Friday, January 18, 2013

Parent Procrastination: WordoftheMutha Kindergarten List

Sorry for being so MIA. I wish I could have written up some more reviews, but being a working mama and finding time to tour so many schools is hard enough.

Here is our list (although we might fiddle a little more with the order):
Rooftop (Gen)
Clarendon (JBBP) 
Clarendon (Gen)
Fairmount (ImmS) 
Marshall (ImmS)
Buena Vista (ImmS)
Longfellow (FB)
Taylor (Gen)
Alvarado (ImmS) 
Miraloma (Gen)
West Portal (Gen)
Monroe (ImmS)
Sloat (Gen) 
Glen Park (Gen)
Longfellow (Gen) 

A little explanation: Although Rooftop and Clarendon are known to be some of the "trophy" schools in SF and are quite a drive from our home, we left both of the schools feeling like there was something special about them. We love that they both have very active parent communities, the kids seemed happy in the halls and there was art all over!  Rooftop topped the list because of the diversity, the beautiful garden and the fact that our nieces attend! Since we are in a CTIP-1 area, we actually have a chance of getting in. 

After that we prioritized Spanish Immersion and the Filipino program at Longfellow. We actually toured three ImmS programs in one week: Fairmount, Marshall, and Buena Vista.  We left all of them feeling like they were all strong schools offering something different. My husband and I disagree on Marshall so it might slip down the list a little more. I think Spanish Immersion with a Science focus is awesome and the instruction in the classroom we saw was amazing, but he was a little weary of the neighborhood and problems shared by the principal.

Beyond that, we put down other schools that we toured that seemed strong enough and took into consideration recommendations from friends and family. We also used The SFK Files a bit to gather more information to inform our ranking. (Big THANKS to all the current and former bloggers!) There were a lot of schools that we didn't list and didn't tour because of the distance from our house. Our daughter was also adamant that she could do Spanish immersion, but she drew the line and will not do Chinese immersion. We can respect that. 

We spoke with folks from all the Bayview schools and realized that, for the most part, they talked more about meeting the basic needs of students and less about the enrichment programs.  None of the schools will make our list.  This is not to say that they aren't doing great things with the kids that go there. With our children ethnically representing a group of students who are "performing" worse than other students in the district and are more likely not to even graduate from school, we're trying to be cautious and take advantage of what we feel are the best programs in the city. 

I am excited to end this Kindergarten craziness with a trip to Carver tomorrow to submit our form! 
Private Schools applied to: Synergy, The Hamlin School  - Yes, they seem completely different from each other, but both offer something very special.


  1. Interesting list. Thank you! Can you tell us more about the Filipino program at Longfellow? I've never heard of it, sounds very interesting. Is that a bilingual pathway? Also, I see Alvarado is your 4th choice among the Spanish immersion programs. Were there specific reasons you didn't like Alvarado as much as the other programs? And Alvarado GE doesn't show up at all. You weren't a fan? Not convenient because of location or early start time maybe? Would love to know more. In any case, thank you!!!

  2. I think the Filipino (Tagalog?) programs in SFUSD are just for biliteracy pathways, that is, for learning English.

    I would assume this person just preferred Spanish programs according to geographic location. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because it's unlikely that they won't get a spot at Rooftop, being CTIP1.

  3. The Filipino program at Longfellow is only a few years young. It's a biliteracy pathway, but children are not expected to speak Tagalog. A good number of students in the classes were not Filipino. They just incorporate Filipino language, culture and history into the curriculum. They also have an awesome after school program with Pin@y Educational Partnerships ( I really feel like Ethnic Studies education is important to our children at any age. With PEP onsite and a SF State professor/Longfellow parent taking leadership at the school, I really liked the school and the community there. I also know some of the teachers and think they would be great role models for my child.

    I did not tour Alvarado. I wish I had, but I was running out of time and it is a little further from my house then the other immersion programs. If it doesn't happen with Rooftop, Clarendon and Longfellow, my husband and I really want my daughter in a Spanish Immersion Program. A bunch of parents in our circles are putting it at the top of the list, so I just threw it in the mix.

  4. Thanks for the post! I have to say that your list is really encouraging. You, like all of this year's bloggers, are really open to a range of schools. This is the first year of of the K Files where none of the bloggers are talking about moving out of SF. That is a real change from 2 years ago where parents frequently moved out of the City before the first round. I think it's fantastic that so many people are listing a wide variety of schools and are more or less happy with what they have seen on their tours. If parents blogging on this site are a small but random sampling of parents entering the system, then San Francisco has a thoughtful and interesting parent community from which to draw. I would be happy to have any of the bloggers as parents within my school community. They are different, most certainly, but all of the posters are definitely bringing something to the table and I'm sure they will be good community stewards at whatever school they enroll. Let us know what happens in March and thanks!

  5. Did you review Hamlin? Would love to hear tour perspective.

    1. I'll try to finish up the review and post for you. Are you planning to apply next year or just curious?

  6. I've been following your story and I'm super curious about your impressions of the school! Thanks!

  7. another person curious about hamlin here...