In recent weeks there has been a lot of community discussion around whether the district should save or phase out a general education program at Dr. William R. Cobb Elementary School in order to expand a Montessori program at the school (Background is here, here and here). Of course, with the January 8 enrollment deadline approaching, the uncertainty surrounding both programs at this school has created concerns that families who would otherwise request GE or to continue at Montessori for K will be scared away from doing so. In response to my request for guidance for families considering enrolling in either Cobb GE or Cobb Montessori, the Educational Placement Center has created a FAQ:
When will SFUSD make decisions about whether the General Education and Montessori programs will be available next year and their locations? The Board of Education plans to discuss this topic at a general public meeting on January 12 in order to reach a decision about where each program will be placed.
What happens if I put one of these programs on my application and SFUSD decides to end the program or change the location? Will I be able to change my application? If one of the Cobb programs is eliminated or re-located in January, the Educational Placement Center will contact the families affected by mail and telephone to inform them and to clarify their options. Those families will have an opportunity to amend or revise their school or program choices on the enrollment applications prior to conducting the Round 1 assignments so families will not lose the opportunity to fully participate in the Round 1 assignment lottery.
Must my child have been schooled in a Montessori program previously in order to attend the SFUSD Montessori program? The program is especially designed for multi-aged classrooms starting with children at ages 3 and 4. Entry at an older age is possible for a few students if there are spaces but this is very limited. The Cobb pre-K Montessori program is reserved for 60% of students who are low-income. District administrators are in conversation with Montessori experts to determine if there is a way to phase in more new students to the program after pre-school.
Why didn’t the district resolve these issues earlier? Last winter, it was our understanding that Cobb school community members were united in their desire to have the Montessori program expand, we have since learned that this is not the case and are in the process of carefully weighing other options.