Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Crazy Kindergarten Search Begins - Game On!

And so it begins... the search for my little one's Kindergarten! And why not share the horrors and vent my pain with the readers of The SF K Files? I'm happy to be one of the new guest bloggers and hope that what I write is helpful to somebody! Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a mama of two, a mama of color, a progressive/community-minded mama, a mama living in Bayview, a college-educated mama struggling financially, a non-profit mama, and a mama who thinks a good education is so important!  

My daughter is a little performer, very outgoing and her preschool teacher commented, "She's got it together!"  I want to find the school that fits her personality, challenges her academically, makes her excited to learn, does not stunt her creativity, and gives her opportunities in music, performance, leadership, etc. (That's not too much to ask for, is it?) I don't want a school that skimps on science and math education. We care about ethnic and economic diversity of the students and teachers. We hope to find a good Spanish language program, but it's not completely necessary. 

My husband and I currently want to look into these schools: 
ER Taylor (The school my husband went to as a kid.)  
Buena Vista
Fairmount Elementary 
Clarendon (Does it live up to the hype?)
Commodore Sloat
West Portal

And, while my husband and I feel so conflicted politically about sending our kids to private school, we still want to look into: 
The Hamlin School
Our Lady of Visitacion
The San Francisco School

Since we only attended public schools, we at least want to see what private school is about! We also have no idea how to gauge which private schools in SF are good. Do you have any resources or tips on how to determine which private schools to look into?

Are there any other schools I should look into?
Do other southeast families want to share their lists?

I have to end this by saying, this process is totally crazy. We really should not have to be doing this, wasting so much of our time and energy. All our kids should have well-funded, good neighborhood schools! But, that is not the reality... so Game On! Time to find the right kindergarten for our little one. 


  1. Welcome! You look like you're off to a great start. Depending on your location/commute path, you might want to look at Sunnyside and three charter options: Creative Arts Charter, Edison Charter, and Mission Prep. Charters are public schools but are independent of SFUSD so they have a bit more flexibility in the way they approach education. Like all public schools, they are free.
    Good luck. I look forward to reading your posts.

  2. We're also looking into options in the SE (live in Portola). I have a list of about 18 schools, some fairly well-regarded, some not but I haven't eliminated the "bad" ones yet. So: Sf Community, El Dorado, Glen Park, Guadalupe, Longfellow, Miraloma, Monroe, Serra, Starr King, Sunnyside, Taylor, Webster, Alvarado.

  3. Thanks "anonymous" for the tips! Thanks for sharing your list sp! - I definitely have a lot more schools to look into.

  4. Also look at Glen Park. The new principal there has a great track record.

  5. The San Francisco School is a wonderful option. They have good financial aid packages and it's a great school. It's worth a look if you are close-by.

  6. If you can close your eyes and ignore the required IQ test, Nueva is a great private option for SE parents. A bus loading at Chavez & Harrison,a 25-minute ride down the peninsula, and great financial aid. It's a gifted and talented school, but the point is really the amazing curriculum rather than the label. That, thank goodness, is not something the kids are exposed to. But they are exposed to unbelievable teaching and resources for learning.

  7. Consider Thomas Edison Charter Academy (TECA) - it has an academically rigorous curriculum, with daily instruction by full time credentialed teachers for Art, Drama, Music, & PE; an option for 50-50 Spanish-English immersion or general education, healthy food, renovated building, nice computer lab, on-site extended-day care. Love our teachers, administration, & vibrant diverse parent community.
    Tours every Tues 8:30am when school is in session.
    Applications accepted first-come first-served.
    We've been really happy so far - & from your criteria, it may be an option for your little performer. :)

  8. On schools, they come in all different flavors, and what's "good" for one may not be as "good" for another. It's a lot of work, and writing this it feels trite to say this, but the only way to know is to tour the schools with an open mind and ask yourself if it feels like a good fit for your daughter. Can you "see" her there, flourishing and happy? Sometimes your gut can be the best guide. We went through the process twice and it worked for us. Good luck - look forward to hearing about your search!

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