Grattan, Sunnyside, Miraloma, to name a few.
But we are also incredibly impressed by the effort that has been put into our own neighborhood school, Daniel Webster.
A local parent founded PREfund group brought in the PKDW preschool, and started the Spanish immersion education program at DW three years ago.
Now, the Spanish immersion (SI) program, though very popular with neighborhood families, does not offer priority to them, but the General Education (GE) program of course does. Also, many families are not looking for immersion education. The hope of the PREfund group has always been that by bringing in more diversity of families through the immersion program, that ultimately the whole school would improve in both performance and diversity. There is an article about PREFund here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/
We think that this year, with the introduction of the new neighborhood school preference and the redrawn boundaries for the DW attendance area, that the time is perfect for an influx of neighborhood families who may not have previously considered the Daniel Webster GE program.
Not long ago Miraloma, McKinley and Grattan were all low scoring schools. Groups of parents banded together and decided to send their children to the schools anyway, seeing the potential for improvement. This addition of this broader demographic to the original population , which brought increased level of participation of families and increased fund raising, ultimately raised test scores and increased the richness of programs and resources available at the schools. Miraloma is a great example (see article, and quote from it below) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/
"In 2005, Miraloma scored 651 out of 1000 on California’s Academic Performance Index. Results released last week show a score of 865, among the city’s best. "
Daniel Webster was recognized last year for a 13% rise in test scores, this coming before the SI program kids have even reached the testing age, so it is already going in the right direction.
Our address falls into a CIPT1/low test score zone, so we would probably stand a good chance of getting into one of the 'trophy schools' under the new system, but we don't really want to add to our commutes by driving half way across the city every day. We would rather be part of the community that is already well on the way to turning Daniel Webster into our own neighborhood gem. We are not looking for immersion education though, so we would like to put our daughter in the GE program.
The GE program currently has just one class that can take up to 22 children. Historically it has been under enrolled.
If we get a critical mass of people who will commit (maybe 8-10 families) the incoming K class will look very different next year. The Principal and teachers are excited to bring in a new wave of families to revitalize the GE program, and are ready and willing to talk to us about it and address ideas and concerns. We can do this before the application deadline.
We believe that with a collaborative effort by the parents and teachers (and our kids), and with the support of the veteran DW parents, we can lift the whole school to new heights of achievement.
We are looking for a group of parents who will say "I'll put Daniel Webster General Ed program first on my application if you will". In the 2008/2009 year only two people put the DW GE program as their first choice, so if we list it first we will get it (even if you don't live in the DW attendance area).
If you are interested, please reply directly to me, at DanielWebsterGE2011@gmail.com. I will set up a meeting, likely on Sunday December 12th, for us to get together and discuss this.
You can also sign up to tour Daniel Webster by calling (415) 695-5787
Looking forward to hearing from you,