Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tour information now updated

We have updated the information on school tours for 2015-2016 (see link to a separate page above and to the right). Please let us know in the comments or via email if there are other school tours you are aware of or if we have gotten any information wrong.

The 2015-2016 tour season for SFUSD and charter schools has started. Tour information below is as we know it (we also left names and websites of schools where we had tour information a year ago). This information is simply what we have received from each school or noticed on neighborhood parent listservs and the like. It is not comprehensive. If you want to add a school or correct any information you see below, please please do! Just email us at Kfilesblog @ with the correct info or add in the comments.

For SFUSD, applications for Round 1 are due on January 15, 2016.

Here's a list of all SFUSD schools:

(Charter information at the end)

aka What Mornings To Request Time Off Work

Argonne 8:45-10:05
SF Community 9:10-11
Sheridan 9AM

AFY 9:30-12
Alvarado 9:15-9:30
Argonne 10/20 only 8:45-10:05
Sloat 9-10
Peabody 9AM
Lau 9-9:40
Glen Park 9-10
Lakeshore 10-11:30
Stevenson 9-10
Starr King 9:30-11
Yick Wo

CIS 9-10:30
Feinstein 10-10:45
Key 8:30
Garfield 8:45
Flynn 9-11:30
New Traditions 9:45
Rosa Parks 7:50
Ulloa 9:40

AFY 9:30-12
Alamo 9-10
Buena Vista
CIS 9-10:30
Webster 9
McCoppin 9-10
Milk 10-10:45
Monroe 8:45-9:45
Rooftop 8:15-9:45
Parks 7:50
SF Montessori 9:30-10:15
Sunnyside 9-10:30
Sunset 9 AM
Sutro 9:15 AM
West Portal 9-10:30
Grattan 8:30
Marshall 8:40
Monroe 8:45-9:45
Sherman 9-10
Spring Valley 8:45-10


Alice Fong Yu
Tuesdays and Thursdays
9:30am - 12:00pm -- info may be out of date; call the school to confirm. (415) 759-2764

Thursdays 9-10 AM on 10/15, 10/22, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, 12/3, 12/10
Reserve a spot on signupgenius
Check in in the school office, then go to the library.
Questions: Call (415) 750-8456 or email Elizabeth Meeks,

Tuesdays 8:15-9:30
Reserve a spot on eventbrite. Oct 6. Oct 13, Oct 20, Oct 27,  Nov 3,  Nov 10, Nov 24
Questions: Do not call the school.

Mondays and one Tuesday 8:45-10:05 AM on Oct 5, Tues Oct 20, Nov 2, Nov 16, Dec 14, Jan 11
Reserve a spot: Call Grace in our Argonne office 415-750-8460

Buena Vista K-8
School Tours are held Thursdays and are coordinated and scheduled by the secretary. Call 415-695-5881 8AM - 3:45PM daily.

Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila
Wednesdays or Thursdays 9:00 - 10:30 am in Room 301. Tours will be given by Principal Rosina Tong and parent volunteers.
  • 10/22/15- Thursday
  • 10/28/15 - Wednesday
  • 11/05/15 - Thursday
  • 11/19/15 - Thursday
  • 12/03/15 - Thursday
  • 12/09/15 - Wednesday
  • 12/17/15 - Thursday
  • 01/06/15 - Wednesday

Claire Lilienthal K-8
Most tours are at the Madison Campus Site (K-2). There are only 2 tours for the Scott Campus (3-8).Tours are ONLY at 9:00 AM on the dates listed below. We are sorry, we are unable to accommodate individual schedules.Tours are for adults ONLY, please do not bring children.

Tours remaining for Scott campus: January 12, 2016 9:00 AM

If your schedule does not permit you to attend one of our tours, you may choose to come to either site (depending on the grade level you are applying for) at 2:15 p.m., Monday thru Thursdays to do a "self-guided" tour of the facility only. We do ask that you respect our rule of not entering classrooms or questioning teachers as they are prepping for their next day's lessons. For after-school self-guided tours, please sign-in at the office and get a visitor's badge.

Tours will be held from 9:45 – 10:45 am on Oct. 9, Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 6, Nov. 17, Dec. 4, Dec. 15 and Jan. 8. All tours will include information about both the Japanese Bilingual and Bicultural Program (JBBP) and the Second Community (SC) programs. Sign up here:

Commodore Sloat
Tuesdays 9-10 AM on Oct. 13, 21, 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24, Dec 1, 8, 15; Jan 5, 12
Check-in in the lobby. Limited to 15 persons.
Online signup:
Questions: or call the school office at 415-759-2807.

Daniel Webster
Temporary location for 2015-16 at Enola Maxwell while permanent campus at 465 Missouri is being completely renovated. Tours will show you our temporary classrooms and teaching staff so that you can see the school in action. Renderings of the new campus here.
Thursdays 9AM on Oct 15, 22; Nov 12, 19; Dec 10; Jan 14, 28; Fri Mar 18
Meet your tour leader at the entrance at 1801 18th St
Signup online on eventbrite
Questions: email

Dianne Feinstein, tour info on left under "Visitation Days"
Tours on Wednesdays from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. beginning in October through January. Appointments and identification required. Sign up for tours on our website. Tours are for adults only.Sign up here:

Tours will be held on Fridays from 8:30-10:00am beginning in late October. Tour sizes are limited so as not to overwhelm the classrooms. Sign-ups are online only on a first-come, first serve basis.

Tours will be led by Fairmount parents followed by Q&A with Principal Luis Rodriguez. Please meet at the flagpole outside the cafeteria at 8:30am where you may observe morning circle on the lower yard. Check in at the office beforehand for a visitors pass.

Note that parking is difficult during morning drop off. Please allow additional time for parking and do not park in the white zones on either Randall or Chenery streets. There is generally parking on surrounding streets and metered parking on Mission.

October 30: Tour in English | Visita a la escuela en Ingles CLICK HERE to sign up
November 6: Visita a la escuela bilingüe – Tour in Spanish and English CLICK HEREto sign up
November 13: Tour in English | Visita a la escuela en Ingles CLICK HERE to sign up
November 20: Visita a la escuela bilingüe – Tour in Spanish and English CLICK HERE to sign up
December 4: Tour in English | Visita a la escuela en Ingles CLICK HERE to sign up
December 11: Visita a la escuela bilingüe – Tour in Spanish and English CLICK HEREto sign up
January 8: Visita a la escuela bilingüe – Tour in Spanish and English CLICK HERE to sign up

Additionally, we will host a bilingual Open House on the evening of Tuesday, November 17 from 5:30-7:30pm in the Library. No sign up necessary. Sorry, childcare will not be available.
Virtual tour at:

Francis Scott Key
Group tours are offered from October 7, 2015 until school applications are due in January. The tours are every Wednesday at 8:30 am. Personal tours with the principal are available by appointment if Wednesdays are not possible. In either case, please call 759-2811 to RSVP for a tour."

Frank McCoppin
Please contact Frank McCoppin Elementary at (415) 750-8475 to make an appointment for a school tour. Tours: Thursdays 9-10 AM Occasionally Friday. Please call ahead. Check in at main office.

Garfield Elementary
Every Wednesday morning at 8:45 am.
Call or email the Garfield office at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation.

George Peabody
Every Tuesday at 9AM, other than November 24, between October 21 and January 12. Tours will also be offered on Friday November 6, December 4, and January 8. Tours are conducted by the principal with time allotted for questions and answers.
No reservations are required. Please sign in at the tour table outside the main office. Please allow time to find parking and enter via the 6th Avenue gate.

There are three tours offered that specifically focus on our Special Education program. During these tours we will discuss the educational program for students with special needs that are taught by our special day class teachers and our general education and Resource Specialist teacher. These tours also begin at 9:15 AM and are offered on October 29, November 20 and January 13.

Gordon J. Lau
Every Tuesday, 9:00 to 9:40 a.m. or by appointment

Grattan's school tours are conducted on Fridays at 8:30am from October 30, 2015 and going through January 8, 2016. No reservation necessary. Meet in the school courtyard just inside the main entrance. We start tours promptly at 8:30, so please arrive early to allow time for parking and sign-in. The first Friday of the month is street cleaning; we suggest public transportation, as parking is difficult on those days. Grattan has many students with special needs who receive a wide range of services at the school. If your child has an IEP or special needs, you will have a chance to speak directly to our principal during the Q&A portion of the tour.

Glen Park
Tuesdays 9-10 AM
Tours begin on October 6, and will continue through the fall. (Full schedule to be posted in September.)  Parents who are able to arrive at 8:40am are welcome to join us in the Brompton Avenue yard for our morning circle, which is a great way to get a feel for our school community. Younger children are welcome to accompany their parents on the tours.
No reservation necessary.

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy
Thursdays 10-10:45 AM on Oct 8, Oct 22;,Nov 5, Nov 18, Dec 3, Dec 17.
Meet in the hallway outside our school's office. We ask that you sign in before the tour.
Reservations: email Parent Faculty Club at with the date you'll be attending and number of visitors. You can also find out more about our school by reading this pamphlet.

Jean Parker
Online tour available at
To arrange a personal tour of Jean Parker Elementary, call us at (415) 291-7990 or email
Come take a tour of Jefferson! School tours will be conducted onFriday mornings from 9-10:30 starting October 23, 2015, and continuing through January 15, 2016. Please note that there will be no tours on November 27, December 18, December 25, or January 1. Our principal will also be available to meet and chat with you during most of our tour dates.Please click here to reserve your spot.

Jose Ortega
School tours for children entering kindergarten in 2016 are scheduled from 8am to 9am on the following dates:
October 15th and 22nd
November 5th and 12th
December 3rd and 10th
Please sign up for your preferred tour date online.

Junipero Serra
Webpage not yet updated for 2015-16.
Call the school at 415-695-5685 to reserve a spot.

Interested in seeing Lafayette in person? Take a tour! Led by Principal Heath Caceres, the tours are designed to show you our school, community, and educational philosophy to help you decide if Lafayette is a good choice for your child and your family.

You are welcome to visit the campus during scheduled tours, beginning in mid-October. Please call the school secretary at 415-750-8484 to see what days and times are available.

Schedule a tour by filling in the tour request form on Lakeshore's website
Tours take place every other Tuesday from October 2015 through mid-January 2016.
Tue., Oct. 6
Tue., Oct. 20
Tue., Nov. 3
Tue., Nov. 17 (Full)
Tue., Dec. 1
Tue., Dec. 15
Tue., Jan. 12
Tours start at 10am and end at 11:30am.
Meet in the lobby at the Welcome table.
Let us know if you’d like information about our SDC program.
Questions: call (415) 759-2825 or email

Lawton Alternative School
School Tours are Tuesdays & Thursdays starting in October through January and begin promptly at 9:25am.Please call (415) 759-2832 to make an appointment for a tour. On the day of the tour, visitors should sign in the Main Office. A parent will lead the group out to the school yard for the morning lines. Lawton parents will lead the tour through both Elementary and Middle School. Afterwards, you will meet with the Principal or Assistant Principal.

Leonard Flynn
Tours meet at 9 a.m. and go for about an hour and a half. Meet on the yard just inside the Harrison Street Entrance. No appointment or reservation is necessary.
2015-2016 Tour Dates
Wed 10/7
Wed 10/14
Tues 10/20
Wed 11/4 (bilingual / bilingue)
Wed 11/18 (bilingual / bilingue)
Wed 12/2
Wed 12/9
Wed 1/13
One date in March TBD after enrollment letters have been received

Fridays 8:40 AM on Nov 6, Nov 13, Nov 20, Dec 4, Dec 11, Jan 8, Jan 15
Marshall school tours are held on Friday mornings, allowing prospective parents to experience our Friday assembly and sing-a-long. The Friday assembly is for both the students and the parents. It includes school announcements, class performances or presentations, and ends with the Friday Morning School Sing-Along. Touring parents will then have an opportunity to meet with the principal and/or current parents and tour the school grounds. Metered parking is available on 15th Street. Please do NOT park in the Walgreens parking lot.
Reservations: Call 415-241-6280 to RSVP.

There are 5 tour dates for 2015-16. Tours begin at 8:15am and 8:30am, and last until 9:30am. Tours are self-guided, followed by a Q&A with the principal.
Friday, October 2nd
Friday, November 6th
Friday, December 4th*
Saturday, December 12th
Friday, January 8th
* This tour is a regular tour with the added opportunity to learn about our Inclusion Program and our philosophy behind inclusive education.

Sign up here:

Self-Guided Tours: Because the tours are self-guided and to save school resources, we encourage attendees to download the pdf guide before your tour date to print at home or to read on your smartphone or tablet during the tour. If you have further questions, send an email to and one or our parent volunteers will get back to you. Please do not call the school about tours: the school will not be able to sign you up for a tour or answer tour-related questions.

The annual McKinley Open House will be on November 14, 2015 from 10am until Noon. Please feel free to bring the whole family. We hope to meet you there! School tours will begin on Monday, October 26th and run through the second week of January. You may reserve a spot here.For questions, please email

Tours of our school are given on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the week starting in early October. Please check our Calendar of Events for specific dates. They begin at 8:45 am and last approximately one hour. Interested parties should CLICK HERE to sign up via Eventbrite. Please provide your primary language spoken and language track(s) you are interested in (General Ed., Spanish Immersion, Cantonese Bilingual). On the day of the tour, please check in at the Main Office.

New Traditions
Tours are Wednesdays 9:45 AM from late October-mid January.
Sign up for a tour here:

Robert Louis Stevenson
Tuesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. Meet with the principal and visit classrooms. Please call the main office at 415-759-2837 to reserve a space.

Sign up for a tour here:
Tours are Thursdays 8:15-9:45 starting November 5th through January 7 2016.
Do note that our tours are for adults only. Baby in carrier is OK (but please be mindful not to disrupt the classrooms or the presentation). But please no preschoolers or toddlers. We appreciate your cooperation. See map for best parking (hint: it’s “above” the school)! Due to street cleaning at 9am on Corbett Street (below the school) we suggest you do not use that street for parking.

Rosa Parks
School tours cover both programs at Rosa Parks Elementary: the General Education program (GE) and the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP). Tours start at 7:50 am in the main school yard on the following dates and can be scheduled by calling the school office at 415-749-3519 or completing this form. Tours are approximately 1.5 hours.
10/15/2015 Thursday School Tour
10/28/2015 Wednesday School Tour
11/4/2015 Wednesday School Tour
11/12/2015 Thursday School Tour
11/19/2015 Thursday School Tour conducted in Japanese
12/2/2015 Wednesday School Tour
1/14/2016 Thursday School Tour
3/23/2016 Wednesday School Tour
4/8/2016 Friday Welcome Breakfast for New Parents

Sanchez School
Fridays, call to schedule appointment. School phone: (415) 241-6380

SF Community
Tours are held at 9:10am on most Mondays from October 19th through December 7th, with a last-minute tour offered on January 11th. Registration is required. If you are driving, you will want to allow time to find parking, as it is very limited. Tour attendees will meet in the school yard, near the play structures and will start off by watch the Kindergarten and First Grade students line up, sing, and then go into class to start their day at 9:15am. The tour will then move into the Library for an information session led by Principal, Nora Houseman, followed by a brief Q & A. Classroom visits, hosted by parent volunteers, will follow and the tour will conclude at 10:30am. If you arrive after 9:15a.m., take a left towards the garden when you enter campus, rather than going into the main building. The information session will be taking place in the brightly painted bungalow adjacent to the garden.

To register for a tour, please go to

SF Public Montessori
Thursdays 9:30-10:15am:
Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, Dec. 3, Dec. 17, Jan 7, Jan. 21, Feb. 4, Feb.18, March 3 and March 17
Sign up for 2015-16 tours at:

Mondays at 9AM

Fridays 9-10 AM on Oct 9, 16, 23, 30; Nov 6, 13, 20; Dec 4, 11; Jan 8, 15, 22, 29
Sign up online at

Spring Valley Science School
School tours take place every Friday beginning in October from 8:45 to 10:00. Please contact our school office at (415)749-3535 to sign up for a tour date.
Virtual School Tour:

Starr King
We hold weekly tours on Wednesdays, from 9:30am to 11am, during the touring season. To reserve a spot, please register online at Starr King School Tours or call the school office at 415.695.5797.
The street address for Starr King is 1215 Carolina St. as shown on the map to the right. However, the entrance to the school is located on Coral Road. We'll meet in front of the school office, which is on the right side of the play yard (facing the school). Please sign in and create a visitor's badge. We'll visit 3-4 classrooms and then end with a talk with Principal Cheong and a Q&A session with the parent tour guides. Parents may bring small children, but please be quiet and respectful of the learning that is taking place.
Video Tour: Here's a link to a video produced by a Starr King parent that shows what our school experience is like.

Thursdays from 9-10 AM; Q&A 10-10:30 with principal.
10/8, 15,22,29; Nov 5, 12, 19; Dec 3, 10, 17; Jan 7, 14
Online signup:
Tour Agenda
9:00-9:30 - meet in library (or auditorium) for an overview of Sunnyside and its programs.
9:30-10:00 -guided tour of the school and classrooms
10:00-10:30 - finish back in library (or auditorium) for Q&A with the principal.

Tours of Sunset Elementary are offered on select Thursdays from October through December of this year and one in January 2016. Starting at 9 a.m., prospective families meet and speak with current Sunset community parents and then are given a guided tour of the school by Principal Sophie Lee. Tours are concluded with a Q & A session with Principal Lee.To reserve a place on a school tour, please call the office at 415-759-2760. Tour dates for Fall 2015 are as follows:
October 1
October 8
October 15
October 29
November 5
November 12
December 3
December 10
January 7, 2016

Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. in English starting the first week in November.
Contact us in October to set up a date and time. Chinese available upon request.
(415) 750-8525

Wednesdays at 9:40am Oct- Dec. Meet at school’s front lobby.
Please call the school at (415) 759-2841 to confirm tour for your desired Wednesday visit. No reservations or sign-up needed.

West Portal
Thursdays 9-10:30 AM on Oct 22, 29; Nov 5, 12, 19; Dec 3, 10; Jan 7, 14
Register online at:
School tour packet:
Questions: call 415-759-2846 or email

Yick Wo
Tuesday mornings Oct-Jan. call 415-749-3540 to schedule a tour


Hoover Middle School Website says: Call the Main Office for information: 415-759-2783. PPS also passed on the info that Hoover has an Eventbrite sign-up for tours:

It looks like tours are Tuesday mornings at 9:30 starting on October 28th.

Mission High School
Tours will be available starting in October...Tuesdays/Thursdays at 8:30am.
Tours can be made with Ms. Wendy He, the main office secretary - call the school 241.6240.

If students are interested in appointment only starting in October.
Shadowing available on Mondays and Ms. Lau at

San Francisco's charter schools have separate enrollment processes from the lottery run by SFUSD. Below you'll find some information we've found on school websites or received from helpful parents. If you have questions, we suggest you contact the schools directly. Good luck!


Creative Arts Charter School
Register here for a tour;
Fridays 8:45-10:15am: Sept.25 [SOLD OUT] Oct. 2 [SOLD OUT] Oct. 23, Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Jan. 15
We begin at our weekly all-school Community Meeting, then you will visit classrooms and tour the facility with a current parent volunteer or staff member. Each tour concludes with a program overview and Q&A.
Thursday evenings 6:00-7:30pm: Oct. 15, Nov. 19, Dec. 17, Jan. 14

The Mission Preparatory School

New School San Francisco
We are overwhelmed by the amount of interest in our school and will be scheduling more tours soon as they have all filled up. Please visit us again in mid-November, and if you'd like to be added to a waitlist for any of the below tours, please email:
November 12th, 8:30a
November 17th, 8:30a
November 19th, 8:30a
December 3rd, 8:30a
December 17th, 8:30a
January 14th, 8:30a
January 21st, 8:30a

Thomas Edison Charter Academy (TECA)
We encourage all families interested in TECA to visit our school. School tours will be offered to prospective families on the following dates:

Tour dates:
October 9th & 20th
November 13th & 19th
December 4th & 15th
January 2016, 8th & 19th
Meet the tour guide inside the auditorium/gym at 8:20am at 3531 22nd Street. No prior signup is necessary. Tours will begin promptly at 8:30am.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Want to Blog for the K Files?

Are you out there looking for a school for your child? Want to contribute to the K Files community? If you are interested in blogging about your school search, we would love to hear from you! Parents that have blogged in the past have found it to be a helpful way to process through what they have learned. In addition, blogging often elicits comments from other parents who have toured a school or had children at the school, or who suggest another school they think might be a good fit.

If you are interested, please send an email email to kfilesblog at gmail dot com.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Focusing your School Search: Practical Tips

Last year I wrote a series of posts that used much discussed books on education and teaching to figure out the best way to approach my family’s search for a kindergarten for my son. You can read the series here:

Now that I’m on the other side of the kindergarten search, I am adding to my list of key practical takeaways to help folks who are now going through the process.

(In case you’re wondering, we ended up enrolling my son in AltSchool. It’s been a great fit for him thus far. We loved most public schools we looked at, and got a good pick in the lottery, at Rosa Parks JBBP, but realized that these schools would be a terrible a fit for our kid. We didn’t look at other private schools.)

Update: We have since pulled our child out of AltSchool. It started out as a promising fit but rapidly went dramatically downhill. It was a truly awful experience that I don't wish upon anyone else.

  • Know thy child: We all know this, but always bears repeating and constant reflection during this process. 
    • Bottom line: Everyone’s school search should and will be different because our kids are all different.
  • Be clear about your priorities: As I talked about in one of my blog posts last year, take the time to ask yourself “What do I want my kid to get out of school, and which schools can do this well?” If your top priority is a community for you and your family, then you will evaluate schools very differently from a parent whose sole focus is academic education. Embrace your priorities and filter all advice you get (including mine!) through that lens. If you tell yourself -- or others -- that you’re just looking for a “good school” or “the best school,” you’re probably setting yourself up for a lot of anxiety. What does “good” mean? 
    • Bottom line: List out your specific priorities, the sooner, the better.
  • The point of touring: I noticed that many parents spent most of the public school tours trying to figure out what they should be doing (and, perhaps, why they were even there). Is it important to look at the artwork on the walls? Ask about field trips? Connect with the principal? (Private school tour parents knew that their job was to make nice and win over champions for their application.) Heck, how many tours should you even go on? After all, it takes a ton of time! My sense at this point is that there is value in touring a small handful of schools of different kinds mostly to get a sense of context. We toured 10 schools, which was about five too many. After the first two, I was not shy about leaving after 10-20 minutes. I really appreciated the effort that many school parent groups made to organize a robust tour, but if you go into the tours knowing what you want to learn, then you’ll pick up that information quickly (and get back to work in time!). 
    • Bottom line: Figure out your focus and touring strategy before you start signing up.
  • Worksheets and depth: If you’re evaluating schools for academic impact based on test scores, you probably already know that there are many ways for schools to achieve high scores. Of course, not all of those ways will necessarily agree with your child. I found that the best way to quickly understand how a given school would try to educate my child was just to ask to see the worksheets. Almost all of the public schools, and many private schools, have kids doing worksheets for large sections of the day. So look at the quantity and quality of the worksheets and ask yourself if your child will get the education you want from doing them. (And whether you’ll be motivated to ensure that they do the homework worksheets; if you find them pointless or otherwise underwhelming, you’re probably not going to be motivated to cajole a reluctant child to do her homework.) Also watch to see whether kids who finish sheets fast and with little effort are encouraged to go deeper, beyond the basic content of the sheet. Or if the kids who are struggling with the sheet appear to get the help they need to figure out the skill. Most schools didn’t trot worksheets out on the tour, and instead focus on the garden, lunch program, etc. CIS DeAvila was the only one that invited me to look through binders of homework worksheets (thank you!). So spend your time in the classroom tours seeking out the worksheets. Or, probably better yet, ask parents whose kids go to the school to describe their experience. 
    • Bottom line: Look at the worksheets.
  • Discipline revealed: Most San Francisco schools have a relatively progressive approach to discipline, at least on paper. But that may not mean that the reality in the classroom is what you want for your child. When you’re touring, look around for evidence of systems: behavior sticker charts, etc. Or keep your eyes out for adults yelling at kids in the hall (yep, saw that on a couple tours.) Keep in mind that these systems are usually determined teacher by teacher unless the school has a strong training program around a particular philosophy. Not touring? Then ask friends at that school to describe the systems. Do you like what you see? Do you agree with it? If you have an easy child, this may not matter to you (though I have a friend with an easy child who is nonetheless very concerned about the system in her child’s kindergarten for what it teaches her child about other people.) If you have a child with triggers for classroom conflict, then this is going to be very important. We ruled out most schools we otherwise liked based on this one evaluation point because our child is extremely passionate about doing things his own way and on his own timeline. 
    • Bottom line: Pay close attention to physical manifestations of the school’s discipline system.
  • Minimizing anxiety: Many of us have heard horror stories about other parents who have ended up taking drastic measures -- whether it be prescription anti-anxiety medicine or moving out of the district -- to get through this process. While I’m not saying that you can get rid of all stress, I do believe that a) knowing your priorities and b) doing enough research to feel like you have all the information that’s relevant, even if imperfect, will let you make decisions with considerably less stress and second guessing. My husband and I followed this strategy and felt relatively calm throughout the process. I watched the process like a hawk, and hit refresh on my mail and email (and this blog!) way more than usual when we were waiting for results, but we didn’t feel nagging doubt about the decisions we made. I also observed another friend whose son got a mixed bag of results in the first round stay calm and make confident decisions through the next few rounds. She had spent the time to focus on defining what they wanted and doing enough research to make choices that they didn’t second guess. 
    • Bottom line: Minimize the stress of this process by defining your goals and research threshold, to the extent possible.

No doubt many other veterans have loads of other advice. I’ve skipped some of the basic stuff, like ruling out schools whose logistics (start time, location, etc) would make you dread waking up in the morning every day. But I hope this helps!

Best of luck to everyone going through the process!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

SFUSD Enrollment Fair

Sorry for the late notice, but the SFUSD Enrollment Fair is happening this weekend! It can be a bit of a zoo, but also a great place to learn about schools you might not have heard of.

The Enrollment Fair is happening Saturday, October 24, from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm at City College, located at 50 Phelan Ave.

Here's some more information:

A reminder: Enrollment forms for Kindergarten and most grades are due January 15 (charter schools and some SFUSD high schools have different dates).