On Placement Day Friday, I devoured the March placement report. I had a pit in my stomach when I saw many of my choices listed on the Top 14 list. In nervous anticipation of the SFUSD assignment letter, I stayed up late crunching numbers from Appendix E and toggling between SF K Files' and Rachel Norton’s blogs.
I was a bit frustrated that not all relevant data was published in the report. What were the Total Requests for all of the schools (not just Top 14)? How many attendance area folks requested their attendance area school in any of their top choices? What impact did PreK in attendance area have on the availability of slots? What impact did densely populated tie breaker have on availability of slots? Why wasn't city-wide language programs separately identified from GE in Appendix E?
Based on Appendix E converted to #'s (% of spots offered), the chart below shows % of spots available after siblings, CTIP1, etc. [L] reflects the spots that were offered to Other (e.g., applicants other than siblings, CTIP1 and attendance area.)
Bright and early Saturday morning, I was back reading the comments on both blogs. I was so stressed and exhausted I fell asleep while Hugo and Gideon napped. When I awoke late Saturday afternoon, we had received our San Francisco public school assignment...
We were shocked that we got our #1 choice, Lawton Alternative School! I re-read the assignment letter and double checked Hugo’s name!
Our other options (Creative Arts Charter School and Alta Vista School Junior Kindergarten) also came through. We declined the CACS placement offer since Lawton is stronger in math and science. The decision between Lawton and AVS was harder. Although AVS is the better fit for Hugo with its small class sizes and project-based/science focus, the tuition-free Lawton is the better fit for our family. We registered at Lawton yesterday and told AVS our decision today.
My K search support group also fared relatively well. They got into and will register at Jefferson (Aissa, you will be in good company there), McKinley and Clarendon. Another got into Argonne and is happy with it, but may try for higher spots on her list in Round II. Rowena Ravenclaw (who toured some of the schools with me) went 0/8, but got into her #1 private school choice.
Sending Good Thoughts
I feel so badly for the many, many unhappy families in San Francisco -- including my fellow Fall 2011 K bloggers who went 0/10 (Emily, Seattle). Becca Brown and Marcia Brady, how are you all doing? (For the Middle School bloggers: Donna’s child No. 1 got Aptos (1st choice); Joseph, how are you, your partner and Ben doing?)
SF K File bloggers have been here before:
Debbie got her 1st choice in Round I
June got off the wait pool in Round II
Kate was 0/7 in Round I, got in her #1 private school choice, got a Round II assignment and then chooses.
(Claire, Meredith and Wendy – where did you end up going?)
Ideas for Improvement
I wish that we had an egalitarian Sorting Hat that places all kids in great public schools. Since that isn't possible, we should continue to work with SFUSD and Parents for Public Schools San Francisco to figure out the assignment process for K (as well as Middle Schools). I do not know if this assignment process is better or worse than the old one. I do know that it can stand some improvement. Here are some suggestions gleaned from the comments on this blog and Rachel's:
* The algorithm should be published
* SFUSD should be vigilant on address fraud especially since CTIP1 significantly alters an applicant's chances... Any changes of address between Nov/Dec (application deadline less 45 days) and start of school should be reviewed.
* CTIP1 areas should be continually reviewed and revised to reflect the most recent census data and test scores
* Attendance boundaries should be continually reviewed and revised since they were initially drawn based on historical data
* "Pre-registration" of siblings should be done prior to Fall school tours so parents have a better sense of remaining available slots (For those of you who are bizarrely angry over the sibling tiebreaker, it happens in preschools/daycares all of the time. Who wants to break up families?)
* If twins/multiples are split up, they should get a hardship appeal which is better than a sibling priority in Round II.
* The transportation policy needs to be communicated to CTIP1 families so they are prepared for busing cut backs to non-city-wide schools/programs
* The GE schools/programs consistently in the top demand (e.g., Clarendon, Miraloma) with less than 5% (or 10%) for attendance area families should get an override over densely populated area as a tie breaker in city-wides.
* Argonne (extended year) and Spring Valley Science Magnet school should be considered for city-wide status
SF K Files Community - any other recommendations or thoughts? I know you have them. : )