I've added my tour notes for Daniel Webster our attendance area school here
I loved my visit to Daniel Webster. The parents here are hugely committed to the school, as is the local community. The PTA is pretty new (maybe 2 years?) but are already getting some great funding and resources into the school, there is a school site council which votes on how the funds are allocated.
The children all appeared to me to be kind and respectful to one another and adults
I've been impressed with all of the public schools I've visited so far regardless of their API scores, which in fact I'm pretty much disregarding at this point.
Even my original three criteria might need to be more flexible
* A great GE program with additional art, music, sport
All of the GE K classes (and higher grades) that I have been in seem to be working in the same way. They all have lots of art on the walls. Most tours are in the morning which is more advantageous to learning so children have always been doing numbers or letters at that time. But I don't doubt that they are getting art in their day. Sport is pretty much PE and is the same everywhere. Some schools have Playworks for recess which is a more co-ordinated play time.
* a guaranteed spot in an after school program which isn't outrageously expensive
There is a CDC onsite and they charge $460 per month for fee paying. There are also Parks & Rec which walk the children to Jackson park, Recess which is offsite and Active Kids which is offsite. There is an Excel program starting in January 2012
* thirdly we would like the school to be easily accessible by public transportation or walking so that either of us can do pick ups.
Location: 10 minutes to drive - but I would feel pretty guilty adding to the pollution and traffic for a one mile school trip. The school is not walkable in a reasonable time. Bus and walking would be around 35-40 minutes door to door.
Something I did not add to my criteria but I'm finding it impacting my choice is the Middle School Feeder program. e.g. I'm not touring Starr King because it feeds into Aptos which is a geographically difficult commute from SOMA.
Daniel Webster feeds into ISA a 6-12 school. On paper (API) it looks better (marginally) than Everett but I can't get past the 6-12 part. I went to their table at the SFUSD school fair this weekend and asked for information on their Middle School program. They had a little stack of High school info and handed me a pamphlet and told me that they are a a High School though they are the only 6-12 in San Francisco. Well I know they are, but if they don't seem to care about the Middle School why should we send our children there? I do know that the parents at Daniel Webster are meeting with SFUSD tonight to discuss the Feeder Program and I am on tenterhooks waiting to find out how it went. Please let us know DW parents.
So yet another public school that I would be happy to send my child to, the middle school feeder school not so much.