Thursday, August 27, 2015

¡Si se puede!

Open Kindergarten Spots in English classes at César Chavéz Elementary School

César Chávez Elementary School is situated in the geographic and cultural heart of the Mission District.  Its entire façade is covered with murals representing the history and diversity of this school, and the cultural contributions of César Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the UFW movement.  In addition it has paintings in sign language, celebrating the 25 year history of the deaf and hard of hearing program at the school.   The halls are cheerfully painted, the classrooms organized, the teachers and students engaged in authentic learning.  The school is extremely safe, there are few discipline issues, and we have a wealth of community partnerships to work on enrichment, health and socio-emotional supports.  The teaching at Cesar Chavez is exemplary. For example, the math program is differentiated and aligned with common core and academic language, and far ahead of other schools in the district (two of our teachers helped write the curriculum and are former or current Math coaches). There are 1-1 Chromebooks for every 4th and 5th grader and a dedicated technology person who works with the rest of the school. Every classroom has technology, and iPads are integrated into reading centers.   The reading and writing workshop model began 5 years ago and is year more developed than other schools in the district.  Any child that arrived at César Chávez would thrive.
As the Mission District changes the English classes at Chávez are shrinking.  The more affluent families that are moving into the Mission have not yet begun to choose this school. There is a waiting list for students to enter the Bi-literacy pathway (Spanish and English for native Spanish speakers) yet the English classrooms need more students. Both our English and Spanish classrooms have small class sizes and dedicated, experienced teachers.
So, with all these advantages, what would it take for César Chávez to become a model for the rest of the City?  It would take integration. More English speaking families of all races need to begin to choose our school.  SFUSD needs to desegregate. Many articles have been written about SFUSD and the increasing segregation due to choice.  Other articles have been written about the importance of integration for improving educational outcomes. The articles in the San Francisco Public Press made it clear that parents typically choose schools where there is a majority of their own race.  This is something that we need to change.  In order to create a more equitable system more families who live in the Mission need to start choosing schools in the Mission District for their children, rather than driving across town to be part of a school that has better test scores. Parents who live in or near the Mission who are holding out for the English programs at other more faraway schools should come visit our school and observe in our English program.   Test scores that appear low at César Chávez reflect the racial and economic isolation of the school.  It’s impossible to compare data of other ethnic groups to the control group of our Latino students because the population of students other than Latinos is statistically insignificant. 

Right now at César Chávez we have space for 10-15 students in Kindergarten English classes that we would like to fill before September 4th.  If you are choosing between no school, paying for another year of preschool or moving out of the city, I believe César Chávez is an excellent alternative. I only recently began working here but I can assure you that If my daughter were age eligible for Kindergarten she would be here with me.  Please call or come by for a visit tomorrow morning at 9 AM if you would like to learn more. 
 If you are looking for a school for 2016-2017 I will publish tour dates in October. 

César Chávez PreK Early Ed & Elementary School
Escuela Primaria César Chávez, PreKinder - 5
825 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: 415.695.5765     Fax: 415.695.5843

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Open Seats In Classrooms!

Readers - The 3 day count was Wednesday.  Today is Thursday.  Are you seeing open seats in your child's classroom?  If so, how many and which school?  Feel free to count..  Readers will take any and all info.  THANK YOU

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Two years ago I wrote about trading in one dream for another when we didn't get language immersion in Round 1 of the SFUSD lottery.

Here's a confession. I never gave up on immersion. We've stayed in the SFUSD lottery for the Korean Immersion Program at Claire Lilienthal through Round 5 for the last three years.

For kindergarten, one spot opened up for Claire Lilienthal's Korean immersion class in Round 5. There were two children in the waitpool, my child and another. The other child got the spot.

For kindergarten, I saw my child's bilingualism fade. We enrolled in Saturday language school and did up to 3 hours of homework a week just for Saturday school.  My child passed the SFUSD language proficiency test for 1st grade, and we went through the lottery again.

Fell asleep doing kindergarten homework
for Saturday School 
We didn't get in. No one left the class between kindergarten and 1st grade.

In first grade, bilingualism dwindled further. We tried a different Saturday language school with smaller classes and added individual tutoring twice a week. My child managed to pass the SFUSD proficiency test for 2nd grade, and we entered the lottery a third time.

We won't get in. I heard that no one left between 1st grade and 2nd grade.

It's hard, after a summer of being asked, "Mom, when I grow up, can I live in Korea?" and "If my Korean gets good enough, can we go to Korea next summer?" and just tonight, "But how will my Korean get good enough if I don't go to Claire Lilienthal?"

You can't always get what you want. That's the hard truth of the SFUSD lottery.

We won't try again. It's not worth it for just 3 years, especially when 2 of those years would be in a large combined 4th-5th grade class. I might consider it if we weren't happy with our current school, but that's not the case. My child loved our school's kindergarten and first grade teachers, and just this week said, "I can't wait to go back to school." It still seems magical to me how much learning has happened in the last 2 years, with seemingly little effort and no parental involvement, quite the contrast to the pitched battles we've had over Korean homework.

For families who hear from SFUSD this week, congratulations! For those who don't have luck in Round 5, you're not alone.  And to those 8 families still in the CL KIP kindergarten waitpool, we look forward to meeting most of you in Saturday school.

Feel free to share the outcome of your Round 5 below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Last Call for Round 5: Did you get the autodial today?

Are you holding on for Round 5?

SFUSD is autodialing families to remind them that they are still in the waitpool for Round 5. The phone number where they called you today likely will be the number they will use if you get a spot at your waitpool school.

If you don't get a call today from EPC at (415) 241-6085, you may want to confirm your contact information with them.

This Friday, August 14, is the last day to change or submit your Round 5 waitpool request. The waitpool list as of Monday is at

Good luck to everyone seeing things through to the bitter or happy end!