Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tenderloin Community School Tour Notes

I just posted my tour notes for Tenderloin Community School

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

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

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

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

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


  1. I'm glad you toured this school. My child's preschool teacher left to be a student teacher here and she had wonderful things to say about the community. I remember her loving the kids and finding the parenting community supportive.

  2. Also, be aware that most middle schoolers get to school on MUNI by themselves. So the realistic question is, can your child get to their designated feeder school safely and on time from your home? I know when your child is 4 it's really tough to think about that ever being feasible, but just to let you know that's reality for most middle schoolers.

  3. I know many of the teachers here personally, and they are on the whole an extremely talented and dedicated bunch! I don't think there's PTA money, but they do seem to have a lot of extracurricular extras funded by community agencies.

  4. $460 x 9 months = $4140

    For a few dollars more, you could afford to pay for a great parochial school with enriched aftercare, a great sports program, or language and/or a music program . . . Zion Lutheran, Finn Barr, St. Paul's, St. Philip's come to mind.

    Aftercare at our private school, which extends to 6pm, costs $3000 per year. I fail to see why aftercare at Tenderloin Community School costs public school parents more than $4000 per year.

    Sounds like a rip off to me.

  5. Does anyone know how the aftercare program at Tenderloin Community is financed?

    By my calculation, if $460 per month is the amount that is charged to the city or state for subsized aftercare, that increases the per student yearly costs by 50%, from about $9,000 per student to 13,000 per student.

    Moreover, this subsidy is not available to middle income families, which then hobbles their earning potential, because one parent has to cut back to part time to pick up in the early afternoon.

    No wonder the state is on the verge of financial collapse. No wonder it is the middle class, not traditional very low income families, that are protesting.

  6. Just a quick note regarding afterschool care. It is provided by the CDC which is onsite at Tenderloin Community but not part of the school. The money does not go to the school from what I gather.
    The cost quoted when I called is exactly the same as at other CDCs I talked to, including the CDC at Bessie Carmichael and at Daniel Webster. After School or extended care at Mission Dolores is an additional $125 per month on top of tuition, and at St. Charles is a per hour cost which is around $5 per hour.

  7. MJ:

    Our private school provides 2.5 hours of quality supervised aftercare per day. It costs less then $2.00 per hour.

    In addition to basic afterschool care, our family pays an additional $2.00 per hour, or $2,000 per year, which covers afterschool participation and coaching on a Viking soccer team, violin lessons, and an art class.

    So for about $3,000 per year, our family gets 2.5 hours of aftercare + coached soccer + violin + art.

    I'm not sure what kind of programming they are offering at Tenderloin Community School and all the other CDC afterschool programs, but $4000+ per year sounds like a rip off, by any metric.

  8. There are several aftercare options at Tenderloin -- some free, some for fee. I don't know the details, but just wanted to point out that you may have other choices there aside from CDC.

  9. MJ,
    Thanks for touring this school and giving notes. The other information that people are giving about after-school costs and programs are beneficial but obviously, you need to look at the "total" package (location, start-time, costs, community, etc.) when deciding upon a school. You seem very clear headed and reasonable so I'm sure that will guide you throughout the process. Also it might be helpful if people named their schools (aka 9:25 & 10:39) so their information is more complete. After school care at $2 per hour at a $21K per year school is a different story than $4K per year at a public school.

  10. 2:57 PM:

    Basic afterschool care at many private schools and many parochial schools is offered for about $2 per hour.

    It's afterschool care . . . the kids are playing . . . you only need about 1 adult for 20 kids.

    Even if each family was only paying $2 per hour, for two hours, with twenty kids, that's $80. Pretty good for just hanging out, watching kids in the playground.

    If the kids went to a school close to home, a parent group could probably run an afterschool program for next to nothing. Ah, but we don't want that!!

    So why does the CDC charge $5 per hour (raking in $200 for two hours of watching twenty kids play)?

    Sounds like a boondoggle to me, "total picture" or not, unfortunately at taxpayer expense.

  11. There are 176 instructional days in a school year. I checked, and Tenderloin lets out at 2:40, which means that if the after-school program runs until 6, that's 3 1/3 hours per day of coverage. So about 587 hours of coverage per year. Assuming you pay $460 per month for 10 months (which I doubt is the case -- I'll bet August is prorated), that means you're paying $4,600 for 587 hours of coverage, and that's about $7.84 per hour. That covers not only salaries of the after-care teachers and a site coordinator, but supplies, snacks (most after-school programs provide healthy snacks), insurance, and time that after-care teachers would need to be on site preparing for students and cleaning up afterward, as well as performing administrative tasks associated with running the program. That doesn't strike me as a waste of money, especially if we are talking about paying the people who care for our children a living wage. I have experience sending my kids to two different after-school programs at public schools, and the people who work there are not just providing glorified babysitting (i.e., watching kids on the playground for 2+ hours). They help with homework, and they run enrichment programs. They also are required to know CPR, have had full background checks, and have some training in child development.

    As for the idea that this is some waste of taxpayer money, the way I read the post was that $460 is the cost if you are paying the entire fee. I'm not sure how 9:50 gets to the $13K figure. If you're paying the full fee, no government agency is subsidizing your spot.
    Some individual spots may be subsidized, but it's not as if the state is paying more for those spots. And the families who get those subsidized spots have to jump through a lot hoops to secure them.

    I do agree that the middle class should have access to more high-quality, low-cost, subsidized after-school care. But not by sacrificing quality or throwing the poor under the bus.

  12. What is the student to care provider ratio in these CDC sponsored aftercare programs?

  13. Hey MJ,

    I found the Children's Council flyer for San Francisco aftercare programs:

    I'd be interested to hear if you manage to get access to subsidized aftercare. The children's council flyer does not specify an income cutoff for qualification, so I'm curious to see how they determine who qualifies for the $460 per month, per child subsidy.

    According to Rachel Norton, any family earning over $100,000 per year is "affluent". Just check out her latest rant on Prop H. However, I really don't see that a family of four earning $100,000 per year (that' about 65,000 a year, post income tax) isn't hurt by having to pay $920 per month for aftercare.

    Gee, little wonder that all those police and fire workers earning $100,000 per year don't live in the city.

    I'm glad the powers that be are so concerned about the "living wage" of CDC aftercare workers, but not about others who can't access these CDC programs, and can't make ends meet without them.

  14. Children's Council of San Francisco

    2011-2012 Afterschool Guide

  15. Hey 6:32:

    When the 90 year old women on my street breaks her hip because the sidewalk in front of the DPW "greenspace" on our street hasn't been repaired for twenty years, maybe you can tell her about all the happy CDC programs that are pulling down $8 x 14 kids = $112 per hour.

    No wonder the city and state are broke. No wonder our sidewalks, streets, parks and bridges are crumbling.

    Oh, by the way, maybe you had better dig up that recent Examiner article to know which bridges and overpasses to stay off of.

  16. Let's be appreciative that there are after school programs, that some families are subsidized, and the people taking care of our children are well-paid and trained. All children and families should have access to quality childcare; it is a benefit to everyone in our society if children are well-treated and supported in their education. We also need jobs that pay a living wage so working people don't live in poverty. The low pay associated with education and child care shows our moral and ethical weakness as a culture. The people who educate and take care of our children should not have to struggle financially. The safety, well-being, and education of the children in our society is a group effort and best achieved through our collective will and support. The United States has a paltry support system for families compared with other industrialized, first world nations like Germany or France. Let's not be hostile toward the little family support we receive. Let's expand it.

  17. 8:35:

    The US leads the world in spending per child on education at $7,743 per child, which far exceeds that of Germany: $4,682 per child, and France: $5,541 per child.

    Sorry, 8:35, you'll have to find some other spendthrift utopia to beam up to; it ain't Germany and France.

  18. Education and family support are two different things and two different line items within a budget. Families in Germany and France receive support on many levels:child care, pre and post natal medical and social services support, more support for single mothers, better pensions and safety nets for the middle and working classes, and free higher education. I think if you look at the statistics of children living in poverty in the US versus Germany or France, you will find a much different and disturbing picture. Maybe these countries might be able to spend less on formal education because children are coming from such distressed and impoverished circumstances....

  19. Immigration to Germany:

    " The development within German immigration law clearly shows that immigration of skilled employees and academics is eased while the labour market remains closed for unskilled workers."

    Immigration to France:

    "A recent study points to the restrictive nature of French immigration policy, making it one of the toughest amongst the countries of 'Old Europe'."

  20. "France is a leading proponent for tougher, more unified immigration policies across Europe, including the introduction of quotas, biometric passports, European frontier police, and a European wide policy on refuge status. These are proposals that will be high on the agenda during the forthcoming French Presidency of Europe, commencing July [2011] this year."

  21. @8:03 and @8.06 thank you for posting the link. I'll do more research on available options.

    I do not believe that I would have any qualifying factors for a reduction in tuition but I will check.

  22. MJ -- the $460 a month figure you quoted is not out of line from my experience. The GLO afterschool programs at various schools as well as the Stonestown Y programs are all charging around that amount. And for those above complaining, yes it is a substantial chunk of change. But these programs provide a lot of "added value" for kids' day. The Stonestown Y programs, for example, run a whole bunch of different sports, arts, reading, and organized play activities. And they help with homework Yes, there are cheaper afterschool programs at some schools, but the "extras" disappear in those programs. For example, Stevenson's KEEP program charges only $300, but it is glorified childwatch. I bet a close look at some of the Catholic and other private school's cheaper afterschool programs would reveal they merely do childwatch as well.

  23. Most of the private afterschool programs I am aware of involve after school assistance with homework. Is that the same for public schools?

  24. VOTE NO on PROP H.

  25. 3:51, as described by the post just above yours, the public school afterschool offerings differ from school to school. To a great extent you do get what you pay for, although some subsidized programs may have quite rich offerings, esp at some of the more low-income public schools if they have good-sized grants.

  26. The biggest reason for racr and class segregation in our schools rivalling that in the '60s, at the same time that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, is that almost half of whites in this City go private. I won't be a part of that. I want to help to improve the schools in the Tenderloin so they can get better for everyone, not just find a solution many cannot afford, particularly the most vulnerable and impoverished children.

  27. Vote Yes on Prop H!

  28. Vote NO on Prop H, even those on the radio this morning who supposedly supported Prop H said that they "wouldn't send THEIR kids to their neighborhood school".
    That speaks volumes, doesn't it?

  29. Yes on H get over it. That's one guy. We need to cut down on traffic. The African American Democratic Club came out for Prop H and Mauffas is on their board. We need good neighborhoods in every school. The Lottery should be for raising money for the schools, not driving families out of the City and making everyone hold their breath and have no idea where their children will go to school. Allow certainty and focus on making all our schools excellent. Yes on H!