Friday, November 30, 2012

Redshirting in 2013

From a reader......

As we get closer to January, my husband and I have a big decision to make....  Whether or not to send our son to kindergarten in August 2013.

Our son turns 5 at the end of September, right before the October 1st cut-off for SFUSD.  He will be 4 years old on the first day of school.

-  He is the second born, so he is used to playing-with, keeping-up with older kids
-  Verbal, gross-moter & social skills seem on track for kinder
-  He is of average size, so he won't look like the smallest in the class
-  He seems ready and he wants to go
-  We think the mental challenge is good for his development (see below)

-  He loves sports and seems motivated & coordinated to play team sports
-  He will be the youngest in his class...  forever

Our daughter was also born right before the cut-off and sending her was the best decision we ever made.  Our decision was reinforced by this article in the NYT supporting younger kids starting kinder...

NYT, Delay Kindergarten at your Child's Peril

Notably, "Parents want to provide the best environment for their child, but delaying school is rarely the right approach.  The first six years of life are a time of tremendous growth and change in the developing brain.  Synapses, the connections between brain cells, are undergoing major reorganization.  Indeed, a 4-year-old's brain uses more energy than it ever will again.  Brain development cannot be put on pause, so the critical question is how to provide the best possible context to support it.
For most children, that context is the classroom."

Although we have a strong bias towards sending him, our approach will be to meet with his preschool teachers in early January to assess his readiness, then pull the trigger....

Parents - Are you facing this decision?  Will you send your child next fall or hold them back?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

SF Schoolhouse: Open House

From the Director...

The San Francisco Schoolhouse, a progressive, affordable elementary school in the Richmond district, has decided to grow its grade levels through 8th grade.  We are currently accepting applications for up to 3rd grade for the 2013/2014 school year.

We are hosting an Open House on Wednesday, December 5th at 6:30 p.m.  

We offer:
-  High - quality, hands-on experiential learning
-  A 10-1 student/teacher ratio
-  A close-knit community with a unique parent participation model
-  Low tuition ($8,600/year per website)

Find out more at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bernal visits Buena Vista Horace Mann

I am feeling pretty fried and drained from this process. I am seeing four schools this week and five next.

This was my number one school coming into this game and site unseen. The location, late start time (9:30), spanish immersion and K-8.....I was sold.

(I let myself in via a back gate that seemed like it should have been locked but wasnt. I proceeded to wander around for a good five minutes before finding anyone to ask where to go. Is this a safety concern? Maybe.)

Schools tarts at 9:30 AM. There is early drop-off starting at 7:30 AM and after-care until 6:00 PM. the aftercare is a combination of fee-based and excel scholarships. Thursday is an early dismissal day for teacher collaboration and aftercare is available earlier in the day.

This tour was huge - I am guessing over 50 people. Per usual, we all gathered in the auditorium where the principal introduced herself and fielded questions for about 35 minutes and then went on the tour.

The principal, Jennifer Steiner, is in her first year at BVHM. She came from Monroe where she was the principal for six years (and taught for five years at Monroe prior to that). While she seemed lovely she definitely did not WOW me. She did not scream power to me (not power in a ruling way, but power in a loud voice to the school district to be heard and recognized).

Buena Vista is SFSUD first immersion school and the second oldrest one in California. Horace Mann is the oldest middle school in SF.  The two merged last year as the city's first K-8 immersion school. There are about 30-35 teachers in tlower school and about 20 in the upper school. Most teachers are tenured/veteran and about five have less than two years teaching experience. Like the other immersion programs, kinder starts with 90%ish Spanish and then by 4th or 5th grade is 50%. Jennifer stated that SFUSD does not have a policy for percentages in the middle school and this is something theya re working on together.

The School Improvement Grants (SIG) grant ends at the end of 2012-2013 school and with it is the end of $1,000,000!! Jennifer said they were looking into other grants right now but didnt elaborate.

Jennifer stated her number one goal is for the school to feel like one school rather than two and recognized that this will take time. She said there have already been "several" suspensions this year (did not say how many) in both upper and lower grades and when pressed about how often she gets called in for disciplinary issues she said "well, yesterday was zero but the day before was three times". This seemed like a lot to me...anyone else??

There are four administrators onsite - the principal (Jennifer), a community school coordinator, director of instruction and learning and the original principal of Buena Vista (not sure what his role is on a daily basis).

The younger kids and older kids (middle school) are mostly separate. The middle school is housed on the third floor and a separate building. They have separate recess, PE, gymnasiums. This was different than a lot of the private school K-8 schools where they talked a lot of about the intermingling of ages. There is a school cafeteria and two grades at a time eat together (K/1, 2/3, 4/5)

I asked about community partnerships and she answered that they were currently re-evaluating all of their partnerships. They do partner with PlayWorks (as do all Mission schools, she said) and AcroSports.

While the tours were parent led, none of the parents I approached were part of th PTA. They all said they volunteered in various ways but were not PTA members. Last year the PTA raised $100,000 and helped fund field trips, teacher grants and art programs. There is an 80% time gardener who is funded for two more years (not sure what she is funded by). There is a library which looked like a library and a computer lab.

The tour: We went into one kinder, first, second and third grade. We were told we could stay after to look into the middle school but by then I HAD to go. I am hoping to go back next week.

I loved what I saw in the kinder was noisy and full of life and there was lots going on - kids working at their desks independently, small groups and one larger group. It seems chaotic but with one "ba da bum bum" the kids were silenced and focused on the teacher! KUDOS! I counted 18 children in the classroom.

The next kinder class was at choral but the teacher invited us in for a 20 minute chat/Q&A which was without doubt, the most useful thing I have gotten out of ANY tour. She talked about curriculum, literacy (phonics versus site words) expectations upon entering, how kids who are struggling are supported, how kids who are advancing quickly are kept stimulated. She said that by November the kids are understanding everything that is said to them in Spanish in the classroom. She showed us examples of work and projects. (I learned today that textbooks change no sooner than every seven years!).

There is library, computer lab, gardening and choral every other week. I am not sure if this is K-3 or K-5.

All of the first, second and third grade classes had between 17-19 kids. The second grade teacher followed us into the hallway to ask if we had any questions about the curriculum. All of the kids seemed engaged and focused.

Overall, I like the school. I am curious to see if the principal has what it takes to make this school as amazing as it can be! I think there are huge potentials with this school and I was really impressed with the bit of classes I saw. The issues of several suspensions and daily discipline is a bit concerning as well (but I dont know - is this normal? doesnt seem right...). The huge loss of revenue is also concerning to me.

Science vs. Diversity - Alta Vista School

Okay, I am a little scared to post this review, especially since this will make it two controversial posts in a row. Generally, thesfkfiles bloggers seem to be very neutral and observant, but I left the tour with my heart beating hard and I was actually angry. I asked my husband if I should post at all and he said that it’s an issue that should be talked about and that it’s worth putting out there. I agree, so here goes.

I entered the school doors of Alta Vista less than 7 minutes after I left my house. I basically wanted to love the school. It’s so close to our home, we could walk. We began the tour in empty Kindergarten classrooms and things looked great. The schedule was written in a mix of Spanish and English. They try to use Spanish in all the grades just to get the kids more exposure with the language and half the teachers have some fluency. There was science in every classroom and in the hallways. This is a big plus for me, because my daughter has shown such an interest in learning about how her body works, the weather, astronomy, etc. She also has a love for maps and there were large maps in every classroom. One class had a huge map of the United States and the students are using it to plan a cross-country road trip as one of their projects. Students at all grade levels do presentations about current events. There were lots of interesting and innovate projects that were explained throughout the tour about ants, cars, weather, etc.

There seemed to be a growing check-list of things that the school has: Music, PE, Fine Arts, Spanish-exposure, small class sizes, after school program, nice library, community service projects, an easy way to drop-off kids, etc. (Things to note that they don’t have yet or may be an issue to some are: They are still working on creating an outdoor play area. There is no librarian. They will outgrow the space in 5-7 years.)

So one question I ask myself at all the school tours is, can I see my daughter here? In the empty classrooms and with all the great science talk, I probably could. But what I started to notice when I saw all the children and the teachers was that visually, nearly everyone, looked white. Now this is not always a deal breaker for me. I just wanted to know more about diversity.

So as we ended the tour, I asked the head of school, “What is your approach to diversity?” (Okay, so I am totally outing myself to those on the tour and the staff who were there.) And the head of school's answer was something like this… (I’m putting quotes on this, but it’s really not what he said word-for-word. It’s just the easiest way I can explain it.)

“I was helping a high school student trying to get admitted to college and I was speaking to someone about it and he said the student had high test scores and high grades, but that they needed an oboe player and he wasn’t an oboe player. We're not like that.” Then he mentioned something about financial aid.

And, when I followed-up with a question about how student might have opportunities to explore their ethnic backgrounds and culture, he said that there was no structure for that, but that families could share their ethnic celebrations with the school.

Did he really just answer my diversity question with a strike against affirmative action quotas? He did NOT say anything about how the school values diversity, how kids can bring their whole selves to the classroom, how diversity in the classroom creates a more vibrant learning environment, how they do projects on family histories, how they lean into any issues that might arise about racism or cultural misunderstanding, how they know it’s important for kids to see themselves reflected back in their teachers, how kids learn about the diverse histories of people throughout the world, how they are trying to diversify more, how they make it a point to celebrate diverse holidays, how… anything. But there was nothing. Everything would be left for the parents to ask for or to bring in. I guess I should at least appreciate the honesty.

And don’t forget, first and foremost, their approach to diversity is that they are not going to let you in just because you are a person of color. I never thought that in the first place. And, actually, I felt really offended. While the head of school boasted that the school is not on “the beaten path,” and in many ways I can agree, in many ways it is behind the times. Science cannot be without context and without a strong social studies education (really an ethnic studies education) that will help students think critically about how science, society and the individual student come together.

"So, this is like a working class school?" - Leaving some hidden gems hidden

Since mid-October I’ve attended one Kindergarten fair, the SFUSD enrollment fair, 4 public school tours and 3 private school tour totaling 22 hours of my time. This of course does not include the time spent discussing schools with my husband, friends and family and doing "research." From now and way into December, each week I have 1-3 school tours and/or open houses scheduled. Is it just me or is this getting ridiculous?

What I’ve been noticing on these tours is that I’m often in a crowd of white parents with a sprinkling of Asian parents asking questions about teacher credentials, spaces in the after school program, details about the specific artists that are being taught about in the arts programs, and the amount of money raised by the PTO. I have also asked our large extended family where their kids are going and, for the most part, they are going to their neighborhood schools (or just a little further) mostly in the Southeast. I even learned that the only reason two of my nieces go to Rooftop is that when the eldest daughter got her assignment years ago and her mom went to the district to get her transferred to the neighborhood school, the person helping her said, “I think you should think about this. This is the school everyone is trying to get into.”

The real questions that comes to mind during these tours is, who has the time to actually go on tours? Who can take time off of work to spend 1 – 3 hours listening to people boast about their school, ask 20 questions, create a spreadsheet of all the different pluses and deltas of the school and then crunch any necessary data available? Who has the resources to schlep their kids more than 15 minutes away from home to attend a “better” school? And while apparently “I do,” the system just feels so… annoying.

So I found a hidden gem in SF a few weeks ago. I had a private tour (nobody else showed up) with the principal of an amazing school, that, unfortunately, is a little too far from our home. None of the kids in any of the classrooms I attended were sitting in their chairs. Two kindergarten classes were doing movement activities. Two classes were having dance class in the cafeteria and auditorium. Two classes were having circle time on the floor. The school seemed vibrant, diverse. The teachers didn’t look stressed. The classes are under-enrolled so the teacher to student ratio is actually better than almost all the other schools I toured. The principal talked about the plethora of arts opportunities they had and collaborations with a number of non-profits and a local university. She spoke about their cultural and language programs that would give my daughter an opportunity to learn about her cultural heritages taught by women and men that look like her!

The principal laughed as she told me about a parent at a Kindergarten fair that asked her, “So, this is like a working class school?” And she replied something like, “Yea. It’s a neighborhood school.” I also spoke to someone I know who is involved in the parent community and has an older child at the school. She loves the school and talked highly of all the bilingual programs. She and the principal said my daughter, even as a fluent English speaker, could thrive in these programs.

And, I felt conflicted about sharing this school with this online community. With all the talk about “turning over schools” and “finding hidden gems,” all I want to do is leave this great school for the kids that already attend it and the kids in the neighborhood that go.

Elementary School Video Tours!

My husband and I have been thinking about expanding our original school tour list to see if there are any other schools we need to look into. As we were doing some website research we stumbled onto these two videos that I have found helpful in deciding whether or not to sign-up for a school tour... I thought I should share them since the schools obviously spent some time making these.

Fairmount Elementary School Video

Starr King Elementary School Video Tour

Are there other elementary school videos we should check out?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bernal visits Starr King

There is already a great Starr King review on here so I will just add a couple things to that:

Starr King is a Prop A school meaning that they will be receiving a major (much needed) makeover. Plans exist and bungalows will be placed in April, 2013. The whole school will get an uplift and there will be a new wing which will include a new library and offices.  The entry way will also be redone so that everyone will enter on Coral Street (side street). The principal talked about creating a 'safe point of entry' through a gate and then opening to the school office.  As part of the Prop A reonvations a major greening redo will occur. The large, looming asphalt will be torn up and in the principal's words the new playground will be a "demo site for the new types of playground". When i asked what he meant he suggested I look at playgrounds from Germany and he joked that school playgrounds were and are built to keep insurance people happy. (I just googled "germany playgrounds" and they did look pretty cool). He estiamted the complete project taking about 18 months and said that dust would definitely be a major factor while this was going on. The principal also said that they found out they are sitting on serpentine which is a form of natural asbestos and this was going to have to be dealt with when remaking the playground.

The 3-5th grades were on a filed trip to the symphony so we could not see them in action.

I also asked for clarification about AM drop off and was told that from 8-8:20 kids were in the cafeteria and then from 8:20 - 8:40 it was in the yard supervised by PlayWorks.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunrise Sunset: Rooftop

Rooftop, a K-8 school with two campuses on Twin Peaks, is one of the city’s alternative schools. As far as I can tell, that designation means mostly that it was not a neighborhood school years ago, back in an earlier iteration of a neighborhood-based school assignment system. Today, it remains a city-wide school for the purposes of enrollment, but I think it uses the same general curriculum as the rest of the district and has the same class sizes. Enrollment is about 600 and it’s routinely one of the most requested schools.

Tours are held at the Burnett St campus, which houses grades K-4. Our tour guide told us that the 5th grade is part of the elementary school, but housed at the second campus a few blocks away. I’m not sure if they hold tours of that second campus--I should have asked. On the tour with me about a week ago, there was a large group of parents, maybe 50 or more. It was probably one of the biggest tours I’ve been on. Maybe touring season is really ramping up, or maybe it’s that this centrally-located and highly requested school is on a lot of people’s must-tour lists. The tour was coordinated by a group of current parents. First they had us all take a seat in the school multi-purpose room and the principal, Jeffrey Burgos, said a few words. He seemed like a caring and experienced professional. I think it’s his first year at Rooftop. He mentioned he would send his children to Rooftop--if he could get them in! The materials about the school that we received also mentioned a Vice Principal, which I don’t think I’ve heard about at other schools.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Data: Highly Educated Parents in SFUSD - Where Do Their Children Do Best?

How much of a difference does parental education make?  In  SFUSD, a parent's level of education accounts accounts for a 73 point difference in English and 82 points in Math in elementary school. That's huge.

For SFUSD students, in both English and Math CSTs,
  • Having a parent with a high school diploma adds, on average, 10-15 points in English and in Math.
  • A parent who graduated from a 4 year college adds another 35-40 points to each test. 
  • A parent with postgraduate education/graduate school adds another 25 points. 
The lowest performing group is “Declined to State.” Students whose families didn’t answer the question have an average overall score just below that of students whose parents have less than a high school education.

The percentages listed here will be different from what you see on the API website, because the API website doesn’t include the “Declined to State” group in their parent education percentages. Another reason to use CST scores instead of APIs when considering schools.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bernal visits Fairmount

(an overdue post)

School runs from 8:30 AM- 2:40 PM. There is before care from 7-8:15 AM and after care from 2:45 - 6:00 PM. The AM and PM program are run by  GLO and its considered a blended PM meaning meaning there are families who pay and children who are there via the EXCEL program. There are “usually” enough PM spots for those families in need of aftercare. The school is K-5 and there is also a preschool onsite which next year will be fully bilingual as well. Everett is the middle school feeder. There are two special day classes on-site as well. Fairmount contracts with PLAYWORKS to provide PE, recess support and various sports. They also have a 40 hour per week greening project grant for the children.

Our tour started off observing the morning rally, which happens every day at 8:30 AM.  Morning rally by the principal every day for 15 minutes. If the weather is nice they are held outside, otherwise they meet in the cafeteria.( We could not go into the cafeteria because people were voting.)

Starr King: Mandarin Immersion in Potrero Hill

You should consider this school if you're looking for:  Mandarin immersion, diversity at the school level, parent involvement, a late start school.

The Facts

Web site:
School tours: Tues 9:30-11AM, register at
Location: 1215 Carolina St
Grades: K–5
School Hours: 8:40-2:40
Before/After-school program: no before-school program. 3 after-school programs
Kindergarten size: 66 students total, 3 classes of 22 students.
Playground: black-top terraces; play structure
Language: Mandarin immersion (2 classes); Spanish immersion in grades 4-5 this year, being phased out.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spring Transfer - Availability at Daniel Webster

A note from our friends at Daniel Webster.....

Unhappy with your current school for any reason?  Think a
Spanish-immersion or general education program at a small, sunny
school in Potrero Hill might be right for you?  Now is the time to 
tour alternative schools:  the deadline to submit a Spring Transfer
request to SFUSD is November 21st.  Due to clerical errors at EPC this
fall, we have some spaces available for families seeking to transfer
this January.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

two questions

I am curious as to how much time people are spending on their kindergarten hunts? I ask because I either need a reality check - like one of you shaking me and telling me I spending WAY too much time - or to hear from others that this process is as time consuming as I am making it out to be?

Direct time = time on tours, at open houses, indep school applications, sfsud forms, enrollment fairs
Indirect time = reading and researching

I am touring approximately eight independent schools and about ten public schools. Each tour is about two hours. I will attend about 10 open houses, two hours each. Figure about an hour per application (estimating five applications) and about two hours for the SFSUD paperwork. Parent Interviews and child playdate for indep. for one and two hours, respectively. what else? surely there is more....

I have myself at about 80 hours of direct time. Is it worth it - obviously...but jeesh, what a to-do.

Part two: I have not been posting my public school comments. I was sticking with indep. because I didn't see anyone else doing that.  Holler if you want my public two cents as well.

Bernal visits Synergy School

Busy week here...three tours (Synergy, Fairmount and Marshall) and two open houses (Live Oak and Brandeis).

We went to Synergy knowing pretty much nothing about the school. People seem to feel very strongly about the school - one way or the other. Love or hate! It made our location cut-off and its a real bargain (kidding people)  at 15K/year. Over 1/3 of their families receive tuition assistance.

The school sits on the corner of Valencia and 25th Street and you might walk by it hundreds of times without knowing it exists.  It used to be a funeral home and mortuary. The classrooms were good size with lots of windows. There is a blacktop area for the older kids and a more playground-like area for the younger kids with sandboxes, play structures, etc.

The tour consisted of a one hour talk by the head of admissions/kindergarten teacher and then a tour of the school. Standard fare, I am learning.

The core tenets are: encouragement, cooperation, respect, responsibility and logical and natural consequences. The teachers and children agree to follow six agreements:
1. keeping a safe place without prejudice, for everyone body and feelings
2. respecting all property
3. participating academically
4. participating in all other school activities
5. being in a designated space
6. agreeing to leave quickly and quietly when waved out

Agreement number six, being waved out was described as a nonverbal cue (like a wave) that a teacher can use to signal to a child who is being disruptive in class. The child knows what this means, walks to the door, touches it and then returns to the activity. The rationale behind this being that the child is not called out in front of the peers and being singled out verbally.

School hours are 8:00 AM - 3 PM. There is AM care starting at 7AM and after-school care that runs until 6PM. The before and after hour programs are staffed by teachers and a lot of alumni. The school is K-8 and is tiny with a total of 170 children.  When asked about parent involvement the response was "as much as you can be here we love". Every family is expected to join one committee.

All grades are combination classes meaning that Junior kindergarten and kindergarten are together, first and second, second and third, fourth and fifth (2 classrooms) and then 6/7/8 are  sort of together (more on that in a bit).

kinder - 24 students
1st/2nd: 27 students
2nd/3rd : 27 students
4th/5th: 21 students per classroom (2 classrooms)
6/7/8: 23 per grade

Young K/Kindergarten has three teachers and the rest of the classrooms have between 2-3 teachers per class. Most teachers have been at Synergy for over 14 years although a 'couple' are new within the last two years. There is no head of school. Three teachers share administrative duties (ie, one of the kinder teachers also being the director of admissions). All teachers that work over 80% time are also on the board of trustees. This board has over 40 members and includes teacher, parents, community members and alumni.

Young kindergarten is for students turning five in september, october or november. There are six young kinder spots in the class of 24. There is a lot of outdoor time for the kinder and first grades - at least three scheduled outdoor times; however, they might be outside more for various instruction.

The school offers art, drama, music and PE twice weekly for all grades. Spanish starts in kindergarten.
There is no cafeteria and kids eat outside, weather permitting or in their classrooms if its too cold or wet outside.  There is also a part-time learning specialist. The library was small and dark. Laptops are loaned to each child starting sixth (I think) grade.

Diversity. By far the most diverse looking group. As diverse as any of the public schools I have seen. There was also a wall with family pictures and the single moms, single dads, biracial, etc, etc, etc were evident.

All curriculum (for all grades) is taught on two-year rotations so that curriculum is not repeated in the second year.  Curriculum is taught in both whole and small group instruction.

Homework starts in first grade in a 'menu style', meaning eight activities are offered and the child has to pick one or two. Homework time is about 20 minutes in the first grade and increases to about 1.5 hours in middle school.

Synergy provides themselves on their progressive education. They spoke at length about what progressive means to them and some of those things are:

  • a hands on learning and experiential learning environment
  • an integrated project-based curriculum
  • social responsibility and democratic participation
  • environmental and sustainability education
And the list goes on and on...............(I can share more if you want).

A couple specific programs that are used are Spell Well and Making Math Real. They are also participating in a mentorship program with the Cal Academy of Science (staff from there come to the school three times a week of teacher and student trainings). They also have an outdoor education program which I cant read my notes about :)

Last year 14 kids graduated and went to a combination of schools - independent Bay, Convent, Drew, Urban, Waldorf, Lick), parochial, public and charter. Ten of the 12 were accepted at Lowell and one chose to attend. The previous year 10 were accepted at Lowell as well.

Looking around at the kids, parents at drop off and teachers we felt that our family could easily blend in here. My husband was very impressed and I am certainly intrigued. It's small for sure. I also need to learn more about the mixed age groupings. It's definitely not off our list (how's that for indecisiveness).

This year there will be about five kindergarten spots available.

What do you know about this school? My curiosity has been peeked...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Data: Highest and lowest performing schools for low-income students

Poorer students do worse at poorer schools, but the association is not as strong as for more affluent students. In the graphs below, each point represents one school.  "Outliers" are labelled.

A list of SFUSD elementary schools with average CST scores for economically disadvantaged students is at the end.    

Readers with household incomes under 185% of the Federal Poverty level ($42,000 for a family of 4), what's your take? Is this information useful or not useful?

Data: Students who aren't poor do worse at poorer schools.

As requested, here's data showing that students who are not poor have lower academic performance at poorer schools.  Each point represents one school.  Outliers are labelled. 

A list of SFUSD elementary schools with average CST scores for non-economically disadvantaged students is at the end.  I've ordered it bythe percentage of economically disadvantaged 2nd-5th graders who took the CST at each school. This percentage is slightly different from the percentages for the school enrollment, used in the graphs and previously posted.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jefferson: A True Neighborhood School

First, a quick note: I have really been enjoying all of the bloggers’ posts about the schools they have toured and also the many thoughtful comments people have been leaving. Thanks, everyone.

Now, on to the task at hand: notes from my tour of Jefferson. It’s not our neighborhood school for the purposes of the lottery (we’re in the Clarendon zone), but I think it may truly be a neighborhood school, near our neighborhood. We’re intrigued!

The Jefferson tour started in the cafeteria with Principal Cranna and about 7-8 parents from the PTA. Principal Cranna gave a short presentation about the school and...well, she didn’t pull any punches when she talked about the funding situation for SFUSD schools. As she explained, the district basically pays for her, the teachers, and a clerk--and not much else. “Everything else,” she said, “The parents pay for.” The good news (for Jefferson students) is that Jefferson’s PTA raised $130,000 last year and from what I heard, it sounds like they are buying a lot with that money. Art, music, dance, another clerk, the list went on and on. More on that in a bit, but the take-away for me was that Principal Cranna seemed like a straight shooter. It felt like she was being very honest with parents about the school district’s situation and I for one appreciated that. She also described her own background at other schools and it sounds like she is using her past experience to make positive changes at Jefferson. She mentioned a staggered lunch process the school has implemented to make sure all kids eat and play and one of the parents later mentioned that the principal had spearheaded that change.

CIS at DeAvila: Cantonese Immersion with Balance

You should consider this school if you're looking for:  Cantonese immersion, a high-performing school with strong academics balanced by the arts; parent involvement. You should also consider this school if your child has a medical condition like diabetes, and you'd like a full time RN at your school.

Data: Richest and Poorest Elementary Schools, API and CST

I've been looking at the data on academic performance and income level for SFUSD. Am I naive to be shocked that our public elementary schools are so segregated by income level?