Thursday, January 17, 2013

West Portal: The Numbers

Posting this review as requested by a reader.

You should consider this school if you're looking for:  Cantonese immersion with a possibility of tracking in K-3, strong neighborhood school.

The Facts

Web site: http://www.westportalschool.com/
Location: 55 Lenox Way
Grades: K–5
School Hours: 8:40-2:30
Before/After-school program: GLO, starts at 7AM, ends at 6PM
Kindergarten size:  4.5 classes of 22 students-3 Gen Ed, 1.5 Cantonese Immersion
Playground: black-top terraces; play structure
Language: Cantonese immersion (1.5 classes)

Overview

I'll keep this brief since there are also 3 prior reviews in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The online school tour packet also has a great overview of the school. 

As noted in prior reviews, the school has experienced teachers who often serve as preceptors for student teachers. The robust student teaching program translates into more classroom staff.

 Also as previously noted, the principal is a proponent of red-shirting. During the tour, he stated that the students born late in the year represent 90% of the students who struggle at West Portal, through the later grades as well.  If your child will be a young kindergartener, this may not be the school for you.

Details of Cantonese Immersion

West Portal has the oldest Chinese immersion program in SFUSD, started almost 30 years ago by the now-principal of Alice Fong Yu. For CIP K-3, there are 1.5 classes per grade: the "half class" represents a combined K/1 and 2/3.  This allows for some tracking, especially in 2nd grade, as the teachers select what students are academically and socially ready to enter a mixed 2nd/3rd grade class.  More practically, 1.5 classes of 22 students in grades K-3 conveniently turns into 1 class of 33 for 4th/5th grade.

For K-1,  the curriculum is 80% Chinese and 20% English, Grades 2-3 are 70% Cantonese/30% English, 4th-5th Grade 50/50%. Mandarin and pinyin introduced early on in songs, but formal instruction does not start until 4th/5th grade.

Parent Involvement, Enrichment and Class Size
For the 2010-11 school year, the parents association raised almost $200k, according to their 2010 tax report at http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/94-3069763/parents-club-west-portal-school.aspx, and spent $140k. This money was used to fund the garden, PE, library, art, music, and perceptual motor, and Chinese performing arts after-school. Also the 5th grade camping trip.

Drop-off
I drive by this school every day, and honestly, drop-off looks like a hassle.  The road behind the school with the traffic circle gets a lot of cars during morning rush hour. and it can get congested.  I'm grateful for the traffic crossing guards who escort the children across this busy street; I'm sure they have saved more than a few children's lives.  This was mentioned in an earlier post.

Diversity
Culturally, the school as a whole feels very Chinese, much more so than other within-school immersion programs like Starr King, Ortega, and Claire Lilienthal. For example, one of their big weekly activities is after-school Chinese performing arts program on Fridays.

The Numbers

2011-2012 K-2 Enrollment by Ethnicity

Ethnicity
WP
SFUSD
Latino of any race
5% 
27%
Not Latino or Hispanic:
Asian*
67% 
33%
Filipino
4% 
4%
African American
3% 
9%
White
13% 
17%
Pacific Islander
0% 
1%
Two or More Races
6% 
6%
Not reported
2% 
3%

* Overall K-5 enrollment K-5 is 56% Chinese on SFUSD's CBEDS 2012-13 report.  Of the other students, 11% are listed as Vietnamese for CST testing, and many of these families may be ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.  During the Diversity Index lottery era, when Chinese enrollment was limited at popular SFUSD schools, many Chinese Vietnamese families chose to list their ethnicity as "Vietnamese."

2011-2012 Parent Education Level, Grades 2-5 only*


WP
SFUSD
Graduate School/Postgraduate
21% 
15%
College Grad
39%
22%
Some College/AA degree
13%
21%
High School Grad
16%
15%
Didn't graduate high school
8%
13%
Declined to State/Not Answered**
3%
13%

*CST test takers only. CAPA, CMA and STS not included. CST tests start at 2nd grade.
**For SFUSD, the "Declined to State" group has CST scores close to or slightly below the "Not a high school grad" group.


2011-12 Economic Status,
Grades 2-5* only
Percent of Enrollment Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch
(<185% of the Federal Poverty Level)


WP
SFUSD
All students
45%
61%
Latino of any race
67%
83%
Not Latino or Hispanic:
Asian
53%
65%
Filipino
19%
55%
African American (7 students)
57%
79%
White
15%
19%
Pacific Islander (only 1 student)
--
83%
Two or More Races
23%
38%


*CST test takers only. CST tests start at 2nd grade.

2011-2012 CST Scores by Parent Education Level, Grades 2-5 only*

West Portal
SFUSD

Score
At or above
grade level   
Score
At or above
grade level 
Graduate School/
Postgraduate Education
English 409
Math 427
85%
82%
English 416 
Math 455
89%
89%
College Degree (BA/BS)   
English 393
Math 427
78%
86%
English 391 
Math 428
78%
81%
Some college/AA
    grades 3 and 4 only*
English 389
Math 419
79%
 97%
English 359
Math 386
56%
64%
High School Graduate
    grades 2, 3 and 5 only*
English 366
Math 411
55%
 82%
English 349
Math 390
49%
64%
* The California Department of Education only publishes scores for grades with over 10 students in each subgroup. Other parent education levels and grades didn’t have enough published scores for comparison.
The Some College/AA group had only 31 students; the HS Grad group had only 51 students.
Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/

2011-2012 CST Scores by Ethnicity, Grades 2-5 only*


West Portal SFUSD

ScoreAt or above
grade level   
ScoreAt or above
grade level 
AsianEnglish 388
Math 430
75%
85%
English 385
Math 442
74%
87%
White,
    grades 3-5 only 
English 415
Math 413
88%
88%
English 403
Math 426
83%
80%
Two or more races,
    grades 3-4 only
English 386
Math 402
87%
87%
English 390
Math 422
76%
79%
* The California Department of Education only publishes scores for grades with over 10 students in each subgroup. Other parent education levels and grades didn’t have enough published scores for comparison.
The White subgroup had only 45 students, Two or more races had only 39 students for West Portal.
Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/



2011-2012 CST Scores by Ethnicity and Economic Level, Grades 2-5 only*


West Portal SFUSD

ScoreAt or above
grade level   
ScoreAt or above
grade level 
Asian, NOT economically disadvantagedEnglish 400
Math 447
79%
86%
English 401
Math 454
82%
90%
Asian, economically disadvantaged English 378
Math 415
73%
84%
English 377
Math 435
70%
86%
White, NOT economically disadvantaged
    grades 3-4 only
English 411
Math 415
91%
96%
English 409
Math 454
88%
87%
* The California Department of Education only publishes scores for grades with over 10 students in each subgroup. Other parent education levels and grades didn’t have enough published scores for comparison.
The White, not economically disadvantaged subgroup had only 25 students.
Source: http://star.cde.ca.gov/




3 comments:

  1. I really liked West Portal when I was looking, and since big sister goes to middle school a few blocks away (Hoover) it seemed like a good match. We didn't get it on round 1 (last year) and before I put in for round 2 I thought i should check in on after care.

    I was told that in all likelihood, the school based aftercare program was already full for the following year. AND park and rec only has room for something like 20 kids. So, that would have left me with a 5 year old halfway across town with no viable aftercare. And big sis's school gets out an hour later, so "pick your brother up on the way home" wasn't possible, in addition to hardly being ideal.

    I'm not sure why they have so few slots, or what can be done about it, but it's definitely something to consider when looking at schools.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michelle, thanks for the heads-up on after-school care. There are 3 other afterschool programs that pick-up the kids from school. Two look to be Chinese schools, and the third is a tutoring-only program. Not the best for a kindergartener in General Ed, but if you were looking at CIP, the programs are listed here: http://www.westportalschool.com/en/after-school-care

    ReplyDelete
  3. Current parent here. The onsiite aftercare GLO added another K class this year and the Rec n Park program added a staff member right when school started. There is excess capacity for aftercare now.

    ReplyDelete