: : : sigh : : : It's going to be a long and winding road to navigate. It's not a lovely beetles-esque kind of long and winding road that I would enjoy meandering or strolling, no, it's more like a long, twisted, uphill both ways, ridiculously bumpy, weather worn, and missing actual pavement kind of road. Ok, so enough of that visualizing the long hellacious struggle ahead, I'm sure I lost you on that one anyway. I've just returned from my first "navigating the kindergarten admission process in San Francisco" meeting. : : : urgh : : :
: : : sigh : : :Here's what I understand so far : : : urgh : : : San Francisco is a district with a "parent choice" school system. That translates to: you pick seven schools (plus you can add two additional charter schools). Drop off your application. Next your child gets assigned a number. Next your number and choice list get put into a computer algorithm along with all the other applicants and then the computer goes : : : dut doot dut doot dut : : : and spits out your school selection. One third get their first choice, one fifth get a school from their list of seven, and the rest get stuck going around in a second choice review and then into wait lists and last minute switcharos — some get into their dream schools others are totally shafted. There are some criteria that aid an applicant in getting into their first choice school such as poverty, if you are a foster kid or live in low income housing, whether you've attended preschool and if english is your first language, and diversity — these are all understandable considerations and worthy of special attention. : : : sigh : : :
: : : urgh : : : For the rest of us lily-white middle classers it's down to a lottery. With the private/independent schools it almost seems worse because you have to write essays about your child and why you are a good fit for each school, get recommendations (ideally from school board presidents while also having parents whose children are currently enrolled talking up your genius child and generous family at cocktail parties!!), then attend parent interviews, have your child screened at a one-on-one interview, as well as in a play-group, and then, after all that, even if you're lucky enough to get in, (which, by the way, the best private schools have ~300 applicants for about 20 slots — same odds as the best public schools) you'll need to fork over a quarter to half a million dollars (by the time your kid graduates high school) which is money I think of as my retirement. : : : sigh : : :
: : : urgh : : : it was recommended that I tour 9-12 private/independent schools and simultaneously tour 9-12 public schools. I should then apply to 7-10 private/independents and apply and fill out all seven slots for public school (plus fill out separate applications for the two available charter schools). I'm also supposed to be prepared for round two of public school applications and have an additional seven schools selected in case we end up as what they refer to as zero for seven or 0-7. So what's the math on all that? Tour approx 24 or so schools and apply to approx 15, and have seven back ups — all this and we haven't even added in applying to a few parochial schools. : : : urgh & sigh : : : and doesn't all this touring and applying sound like a part-time job?
Resources I need to read, study and embrace.
Parents for Public Schools and Adam's Spreadsheet
the SF k files — this site is awesome, read all the comments too!