I noticed in the comments a parent whose child is headed to McCoppin, but it's unclear if they got to tour and it sounds like they have yet to hear much, either good or bad, from current parents. So I thought I'd make a separate post inviting feedback on McCoppin specifically. I noticed some pretty positive reviews on Greatschools, so I'm hoping there's someone out there who can reassure this parent that there's a lot to feel good about at McCoppin (of course, I'm sure any negative info would be helpful as well).
More generally, I was thinking now might be a good time for parents who have found (either through a tour or enrolling a child) a "hidden gem" to share what was such a pleasant surprise to them and why. I used the phrase "hidden gem" but I'm hoping people can just describe why a school was a surprise for them and not criticize one another by saying that such and such a school is not a hidden gem at all--that just doesn't seem useful.
For me, one surprise came just a few weeks ago when I ended up on an impromptu tour at Thomas Edison Charter Academy (TECA). We were offered a spot off the waitlist and I didn't know much about TECA, so it was hard to have to make a quick decision. Ultimately we decided to stick with Sunnyside because we're really excited about everything going on there. But I was pleasantly surprised by the really warm and welcoming tone of the school at TECA and definitely tempted by the K-8 and Spanish immersion. The person who was supposed to give me a tour ended up calling in sick that day, so the office person called in someone he described as a cafeteria worker to walk me around. Well, she turned out to be the coordinator of the lunch program (which is separate from the program offered by SFUSD) and a part-time office manager and she gave a great tour. She knew all of the teachers and as she led me around the classrooms, she filled in me on details, including why one teacher's room seemed more sparsely decorated than another (that teacher was about to go on maternity leave so had packed up most of her materials already) and how long different teachers had been with the school and in what grade. She walked me past some middle school classes that looked interesting and we got to see the yard, which if I understood correctly is staffed all day by Playworks staff. She also took me to a guitar class (I think it was for third graders) that blew me away. The teacher (who unfortunately is moving out of state this summer) told us that the class is provided in collaboration with a program called Little Kids Rock (http://www.littlekidsrock.org/) and it's been a huge hit with the kids. They learn to play guitar but they also get a chance to try out songwriting and I saw a group of totally engaged kids each working on their own songs. I also got to see a duo perform an original--that was amazing!
But as I said, we decided to stick with Sunnyside. I am starting to understand why some schools can go down a waiting list pretty quickly once it gets into summer--it can be hard to think about switching from an option you are starting to get to know a little to one that it is a big unknown.
Any other surprises out there?