I’m a mom of two, living in the Sunset district. Our oldest is entering kindergarten next year, so we’ve found ourselves embroiled in one of the most stressful and information-bloated decisionmaking processes of our lives: where to send our kids to elementary school in San Francisco.
Politically, I’m a huge advocate of public schools and of the need to keep middle- and high- income families from fleeing to the suburbs. Personally, we couldn't flee to the suburbs anyway, and we’re actually kind of glad that we don’t have that option to complicate the situation: I love cities, I believe cities are the future, and I’d be sad in a suburb. So for the abovementioned political and personal reasons, we’ve got a lot riding on this lottery.
In an ideal situation, I’d send my kids to a small K-8 school with an emphasis on project-based learning and the arts, with little homework. Test scores are less important to me than are factors like engaged teachers, a variety of enrichment opportunities, and socioeconomic and racial diversity. I figure that childhood is short and adulthood is long, so my kids may as well enjoy being kids while they have the chance to do so.
Beyond the visceral desire to let my kids be kids, I see that the entire educational sector is changing rapidly right now. In that context, I believe that the best bet for ensuring my kids’ long-term well-being is to find a school where they can become passionate learners and can gain the skills they’ll need to be productive and happy members of a global high-tech society. Now let’s just see what happens when my lofty politics and goals meet the reality of the SF public school lottery….
I’ll mainly be reviewing schools in the western half of the city. We’ll probably throw the Clarendons and Grattans on our list for swap value, but are going to tour and rank and set our sights on places like: Jefferson (neighborhood school), Sunset, Lawton, Peabody, Alice Fong Yu, the German School (our only private contender), Creative Arts Charter, Stevenson, Lakeshore, and SF Public Montessori.
I’ve gotten a lot out of reading the reviews here on the SF K Files and I hope that my perspectives will help out other members in the community.