Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why the blog is dead, I think

Right now, the blog is set so only reviewers can post. I used to review under this name, so I can still post under it. But I can't post under my usual Gmail name.

Kate, are you out there? Can you set it so that people can comment, if not anonymously, with a "handle?" Otherwise, there's no real way to use the blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Grattan Tour This Friday 12/16

I was just asked by a Grattan parent to let the K Files community know that Grattan Elementary will not hold its regularly scheduled tour this Friday 12/16.

Tours will resume after winter break.  Check Grattan's website for more  details.  http://grattanes-sfusd-ca.schoolloop.com/

Monday, December 12, 2011

M.I.A

Sorry I haven't been posting. With work, family, and the holidays, it's been crazy. I've actually had to cancel a couple of tours due to last minute work stuff. Ok, enough about my excuses. I still have a few more schools to tours before applications are due next month.

As I mentioned before I've visited all our our parochial schools, and we have decided to apply to St. Finn Barr. It was our favorite parochial. The principal is energetic and the school has a lot to offer like spanish daily, small community feel, and science lab with dedicated science teacher.

For public I visited Rooftop, Alvarado and Glen Park. I'll start with Rooftop and Alvarado, and there isn't much more for me to add that hasn't already been said. Both of these schools have a huge dedicated PTAs that raise a lot of money, and therefor are able to fund enrichment programs like art, gardening, sensory classes, and the list goes on. You could tell through the tours that parents are involved. I was also impressed by both principals- they were professional, smart, and really were dedicated to the school. Now, our chances of getting into either of these schools are slim to none.

Glen park is our neighborhood school. I went to see Rooftop first and then Glen Park. So at first it was a different experience. Rooftop probably had more like 100 people, and Glen Park had 10. Glen Park tour wasn't as organized, so I was a bit disappointed at first, but got past that. The principal is "old school" as other have mentioned, but she is dedicated to her school. There is a small PTO, that has been focused on community building. This year their goal is raise $35K to support Playworks. No, they don't have all the enrichment programs that other schools offer. But, I think (or hope) they eventually will with a growing PTO that can help support these programs. They did get a grant to "green" the school, but I didn't get more information on the plans or when the greening will begin. Other pluses- recent remodel, trips to the canyon, and no junk food policy.

I will write up a more details over the next few days on Glen Park, and post under the school files. But, I liked Glen Park, and would think our son would be happy and safe there. In some ways I want to be part of building our neighborhood school.

If you have any specif questions, please let me know.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have you applied?

It's been a bit of radio silence on the blog lately so I wanted to check in. I'm done with all my tours and plan to work on my application soon. Have you applied? Has touring changed your mind about certain schools? Let us know where you are in the process and even share your schools if you don't mind.

PS- as stated earlier, please keep this civil and informative.

Lola

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jose Ortega Harvest Festival, Sat. Nov. 19

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is SFUSD Ready for Online Enrollment?

The SFUSD enrollment paperwork can be maddening. I envy my friends in Phoenix who have online enrollment (click here for website). Checking school enrollment resources on the Internet, I found many school districts nationwide offer online enrollment. But not SFUSD...

Why is SFUSD, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, still in the dark ages of school enrollment processes? Shuffling papers, losing papers, manually entering data (once!), and blaming the computer for "glitches."

Can you imagine what it would be like if the staff at 555 Franklin did not accidently lose your second page of school choices? Did not accidently separate your twins' application forms? Did not accidently miscode your language immersion? Did not accidently repeat Flynnarado (a third time)?!

Can you imagine what it would be like changing or amending your school choices right up until the last day without looking for parking or waiting in line? Or getting updated waitlist numbers instantly so that you could make more informed choices, without yet another phone call or trip to EPC?

Can you imagine a world where SFUSD got it right the first time without human error?

- Donna

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Parents Want Honors Classes: Let The Data Speak!

There is an interesting topic in the Community Forum, "Any Parents of Gifted Kids Out There?", where parents are expressing their frustration with SFUSD policies and practices regarding educational opportunities for gifted students. This is a particularly sensitive topic for middle school parents, and one that threatens to undermine the middle school feeder plan.

I compiled the following information from the middle school inventory on electives and honors classes and the historical demand for 2011-2012, which are available on the SFUSD website. SFUSD has a column in their inventory spreadsheet to note if a school employs tracking or not (see column 5, "Are Students Tracked?").


Here are the middle schools that offer Honors classes and track students, followed by the number of first choice requests:
AP Giannini: 554
Aptos: 499

Francisco: 99
Hoover: 287
Marina: 125
Presidio: 540
Roosevelt: 274


Here are the middle schools that DO NOT offer Honors classes or track students, followed by the number of first choice requests:
Denman: 97
Everett: 44
ISA: 21
King: 101
Lick ("algebra is slightly tracked"): 198
Vis Valley (applies to 7th and 8th grade): 31


According to the data, PARENTS WANT HONORS CLASSES AND CHALLENGING EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR THEIR CHILDREN.


Of course, if you don't want honors classes for your child, then the spreadsheets on the SFUSD website are helpful for finding a school that matches your educational preferences.

- Donna

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daniel Webster Tour Notes

Hi All
I've added my tour notes for Daniel Webster our attendance area school here
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/discuss/review/12030

My Impressions
I loved my visit to Daniel Webster. The parents here are hugely committed to the school, as is the local community. The PTA is pretty new (maybe 2 years?) but are already getting some great funding and resources into the school, there is a school site council which votes on how the funds are allocated.
The children all appeared to me to be kind and respectful to one another and adults

I've been impressed with all of the public schools I've visited so far regardless of their API scores, which in fact I'm pretty much disregarding at this point.

Even my original three criteria might need to be more flexible
* A great GE program with additional art, music, sport
All of the GE K classes (and higher grades) that I have been in seem to be working in the same way. They all have lots of art on the walls. Most tours are in the morning which is more advantageous to learning so children have always been doing numbers or letters at that time. But I don't doubt that they are getting art in their day. Sport is pretty much PE and is the same everywhere. Some schools have Playworks for recess which is a more co-ordinated play time.
* a guaranteed spot in an after school program which isn't outrageously expensive
There is a CDC onsite and they charge $460 per month for fee paying. There are also Parks & Rec which walk the children to Jackson park, Recess which is offsite and Active Kids which is offsite. There is an Excel program starting in January 2012
* thirdly we would like the school to be easily accessible by public transportation or walking so that either of us can do pick ups.
Location: 10 minutes to drive - but I would feel pretty guilty adding to the pollution and traffic for a one mile school trip. The school is not walkable in a reasonable time. Bus and walking would be around 35-40 minutes door to door.

Something I did not add to my criteria but I'm finding it impacting my choice is the Middle School Feeder program. e.g. I'm not touring Starr King because it feeds into Aptos which is a geographically difficult commute from SOMA.
Daniel Webster feeds into ISA a 6-12 school. On paper (API) it looks better (marginally) than Everett but I can't get past the 6-12 part. I went to their table at the SFUSD school fair this weekend and asked for information on their Middle School program. They had a little stack of High school info and handed me a pamphlet and told me that they are a a High School though they are the only 6-12 in San Francisco. Well I know they are, but if they don't seem to care about the Middle School why should we send our children there? I do know that the parents at Daniel Webster are meeting with SFUSD tonight to discuss the Feeder Program and I am on tenterhooks waiting to find out how it went. Please let us know DW parents.

So yet another public school that I would be happy to send my child to, the middle school feeder school not so much.

MJ

Carlos Garcia and SFUSD Afraid to Ask the Obvious Questions





The new 2012-2013 SFUSD application form is now available (download here). I was befuddled by Item 9 Parent Survey, which asks parents to rate 15 items on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of importance (5 being “Very Important”). The 15 items include the following: attend school with sibling, attend after school program at school, language pathway, special education services, school bus transportation, near home, near childcare, near work, school hours, diversity of students, neighborhood safety, school’s academic reputation, teachers and principal, parent community, and recommendation by family/friends. SFUSD claims that they are soliciting this feedback to get “a better understanding of what is important to families.”



Now, anyone who was involved with the Middle School Feeder community forums and the Quality Middle School initiative last year knows that “Honors/AP classes,” “Uniform elective offerings (band, orchestra, art, drama, etc),” and “GATE programs and activities” were among the top rated items that were identified as “very important” to prospective middle school families.

Carlos Garcia and SFUSD don’t REALLY care about what is important to us. If they did, they would have included these obvious items in their survey. I hope that SFUSD will add these items to the 2012-2013 application form to demonstrate that they really care about our opinions.




- Donna


Carlos Garcia and SFUSD Insensitive to LGBT Families


The new 2012-2013 SFUSD application form is now available (download here). I was surprised by Item 8 Parent Educational Level, which has two rows: one labeled “Mother” and one labeled “Father.” It was my understanding that “Mother” and “Father” were to be replaced by gender-neutral terms for parents and partners, such as “Parent 1” and Parent 2,” on all public education documents to acknowledge the rich family diversity in our culturally tolerant City, where two-mom and two-dad households are common (even 2 moms plus 2 dads!).


I hope that SFUSD will remove these archaic family descriptors from the 2012-2013 application form as the first step of demonstrating a welcoming environment for LGBT families.


- Donna


Friday, November 4, 2011

St. Finn Barr and St. Paul's Tour Notes

Hello there,

I've now toured all the parochial schools on my list. I have one more private school to tour, and then all my public schools on my list.

Here are my recent tour notes:

St. Finn Barr
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/page/25750/St_Finn_Barr_School

St. Paul's
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/page/25575/St_Pauls

If you missed it, notes on St. Philips
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/page/25574/St_Philip_School

Overall I was impressed with St. Paul's and St. Finn Barr. Both had very diverse student bodies, and catholic/non-catholic families attending. Another interesting note is both of these schools have new principals.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any additional questions or comments. Also, if you are parent of any of these schools, please feel free to elaborate or provide your input on your experience.

Have nice weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mission Dolores Academy Tour Notes

Hi Parents
I've added my tour notes for Mission Dolores here
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/discuss/review/12021

This was my very first school tour and I was very impressed, as it was the first I wrote lots of notes on my first impressions. After seeing public schools I am quite happy with either option. The curriculum seems to be similar. The resources are of course not the same. Anyway here are my thoughts from early October.

Tour Impressions:
My first impression was wow this looks just like my old school. Statues of Saints, teachers who are on you if you stare at the ceiling, "the answer is not up there", uniforms, nuns (we met one who does the Religion class).



But in touring each classroom it was not at all like my old school. Students were engaged rather than being forced to repeat formulas or poems. This of course is just an hour to view and early in the day when the children are at their best. The classrooms had computers and every grade had 50% of the class on computers with one teacher, the second teacher in front of the class teaching. In the mornings there may only be one teacher for the first two hours as they come in at different hours so that they can oversee after school care.

In the K class where they were doing Math (sorting the order of numbers) we noticed a Red, Orange, Green chart. Green is good behavior, orange is warning. I know some people have issues with this form of discipline but I don't. My son's daycare also uses it in the preschool class.
For discipline issues they talk to the students parents to work out a plan of action to improve the behavior and figure out what is causing it. (BTW in later tours I saw exactly the same math and discipline in public schools)
They also have a random acts of kindness program where staff (all staff) usually have stars in their pockets to hand out to kids when they see them being kind and thoughtful. Positive reinforcement is encouraged (saw this in 2 public schools)

Each grade has a student of the month and they get to go for lunch with the Principal at the end of the month. (saw this in 1 public schools I toured)

The school works with SFUSD for issues regarding learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
The 8th Grade are currently working on their applications for High School and most go on to Catholic High Schools. They have to apply to at least 3 High schools with one being a public, usually Lowell or SOTA. Teachers work with groups of 6 students on essays.


All in all I really liked Mission Dolores Academy and would not think of it as a back up at all. We intend to apply, depending on the other schools we tour it may end up being very high on our list. The tuition is comparable to what we would pay with afterschool care in almost all of the other schools on our list. It won't be a cake walk but if this is the best fit for our son, then we will figure out a way to make it work.
MJ

SF Examiner: San Francisco wants cut of PTA's school parking fundraisers

This from the SF Examiner:
Schools across San Francisco are strapped for cash, so for those around Golden Gate Park, this month’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival was a big opportunity. Over the festival weekend, Parent Teacher Associations manned the schools’ parking lots, charging concertgoers up to $25 to park.

But some PTA volunteers were surprised when inspectors from the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office showed up during the weekend and demanded that they collect a 25 percent tax on parking.

“We had no idea,” said San Francisco Parent Teacher Association President Michelle Parker. “They haven’t been collecting it until now anyway.”

Parker said PTAs have been running these fundraisers during major events such as Outside Lands and Fleet Week for many years. The events can raise as much as $5,000 a day, she said.

“What’s really great about parking fundraisers is you’re not pulling from the school community,” said Parker, whose organization assists school-based groups.

The tax has been on the books for many years and applies to every parking operation, from downtown garages to dirt lots near the ballpark, said treasurer’s office spokesman Greg Kato. The tax, most of which is earmarked for the Municipal Transportation Agency, is levied against the customers rather than the operator, but the operator must pass the revenue to The City.

“We do have a team of investigators because we want to make sure we collect the same tax for everyone’s sake,” he said.
Read the full story

SF Public School Enrollment Fair

WHAT: The annual Enrollment Fair, featuring every San Francisco public school.

WHEN: Saturday, November 5 / 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Concourse Exhibition Center

620 – 7th Street (near Brannan)

WHY: Families who want to enroll their child in a public school for next fall

have a chance to speak with school principals, teachers, and parents from all S.F. public schools.

Last year, approximately 10,000 people attended.

This is the first year that incoming sixth graders may receive a tie-breaker if they choose their middle school feeder and parents of children turning five years old between November 1 and December 2, 2012 can enroll in a transitional kindergarten program.

District officials will be hosting workshops to explain the middle school feeders, transitional kindergarten as well as the assignment system overall.

Proposition H: How will you vote?

Please use this space to discuss Prop H. Please stay on this topic in this thread. And please help create a safe space to discuss this topic by being respectful. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lola's Junipero Serra Tour notes

More tour notes! This time from Junipero Serra. This is my neighborhood school.

http://community.thesfkfiles.com/page/1514/Junipero_Serra

Overall, this school lands in the middle for me. Not one of the best out there, but it has potential. It's a get your hands dirty type of school. The parents and the principal are dedicated to making this the next up and comer. I truly hope it does get there. It's definitely a see for yourself type of school. If you're willing to put in the time to help it along, it's a good fit.

Check out more detailed notes at the above link.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lola's McKinley Tour Notes are up

I just posted my review of McKinley:

http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/discuss/review/11902


The tour was led by two parents.

Overall, I really liked McKinley. The parents seem very involved and everyone seems very committed. The building was charming and inviting. The kids were happy and engaged. There was a good balance in diversity. The few teachers we saw were dynamic. Lots of extras and enrichment activities. The only negative I came across was that the rooms looked a bit cluttered. There was a lot of “stuff” up against the walls. Not sure what all the stuff was or why it’s stored in the classrooms. I’m assuming there’s no closet space or storage elsewhere on site. But that is a small negative, if any. I will add this school to my application.


Check out my complete review at the link above.


As always, add your thoughts in the comments.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tenderloin Community School Tour Notes

Hello
I just posted my tour notes for Tenderloin Community School

http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/discuss/review/11898

I've toured 6 schools so far (notes are coming) and two are most likely not going to go on my list. THIS IS NOT one of those schools.

I had a wonderful tour of this school, my tour notes should cover the building itself, which is new, big and bright.
But it meet my original criteria?
* A great GE program with additional art, music, sport
After a few tours I now realise that Art is part of K and most grades I see also do art. There does not seem to be any organised sport of K and especially in Public schools (or maybe only the ones I've seen). They do all have PE and most have Playworks. So I think I'm being realistic saying I want a great GE program now.
K classes goal of reading at Grade level this year
There are music classes for grades 3-5
There was lots of art on all the walls
There was plenty of play space
The children I saw in different grades were engaged and the teachers were in control (to my eyes anyway)

* a guaranteed spot in an after school program which isn't outrageously expensive
There is a CDC onsite and they charge $460 per month for fee paying. This seems to be the standard rate. It seems likely that we could get an after care, even after low SES families have their spots. It is not outrageously expensive but not cheap.
* thirdly we would like the school to be easily accessible by public transportation or walking so that either of us can do pick ups.
Location: less than a 20 minute walk from SOMA, which is pretty good for us, close to bus lines and BART


Why the school may not be a fit for us
* It is big, I know schools are bigger these days but it felt quite overwhelming to me (389). The K and 1st grades are on their own floor and have their own play area which is completely separate so this may not be as much of an issue as I think it is. The special Ed Class K,1,2 also uses this floor and play area.
* The feeder school is Francisco which is not convenient for us - yes 6 years away but we may not always work in our current locations, or even live where we live now. Also our younger son will start K in 2015 and drop offs and pick ups in those two locations would be logistically difficult.

Please feel free to add any questions. I've taken lots of notes and may not be covering everything that people would like to know.
Thanks
MJ

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ask NOT what your middle school can do for you. Ask what YOU can do for your middle school!

Well, it has been several years since the District began touting "Quality Middle Schools for All." For the past year, it was the slogan for the middle school feeder proposal.

Now, all is quiet on the Western front. Who’s minding the store? Is anything happening to improve middle schools?

Do you have a story (or two) to share with SF K Files readers that shows how the District has been working towards improving your child's middle school over the past year?

- Donna

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

edMatch Benefit Concert--SF Kids Music Festival This Sun, Oct 23


We are getting very excited -- the SF Kids Music Festival is THIS Sunday, October 23rd from 11:30am-5:00pm at theLittle Marina Green!  We look forward to seeing you there! Help spread the word - feel free to forward this email newsletter to your friends, families and school communitiesabout this all-day, fun, family-friendly event that raises money for San Francisco's public schools.  

Family Fun Abounds at the Festival!
In addition to the ten (10!) kids bands from local schools and the amazing culinary offerings from Off the Grid food trucks, there will also be great activities to keep your family entertained throughout the day...
  • Tree Frog Treks is bringing snakes and lizards and other cool science stuff;
  • The de Young Museum is bringing artists to do crafts with kids;
  • An airbrush artist is decorating hats and other things (for a small fee);
  • Book Pig is setting up a "lounge" for kids to peruse books and read;
  • The San Francisco Fire Department is bringing a fire truck; and
  • Happily Ever Laughter is sending face painters, among other things!
Buy Tickets online, at any SF Sports Basement, or at the Festival!
The SF Kids Music Festival is an affordable day of fun for the family.  Tickets are $10 or $5 for kids under 5. Babes in arms are free. Free T-shirts for all kids while supplies last!  A Family four-pack of tickets costs just $30.

Tickets are available on-line or at both San Francisco Sports Basement Stores (tickets available at registers, all process fees waived). Sports Basement will also be providing discount coupons for SF Kids Music Festival attendees. And of course, tickets are available the day of the Festival!

Thank You!
Again, we'd like to thank our sponsors and partners -- Sports Basement, San Francisco Parks and Recreation, Patxi's, the de Young Museum, Circle Bank and Comcast. And, we thank you, families, friends, and all supporters of San Francisco's public schools. We are truly grateful for your support.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, October 23rd!Don't forget to help us spread the word by forwarding this email newsletter to three people you know in San Francisco! 

Have a great week!
The edMatch Team

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

St. Philip's Tour Notes

St. Philips was the first school my husband and I toured. It was a little hard to digest the tour since I couldn't really compare it to another school.As I mentioned in my original post we plan to visit our neighborhood school, Glen Park, and a couple of trophy, parochial and private schools over the next few months.

St. Philips Tour Notes Here:
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/page/25574/St_Philip_School


The school seemed academic, traditional and had a strong parent community. There was structure. I felt a little underwhelmed after the tour. I think I expected a little more "spunk" or "creativity". I might be naive since I haven't visited other schools or in a 60 minute tour it's kind of hard to really know a school. In each classroom we observed all the kids were working individually or listening to the teacher.

I'm not sure if the environment would be right for our child. We are looking for a school that incorporates a hybrid of hand-on projects/real-life examples vs. all worksheets. Does this exist?

I would love to get feedback from parents that have a child at this school. Please comment.

Glen Park Elementary Tour Notes

Hello fellow parents,

I just posted a few notes from my tour of Glen Park Elementary.

Please go to this link:
http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/discuss/review/11840

This was one of my first schools to tour, so I'm still forming my "reviews" and my thoughts on what to look for in a school. My goal is to tour two mid performing schools, two higher performing schools, a charter and a parochial. I'm trying to get a good balance under my belt to know what's really out there.

My overall thought was this is a very charming school with potential. The principal led the tour. She's pretty old school as far as principals go. This is good for some, but may not be for everyone. The school seems to be in a transition of sorts. A new PTO has formed which, I believe will help bring the school up a bit. The API scores seemed to have dropped in the past couple years. If anyone has insight on that, please comment below.

If you'd like to gain any additional knowledge from my tours, let me know.

Mayoral Candidate Forum about Public Education, Thurs Oct 20th 7-9PM


Curious about how the mayoral candidates believe they can improve public education?  Wondering where they stand on Prop A? Prop H? Do you want to know if they believe the City should be investing more into SFUSD?  Then we have a mayoral forum for you.  

Please join United Educators of San Francisco, United Way, San Francisco School Alliance, United Administrators of San Francisco, The San Francisco Foundation, Parents for Public Schools, The California Masonic Foundation, and The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee for:

What:  A mayoral forum focused on Public Education. 

When:  Thurs, Oct 20th from 7-9PM  

Where:  Tenderloin Community School.  (627 Turk Street)

Parking and childcare available.  

Parking is available under the school, enter off Elm St.
RSVP for childcare to Kathy Mooney at kmooney@UWBA.org

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cecelia Dodge, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Resigns

Effective December 2011.

I was saddened by the news. I had great hopes for Special Education in SF under her leadership. She will be missed.

- Donna

To help shed stigma, SF district putting kids with learning issues in mainstream classes

(From The SF Examiner)

By: Amy Crawford | 10/02/11 4:00 AMExaminer Staff Writer

Molly Jo Alaimo stood at the front of the classroom, reviewing a math lesson with her fifth-graders.

“Make sure you line up your place values,” she said, as the children copied an addition problem. “Thumbs up if you have the sum.”

One by one, most of the children raised their thumbs. As they did, Marisa Maskin, a special-education teacher, looked around for anyone who was struggling with the three-digit addition problem. When she saw a child who didn’t get it, she crouched beside his desk, whispering tips to help him understand.

Two of the 26 students in the fifth-grade class at New Traditions Elementary in the North of Panhandle area have learning disabilities.

Instead of spending their days sequestered in special classes, this year they are part of an effort by the San Francisco Unified School District to keep them with their peers.

“They are part of the classroom,” said New Traditions Principal Maria Luz Agudelo.

In the past, Agudelo said, special-education students would spend most of their time in a separate room with Maskin. That isolation carried a stigma, Agudelo said, and the students missed out on socialization.

This year, teachers report that they are sitting with their peers at lunch and playing with them at recess.

District officials said mainstreaming as many special-education students as possible has long been a goal, but the new approach also is a response to a 2010 audit commissioned by the Board of Education.

The report called the old system “outdated” and found it inconsistent with the 1990 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that requires special-needs students to be educated in the “least restrictive environment” their disabilities allow.

This year, seats in regular kindergarten, sixth-grade and ninth-grade classrooms were set aside districtwide for special-education students.

New Traditions, which has a higher proportion of special-education students than other schools — about 14 percent — expanded the plan to all grades.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Cecelia Dodge, SFUSD’s assistant superintendent for special education. “Most parents of children with disabilities want their children educated in the regular classroom, in the same rigorous, engaging curriculum as nondisabled peers, with accommodations or modifications when needed.”

Though district officials reported inclusion is popular with most parents, some have resisted. Parents have sued the district to keep their disabled children in special classes, and this month a judge decided in favor of a group of parents who wanted the district to continue a contract with a privately run special school.

“Parents of children with disabilities are equal partners in determining the education setting,” Dodge said. “Many students with disabilities still require that some or all of their education happens in a special-education setting.”

Schools around the state

Special-education students are a significant percentage of the state’s children.

6,383: Special-education students in San Francisco Unified School District
11.4: Percentage of special-education students in San Francisco
10,186: Special-education students in San Mateo County
11.1: Percentage of special-education students in San Mateo County
678,929: Special-education students in California
10.9: Percentage of special-education students statewide

Source: California Department of Education

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mayor Forum on Family Issues: Will you be there? Tues, Oct. 11 at 6:30


Hi Friends - 

The Candidates will be there! Will you? Don't miss this chance to hear about how they are addressing your issues. 
We have great moderators and have put together excellent questions designed to dig below the surface of campaign slogans and empty sentiments. 

PLEASE RSVP AND PLEASE SEND THIS ABOUT MADLY! 

MAYORAL FORUM (sponsored by SF Parent PAC, SF Family Support Network, Teach for America, Parents for Public Schools & Congregation Sherith Israel)
Tuesday, October 11
6:30pm-8:30pm

Congregation Sherith Israel
2266 California Street (at Webster)
Refreshments

The following questions were sent to the candidates ahead of time. Answers will be posted at www.sfparentpac.org.  Moderators at the forum will base their follow up questions on candidates' answers. 
These questions do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Parent PAC. Rather, these are questions about issues affecting families and children on which we think voters should know the candidates’ views. 

Questions for the candidates:  

1. As mayor, will you commit to appoint parents raising kids in San Francisco to City commissions and committees to ensure that the concerns of families, children and students are adequately voiced and addressed? Please answer Yes or No.

 2. Parent PAC is an organization formed to be the voice of parents in San Francisco politics – a voice that is often sorely underrepresented or missing entirely from conversations about public policies that directly affect children and families. In addition to the above priority (appointing parents to commissions and committees), please tell us specifically how you plan to bring parents’ concerns into the mix of considerations when setting your policy agenda. Please limit your answer to 200 words.  

3. Will you advocate for the renewal of Prop H (the Public Education Enrichment Fund) and use your position as mayor to renew and expand the Prop H funds? Please answer Yes or No.  

4. What role do you think the mayor can and should play in the school district, if any?  Please limit your answer to 200 words.  

5. Do you support the recommendations for Rec & Park funding outlined by the SPUR September 2011 (pgs. 9-10) report: 
• Doubling the Open Space Fund from 2.5 cents to 5 cents per $100 of valuation, which would generate $37.5M. Please answer Yes or No.
• Forming a citywide assessment district (or multiple small districts) to fund ongoing operations and enhance services, which would generate $15M. Please answer Yes or No. 
• Taxing unhealthy behaviors (such as a soda tax) to benefit recreation activities, which would generate approximately $16.8M. Please answer Yes or No.  

6. Will you lead and support a campaign for a new graduated parcel tax of at least $100M dedicated to schools, parks and libraries that provides support beyond Prop H for schools and also provides for funding to staff and programs for Rec & Park and Libraries? Please answer Yes or No. 

7. What do you believe to the be cause(s) of the lack of housing stock appropriate for families and what specifically do you propose to do about it? Please limit your answer to 200 words.  

8. Do you support free MUNI for all youth (under 18)?  Please answer Yes or No.