Sunday, January 2, 2011

Entering the Final Stretch!

Only 6 weeks remaining before the Feb.18 enrollment deadline. I hope that families are successfully narrowing down their list of preferred schools. I will complete my middle school tours by the end of January. At that time, I will publish my impressions and my “list” (in order of preference) for the SFUSD lottery.

Is anyone ready to share their list of schools for K, 6th, or 9th yet? Is anyone discovering that their significant other is ranking schools differently?

Donna

143 comments:

  1. I'm not quite understanding why it is necessary to list so many schools this year with the new system. I thought the chances of getting into a school that is not in your attendance area and that is not "a city wide school" equally to everyone (K-8, immersion, or newcomer schools) is minimal. Am I missing something?

    My attendance area is Sutro, which we don't want to attend for a variety of reasons, so I'm just going to put on the list other schools that are city wide schools, like rooftop, lillienthal, and lawton. We aren't interested in immersion. Again, am I missing something here?

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  2. You are not missing anything. You are exactly right. Good luck!!

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  3. I don't know for sure, but it seems like someone might have a shot at some neighborhood schools that might not be so popular - schools that didn't fill up in the first round previously. I'm thinking schools like New Traditions, JOES or Glen Park. I can see how those would be a good trade-up for some folks who are unhappy with their neighborhood school. If you get one of your listed schools, can you still participate in later rounds to move up your list?

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  4. Our neighborhood school is Sherman. It is the school we want. I am not sure I understand how the bilingual/second-language class fits into the number of spots or what are odds are of getting in (three K classes total). We will list it and CL. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

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  5. I agree with 1:41. It will not cost you anything to list some of those attendance area schools (non-citywide schools) that are out of your neighborhood. And since you do not care for your local school, those other schools might very well represent a better choice. Do not put all your eggs into the basket of K-8 schools. It is the first year of the new system. No one really knows how it will shake out. List several neighborhood schools out of your neighborhood, just in case you get none of the K-8's.

    If you list only K-8's and do not get in, I believe you will be assigned a school "near" you which has space, including the local school that you did not list and was not interested in attending.

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  6. Kindergarten parents -- on the issue of neighborhood schools that are unlikely to fill up with kids from their neighborhood, top on your list (in addition to the ones mentioned) should also be Lakeshore. No way Parc Merced and Lakeshore neighborhoods have enough kids to fill that place! And it is a wonderful school!

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  7. 1:54--
    When you ask if you are shooting yourself in the foot, I think you are asking if you are using bad strategy in listing schools. The good news is that in the new system, all of the gamesmanship has been taken out, as far as we can tell (we are all still first year guinea pigs).

    In the new system, the lottery for the citywide schools, as well as the lottery for the citywide bilingual programs (I do not recall if Sherman has any bilingual programs) are independent of each other and independent of your choice of neighborhood schools. Therefore, list the schools and programs in the order that you want to go there.

    For example:
    1. West Portal GE
    2. West Portal Bilingual
    3. Rooftop K-8
    4. New Traditions

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  8. Middleschools (6th) and high schools (9th) don't have attendance areas or feeder schools, so you must list all your choices in order of preference.

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  9. 1:54 p.m. here. Besides CL, there are no city-wide schools near where we live (not interested in Montessori) and there are no other neighborhood schools nearby we are interested in that we have a reasonable shot at.

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  10. 1:54,
    Sounds like
    1. and 2. Sherman or C. L.
    3. Private

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  11. It seems crazy that schools like Alvarado only have 44 General Education spots.

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  12. Nothing crazy about uneven supply and demand. We are switching from citywide, where supply at any one school did not matter, to attendance area schools, where supply at your local school has a huge impact on the local area. I can not say that any of the elemenary school areas scream out as too big or too small.

    That tie-breaker about overcrowded areas is suppose to smooth out some of the unevenness of the supply and demand. If you live in School A, pick School A as your top choice, get crowded out of School A because there are so few GE seats in School A, would you still get the crowded out tie- breaker for neighboring School B, which does have room, if you never listed School B as one of your lower choices?

    If no, then it is very important to always list a neighboring School B eventhough you do not live in School B's area. You might get crowded out of your School A and need School B as an option.

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  13. If you're in the Sutro area, check out Lafayette, Peabody and New Traditions. You might be surprised. I imagine that the Westside K-8s will still be oversubscribed, but good luck.

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  14. Lafayette and Peabody will be filled with attendance area folks, I'm sure, so not a great bet for a non-attendance area CTIP-2 person.

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  15. This new SAS is so much simpler and straightforward. I know exactly what I am supposed to do and there is so much more transparency from the EPC. What a relief after the old system!

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  16. Now that all schools will be inclusion schools, does that mean that the 2-3 spots for special education at every school will spots now be held for special ed at immersion only schools or immersion classrooms? If so, will those spots be English only spots or Cantonese/Spaninsh spots? I have no problem with the policy, I am just trying to figure out if there are now 2-3 less spots from the 7 English only spots available in some smaller immersion programs.

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  17. Simpler and straightforward? I don't get that.

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  18. I believe it was sarcasm.

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  19. Realistically, families that are on the Northside of the city, if you do not get our attendance area school, you better hope for a citywide as there will not be a lot of "closest" areas with openings. Here is what I figure, if you apply for Sherman or Peabody...be prepared to wait it out because all of those families who are likely to go private are also applying and will be holding on to the spots until the after the first waive of acceptances go out. We are talking about 30% of the kids in the city and we can make an educated guess most live in the North.

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  20. SFUSD really wants to be able to report that a high percentage of families got one of the schools on their list... so go ahead and make that list as long as you'd like. If you're willing to send your kid there, put it on the list. You are no longer limited to 7 choices.

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  21. 3:50 p.m., you can list as many schools as you want but realistically, if you are on the Northside - Clarendon and Rooftop are not realistic. New Traditions is just not on par with Clarendon and Rooftop and Argonne is problematic with its year-round schedule for many. So, my theory is don't put a school unless you would take it.

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  22. Who cares whether it is realistic? Just put it on the list. There is no penalty for listing unrealistic schools like there used to be under the old system. Put down ALL the schools you'd be willing to take, in order of preference. You simply increase your chances of getting *something* you like sooner rather than later. That is the beauty of the new system. The longer your list, the better your chances.

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  23. And there is no penalty for getting one on your list. You can still participate equally in later rounds - so list the dream schools and the back up schools now.

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  24. I think by unrealistic, the poster meant the 30 plus minute commute across town, not the odds of gettng in. Thus, not applying unless you would go.

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  25. We are in the Glen Park assignment district. We have decided that our list is going to be:

    Fairmount, King Starr, Ortega, Alvarado Immersion, Alvarado ES, Buena Vista Immersion, Rooftop, Clarendon, West Portal Immersion, Glen Park.

    I know that Alvarado ES and Clarendon are very unlikely. What are our chances in the various immersion schools?

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  26. I think the new system is much more straightforward. Just put down the schools you like in order, what could be more straightforward than that? I don't get the snarkiness.

    The only real question is do you bother to put down more than 10 and unless you hate your assignment school, I think the answer is no.

    If you really hate your assignment school, then there is no reason to not put down dozens of schools, but you need to be ready to handle the commute.

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  27. 8:51,
    Your chances are none if you do not list those immersion programs. Same goes for any neighborhod school out of your assignment area. The realistic choices are probably not Alvarado or Clarendon, as you have aleady stated. Others have pointed to New Traditions, JOES, and Lakeshore. Good Luck!

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  28. We live in the Grattan attendance area and plan to list this school as our first choice. Our other choices - chosen based on proximity to our house for work/logistical reasons (Rooftop, Clarendon, West Portal, Miraloma)- seem so popular its hard to imagine that they are legitimate back up schools for us if we don't get Grattan. We plan to list New Traditions as a back up but it seems everyone I talk to is also listing this school so, it hardly seems to be a safe back up option to me at this point.

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  29. The good news is that your living in the Grattan area makes a difference. The bad news is that it is not a guarantee. May the Force be with you.

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  30. "I think the new system is much more straightforward"

    How so?

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  31. From Compicated to Simplified:

    1. No more Diversity Index, which no one could understand or explain.

    2. No more playing games over what the best strategy is for ranking schools, leaving out schools high in demand, or playing the 0/7 game. Those experts from Stanford, Duke, etc., who worked for free! (and we cannot thank them enough), aimed at keeping parental choice simple: what schools would you like, and in what order? That is a vey clear strategy for everyone to have.

    3. The school district will use addresses for local school tie-breakers and for CTIP. Address verification is easier to administer than socio-economic evaluations.

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  32. For me, the whole "just put down what you prefer in the order you want them" makes it much easier to deal with. There is no point trying to game the system, this is a big win.

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  33. I disagree that there is no more “gaming” over best strategies for listing schools. Just about everyone I know is attempting to game and figure out what schools to list and what order to list them in. I don’t believe most people I know are listing the school they like the best as their top choice – they are listing the one they like that they believe they have the best shot at. The poster above in the Grattan attendance area is trying to do that with a fall back school. He/she was thinking New Traditions would be it but is now concerned they are not gaming properly b/c that one seems too popular now. Maybe they’ll pick a different fall back now – that’s gaming. Not sure there is anything wrong with it, just saying it is happening under this system. Maybe in the future, after we see how the attendance area preference plays out, it will not happen as much.

    I too am in the Grattan attendance area. I too plan to list it as my top choice. It was not the school I liked best, but is a good solid option for our family. I plan to list SEVERAL other schools. I am trying to strategize because the schools nearby are all popular – including the citywides – and I am very afraid that if I don’t list many options we will wind up at John Muir, a school I looked at and do not feel is a good fit for my child.

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  34. From Compicated to Simplified:

    1. No more Diversity Index, which no one could understand or explain.

    Response - It is incorrect to say it was not supported at all. Many people backed the diversity index including the Board and they felt that it was a good vehicle for equity. Court decisions and consent decree expiration drove the change more than public opinion. Public opinion during the outreach strongly favored neighborhood schools, but the Board gave CTIP1 residents preference anyway.

    2. No more playing games over what the best strategy is for ranking schools, leaving out schools high in demand, or playing the 0/7 game. Those experts from Stanford, Duke, etc., who worked for free! (and we cannot thank them enough), aimed at keeping parental choice simple: what schools would you like, and in what order? That is a vey clear strategy for everyone to have.

    Response - Devising a simpler application process is the easy part. The question is how will people feel when they don't get their first 3 or 5 or 10 top choices? That is to say, no matter how you cut it, the issue facing parents is still and will remain supply versus demand. That has not changed. There are only two changes of substance. The first is the slightly increased probability of neighborhood placement for certain schools and the second is the carte blanche handed CTIP1 students. And that is mitigated by the cutbacks in transportation. Your plug for academia makes me think you're an insider. In any case, only academics that passed through the Board's political vetting process where allowed to "volunteer". I'm sure Diane Ravitch wouldn't have passed snuff for her statement that "we abandon neighborhood schools at our peril".

    3. The school district will use addresses for local school tie-breakers and for CTIP. Address verification is easier to administer than socio-economic evaluations.

    Response - SES is easier to verify and more direct. Giving preferential treatment to any and all within certain residential area is not the point of expanding choice for low SES students.

    Respondent - Lastly, while the Board has been expanding high paid district jobs during this budget crisis, the effects of the next round of severe budget cuts will be felt primarily as class size increases as options fade. When it comes to applying for schools, now the time to be seriously considering whether you are committed to public education in these harrowing times, especially if you are just starting out.

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  35. Don,
    I'm curious why you think the chances of getting a desired school, if that is your attendance area school, are only slightly higher. Wasn't the intent of the attendance area system to make it so that school would be available to people living in that area if they want it? I know we are the guinea pigs and it remains to be seen whether or not they've drawn the boundary areas appropriately.

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  36. I too would like a response to 12:30's question---not just from Don but from others as well. I just attended the Dianne Feinstein kinder tour this morning (our "neighborhood school") and both current parents and the principal indicated that the neighborhood designation only increased one's chances minutely--huh? I am very confused now. Quite honestly, Dianne Feinstein is really the only school that we are applying to-because it is a great school and it is within walking distance of our house.

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  37. My guess is that you're probably okay with Dianne Feinstein because it's not hugely oversubscribed and in an area where it would be difficult for many CTIP 1 area residents to get to each day.
    However, other "neighborhood" schools that are more centrally located, have fewer K classes and not as many strong schools nearby may not be as easy for neighborhood residents to get into.
    I'm thinking Grattan, Alvarado, Sherman, McKinley... but that is just me speculating, who knows what will really happen.

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  38. 1:17,
    Local students are not at the top of the pool. You still have to allocate for siblings, child care center students, and CTIP1's. Who knows how many seats are left for local students?

    So list a few more schools. You have as good a chance as anyone else for Lawton K-8. Lakeshore is not in your area, but should have room. Check out JOES.

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  39. "Local students are not at the top of the pool. You still have to allocate for siblings, child care center students, and CTIP1's. Who knows how many seats are left for local students?"

    But for Feinstein, I don't believe there is a CDC. And it would be QUITE a haul for people living in CT1P areas, so I am at least somewhat skeptical that there would be lots of people from those areas applying. So that puts only siblings ahead of new applicants, unless I'm missing something. Considering the fact that in the past, people from all over the West Side w/ similar "diversity factors" stood an equal chance at getting into DiFi, and now the people living in the attendance area have priority over those oustide the area, I also don't understand why the chances of someone in the neighborhood getting in go up only "minutely." Did anyone expand on the comment at all??

    It's true, though, that it's hard to say exactly how much room there will be, b/c this is the first year of the new system. I would think that the new system would give neighborhood folks a big advantage at a school like DiFi. (At least that's what I'm hoping. I'm in West Portal's attendance area, and I've done a similar analysis for that area -- no CDC, relatively far from CTP1, etc.)

    Good luck!!

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  40. For the person in the Sutro neighborhood that didn't like it, check out Argonne. It's close to Sutro and and not a city wide school, but b/c it is a year round school, it might not fill up with neigbhorhood kids. We toured last year and liked it.

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  41. In the old system, rank choice was supposed to break a tie, so you had to think a lot more about the rank of each school. Basically if you didn't get your 1st or 2nd choice in the lotto you were screwed. The new system of simply listing schools in the order you would want is much improved.

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  42. Anybody out there looking for 1st grade? I heard there were 10 1st G spots at Dianne Feinstein last year b/c late b'day kids did a year of public K b/f going to parochial K. A friend told me she knows of three kids at West Portal K this year that are going parochial K next. What other schools might have 1st G openings?

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  43. We are in Grattan. I think we are screwed. There are alot of kids in the neighborhood.

    There is a large CDC attached to it. Seriously, I know the CDC in attendence get preference but don't you think the rest live in CPT1. They have been coming to preschool. Of course, they can make it another few years.

    I am pretty bitter. that they didn't make it a neighborhood system.

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  44. Anyone in feinstein's draw area is crazy not to put down lakeshore and commodore sloat -- two great schools that may have room for folks outside the area!

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  45. To 11:28, the people you know who are not listing the schools they like best as #1 are just way over thinking the process. There is no disadvantage to putting your favorite schools first. This isn't the lottery system, where ranking a school higher improves your chances.

    If you genuinely prefer a school rank it higher than the one you think that you "like but think you have a shot at it" though I personally would not waste my time putting down too many popular K-5 non-immersion schools outside my district. If you have the time an inclination though, you might as well, there is no cost to doing so.

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  46. Grattan currently only has 12% of its student population coming from CTIP1 districts, I think you guys worrying about a mass influx of CTIP1 students should not be so concerned.

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  47. 11:12 p.m. - can you post the link to this data. I would like to see other schools.

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  48. Don't bash the principal. We were not there to hear what was said. If it is accurate reporting that the principal said that the chances for local students getting into DF increased only "minutely," that is an exagerration. If there is any area of the City that won out in the new assignment system, it would be the Westside.

    If the DF principal did downplay the chances of getting into DF, it could be that he or she was just trying to emphasize that nothing is guaranteed. Even students local to DF should list back-up choices, such as Sloat and Lakeshore, K-8's, etc. Please, eveybody, list at least several back up choices in the order of your preference.

    And you parents out in Grattan, if your don't get Grattan and end up at Sloat or Lakeshore, consider that you could have gotten Bayview/Hunter's Point as an 0/7 under last year's SAS.

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  49. "Wasn't the intent of the attendance area system to make it so that school would be available to people living in that area if they want it?"

    I could only guess to their intent, but I do know that the Board's final version was not designed to put the neighbors first, not when they are 4th on the list of preferences.

    Some oversubscribed schools may provide more spots for zone residents. Feinstein is probably an example, given its particulars.

    However, overall that is unlikely to be the norm and this is well understood by district insiders, who have already warned you not to expect to be placed just because you have the right address. After all, the reason the preferences were put in was to prevent people with the right address from taking up the coveted spots.

    Some one has said this system is much easier. It might be, but the application process is one thing, the results another. If you are centrally located near a high API school you are in trouble with this system.

    The new SAS is a system in which every school will manifest a highly unique set of deciding factors that affect the probabilities for enrollment. Under the former system, though there were still idiosyncrasies, they were leveled to some extent. For example, if you want to go to your oversubscribed neighborhood school, your chances are better in some places than in others. Before it didn't make much difference unless you were favored under the index.

    Regarding pre-k preference, with low SES residents getting an obvious boost over the rest of the neighborhood and given the higher rates of mobility for non homeowners, the numbers of low SES may increase over time and lower the chances for everyone else except siblings, who for the first few years are likely to be from out of the neighborhood. Despite what some have said, except for a few specific neighborhoods, the price of a flat in the Richmond is very similar to a flat in the Mission.

    This system will drive rental patterns and, in that respect, prices may then change to mitigate what I said above.

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  50. I read that the school district is cutting out half its transportation. That affects the poorer demographic far more than anyone else. It figures that more students will stay closer to home and that interest along on the margins will drop and increase in the center as speculated in the former comment. Those that can afford to travel across town are less inclined to be from CTIP1.

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  51. In RE: to 11:05's comment- I actually think the transportation issue is going to have a much bigger impact on who goes to what school than the new student assignment system will have. I would imagine people are much less likely to send their kids on Muni (not meant to start a debate on the benefits/risks of Muni, just stating an opinion) than they are to send them on a yellow bus. This will lead to people trying to choose schools closer to home, not because they want to necessarily, just because they have no choice.
    I'm curious about this, I wish the transportation thing and the new SAS happened in different years. I think it will be impossible to tell which one made the difference, if in fact, there is a difference this year.

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  52. The CTIP1 areas will have buses going from them to the most coveted schools, it is all part of the plan to make schools more diverse.

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  53. There is one thing we can change this year: Dump the feeder patterns for middle school.

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  54. Feeder patterns are a great idea.

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  55. SFUSD only has about 4500 students on yellow buses now last I heard. Cutting half doesn't give you the numbers to make much impact when you have 60,000 students. And many of the yellow buses are for special ed, not for consent decree diversity.

    Regarding SAS strategy - The original proposal by staff, though not a strict neighborhood assignment system, was far more friendly to local placement. The central office had the wisdom and expertise to see that without a robust transportation system, the elementary portion of a diversity-inspired SAS would crumble and it didn't devise one. It wasn’t until the Board made the changes, when the preferential compromises were set forth (and when too many cooks spoiled the soup) that they inadvertently and thoughtlessly created a giant dichotomy: The assignment system’s intent towards moderate diversity was rendered inoperative by the exigencies of the budget and, paradoxically, the hypocrisy of an administration that touts diversity and equity, but prefers to spend its money on increasing administration for the new Superintendent Zones and Areas at the expense of transportation.

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  56. What efforts are underway to kill the middle school feeder plan? I would like to be involved but I don't know how

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  57. To 8:18 PM from Sutro: Thanks for the idea of Argonne. I didn't think about that one as being not very popular because of its year round program. Although I have heard in the past that they may have to scrap the program due to budget restraints. Anyone know? I do remember checking it out and thinking it was a lovely looking school, but I don't recall much about the teachers / principal. Anyone have any info, good or bad?

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  58. Don,

    As parent go down the stretch all they care about now is getting a school of choice so they don't have to spend 20K or move. They are not interested in the profligate spending of our district. They want to know what to do next and there's no road map because it the first year. Big government spending and schemes are the norm. Nobody cares whether or not they should.

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  59. This is sock puppet hell. Goodbye.

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  60. Sockpuppets? Huh?

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  61. 3:16

    should what?

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  62. BbFinal stretch? This has barely even started.

    The one way that gaming will be reduced is that you have to take or leave the offer you are made. You can't hold the place to see what else you might get in the next round, the way you could before. If you turn down an offer from a school it's gone for good. It's take it or leave it in every round.

    There are obviously people posting here with agendas. What I described above definitely looks like an improvement, but we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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  63. Re: middle school feeder proposal

    On Rachel Norton's website (www.rachelnorton.com) on Dec. 14, 2010, she noted that public forums will be held at 15 middle schools from Jan. to March this year. Proposal will be presented, and public comments will be solicited. Final proposal will be announced in May. PPS is involved, so perhaps there are details and dates on their website.

    Donna

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  64. 3:16 if and when your child is in a SFUSD school and you will certainly care about profligate district spending as it will directly impact the "extras" (class size, art, music, etc) your child will receive.

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  65. Grattan, Alvarado, Rooftop are all on major commute paths - you forget that. So, all those people you people think you can avoid because you are "far" from a CTP1 zone are fools and sad cowards. These are children, wonderful kids in need of a great education, just like your child - yes, EQUAL to yours. Working parents are able to drop off their children on their way to work and then pick them up on their way home. Diversity is still very important, both economic and social. You will soon discover this as your child enters his color blind world of Kindergarten. Hopefully your minds will blossom.

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  66. I do not like the middle school feeder pattern, and we are in a K-8!

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  67. Who exactly are you speaking to, 8:59?

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  68. Before the Board voted for the SAS they conducted extensive research and solicited the input of the community on multiple occasions over a period of years. Now they want to go back to the drawing board and get more input on the plan that was the result of those inquiries? What the hell was the purpose of all that work if they want to do it again? Me thinks that the Board has had second thoughts on their much ballyhooed MS SAS and wants to get the community to give them "new and improved" input to cover their asses when they drop the feeder plan.

    The last time I went to an community input meeting the rules of engagement where very strict. They didn't want open ended opinion. They only wanted feedbback as set forth by Orla O'Keefe at the beginning of the meeting. I expect this new outreach to be a set up masquerading as feedback so they (the administration) can hear what they want to hear. In other words, the elected officials are worried about a backlash at the polls next time around. Well, their bungling will only fuel support the Students First measure on the ballot.

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  69. "In the new system, the lottery for the citywide schools, as well as the lottery for the citywide bilingual programs...are independent of each other and independent of your choice of neighborhood schools. Therefore, list the schools and programs in the order that you want to go there."

    I am very interested - can anyone confirm that this information is correct?

    I like our neighborhood school but prefer a nearby citywide. I am nervous about listing the citywide as my #1 choice, as I do not want to "give up" any advantage that I might have for my neighborhood school.

    Anyone? Input very much appreciated!

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  70. 8:59

    Seriously, it is sad that you are willing to sacrifice your own child's future for others. 8 out of the 22 of the current in one kindergarten class at mckinley couldn't recognize their letters.

    My child is almost reading. Why would I want my child bored and getting in trouble because their parents have ignored them and not taught them the alphabet by the age of 5.

    Judge me please. I want my child to be have the best. I would think you would want the same for yours as well.

    of course, everyone wants to get into a top school. What people forget is that is they are only great schools because parents participate, give money and are involved.

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  71. 11:02

    I agree with you but at the same time do kids really need to know the alphabet by age 5? I learnt how to write in 1st grade anno and turned out to be fine. yes, my children scribble down letters at age 3 and 4 and I am amazed but my focus is more on social skills than academics at this point.

    I do agree with you though that I would not send my kid to a "bad" school just to influence the future of that school and community and better it in the long run. Sadly some parents don't value education as their top priorities. I do and I plan to choose a school accordingly.

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  72. I like our neighborhood school but prefer a nearby citywide. I am nervous about listing the citywide as my #1 choice, as I do not want to "give up" any advantage that I might have for my neighborhood school."

    This is from the SFUSD website. I hope it answers your question, but obviously, if you don't put down your neighborhood school as your first choice, someone else in the neighborhood that does is going to get it before you do unless it is co-opted by higher preferences.

    SFUSD portal "After the initial offer, you have the opportunity to participate in any of the placement periods to receive a higher choice school throughout the cycle. A placement period is another round of placement processing, which you can request. You can submit an application to participate in the next placement period. Forms are available at the Educational Placement Center or on the district website.
    After the initial placement offer, we recommend that you register to secure enrollment at the school site. Even if you accept a placement offer, you can still choose to seek a higher choice school during any placement period."

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  73. 9:44-
    Go here, that process is explained pretty clearly.
    http://rachelnorton.com/2010/10/01/reader-mail-questions-on-student-assignment/
    As far as I understand it, you are in a basic lottery with all the people in your neighborhood for that school. Once they run that lottery and you get a spot at your neighborhood school, the only way you would lose your spot is if you ranked, and received, another school higher on your list. I believe it does not really matter what number you put your neighborhood school, you'll still be in the lottery with all of the other people in your neighborhood for that school.

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  74. I don't understand the confusion people are having about the new assignment system.

    You are not automatically guaranteed a spot at your neighborhood school. Those in the neighborhood are considered 4th, in a 1 out of 5 scale.

    Here is who gets the "spots", listed in order of priority:

    1. Siblings of current School students;

    2. Any students currently enrolled in an SFUSD preschool located in School’s attendance area who list the School as their first choice;

    3. Any CTIP 1 residents (people living in census tracts with the lowest test scores) requesting School as their first choice;

    4. Residents of the School attendance area;

    5. All other applicants listing the School as space permits.

    ReplyDelete
  75. 8:05
    sorry, but you are completely wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  76. To Don (9:36 PM). You are mistaken.

    The board gathered "years" of input on the kindergarten SAS. The inclusion of middle school feeder plan in the SAS proposal last spring came out of nowhere. In effect, the District was fixing a problem that didn't exist.

    Parents had every right to protest an unwarranted, and totally unexpected, change in the middle school SAS. If the District is holding community meetings only to save face, as you suggest, before dropping the middle school feeder plan, then so be it. I don't get the sense that you have not started touring middle schools yet, so your comments might reflect your lack of personal experience in this area, and I excuse your misunderstanding of the subject.

    I am currently touring middle schools. To my surprise, I have found that the core philosophies at each school, as well as the vision of the administrators and teachers, are astonishingly different, making each school unique. I have found that no one school can satisfy every child's needs, thus the full choice system lets you make the best selection for your child -- be it a large school vs small, emphasis on arts (visual arts, drama, dance, band, orchestra, chorus, etc) vs sports, stunning location vs convenience, and so on. I think that there is a middle school out there for everyone. Mandatory assignment with a lottery to get out of a bad fit isn't in the best interest of a great majority of families in the district.

    As with any assignment system, those families who get the golden ring (ie, feed into middle schools "perceived" to be best) will shout "Yeah," while those who lose (ie, assigned to schools perceived to be bad) will shout "Nay!" A full choice SAS for middle school will level the playing field across the great Eastside-Westside divide..

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  77. 9:44
    In plain English, create a pecking order of schools and programs, for example:

    1. Rooftop K-8
    2. Lawton K-8
    3. West Portal GE
    4. West Portal Bilingual
    5. Sloat
    6. Claire Lilientahal K-8
    7. Lakeshore
    8. Jose Ortega GE

    Start with a list of preferences.

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  78. Actually there are six tie breakers. The fifth is densely populated ares and the sixth is all others.

    The point for the neighborhood question is this: Assuming the school is oversubscribed, and many of the spots go to the first three preferences, neighborhood residents as a cohort will not all get a seat. who among them will get it? Not the ones who didn't put there neighborhood school first.

    The advise you're reading from Rachel's blog might make the system work better from an institutional point of view, but it may not be the best strategy for any given individual.

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  79. 8:37,

    Your explanation for why I am wrong is simply to say the MS feeder plan came out of no where? I'm looking at the community outreach info right now. It clearly states the feeder plan idea. FYI, I have a child in middle school now and went through the process last year.

    Look, I actually agree that the feeder plan is flawed because there is just too much variation between schools in terms of instructional programming.

    But I am a neighborhood school advocate so I would like feeders, in theory, but contingent on there being reasonable equity in instructional offerings.

    The other side of the equation is that most of the districts discretionary resources for compensatory education are being poured into lower performing schools in a manner that is entirely inequitable. While some schools have no counselors, IRFs, assistant principals, TSA, parent liaisons, etc, other schools are teaming with them. This takes me a little off topic, but the underresourced term employed by many on a regular basis is just not the reality on the ground, and many principals understand this and are raging mad about how SFUSD has thumbed its nose at the successful schools. If money can raise achievement as they think, than it stands to reason that lack thereof can also lower it. But the achievement gap is really not a money problem. Real inflation adjusted spending on education has skyrocketed over the last three decades and achievement has declined.

    Anyways, the middle school feeder plan was not dropped out of thin air. It just that critics of it are screaming louder and for good reason.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Go back to school, dude.

    "their", not "there"

    "advice", not "advise"

    "then", not "than"

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  81. Look, what is your problem? This is a blog. I'm writing stuff very quickly in between other computer related activities and just putting out the idea. i was trying to answer someones question. If there are typos who gives a shit? Do you care about education and helping people navigate this SAS or is it more important to you to put down my spelling and grammatical oversights?
    That's just nastiness.

    ReplyDelete
  82. You're not answering other people's questions, you are going off on a million tangents and giving out a lot of misinformation.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Anyone can say "you're wrong".

    Make a case. Don made his and I thinks he's right about the tie-breakers. If you know differently, say so.

    There's tons of misinformation everywhere on blogs. Don gave a clear explanation to the question someone asked. Cut this guy a break.

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  84. Once again, his sockpuppets come out to play.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I'm not a sockpuppet of Don. It's my observation and opinion that he's correct on that count. If you're in disagreement try making a point by point rebuttal. Your taking the easy way out by slinging crap. You've been asked before to take your personal animosities off-line.

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  86. Meanwhile, back to the SUBJECT :

    meeting tonight:

    Please join Parents for Public Schools, the Parent Advisory Council to the Board
    of Education, and SFUSD staff to inform parents about the middle school / K-8
    pathways community engagement planning effort.

    Friday, January 7th, 2011
    10-11:30 a.m.
    The Women's Building (3543 18th Street, between Valencia and Guerrero)
    Audre Lorde Room (2nd floor)
    *Please find the attached invitations translated in Chinese and Spanish. Thank
    you to Parent Advisory Council (PAC) member Ruth Grabowski for coordinating
    these translations.

    We're in the planning stage for community forums. We want to hear what you
    think parents need to know.


    * Presentation about K-8 pathway implementation, from SFUSD Deputy
    Superintendent Richard Carranza
    * Overview plan for community engagement
    * Shaping community forums:
    o What do parents need to know?
    o Developing discussion questions


    Limited street parking is available or please take public transportation:

    * 16th/Mission (BART)
    * J-Church (MUNI)
    * #33 Stanyan (MUNI)


    Interpretation for Spanish and Chinese will be available.

    We're sorry, but no food or childcare will be provided.

    ReplyDelete
  87. http://sfusd.ggnet.net/next-year/faqs.php

    ReplyDelete
  88. Related to 8:05am comment --

    I posted a question / thoughts on the lottery mechanics in the forum. But seems like the forums don't get a lot of responses, so I'd like to link to my question here too:

    http://community.thesfkfiles.com/forum/thread/1853

    Thanks.

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  89. Much depends on the new bus routes SFUSD is going to plan out.
    If they start having routes to schools that are not very diverse (like Alamo, which has 4 only African American students enrolled, out of 550 students)
    if Alamo starts to have bus service from the Tenderloin and Hunter's Point, then parents from those areas will be more likely to apply, which will lessen the amount of spots available to neighborhood residents.

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  90. What's the answer to the question?
    If two elementary applicants in the same neighborhood apply to their in-demand neighborhood school and one puts it first and the other puts it somewhere lower on the application, do they both have an equal chance of attaining a spot among whatever is left after the first three preference cohorts are doled out?

    If they do have an equal chance what is the purpose of making a list in order of preference?

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  91. answering the original question. We will list Daniel Webster Genaral Ed program 1st. Then probably McKinley, Miraloma, sunnyside and Grattan. We are CIPT1 (potrero hill). I'm assuming and hoping we will get DW GE since only 2 people listed it first choice in past years, and because I'm leading an effort to get neighbourhood families to go. It would be difficult to do that if we don't get in!

    I live close to Daniel Webster school, but our attendance area school is Starr King GE, which I'm not so keen on. I'm listing a few other schools in case for some bizarre reason we don't get Daniel Webster.

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  92. I'd say that if you are in CTIP1, and you list Webster, you are almost certain to get in.

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  93. Don, I can't find any specific answer on the link posted by 11:28. I would have to conclude and I may be wrong that the person with the higher listing would win the tie-breaker.

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  94. 12:37-

    I wouldn't assume you're wrong -- it's possible that the tie-breaker is strictly the "lottery" aspect (ie whoever has a higher draw number).

    Don, 11:51 here - in answer to your question, I don't think the ranking needs to function as a tie-breaker *across* students for it to have a purpose.. The system will use it to determine which school to assign you to if you get in to multiple schools on your list (very possible if each school runs its own lottery).

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  95. "My attendance area is Sutro, which we don't want to attend for a variety of reasons, so I'm just going to put on the list other schools that are city wide schools, like rooftop, lillienthal, and lawton. We aren't interested in immersion. Again, am I missing something here?"

    You better have a contingency plan, if those are all you're going to list. 'Cos I see a letter with "John Muir" on it in your future if those are all you're listing.

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  96. "Fairmount, King Starr, Ortega, Alvarado Immersion, Alvarado ES, Buena Vista Immersion, Rooftop, Clarendon, West Portal Immersion, Glen Park."

    Chances for the immersion programs are low (reckon 15% for BV and Fairmount, <10% for West Portal). AFY is shifting to two-way immersion this year which may take some of the demand away from WP Immersion, though. Glen Park is a good contingency plan, although non-immersion. Also consider Monroe and JOES MI.

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  97. " Just about everyone I know is attempting to game and figure out what schools to list and what order to list them in."

    Just 'cos they think the order you list schools in makes a difference to the chance of getting in doesn't make it so. They may think they're gaming the system, but in fact it's damaging to their interests.

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  98. "answering the original question. We will list Daniel Webster Genaral Ed program 1st."

    It's hard to imagine a scenario where you don't get DW Gen Ed. But why not also list the immersion program there?

    There are also strong Gen Ed. programs closer to you than McKinley or Grattan. Taylor, Longfellow, Moscone, Monroe and SF Community spring to mind.

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  99. One thing that is clear by this discussion - I don't think the system is much easier and more transparent. If it were, why are there so many questions and postulations as to how it works? Unless the users understand the system, whether it is more transparent and navigable than the last system is strictly academic.

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  100. I have a question about the middle school application process. I get that for K -- with this new process -- they really want you to put your "true" first preference down as #1. But for middle school, which in a way is still under the old process -- doesn't it make sense to put down as #1 the school that you think you have the best odds of getting into?

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  101. Middle School Reform in San Francisco:

    What does not work:

    Throwing money at the school.

    What we are trying next with the feeder patterns to middle schools instead of city-wide middle schools:

    Forcing set groups of parents into marginal middle schools to make them invested in turning around that school.

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  102. 4:15
    It's a gamble. A lot of people put Presidio #1 and lost the gamble, slipping to undesirable choices. Others skipped the gamble and put as #1 a good choice that was easier to get into. Some won the gamble and have no regrets.

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  103. thanks 1:56. other choices are based more upon our commute access rather than actual location. May list SF Community too, didn't look at the other schools on the list, maybe I will thanks. Don't think immersion is for us, so don't want to compete for spots with the many many people who really want to get into the DW SE program.

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  104. Don's in da house. No one can cut through the shit dished here like you can. God bless you and keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Ignore the troll, and his imaginary puppet friends.

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  106. Don @ 4:03-

    I think the better critique is that SFUSD hasn't adequately explained the system and clearly answered questions about how the lottery works (eg through a comprehensive FAQ). But poor explanation (and/or the existence of people who, despite information to the contrary, persist in believing that there still "must be" a strategy) is not proof that the system itself is flawed. I think there's plenty of room for critiques of the system, but this this particular one strikes me as a bit of a red herring.

    Note: FWIW, I'm not in the Don-hater camp.

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  107. The crazy lottery system! Does anyone know if they have written and beta-tested the new algorithm yet? Will SFUSD ever be able to tell us how it actually works?

    Since we are advised to list as many schools as we like in order of preference and since several cohorts (siblings, CDC preschool in attendance area) MUST use their first choice wisely and since the new SAS is not supposed to be "wasteful," is it possible the lottery software will place students more systematically than some folks have suggested?

    Everyone is speculating, so I'd like to speculate too. Here is a logical algorithm for the new SAS:

    1) First, temporarily assign every applicant to the first school on their list.

    2) Next, "bin" the students at each school according to their SFUSD "cohort,” ie, sibling, CDC preschool in attendance area, CTIP1, resident in attendance area, all other applicants as space permits (listed in the “order of priority” according to the new SAS).

    3) Fill the kindergarten slots at each school with students in order of priority until all the slots are filled. Siblings, CDC preschool students, and many (if not all) CTIP1 students will most likely get their first-choice school. For popular neighborhood schools, the attendance area students might have to compete among themselves (ie, random lottery style within their own cohort), and some of the attendance area students might not get a slot. In the event all the neighbors get a slot, the remaining openings will go to other applicants as space permits (again, this last group will compete among themselves within their own cohort). Students who get a slot in this first round are officially assigned to the school and are removed from the lottery. All unassigned students go back into the “general lottery pool.”

    4) Repeat the cycle by taking every applicant who wasn’t assigned in Round 1 (i.e., the general lottery pool) and temporarily assigning the to the second school on their list. Within each school, bin the students into their respective cohorts and fill open slots with students in order of priority until all the slots are filled. Since siblings, CDC preschool students, and many CTIP1 students were placed in Round 1, there will be fewer slots (or even none) in some schools. This is where rank order would really make a difference. Students who get a slot in Round 2 are officially assigned to the school and are removed from the lottery. Unassigned students go back into the “general lottery pool.”

    5) Continue to repeat the cycle for third-choice school, fourth-choice school, fifth-choice school, and so on. In each cycle, there will be fewer and fewer students competing against each other, because applicants leave the general lottery pool once they are assigned. Of course, there are also fewer and fewer K slots with each iteration.

    6) At the end of all the placement cycles, all unassigned students are assigned to the closest school with openings.

    I like to imagine that the lottery will be this simple because instead of competing with all 300 applicants who place our favorite School X somewhere on their list of 10 schools, we only have to compete with the 30 or so who actually placed School X at the same rank order as us.

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  108. Dear non-Don-hater,

    You flatter me. It is positively enchanting not to be hated on SF Kfiles. I feel like I'm floating on air.

    Ignoring the bizarre post from 5:23, any interactive system works poorly if the end user doesn't understand the principles of participation, especially if the education of their children is at stake. If large numbers of applicants are disappointed with the results this spring, how many will blame the SFUSD for failing to clearly explain it's use?

    It isn't a revelation to understand that until there are higher percentages of quality schools, you're still dividing the same pie among the same people.

    ReplyDelete
  109. That last post was from me. I forgot to sign in like I usually do.

    "The point for the neighborhood question is this: Assuming the school is oversubscribed, and many of the spots go to the first three preferences, neighborhood residents as a cohort will not all get a seat. who among them will get it? Not the ones who didn't put there neighborhood school first."

    If an applicant can put the neighborhood school last and be subject to the same probability as an applicant who put it first, the system of listing an preferential order would be pointless.

    I have to assume that this question is not specifically addressed in FAQS because it is self-evident.

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  110. If you REALLY, REALLY want your neighborhood school, then put it FIRST. Your first-choice school is very critical on the "priority list" that was published by SFUSD and mentioned many times in this string. If you list your neighborhood school first and do not get it, then that situation puts you in the very coveted group of applicants who live in an oversubscribed school assignment area, which gives you priority for the next school on you list with openings. If you put your neighborhood school lower on your list, then you are indicating that it is only a back-up school, and it will be treated as such, which leaves you SOL if the first-choice applicants snatched up all the spots.

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  111. The last few posters are saying exactly the opposite of what Rachel Norton has posted on her blog. Is there somewhere you guys can reference that this is written otherwise? I'd love to find the "real" answer, but for now I have to assume Rachel Norton knows more than the random posters here. Please, please, please, if you know this answer is written elsewhere, let us know.

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  112. Until SFUSD divulges the "what....if" statements and "do loops" in the actual algorithm, we will not know the answers to these questions. Until then, what one "understands" and what one "speculates" are one in the same.

    The best that you can do is list your schools in order of preference and hope for the best. Many families (~80-85%) will be pleased with the letters that they receive in March, but some families (~15-20%) will not. Supply and demand haven't changed drastically since last year.

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  113. From the SFUSD "key features" handout:

    "Families will submit an application form that includes their home address and the names of the schools
    they would like to apply to listed in order of preference -- the assignment process will try to assign
    students to their highest ranked school."

    So, DUH, list your first choice first.

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  114. To 11:28 AM -

    On what date did Rachel explain the SAS? I went to her site, but couldn't find the specific topic so couln't find the info you cited. If not too long, could you cut-and-paste the info into this thread?

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  115. Jan 7th 8:05 am has a pertinent link to Rachel Norton's blog.

    ReplyDelete
  116. They way I read it, if you list your neighborhood school anywhere on the list, they will try to put you there before trying to put you anywhere else on your list.

    So if your neighborhood school is not oversubscribed, and you would rather go somewhere else, don't list it! In other words, listing your neighborhood school anywhere automatically makes it your first choice (or their first choice for you).

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  117. The only thing I can get from this thread is that nobody really knows how this new SAS works. Thanks for making it easier on us SFUSD.

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  118. 12:21-
    Thanks for your oh so understanding comment, but it's not always that easy. The truth is, my very first choice is Clarendon JBBP. Will I get that? Super unlikely. So if it really doesn't matter where my neighborhood school is ranked on my list, I'd put Clarendon JBBP first because, hey, someone's gotta win the lottery. But, if rank really does matter, it's not worth taking the change I'd be lower on the list for my neighborhood school. So there ya go, not as easy as listing your first choice #1.

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  119. Whoops, meant taking the "chance" in the above post.

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  120. Here's the thing - Rachel reads this blog. Many of her articles are posted here. There is much confusion over the policy and people are screaming for help in trying to make a decision during this application season. There is confusion happening despite the pronouncements of district leaders as to the simplicity of this new SAS.

    Rachel or another district official could come on here and clarify this if they wanted to. And I personally think Rachel would if she had an answer.

    Personally , I just don't put much stock in what these leaders say anyway. I think Rachel's a sincere person and truly cares about the students. But this process has put the Board in a very bright light and the suspension of the middle school process reveals major oversights that are hard to deny given the Board's own backtracking. If it was so well researched how could such major flaws in the MS process have gone unnoticed? It is hard to explain or maybe they didn't expect the public outcry and they're just concerned about their prospects for reelection?

    How anyone can put any faith in our education establishment is beyond me, especially after all the "summer of secrecy" central office hiring on the heels of major classroom cutbacks last year as well as the embezzlement scandal now under investigation by the DA.

    The SAS policy wasn't even dry before they decided to scrap major parts of it and that, after all the much touted policy research and effort that went into what everyone considered a very thoughtful, if lengthy, process.

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  121. "The crazy lottery system! Does anyone know if they have written and beta-tested the new algorithm yet?"

    The old one was not implemented according to industrial software standards, either.

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  122. 5:34:

    That makes two of us.

    I have no clue what to do.

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  123. 11:00 - For what it is worth, I think your first assumption about how the algorithm will work is incorrect. There will be no rank order preference. All of the applicants to a school will go into the initial pool (no matter where it was ranked on the application) and then the tie breakers will apply. If you rank school A 2nd and get in and rank school B 1st and someone else does the exact opposite, you will then be switched (according to the board presentation on reducing "waste" in the assignment system). If it works, it will be a huge improvement. I guess we shall see. . .

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  124. I can't decide whether to list Chinese Immersion or AFY first on my application. Yes, I realize neither choice will guarantee me a spot in either school. Any advice?

    What I like:

    I like that Chinese Immersion has a strong PTA that funds many extras such as Playworks and has a separate art room and computer lab. I also think that the classrooms (and library) seemed more inviting at Chinese Immersion. Overall, Chinese Immersion is more diverse that AFY in terms of the student population.

    That said, AFY has amazing test scores and is a K-8. Also, AFY appears to have a strong PTA.

    My concerns:

    I am concerned about comments I have read about a poor social climate and narrow focus at AFY. Any truth to this?

    I am worried about what will happen if we commit to language immersion and the District decides not to support the Chinese Immersion students in middle school. Also, I remember middle school, and I would prefer that my child be in a smaller K-8 environment.

    If Chinese Immersion were K-8, this would be a much easier choice. We are an English only family and my child is not Chinese.

    BTW - I think that it is fantastic that SFUSD offers both of these programs!

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  125. Hi 3:49pm! I'm a CIS K parent. Even though after round 1 our waiting list was longer than AFY's I believe about two or three weeks into the school year, that list was actually completely cleared, with all parents on it either happy with their alternate assignment (maybe not wanting their kids to have to switch) or kids joining the K-classes late. At least that's what the rumor mill here says. It's anybody's guess, of course, how the new assignment system affects this process.

    The advantage of CIS is that it's two-way immersion. A number of spots are reserved for monolingual Chinese speakers and bilingual kids in round 1 but (according the the CIS principal) opened up to everybody after that. Since AFY is one-way and so sought after, it's unlikely that many spots open up after round 1. That said, one kid in my daughter's class switched from CIS to AFY well into the school year, because a spot had opened up at the time (so much for EPC telling us that they dissolve the waiting lists and don't switch kids after a certain time... seems sometimes that they do whatever they feel like doing).

    According to the principal at CIS during a school tour at which I helped out has 66 spots altogether this coming semester (3 classes of 22 kindergarten kids) (16 of which go to siblings). Don't know the AFY numbers but since they're K-8 rather than CIS's current K-2, the number of siblings is likely to be higher.

    Unless I completely misunderstand the process, you would not be penalized for listing both AFY and CIS. We're happy at CIS, but I would have happily taken an AFY spot, regardless of stuck up parents and academically high pressure environment, because I'm really concerned about SF messing up the middle school feeder thing...

    Good luck. We are a bicultural family, but the school works very well for all the English only families I know here, so I hope you'll get in and it'll work out for you, too!

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  126. "That said, AFY has amazing test scores and is a K-8. Also, AFY appears to have a strong PTA."

    "I am concerned about comments I have read about a poor social climate and narrow focus at AFY. Any truth to this?"

    Not really: kid's a bit older now, but we had a blast in kindergarten at AFY, great group of parents. The school's been very supportive of our kid. I've actually been surprised how much art there was: I was expecting a Singapore-style drill-and-kill, which was far from the case. The workload does get intense in the middle school, from what I've heard.

    On diversity: at the request of the district, AFY is switching to two-way immersion (like CIS and West Portal). That will change the makeup of the school (but probably not that much), but will likely make it difficult, at least for the next 3-5 years, for non-sibling non-Cantonese speaking kids to get in.

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  127. "According to the principal at CIS during a school tour at which I helped out has 66 spots altogether this coming semester (3 classes of 22 kindergarten kids) (16 of which go to siblings). Don't know the AFY numbers but since they're K-8 rather than CIS's current K-2, the number of siblings is likely to be higher."

    AFY has 66 slots, just like CIS. I've heard ~25-30 slots will be taken by sibs this year. Although my read on the CIS/AFY applications and waitlists was that CIS had siphoned off about 25-30% of the demand from AFY.

    Although AFY was one-way immersion, that's changing this year to the 33%/33%/33% ELL/bilingual/English two-way immersion model.

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  128. "If you REALLY, REALLY want your neighborhood school, then put it FIRST. Your first-choice school is very critical on the "priority list" that was published by SFUSD and mentioned many times in this string. If you list your neighborhood school first and do not get it, then that situation puts you in the very coveted group of applicants who live in an oversubscribed school assignment area, which gives you priority for the next school on you list with openings. If you put your neighborhood school lower on your list, then you are indicating that it is only a back-up school, and it will be treated as such, which leaves you SOL if the first-choice applicants snatched up all the spots."

    This is not even close to being the case. You don't even *have to list* your neighborhood school on your list to get into the "oversubscribed neighborhood school" priority group. All that's needed is for more folks to apply from your neighborhood school's catchment area than there's slots at the school. That's all.

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  129. "Although my read on the CIS/AFY applications and waitlists was that CIS had siphoned off about 25-30% of the demand from AFY."

    I'm not sure that is true. Every single parent I've talked to about this here at CIS (myself included) has also applied to AFY but not gotten in. The K-8 of AFY is an incredibly strong selling point. I might be wrong, but I don't think CIS is siphoning off the demand on AFY, it just gives people a more realistic option in an area in which demand obviously gravely outweighs supply. But, especially since EPC keeps emphasizing that ranking order no longer matters, I would be surprised if there are any parents who really want Chinese immersion and who don't list both. Even if AFY is a long shot, why wouldn't you at least try your luck?

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  130. On the middle school lottery process, I just went down and put in my application and, in the course of doing so, asked a bunch of questions. My big question was about the impact of how a parent orders choices. I was told flat out that the order you put down schools does not matter UNLESS there are enrollment slots available at more than one of the schools on your list. THEN AND ONLY THEN would they look at your ordering, giving you the one you ranked higher. If there's only one slot available at a school in your ranked order, it doesn't matter whether you listed it as 1st, 20th or 25th, you will have an equal chance of getting it. I also asked about follow-up rounds. I was told that there would be no more waiting pools, but that one would have to resubmit a sheet with revised choices and go into further rounds. Not quite sure what the practical import of this difference is, but it may be that you have to actively put in a new request -- you can't sit passively on a waiting list. One word of warning from the folks at District HQ: this is the first time they are doing the lottery this way -- total lottery except for two preferences (sibling and CTIP 1). This is new for them. As an indication of this, the counselor I spoke to (who was very nice) had to get up and speak to her superior four different times to get answers to questions I posed. Folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

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  131. Thank you 4:47. This has been the best explaination that I have read. The only thing that I could find on the SFUSD's web site still refers to the feeder patterns for middle schools with a note has this process has been postponed.

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  132. When picking an Elementary school this year, it's a safe bet to assume that the feeder schools they announced (and then postponed) will be the same feeder schools they assign next year.
    (Example, McKinley to Everett)

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  133. 8:25 am -- I don't think it is a "safe bet" to assume they will stay with the feeder system AT ALL. Everything I have heard (obviously just parent chatter) is that there's going to be stiff resistance to a feeder pattern anything like what was put forth earlier this year. Now I have noticed some odd things, like on the "forum" section on this blog someone mentions that there's talk of Buena Vista and Horace Mann merging (I guess into a K through 8 immersion only program). Not sure what that means. But if I had to bet now, I would bet that the district will make permanent the (essentially) lottery system in place this year -- unless something goes terribly wrong with it (which I kind of doubt).

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  134. In looking at the middle schools during the last month or so, I must stay that there are some dramatic differences between the schools. The parents in the current 5th grade at my schools are attracted to a wide range of schools based on these differences. If the feeder school that was originally announced would have been 4th on my list (not bad, but not optimal). I am personally very happy that it was postponed for this year so we could go after our number one choice.

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  135. The district people will do whatever they want to do, "stiff resistance" from empowered white parents will not matter.

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  136. I was just saying that for those looking for Kinder spots, keeping in mind the middle school where SFSUD proposed "feeding" those Elementary schools to, would be prudent.
    I think the feeder schools will remain much the same as they proposed last time, with a few changes, and they are going to do it, despite any outcry. They take the attitude that you can always try applying to other schools, if you don't like the feeder school.
    I have the feeder map they released in August, but they've taken it off the website.

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  137. 10:51
    Do you have a link where the elementary / middle school feeder proposal can be found? I looked around online last night and could not find it.

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  138. I'll upload it to the files section of sfschools and pps yahoo groups, it isn't on the SFUSD site anymore and this blog doesn't let you upload files.

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  139. Look, there are too many "ifs" and "buts" for prospective K parents to be picking elementary schools based on the now-withdrawn feeder patters that the District put out in September. Even apart from the fact that the District is unlikely to buck the powerful PTAs at schools like McKinley (that is, if they want to get a salary they won't), you are trying to figure out how middle schools may look some seven years from now. So, just to give you my real-life experience, the September draft had Aptos as the middle school for my kid's elementary. I don't think I am going to surprise anyone here by saying that Aptos at that time was viewed quite negatively. In those intervening seven years, Aptos has gone from a middle school in serious trouble to one that is now vying in the top two or three middle schools in the city! Moreover, whatever system the district employs can radically change how these middle schools look 7 years from now. Some of the middle schools that now look so good may not be that good, depending on how the feeder system works. So, it is really foolhardy to base K decisions on the September draft. What I will say to K parents is that, if middle school matters to you because you are really going to be in SF for the longhaul and don't have the money for private middle school, go for broke now in getting your kid into a K through 8. And I mean go for broke -- go through whatever follow-on rounds the District has after the first initial to get K through 8. Keep going down in person at every round and talking to folks there.

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  140. Well, I think they will have feeder schools and they will be mostly the same as the list they made in August, and then withdrew.

    I agree that the way the schools are now will change when the elementary schools start feeding into them, so what Everett is like now will not be the same in 4 years, but if parents are concerned about it, then it would be something they should consider, and not whine about it later, like it was a big surprise. Forewarned and all that.

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  141. Don't forget that an elementary's feeder school simply provides students in the elementary school with an automatic assignment there. You do not HAVE TO attend that school. You can put other schools on your list.

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  142. 5:33, true, but parents whose kids are automatically assigned to Presidio or Hoover are unlikely to give up those spots, making it highly unlikely that a parents who chooses not to accept automatically assigned spot at, say, Horace Mann will be able to find an open spot for her child at a more in-demand school like Presidio or Hoover than with the previous or current SES.

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