Monday, October 7, 2013

West Side Mom & the Transitional Kindergarten Search

Greetings denizens of SF K files,

I feel like I know many of you as I've been reading blog posts and comments here for the last year in anticipation of applying to the public school system in San Francisco and wanting to understand how the system works prior to our application year. 

A brief introduction: We are a family of three living on the West Side in the Richmond District. One dad, one mom, one daughter & one cat. Wait, that's four! We love living in the Richmond despite the fog. Our daily commutes involves hikes through the woods, biking up steep hills covered with wildflowers and perhaps a stop off at the beach on the way home. All while living in one of the most fantastical *cities* - can you believe that?!  There are also amazing parks, museums, and playgrounds as well as tons of family friendly restaurants - I feel truly blessed that we live here.

Due to the recent rule changes our daughter is no longer eligible for kindergarten next year but is eligible for Transitional Kindergarten (TK). We currently attend a SF public preschool- that we love. I want to tour the schools that will have a TK next year but I also think we can stay at our beloved preschool another year if we need to - most of the TK programs this year are far from our house and we don't yet know where next year's TK programs will be. There is also a chance that our preschool will have TK next year which would be perfect for us.  I believe that SF Unified will announce the TKs at the enrollment fair in November.

The TK process seems to mirror the K process - at least the dates are the same, so TK applications are due the same day as all the other applications and we will utilize the same application form.

I  work full time out of the home and I know how much time the search can take so any additional schools I can tour this year I will in order to reduce the days I will need to take off of work next year for tours.

The schools that had TK last year (from the SF Unified website):

Transitional Kindergarten Sites for the 2013-14 School Year:

Argonne EES - Inner Richmond
Havard, Leola EES - Bayview
McLaren, John EES - Visitacion Valley
Noriega EES- Outer Sunset
Rodriguez, Zaida T. EES - Mission
Serra, Junipero Annex EES - Bernal Heights
Stockton, Commodore EES - Chinatown
Tule Elk Park EES - Marina

I have some questions about the 'two year kindergarten' that SF Unified talks about :

I will let you know what I learn!

Last year I attending the Parents for Public Schools ( )  informational session, which I found very very helpful in understanding the public lottery system in SF - I highly recommend you attend a (free!) session. List of upcoming sessions here:

but do note that many preschools ask the PPS folks in to offer this same info on site so check with your preschool director as well!

I also have a vague 'list' for next year's K application based on recon I did on some schools and on proximity to our house. I recommend going to school events if you can as the school events are a great way to do recon on a school and you are helping their fundraising, so it seems a win win. I attended Alamo's Halloween fair last year as well as ran in Lillenthal's Howlin' Moon race and purchased a tree at SF Montessori's tree sale (and attended their open house on the same day). These events gave me insight into the schools in a very informal way. I'll post notes on these schools based on these events soon!

Events I attended last year:

Alamo's Hallowween Parade and Festical
Claire Lillenthal's Howlin' Wolf 5K and 1K
SF Montessori Tree Sale 

Please let me know if you also go to school events as a way to speak to parents and kids at the school about their school experience in a more informal process. And if you have favorite events please post them in the comments!

Please be kind to us, myself and the other new bloggers, as we post out thoughts here in this public forum during this very personal process!

WestSide Mom


  1. Sherman is holding it's annual Halloween Carnival on Saturday October 26 from 11am to 4pm and we encourage everyone to come by. It's a great way to see the campus and the thriving parent community in action.

    Also I believe that Tule Elk will still feed into Sherman so if you are in their pre-K you are able to transition into Sherman for Kindergarten.

  2. It was my understanding that you had to be a resident of the attendance area to gain this preference (preschool in an attendance area) for a neighborhood elementary. So people living in the Sherman attendance area who go to the Sherman attendance area preschool have preference at Sherman elementary, directly after siblings, as long as they live in the attendance area. I live in the Alamo attendance area, we have no public preschool in the area so this is not a preference I can use for my Kindergarten application. Please - correct me if I am mistaken! Thank you!
    And Halloween Carnival's at local elementary's are fun!!

  3. This might be out of your search criteria, but we fell in love with St. Thomas the Apostle over on Balboa/39th. Their cut-off is December 1 and we found them while preparing to do school tours for our daughter (her birthday's in November). We are an agnostic family and thought it might not be a good fit but after touring and talking with parents, we feel the community/teachers are warm and welcoming. Daughter started this year and so far is having a great time there. They have an open house on 10/23 at 9 am.