Sunday, March 10, 2013


Hi all~

I feel like an expectant first time mother, one week past her due date...a combination of excitement and anxiousness but just overall readiness.

I was wondering:

Can we tour the public school we get assigned? I put a few down that I didnt tour and there were definitely some my husband didnt tour?

For privates, I know there is wait-list and then there is "wait-list". Its pretty rare to get a flat our "no" and most schools only rank the first 5 waitlist spots. So, how do you know if you are a true "wait-list" or you were just wait-listed as a nice way to say "no". I am guessing if you get a waitlist, you immediately call the admissions director and ask?

Also, I've heard of people paying a private deposit while they try and work out public school stuff. I can see the rationale but ugh - not only are you out the money but you are reserving a spot and have given you word. Thoughts?

I hope people start posting when they hear. I am curious what people get and even more so how it ranked in their orders. And, if privates were involved, what spot you are taking and as important what spot are you giving up!



  1. In my limited experience,the touring process is much more informal for SFUSD schools at this time of year... just call or even just show up and sign at the office...there is no tour guide, but you can walk around. You can contact parents for public schools and talk to a parent ambassador for that school -- or even possibly arrange a tour that way.

    Yes, people do pay private school deposits while they hold out for the right public school that would change their mind. Yes, it is a waste of money... but a whole lot less than actually paying for private school year after year.

    To me the ethical issue isn't so much to the school... they likely have a long list of good applicants waiting to take your spot when you give it up, so the hardship is small. However, the hardship to families who are hoping for the spot you may give up is bigger. But in the end, if you would be happy with the private offer, but much happier with the right public, consideration for other families probably only goes so far.

    Good luck!

  2. Yes, you can tour the public school you get admitted to. We went by "paper criteria"--test scores for our demographic (fine), program emphasis (we liked it), location (walkable) and start time (convenient) in putting a public first on our round 2 list. When we toured post-admission, we saw some stuff that made us feel uncomfortable and notified EPC would not be coming. We ended up parochial. While we could do without the religious stuff, we don't hate it and actually appreciate the character education and community service orientation. It's been a solid academic and social fit.

    If you tour your assigned public school and decide it's not for you, please DO be considerate of others and notify EPC by fax right away so they can give your place to another anxious family.

    Paying a private school deposit while you wait out the SFUSD lottery can be a good if somewhat costly peace-of-mind-strategy if you are lucky enough to get a private offer. If it's a popular school with a waiting list and you later pull out because you get a public spot, no harm no foul except you lose your deposit. The school will fill its classes, and a family on the waiting list that really wanted the school will get an offer. If you don't get a public school, you've got a school you like for your kid for at least a year. However, do watch out and read the enrollment contract carefully. With some schools, holding the place with the enrollment deposit IS a contract to pay for the full year. If it's not a super-popular school and they can't fill your spot with another kid, you may end up paying a full year's tuition even if you draw your dream public late in August.

    Another caution about the one-year-private-then-try-SFUSD-next-year strategy--you can get really attached to the private school in a hurry, and leaving for a good public can be a painful transition.

  3. I think it varies by school - some have formal tours scheduled after the EPC letters go out (ours did), and others have more informal arrangements. I would just call the school once you hear.

  4. Our school - Jefferson Elementary - is having a tour/info session for families assigned to Jefferson who didn't have an opportunity to tour the school in the fall/winter. Or for those who simply want another look.

    On Thursday, March 21st from 9:00-10:30AM parent volunteers will be on hand in the cafeteria to answer questions, and give out school packets (the same information given on our tours). You are also more than welcome to tour the building, classrooms, and grounds.

    This is not the official Kindergarten orientation, which will happen in May, but an informal session for those who want more information about Jefferson.

    No need to sign up, any number of parents are welcome to come. We look forward to meeting new Jefferson families!

    1. This is why Jefferson was at the top of our list. Thanks so much for setting something like this up. Fingers and toes crossed!

  5. Sunnyside is holding tours on March 19 and April 2 at 9 am for those who want a chance to check it out. The PTA is also hosting a meet-and-greet event for all new families assigned to Sunnyside on Sunday, April 7, at 10 am, and we strongly encourage both parents and children to attend and get a chance to see our great school!