Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Sorting Hat

The Data

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...

The News

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. : )



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Maybe I read this too quickly. Confused about something. Take Miraloma data. How could there be 4 spots left after CTIP1, siblings and attendance area applicants when there are people that live in Miraloma district did not get in?

  3. Congratulations, Helga!! Glad it worked out, and best wishes at Lawton!!!

  4. Hi Kelly,

    After siblings and CTIP1, there were 20 spots left open (out of 60).

    However, there were many more non-sibling families that applied to Miraloma than 20, which is why many people in the attendance area did not get in.

    In any case, if I were Helga, I think I would have the good grace to keep my school assignment to myself. It's just this kind of in-your-face thoughtless boosterism that makes many families so angry and resentful of the public school system.

  5. Oh, and I'm not so sure re the "pre-registration" of siblings, at least not as early as the fall before school. A good idea in theory, but lots can change in a year. Families can move. If a spot had already been held for a sibling, and the family does not notify the school of an impending move, that spot might be "held" unnecessarily for a sibling. And you know all that hand-wringing that goes on here about whether to "red shirt" kids? It's not like that deliberation goes on only with first children. If there are issues regarding holding kids back, you don't really want to make a firm decision one year in advance. There are also schools with both immersion and GE, and some parents might not know a year in advance which program might be best for their kids. I think it's appropriate for individual schools to ask current parents whether they expect to enroll younger siblings the following year, so that tour guides can give people a rough estimate of how many siblings to expect. But, again, requiring people to "pre-register" a year in advance might do more harm than good, if it means that spots are being held that aren't actually going to be used for sibs.

  6. BTW -- I'm the person who posted re sibling policy after first congratulating you. I know this is a frustrating time for many, but I thought your post was very graceful, and I don't think it was inappropriate at all to post your good news.

  7. Helga,

    There's something wrong with your numbers. Kelly is correct.

  8. Congratulations on Lawton! My suggestion for Rachel & Co. is to scrap the middle school feeder pattern. It creates way more problems than it solves and compromises the continued improvement of wonderful K-5's, some of which are enjoying very recent turn arounds, by attaching them to extremely low performing middle schools.

  9. 7:49PM. I think you're wrong on all fronts. First, you didn't address Kelly's question, which is a good one. The chart provided appears to suggest that there are spots open for schools (e.g. Clarendon, Miraloma) AFTER attendance area applicants are considered. This indeed makes no sense. It better be wrong.

    Second, I applaud Helga for posting her assignment and congratulate her for it. I've read her posts over the last few months and was rooting for her and all the other SFKFilers, who have provided us with a rich resource. It actually brought a smile to my face to read her joyous expression. This community is enlivened by the divulging of details and emotions. And hopefully we're all rooting for each other. In fact, I often find it frustrating when writers speak about a school in code.

    Third, pre-registration of siblings would not result in spots being "held" for them if the parents don't end up applying.

  10. "Third, pre-registration of siblings would not result in spots being "held" for them if the parents don't end up applying."

    Then what would be the point of pre-registering? I took Helga's suggestion to mean that you would actually register a sibling nearly a year in advance. To me, that is the same as "applying." I'm not trying to start an argument, I just don't understand the distinction you're making.

  11. Joseph here -- I posted in the comments section on another string, but we were wait listed for Gateway, our first choice, and got Giannini, our last choice For many parents, Giannini would be a blessing, but we are worried out the academic vibe of the place. We are going to waitlist for Gateway (anyone out there giving up their Gateway slot), go talk to the special Ed folks at Giannini more, and likely try for a k 8 in round 2. Going to be a long drawn out process I'm afraid. congratulations on Lawton -- you've saved yourself having to go through this middle school grief!

  12. Also, to be clear, although I posted at 7:49 about sibs, I am not the same person at 7:49 who slammed Helga for posting. Don't know why I keep bringing this up, except that I know that it is so easy to misread tone here, especially when anxiety is so high. Read together, my posts at 7:41 should have read, "Congratulations, Helga! Oh, but I don't necessarily agree with one of your points." (As opposed to "I don't like you're post, and I don't agree with one of your posts, either.")

    The big point I want to stress is that I am very happy for Helga, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it works out for everyone else, too!

  13. Congratulations on your assignment. Interesting ideas on improving the SAS, but I don't agree with this one:

    * 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.

    I know it must be frustrating to these families to not have a guaranteed spot at their neighborhood school - but at least they had SOME CHANCE of getting in. I don't see why they should then get a preference above everyone else.

    I think the whole density preference should be scrapped. There were something like 60% of the city in high density. So those of us in without density preference are basically entirely shut entirely of having any shot at city-wide, immersion, or any of the more popular neighborhood schools. Not fun when you don't like your neighborhood school and have no preferences.

    Personally, I think the old system, flawed as it was, was more fair.

  14. On a purely personal note, congrats about getting Lawton! My son is an 8th grader there and will be going to Lowell. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been good.

  15. Kelly and 7:52pm - I added a clarifying statement prior to the chart that [L] means spots offered to Other from pages 28-29 of the report. However to calculate the % in the last column, I worded as "remaining spots."

    7:49pm (1st one) - I debated about posting our results and waited a few days before ultimately doing so. I realize that this is still a highly charged/emotional situation for people. However, it would not be a true reflection of the Fall 2011 bloggers' results if only the ones with disappointing results post. I even went back to the archives to see if prior bloggers posted their positive results... They did and their posts are referred to in my post.

    8:40pm (and 7:41pm and 7:49 2nd one) - Thanks for your support.

  16. Helga, I am glad that one blogger got what she wanted. You were gracious throughout, and I appreciated all your postings. A lot of people are in serious pain right now, and I hope you won't take them personally.

  17. In discovering that so many CTIP 1 families are just middle-class like the rest of us who choose to live in a certain area, it doesn't seem prudent to give such strong weight to this area, shutting out so many others. If SFUSD continues with this system, I think they'll need to cap each school with a certain percentage of CTIP 1 priority students. After that cap is reached the remaining CTIP 1 applicants would be considered on the same basis as everyone else. Otherwise, we're going to continue to see rents rise in these areas, which isn't good for anyone, and people desperate to get in to these areas in order to have this kind of amazing advantage.

  18. 9:53, I'm a middle class (truly middle class, i.e., mid-five-figures) CTIP1 dweller. I absolutely take your point and though we took advantage (legally, and didn't game any systems as we have lived here more than two decades), I felt a *little* bad about it. In fact, I argued strenuously during the community meetings 1+ years ago that the diversity index (as opposed to CTIP1) should be maintained as that was designed to give a leg up to the truly poorest families among us. Yet--families, mostly middle class and up, argued that they wanted something simply, something that would be "gamed" less easily than CalWORKS or free lunch qualification (not sure these were ever gamed, actually), or home language (eventually was tested) or mother's education level (was dropped). C'est la vie. I would go back to the old system in heartbeat though, even though we benefited from the new one. I would NOT go to a system that disadvantaged the poorest families however--which capping CTIP1 would do.

  19. Congratulations on Lawton. Our son is finishing eighth grade there, and we've been very, very happy with it.

  20. I'm wondering if anyone else hit the statistical FU of 0/20 like us :(

  21. 10:51 I agree with you. When I first saw the CTIP1 areas I thought to myself it was odd. I actually moved what is considered CTIP1 years ago because the rents were actually too expensive for us to find what we needed as family. So we moved to the Central Richmond. At the time I lived one block from John Muir.

  22. 6:52, that is the suxxor for sure. Very sorry :(

    That is really just so unlucky. That many choices, even popular ones or a mix of popular and moderate, should have raised your chances. The baby bulge in SF must really be hitting now.

    I hope the 2nd round gives you something. Surely there will be movement at some of those schools. Best of luck.

  23. I'm the 0/20 and of course some of the 20 schools I listed were trophies and popular city-wide SIs but I did have a fair number of reasonable schools listed too.

    Fingers crossed for the May placement period.

  24. Yes, we went 0/20 as well! Got John Muir. We put a list of all the schools we could get to in a car within 20 minutes (we're in the Inner Sunset). I still can hardly believe it.

  25. totally disagree with you on Miraloma and Clarendon... CTIP should have preference there.

  26. to 9:39 So where should the kids that live a few blocks from Clarendon and Miraloma go? Across town to a poorly rated school? Not trying to be argumentative. Just curious as to your thoughts on this. Why not have CTIP1's go to schools that are better than their area school, but not necessarily taking spots away from neighborhood kids in the high density attendance areas. I understand the need to give them a better chance but it just seems crazy to me, with the new system, that you could live a block from one of the best schools in the city, could walk to school, and not get in.

  27. I live a block from Miraloma, listed it first, and did not get in. I wasn't crowded out by CTIP1, but by siblings from outside the neighborhood. Clarendon is a different story.

  28. "Why not have CTIP1's go to schools that are better than their area school, but not necessarily taking spots away from neighborhood kids in the high density attendance areas."

    If this change were made, you might be happy with the outcome but this only moves the problem. Unfortunately it really doesn't solve anything. The biggest problem is that there is too much disparity, top to bottom, between programs and schools. I know all schools can't be made equal but as long as the gap between the top and the bottom schools is so wide, there will continue to be too many families that will not be served by SFUSD.

    Compounding this problem is that families that are fortunate enough to get a spot at their desired school sometimes lose perspective on how broken the system remains.

  29. My issue is the uneven burden sharing of seats going to CTIP1. Because the westside is so far away from most CTIP1 areas, and because there is a minimum of transportation services available, almost all of the burden sharing is being done by CTIP2 southeast parents and pockets of centrally located CTIP2 parents. These parents need realistic choices too.

    Replace CTIP with the public school voucher. Everyone is free to pick two attendance areas for the "local" school preference, no matter where they actually live. Give SE parents, and Clarendon and Miraloma parents, a realistic chance at finding a good school. CTIP1 parents also can use the public school voucher, perhaps using both selections to nearby, but higher achieving schools.

    Some westside parents will get bumped from their local school. It is called sharing the burden.

  30. Yeah to vouchers.

    The SFUSD has to be honest that they don't have enough capacity at decent schools to accomodate San Francisco families. It's time that those families that are arbitraged out of the system are given financial assistance to persue education alternatives.

  31. Hi Helga!
    I just wanted to say congratulations and don't feel at all like you can't post your good news! This was supposed to be about all our stories, not just the ones that ended differently than we might have liked.
    Good luck with Lawton, I've heard great things!!

  32. This is turning into the Hallmark blog.

    Congratulations and condolences. Winning and losing. Jubilation and depression. The best of times and the worst of times. Extra money for enrichment classes and depleted college funds.

    One point that has not yet been discussed is the District's promotion of greater predictability with this SAS. I'm not getting the sense from commentary that this new feature has panned out quite as planned.

    All the professional consultants, surveys, studies, research and analysis, all the hours of committee meetings and public feedback, the online discourse and central staff all-nighters, and what do we end up with?

    A closed door crap shoot. What a way to runs a school district.

  33. 11:49 AM

    Good point, Don.

    Things will be very predictable next year, however.

    I'm sure the real-estate agents are orgasmic at the money making possibilities in thoes CTIP1 zones.

    SFUSD board members probably own properties in those districts and are salivating at the prospects of cashing in on the effect of the school assignment system.

    So here comes! This year, Clarendon and Alvarado, next year Grattan, Miraloma, the year after that, who knows!

    But, ah, the school assignment system has been REDESIGNED, so all must be well. Yeahhhh!!!

    Predictability. Phhhh!

  34. I think 11:17 and 11:30 are talking about different definitions of public school vouchers.

    One is an idea for a student assignment system that "shares the risk" geographically across the city, which the present system does not do.

    The other is the (much beloved of the right-wing for the last generation in our country) idea of giving parents payments to send their kids to private school. In some places this is limited to low-income kids in low-performing schools; sounds like this person wants it to be for any family who doesn't get one of their choices (didn't get Clarendon? Here, the taxpayers want to give you $5,000 for the private school of your choice).

    There are many problems with the latter idea. Most low-income kids don't benefit from it as the payment is too low to fully cover tuition at high-quality private school. At best, it ends up subsidizing the lower-cost religious schools (ones often not any better than the public ones--in the same neighborhood, facing the same issues) with public dollars. And it draws middle class+ families (who can afford to cover the balance for better private schools) away from public schools--with public dollars. It's ultimately an attack on public education under the guise of school reform and support for low-income kids.

  35. Generally, the more rules you add to a system, the more difficult it becomes to predict its behavior. That's why in the real world we run simulations and scrutinize the data, and publicize results in detail.

    The number of rules in the previous system was relatively low -- a few categories for free lunch, parental education, etc., and no geographical bias.

    The new system even builds geography into the underprivilege criteria. There are underprivileged kids in CTIP2 who got no preference, and privileged kids in CTIP1 who got the preference.

    This year, probably over 90% of assignments at top-14 schools were determined by address. I'm very reluctant to see the winners and losers be determined by the neighborhoods they live in rather than random chance (and I live in CTIP1).

  36. It is a little harder to parade the spector of the evil parent wanting only Clarendon this year. The stats are out in the open now, and we can see the trash heap of 0/7, 0/10, and 0/20 assignments in the Southeast of the city.

    The city doesn't have capacity in SE schools. The federal government has put many schools here on fix or close lists. We have the legal right to ask for an alternative.

    Of course, SFUSD doesn't want this situation to be apparent.

    Vouchers are not about republican or democrat. They're about school access. They're about respecting that there is a relationship between who pays into the system and school access. Any parent would understand that. It is not a matter of politics.

    As it stands, the SE of the city pays into the pot. Home prices and rental prices in the SE are not that much lower than other parts of the city. Moreover, since there's been more turnover in the SE, the adjusted cost basis of SE homes isn't that different from the Avenues. The SE is where the majority of new families in the city now live. But when it comes to schools, they're left empty handed.

    To level this disparity in school access, families in the SE should be given financial assistance to pursue an alternative. As long as the city can't provide access for this growing family population, vouchers are fair.

    It's not a matter of political affiliation. It's a matter of tax fairness.

  37. A lot of us campaigned for either a pure lottery, or keeping the old system -- a lot of us who would actually benefit MORE from the new CTIP 1 system, or for a neighborhood system in which we had preference to our nearby immersion programs.

    Why? Because either one is fairer. Either a pure lottery or a household-by-household assessment of SES with preference to low-SES families levels the playing field for the middle class and up. What we ended up with is a system in which families in CTIP 2 areas had virtually no choice whatever their socioeconomic status, wealthier families in CTIP 1 areas had a golden ticket, immersion programs were virtually inaccessible to CTIP 2 residents of places like Bernal Heights, because CTIP 1 people over here often wanted immersion programs closer to home ... and now even the northwest-side people who thought they'd walk home with the top schools are screaming.

    Well, people who supported this new system, you got what you asked for.

  38. Where to even start?

    The SFUSD system is awful. I hope the day comes when a child is guaranteed they can attend their neighborhood school:

    1) The City gives constant lip service to "empowering neighborhoods". The local school brings families together more than almost any other institution, if it is actually in their neighborhood. Not so much when every family drives their child in ten different directions in the morning. I can already see the breakup of ties when all the preschoolers go off to their different schools. With life as hectic as it is for all of us, it would be a tremendous benefit to the City to embrace anything that would bring families together for a long time, and enhance continuity in neighborhoods.

    2) My child has been asking for months now what school she will attend. We're zero for ten, if we go all the way through till September I can't answer her. Is that a good experience for a child? While her friends talk about their new school she talks about what? Does anyone consider the cost of the anxiety to children and parents this system causes? But this is OK?

    3)People need to get their head out of the sand about why families leave SF. Yes, expensive is an influence. But the number one thing that individuals, organizations, companies don't want to deal with is uncertainty. The current system is a bureaucratic, secretive, stressful, complicated model of uncertainty.

    4) Fantastic post above from someone saying the algorithm should be posted. Of course! Duh. Why doesn't someone Sunshine that? Talk about a confidence breaker!

    5) It would be helpful if politically motivated people would stop painting parents who want neighborhood schools as not caring about students in CTIP areas. I do care. I'd pay more taxes for them. I'd support smaller class sizes for them, and take larger class sizes at my school. Just don't ruin my family's school experience to fix problems in poor performing schools. Why not hold the board, administrators and teachers accountable for that instead of us?

    5) If you are also upset about the current system, but you got into a school you like, I hope you won't forget those of us who weren't so lucky. If you don't like the system and yet have a wonderful school for your child, I hope you'll still remember to let the school board know how you felt about the warm, caring, wonderful, neighborhood building experience that school enrollment in San Francisco is.

  39. "Well, people who supported this new system, you got what you asked for."

    It's up to the Board to come up with a system that works. They're the ones with the data and the studies.

    Most people in CTIP2 SE areas saw what was coming. Most wanted a pure neighborhood sytem with access to a language program.

    We don't need people coming here from all over the city for Spanish immersion.

    The board is disconnected and deliberately stupid regarding the demographic realities of the city. Politics rather than fairness are the name of the game for the SFUSD Board.

  40. The anxiety your child is facing is on your head, no one else's, not even the districts. This is the hand that was dealt you, and if you chose to share the bad luck of the hand with your child, well, that is your fault. I, personally, would not be putting that onto a 4-5 year old.

    Your child is your product, not the district's.

  41. remember also, those trophy schools losing transport - those children have to get to school somehow. After a week, the parent may change their mind about the school and find an alternative close to home?

  42. Kelly - parents have lost the Miraloma lottery for years, even though they live on the same block, street, corner from the school. Same goes for Sloat, Grattan and a lot of the immersion schools.

    remember mckinley and miraloma were not perfect schools, not too long ago.

    and leaving the city is a hard decision. I have come to terms with the fact it might happen for us in a few years. But, at least these first several years of school are going to be free if I can help it.

  43. Are all the people complaining paying close attention to school board member elections and voting accordingly? How come the biggest supporters of assignment systems people hate keep getting reelected? I tried to vote against all of them to no avail.

  44. "The anxiety your child is facing is on your head, no one else's, not even the districts. This is the hand that was dealt you"

    Sorry, but you're not going to be telling me what hand my family is dealt.

    The situation for SE families is manufactured by the board, not a matter of fate.

    What a condescending snob you are.

  45. "Are all the people complaining paying close attention to school board member elections and voting accordingly? . . . I tried to vote against all of them to no avail."

    And why you think that is?

    It's because, come election time, the DCCC have their union lackies out on the corner handing out pamphlets. That's why Maufas won.
    Many union members don't actually research or think about the candidates that union bosses are promoting.

  46. Echoing 1:55

    The School Board (not the District, not the EPC) is to blame for the assignment system. The people who supported a new assignment system are not to blame because, as anyone who followed the process knows, in the end the Board members couldn't grasp the complexities and made decisions like "let's put CTIP1 ahead of neighborhood" for priority and didn't understand that that was a fundamentally different system. What we have now is actually the inverse of neighborhood system. If they didn't want neighborhood preference, they could have just used a random lottery (after siblings) of everyone who requested a school--that would have been equitable and diverse. Instead, they created a system where, not only do you not have preference for your neighborhood school, but anyone from a CTIP1 neighborhood actually outranks you--how does that make sense in any definition of equitable or rational or non-wasteful? The BoE did not understand that and clearly, sadly, many parents don't either.
    Main point, pay attention to BoE elections.

  47. I've always favored a choice system, and I have no patience for the "I live a block from Clarendon and my child deserves a spot there" attitude. But it is crazy for people in certain neighborhoods to get an assignment to a school completely outside of their area. I think that people should be offered a spot at a school that is reasonably close to them--even if it's a couple of miles away--rather than something they can't reasonably be expected to get to. This isn't to say that they should be able to choose the school, but that at least they should be assigned somewhere fairly nearby if they don't get any of their choices. In the past this has generally meant people in the Sunset and Richmond, where nearly all the schools are considered acceptable and there are a lot of kids.

  48. "I think the whole density preference should be scrapped. There were something like 60% of the city in high density. So those of us in without density preference are basically entirely shut entirely of having any shot at city-wide, immersion, or any of the more popular neighborhood schools. Not fun when you don't like your neighborhood school and have no preferences."

    I totally agree. Either that or they need to change the name from City-wide programs to "Random chance schools for 50% of all applicants." It is just NOT RIGHT that we were not included in the random drawings for Rooftop, or popular immersion programs. I'd rather know I lost the lottery than to not have been entered in it at all.

  49. Your data appears incorrect with respect to Buena Vista. There were 63 available spots, 15 of which were taken by siblings. 59 CTIP 1 applicants put BV down as their 1st choice, yet only 48 spots were available after sibs.

    BV was the only school where sibs + CTIP1 1st choice applicants exceeded the total available slots, and where no CTIP 2 folks got in.

  50. Buena Vista had a large # of CTIP1 applicants--which makes sense given it is in the heart of CTIP1 country. It is a CTIP1 neighborhood school, as it were (even though it is designated citywide as an immersion program). Along with Moscone it is certainly one of the more popular schools in the Mission, more so than CChavez and Bryant.

  51. Elementary Schools with low or no ctip offers

    Alamo 1%
    Feinstein 0%
    Jefferson 0%
    Key 0%
    Lafayette 0%
    McCoppin 0%
    Ortega 0%
    Parker 0%
    Peabody 0%
    Sunset 0%
    Sutro 0%
    Wo 0%

    Most of this I believe has to do with location more than anything and the elimination of busing.

  52. There are three spanish immersion spots available at Marshall Elementary. This is a great school. The spanish is amazing and the fluency levels for english native speakers is perhaps the best in the disrtrict. Both k teachers are wonderful! Good luck!

  53. "I totally agree. Either that or they need to change the name from City-wide programs to "Random chance schools for 50% of all applicants." It is just NOT RIGHT that we were not included in the random drawings for Rooftop, or popular immersion programs. I'd rather know I lost the lottery than to not have been entered in it at all."

    Word! It kills me to think I never even had a chance. I'm so pissed that just because of where I live (south east too), my chances for a city wide school/program are zero. At least with the old system, we were all at an equal level.

  54. 4:28 wrote: "BV was the only school where sibs + CTIP1 1st choice applicants exceeded the total available slots, and where no CTIP 2 folks got in."

    I do not have a horse in this year's race, but I would like to know how many of the CTIP1 applicants who got into the their 1st choice actually live in the projects. is the district even curious about that? What a flawed assignment system. It's laughable - just as laughable as the "home language" card was two years ago. It served many of the wrong people.

  55. March 23, 2011 1:55 PM writes: "Are all the people complaining paying close attention to school board member elections and voting accordingly? How come the biggest supporters of assignment systems people hate keep getting reelected? I tried to vote against all of them to no avail."

    There are many reasons why. The main one is that only about 10% of the electorate has kids in SFUSD schools. The other 90% couldn't care less about the BOE and will simply vote for whoever or whatever the DCC slate card or glossy union ad in their mail box tells them to

  56. 5:14:
    Yes, as usual, the upper middle class parents craving Spanish Immersion stampeded (blindly, like so many lemming-minded parents before them) to the same few Spanish immersion schools their neighbors already attend. They really should have looked at Marshall. Marshall offers many unique school-wide programs, and the staff is very cohesive and has higher academic expectations than what you find at other immersion school. Oh, well; you can lead a horse to water...

  57. We're UMC and crave Spanish immersion and we wanted Marshall. Badly. We're trying again for Round II. Please, please, please, 5:14, tell me what you wrote is true! I've been scanning this board for any word of Marshall since Saturday.

  58. 10:31 - It is true. I attend the school and got this information from the PTA president yesterday. If you had Marshall on your list and you are an English native speaker and didn't get it. I would talk to the district. There may have been an error.

  59. Helga sounds like a nice person and I'm glad her child was assigned the family's No. 1 choice, but am I alone in thinking that Helga's behavior is a little bit nutty? I mean, staying up late crunching numbers from Appendix E? Really? Before she even gets the letter? What possible difference does that effort make?

    That earlier poster was right: this system is a closed-door crap shoot. You just can't control the process and you'll make yourself crazy trying. Is this what Hugo needs to see? It's not life or death here.

    (In the spirit of full disclosure, my son got into Grattan under the old system. At the time we were so broke we couldn't afford a second bedroom or a car, but I had set up a reasonably priced parochial school as backup and was saving money for a possible move to the East Bay. We went to a parade on the day the letter was due to arrive and had a great time. A family always has options.)

    Don't get me wrong, I was nervous and stressed and the school tours actually put my job in jeoprady. I cried when we received the assignment letter. So I was kind of nutty too. But I didn't kid myself that I could micromanage a process almost entirely out of my control.

  60. I crunched numbers last year the morning b/f we got the letter. Everybody does nutty stuff when stressed.

    Just want to say that it's so not over yet. It's terribly dissappointing not to get something you want in Round 1, believe me I know. We got in our #1 school three days after school started.

    Where is Marcia Brady? Marcia did you have good luck? Where did you land?

  61. I have no reason to need the data, but even *I* am interested in the "demand spreadsheet" that SFUSD usually publishes, to see total requests for each individual school. I'm not sure why there isn't more of an outcry that this data hasn't been provided -- it's what I used a few years ago when I was trying to decide what school to select as my wait pool, etc. I realize they gave an overall report, but there isn't a lot of data for some individual school sites. Again, I personally don't need the info for that reason this year, but I'm still very curious about the demand at each individual school and program.

  62. CTIP1 is a proxy for low-income H and AA students, many of whom live in or near public housing. It might make sense to cast a smaller net and have only residents of public or section 8 housing in a CTIP1 zone benefit from the CTIP1 advantage.

  63. 'CTIP1 is a proxy for low-income H and AA students'

    It was supposed to be a proxy but it didn't work out that way. Anyone with half a brain knew what was going to happen, anyone except everyone on the Board of Education. Many prognosticators on this blog said as much months ago, including me. It was obvious what would happen. It's human nature to find a way.

  64. 12:05, lots of very poor families do not live in Section 8 or projects. There are many tenement apartments in the Mission that are neither, and small homes in the Bayview too. So limiting to Section 8 or projects would not cast the net wide enough.

    I think the vast majority of CTIP1 applicants are pretty much low-SES. However, they applied to a different schools that is not so noticed by folks on this blog. Moscone, Carver, Drew, Taylor. Buena Vista (which is noticed). It was mostly the high-SES applicants from CTIP1, probably a little more than 10% of the total CTIP1, who applied to Rooftop and Clarendon; hence the skewed stats for those schools. We may be seeing the trees for the forest here.

  65. The CTIP1 golden ticket needs a feeder pattern. The ticket holder can not use it for any choice. The school district can decide that certain CTIP1 areas feed into certain CTIP2 areas, with an eye towards reducing the overconcentration of African American and Hispanic students. Maybe even leapfrog over the closest CTIP2 areas to give SE CTIP2 parents a break.

  66. Why is it that folks who can afford to live in the Grattan or Clarendon attendance area are more entitled to spots at these school than a poor (or even lower middle-class) kid from the Mission or Bayview? For that matter, why does a kid who lives near Clarendon or Grattan have more right to attend one of those schools than any other child in the city? I realize that Rachel Norton seems very sensitive to the concerns of her constitutents who didn't get into Grattan or Clarendon even though they had neighborhood preference, but really are these the folks the district should be giving a leg up in the process?

  67. The reason Clarendon and Grattan are good is because high SES families made them so. Absolutely low SES CTIP1 kids should get preference for these schools, and guess what - THEY DO. Unfortunately so do high SES CTIP1 kids, which is the obvious flaw. But eliminating neighborhood preference altogether would be a huge mistake.

  68. Hey . . .

    My husband just quipped "I have a new name for the new No Child Left Behind program . . . No Child Gets Ahead!"

  69. Helga - This is Meredith who did a bunch of the reviews two years ago (searching in the 2008-09 year for K in 2009-10). First, congratulations on your great news. That is so fantastic. You must be so relieved.

    I thought I posted an update but basically - we went 0/7 in the first round. It was really painful at the time, we were emotionally beaten and it felt terribly unfair. My empathy to all those feeling like their world is turned upside down right now.

    In round 2 we got our waitpool school, Starr King MI. Had a great kindergarten year, love the K teacher. We made great friends at SKMI and are still in contact with many of those families today. But for a variety of reasons we ended up switching DD to private school in 1st grade. The private school is very very good for DD this year though it hasn't been much of a social outlet for us, as a family. (We were the only family to switch this year, it's not common.)

    And, now for my husband's work, our family is planning to move out of state.

    We'll miss tons of stuff about San Francisco. But we won't miss the insanity of school applications and going through all this again in 4 years... :)

    Anyway, to Helga. Embrace your good news and thanks for sharing your story. You and your fellow bloggers provided a great service to this blog.

    To everyone else - I hated the folks who always said that it would work out. But yes, for MOST folks it does work out whether private, round 2, summer or 10 day count. Good luck everyone!

  70. but really are these the folks the district should be giving a leg up in the process?

    No, not really, but you'll never get away with saying that on this blog

  71. Everyone should get a leg up in getting into their local school if that is where they want to go. I am in favor of a local school preference policy. It makes transportation sense at the ES and MS levels.

    I balance that position in favor of neighborhood schools with consideration for low income areas that have lower achieving schools, and residents who can not afford to move to the high SES areas. They need more options than just going to their local schools. They need a chance to get into the westside schools, as much as a chance as westside residents have.

    So everyone should be allowed a local school preference at two schools of their choosing, no matter where they live. It is a movement back to citywide choice, but only part of the way back, because there is still a local school preference component. This is called a public school voucher.

    Clarendon: All the CTIP1 seats would be freed up because there is no CTIP1 golden ticket. Many students citywide will use a local prefernce for Clarendon, so it still does not look good for Clarendon residents getting into Clarendon, but at least the Clarendon residents will have another local school preference choice to use, perhaps at a nearby school. Having a local school prefernce is better than having a high density area preference at that nearby school.

    Westside students will lose some seats to centrally located students as those centrally located students use thier second local school preference on a westside school. Everybody gets pushed around a little. Everybody shares the burden.

  72. I went through this process three years ago, along with Kate. I have to say I had high hopes that the new system would result in more satisfied middle-class families. The reality is that the demand for a select few of schools continues to exceed capacity. I am really happy to see that there are many more schools and programs on the ‘desirable’ or ‘acceptable’ list than there was 3 years ago, however it seems the odds of getting them aren’t changing because the continued increase in overall applicants.

    The biggest positive I see is that the District is finally collecting year-over-year data and analyzing it. This is the first step to good decision making. Now they have real evidence of demand patterns that can be used to make changes on the school program level that will address some of the shortfalls in the system.

    The data shows a high demand for K-8 and Language programs. The District was on the right track when they created the new BV K-8 Immersion program this year.

    Here is my idea (are you reading this Rachel?). Clarendon had one of the highest percent of 1st choice request among attendance area residents. Yet, it is obvious from the results of Round 1 that Clarendon does not have the capacity in its GE program to handle its attendance area population plus others with placement preferences. Why not? Well, partly because half the school campus is dedicated to a city-wide program (JBBP). I know for a fact that a couple of years ago the Clarendon JBBP program submitted a letter of interest to the District seeking its own campus. The application included the condition that any move would be contingent on the support of the families in the program at the time an offer was made. I believe that most families would support a move if a K-8 JBBP program was part of the deal. If the District could create a new K-8 JBBP program, it could 1) increase the capacity in the JBBP language programs(current demand is 174% of capacity), 2) increase the capacity in K-8 programs (current demand is 206% of capacity), and 3) increase the capacity of the GE program at Clarendon.

  73. good idea 9:05. I was thinking the same thing myself because I'm familiar with the JBBP attempt to secede from the campus. DON'T BLAME THEM. A friend of mine had her kid in K year when she stumbled upon a soccer game at a park. She saw it was Clarendon Second Community students and there parents. When she asked if was the school soccer team she was told that it was. When my friend (who is Chinese) mentioned she hadn't heard anything about the team she said the parents (all caucasian) cracked a slight nervous smile and didn't say anything. She said that the only families that were welcoming to her were the JBBP parents.

  74. good idea 9:05. I was thinking the same thing myself because I'm familiar with the JBBP attempt to secede from the campus. DON'T BLAME THEM. A friend of mine had her kid in K year when she stumbled upon a soccer game at a park. She saw it was Clarendon Second Community students and there parents. When she asked if was the school soccer team she was told that it was. When my friend (who is Chinese) mentioned she hadn't heard anything about the team she said the parents (all caucasian) cracked a slight nervous smile and didn't say anything. She said that the only families that were welcoming to her were the JBBP parents. She also said that the Second Community parents were cold, unwelcoming and acted as though you didn't exist unless you were white. She did say thing got a little better as the year went on only because some of their kids played with hers. I'm not suprised so many of these K-Filers and their ilk (upper middle class whites) like it so much.

  75. 2:43 PM. Sorry that your friend felt so uncomfortable, but I don't think that this is the norm.

    My children are in Second Community and I'd say that their classes are about 30% white. The children in the class speak many different languages at home such as Russian, Spanish, Farsi, Cantonese, etc...Our family is far from priviledged and has never been made to feel inferior or unwelcome by any of the parents.

    My children love the school and have a very diverse group of friends. The parents that actively participate are also a very diverse and cooperative group. The children from both sides of the school play together and often have friends in both programs. My children go on field trips with the JBBP kids and some of the events at the school are for both communities.

    I can see JBBP wanting its own space because the school is not really big enough for 500 students, and as a result, there are many bungalows which nobody really likes. Over the years, I see a lot of Clarendon bashing from people with no first hand experience with the school. Sometimes I wonder if it is just a case of bitter people who didn't get their children into the school.

  76. I'm sorry, but the only way you will get another Clarendon is to recreate the same atmosphere that school has and the fact that it is accessible from so many parts of the city. Try doing that, surround a schooling euclyptus groves of wilderness, then add your language, make it in the cross roads of 5 communities, and then you will have another rooftop and claredon. It has nothing to do with the japanese track, which is lacking in comparison to the SI or MI tracks.

    These are all impossible unless you move Glen Park back into the canyon. wouldn't that be nice? It would be an entirely different school because of it.

    People are supperficial. Don't forget it.

  77. "surround a schooling euclyptus groves of wilderness"

  78. I see the Creative Arts Charter School was on your list, my daughter has been accepted there. The school sounds awesome and I want to be excited BUT....I have been hearing that there is a problem with bullying in the upper grades. It is very important to me that my child learn in a safe place. I understand conflict happens but hitting should not be tolerated. Any parents out there with kids in the middle school program? What is your experience with bullying and children being afraid at school?

    Thank you for any information you can provide in regards to this issue. Middle School choices are stressful!