About demand in the Marina . . .

UPDATE: I checked the figures below with Orla O’Keeffe, the staff person leading the redesign effort for the district. It turns out they represent students who ended up enrolling in the district, not all students who applied from those neighborhoods in Round 1. Mea culpa — I’ve corrected the text below to reflect that.

HOWEVER: District figures for all applicants don’t reflect much more in the way of demand, though I don’t have them packaged as neatly or comprehensively as the data I posted below. What I do know is that there were 278 Round 1 applications in 2008-09 listing Lilienthal as a first choice. Of those first choice requests, only 53 came from addresses located near the Lilienthal campus (essentially, from the Marina and Cow Hollow, though not strictly those City planning neighborhoods). Again, the demand is not there.  

Don’t shoot the messenger! There’s a bit of an advocacy campaign going on from families in the Marina and Pacific Heights, arguing that Claire Lilienthal shouldn’t be designated a citywide school under the district’s new proposed assignment plan. But the demand patterns from those planning neighborhoods simply do not support that for year one. The data below represent grades K, 6 and 9 first choice requests by students who eventually enrolled in district schools, by planning neighborhood, for 2008-09:

  • Marina: 36 first round applicants from this planning neighborhood; 24 of those received their first choice in Round 1 that year.
  • Pacific Heights:  18 first round applicants from this planning neighborhood; 11 of those received their first choice in Round 1 that year.
  • Presidio Heights:  29 first round applicants from this planning neighborhood; 12 of those received their first choice in Round 1 that year.
  • Presidio: 18 first round applicants from this planning neighborhood; 12 of those received their first choice in Round 1 that year.

I don’t even know that it’s completely fair to include all of the Presidio Heights and Presidio planning neighborhoods, since many addresses in both areas are actually closer to Cobb or other schools further out in the Richmond, and presumably would be located in attendance areas for those schools anyway.

Again, should the demand patterns become more robust from these areas, I think the Board would be willing to reopen this discussion in future years — after all, increasing our overall enrollment would be a good thing! But the advocacy campaign, however strongly felt, is not supported by the current data we have.

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7 responses to “About demand in the Marina . . .

  1. Why would K-8 schools be considered city-wide when everyone has a neighborhood preference for a middle school? You wouldn’t have to go through the process again for middle school, K-8s don’t offer a different curriculum than other GE elementary and middle schools. If there are less elementary seats than middle school seats available for all applicants, excluding immersion schools, wouldn’t it make more sense to rethink the K-8 model?

    K-8s seem to make more sense for immersion schools than GE because of all the research that says immersion benefits are greatest when continued thru 8th grade. Yet all except for 2 K-8s are GE.

    While I don’t live in the Marina, I do believe that area has less schools to accommodate the number of students in the area. I agree with other posts that said that people are not listing Lilienthal because of the probability of getting in – and the goal is to GET an assignment from your list. As Orla has pointed out repeatedly, the data is based on the current system, not on what people really want.

    I think it is a huge flaw that the district has only focused its research on enrolled students, versus applicant information – which they also have – and also based on census tract data that indicates the number of school-aged children in the city. Focusing in enrolled students is fine for simulations and decision-making for middle and high school, but not for decisions on elementary enrollment, especially K.

  2. I agree w/ Crystal. As a Marina resident, if I was applying to kindergarten under the old choice system I wouldn’t even bother putting Claire Lilienthal on my list because it’s a waste of one of my 7 choices. It would be great to send my son there – it has so much to offer and is walking distance from our house.

    There aren’t enough schools for the Northside residents, and since the old system didn’t take into account geography, if geographic proximity is a concern, it makes more sense to move to other parts of the City with more schools around.

    I can guarantee that if the two CL campuses where split up into two separate elementary schools (which they should be) and the new system was in place guaranteeing Northside residents that they have a seat, the demand would easily be there…

  3. Hi Abby! I think I would be more sympathetic to this point if we saw significant numbers of people from the neighborhoods surrounding Lilienthal participating in the school choice process in the first place, but we don’t. I honestly think all this advocacy time being spent urging that Lilienthal be a neighborhood school would be better spent urging Marina, Cow Hollow and Presidio Heights residents to at least put in an application to public schools.

  4. I think Crystal’s point was that most people now, when figuring out what to put as their Round I first choice, are torn between listing the school they really want the most, and the one they would have the most chance of getting into in Round I. Claire Lilianthal is known to be very, very hard to get into, and most families without diversity points and without a private school back-up do not tend to list it first in Round I if they really want to get in somewhere.

    The new assignment systems promises to eliminate these kinds of dilemmas (hooray!), but I think it’s fair to say that you can’t really say what the local demand would be for a high-demand school by looking at the Round I first choice listings…

  5. I have to agree with Crystal — we have been guided and coached over the years NOT to shoot only for the “popular” schools. But why single out the Marina?

    It seems the more general question is access to geographically close neighborhood schools by all neighborhoods. Not creating exceptions based on popularity of schools. Historically, we have greatly deterred people from considering public school in San Francisco because of the uncertainty of where you end up, so historical demand data may not be a useful metric.

    Additionally, if the K-8’s are so popular that they demand exclusion from the process, why not consider *more* of them?

  6. Crystal, I chose to highlight first choice requests in the posts with the idea that if families from the Marina didn’t put Lilienthal first, they must want other choices ahead of that. I don’t think I follow your reasoning.

  7. Ok – I appreciate that you are at least willing to provide and analyze actual facts when you are looking at the options. BUT how in the world do you expect to only look at first choice requests for these schools from these areas in a silo?

    Everyone in these areas know full well that they had and will continue to have very little chance of getting in, which, would lead them to list other schools first and put Lilienthal down lower on the list.

    I understand the dynamic of many children in the area not even attempting to attend and opting out of the district because they do not think there is any chance they will get in. This may be a closed minded way of looking at the scenario – but that is back to the original question I posed, what percentage of families from these areas go 0/7.

    Finally, if you are so certain that there is no demand from this area then there would be PLENTY of spots for kids all over town, right? So, making it a local school would still leave plenty of room for other kids…

    I do not buy that the BOE has truly considered the whole picture. So, I am sure you will continue to hear MANY good reasons to reconsider, and I hope you will dive deeper into the issue.

    While I am at it, how does the Argonne attendance area going to feel about being a year round school if that isn’t what they want?
    Again, I hope the BOE considers all of the neighborhoods and their needs carefully and doesn’t make biased and unsubstantiated assumptions.