Attendance areas and feeder patterns

As promised, tonight district staff unveiled the draft maps of attendance areas and middle school feeder patterns. I don’t have electronic copies of the maps, but they should be posted at the following site by tomorrow: www.sfusd.edu/Enroll
Tonight’s meeting was televised, and while you won’t be able to make out the teensy tiny maps on from the telecast, there was some interesting discussion and public comment.

Generally, I didn’t feel there were many huge surprises, or attendance areas that felt terribly “gerrymandered.” Parents from McKinley Elementary were on hand to protest the proposal that their school would feed into Everett Middle School; another group of parents pushing for a neighborhood-only school assignment scheme also came to speak for public comment.

The McKinley comments were difficult for me, because it’s a community I feel very connected to. My own daughter attended a pre-K class at McKinley for two years; more recently I have been honored to be a judge at McKinley’s last two DogFest fundraisers (a lovely and fun annual event). I also try to never miss the school’s annual Junior Olympics celebration, which manages to be adorable, fun and uplifting all at the same time.  I understand that parents at McKinley have worked tremendously hard to boost enrollment at their school (a few years after my daughter went on to Kindergarten, McKinley ended up on the district’s dreaded closure list and had to “prove” it could attract more students in order to get off the list — thank goodness we don’t have a closure list anymore!).  I also understand that Everett Middle School is on the state’s own dreaded list of persistently underperforming schools, so for many parents enrolling at Everett represents a leap of faith — trust that the school district can and will turn the school around.  On the other hand, the whole reason we wrote middle school feeder patterns into the new assignment plan was to give families the reassurance that their child’s peer group would remain stable during the transition to middle school. As Commissioner Wynns said tonight, “Everett will be McKinley,” if students follow the feeder patterns. (Note to the neighborhood schools people: Everett is McKinley’s neighborhood school, less than three-quarters of a mile away according to Google Maps).

I didn’t like hearing McKinley parents classify Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy (another elementary school designated to feed into Everett) as “low-performing” — its API has steadily risen in recent years and is now at 783, up from 768 last year.  (McKinley is at 810 this year — up from 786 last year. Does that mean that last year McKinley parents thought their school was low-performing? I doubt it).

I also didn’t like hearing some McKinley parents advocating for other high-performing schools to be sent to Everett — either instead of or alongside their own children.

Finally, Everett has an enormous opportunity in the next few years that is represented by SFUSD’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding request poised for approval by the State Board of Education next week. SFUSD’s SIG grant originally asked for $48 million in funding for SFUSD’s 10 persistently underperforming schools; we are likely to be granted $45 million, with well over $3 million of it going towards our turnaround plan for Everett in the next three years.  I understand that people are worried and distrustful that SFUSD can turn around an underperforming school — but more expertise, focus and MONEY is going into Everett this year, and I do believe it will make a difference.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m tired, and there will be many more opportunities to respond to the draft attendance areas/feeder patterns — several community meetings are planned and there is also an online survey (staff asked for people who fill out the survey to be very specific in their feedback, naming schools and street names if at all possible, so that the feedback can be more easily compiled). Once the enrollment web site is live, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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35 responses to “Attendance areas and feeder patterns

  1. I’d like to ask why the district has implemented such a short timeframe to allow parents to provide feedback on the proposed plan and when the BOE will vote on it. Seems a lot of families still don’t know about these huge changes coming and most of them are mostly the disenfranchised Latinos and African Americans.

    Also why is the district so quick to implement this huge change in one bold sweep instead of making it a phased implementation to incoming kinder families? That way, they know what they’re signing up for K-8 unlike the families who are now in elementary school who will be affected but had no choice in where their child will be g0ing to middle school but rather had it imposed on them.

  2. I wanted to point out from your own redesign document dated March 9,2010:

    City-Wide Language Programs (PreK-12): Language programs that are: (a) clearly defined and
    listed on the SFUSD application form as a discrete choice, and (b) available at a limited number of
    schools; and (c) have a separate enrollment capacity with seats reserved specifically for students enrolled
    in the program will be designated city-wide, and students will be assigned to these programs through the
    choice process.

    Yet the proposed plan makes children from K-5 schools feed into a specific middle school regardless if they’re in a language program, taking away the choice you’ve outlined yourselves in your own document. Further, the plan as proposed is contrary to the recommendations made from your own expert, Kevin Chavez, head of the Dual Immersion Language Dept. which was to expand existing programs (yet the plan is to phase out Hoover’s spanish immersion) and as capacity demanded, open new programs at middle schools. This plan calls for closing a long time successful program at a desirable school and opening up new programs at struggling schools and also not expanding the other existing middle school program at James Lick. Doesn’t make much sense.

  3. Oops, edit! the second-to-last sentence in my post should have read, “Is there a chance that both the excelling and the struggling elementary-schools can be a little more evenly distributed around the district’s middle-schools?

  4. Rachel,
    Thanks for your thoughtful service and dedication to all the families in the district. I am yet another McKinley parent, and I appreciate your comments on the Everett situation. I am looking forward to seeing Everett “become McKinley”, and I’m trying really hard to look at the big picture and not just have a knee-jerk response out of fear. I have taught at Misison High School for the last 11 years, and our family is heavily invested in this neighborhood, and having my daughter at Everett would make my commute very easy! I’ve also seen Mission transform in my time here and am excited to have my daughter join me here as a student after middle school.
    I think that focusing specifically on Everett, however, can lead to losing the forest for the trees. The fact that my child’s school was included in the Everett feeder pattern drew my attention there first, but I’ve tried to look for trends district-wide to help put my concerns in context. To that end, I used the most recent API scores available for elementary and middle schools and looked for trends.
    The most distressing trend I see is middle-schools that have historically been perceived as “more desirable” placements (and have the highest API scores) are slated to be fed primarily by elementary schools with the highest API scores in the district. (as an educator in the district I have my own very strong opinions about using API scores to evaluate schools, but for better or worse, they are the primary numbers used by parents as well as state and federal agencies to judge and rank schools.)
    I don’t have a problem with Everett being fed by McKinley and Milk, both of which are schools on the rise with good programs and bright prospects for the future (although I heard a rumor that Milk might no longer be going to Everett… comments?). With Marshall and Sanchez rounding out the group, it looks like a good mix of schools that will go a long way toward improving the academic culture of Everett. When one stops focusing on just one middle-school, though, and looks at the whole district, it still seems that the feeder patterns are setting up the same old middle schools to be the “elites” and throwing bones (in the form of “up-and-coming schools) to middle-schools that have been struggling. My fear is that this plan formalizes patterns of inequity that have dogged the district for years. It would go a long way toward allaying those fears to see a more even balance between excelling and struggling elementary schools being sent to all middle-schools. (McKinley and Milk are on their way up, but realistically are not part of the group of long-term, stable, high-performing schools. Those schools seem to be concentrated on the west side middle-schools in this plan, which doesn’t do much to quell fears that this plan will ultimately reinforce the status quo and primarily serve those already being well served by the system).
    Is there a chance that both the excelling and the struggling middle-schools can be a little more evenly distributed around the district’s middle-schools? In the case of Everett, it is flattering to think that McKinley (and Milk!) might be considered part of the elite group of excelling schools by some, but a cursory look at API numbers is more sobering, and looking at the feeder schools for Marina, Hoover, and Giannini call into question how much historical inequity is actually addressed by this plan.

  5. @CVDad – well, yes, but — someone who has listed Grattan #7 would have to have received none of their top six choices to be in the running for a Grattan seat in the first place. Also, monitoring attendance areas is an important part of the policy going forward, so if we notice that certain attendance areas are perennially “shutting out” applicants from those attendance areas, we can adjust them to make them smaller, and therefore more likely to accommodate everyone who lives there and wants to go to their local school.

  6. Thanks Rachel. I just want to be sure I’m clear on this.

    I understand the tiebreaker scenario you outlined with a McKinley area applicant compared to me, a Grattan area applicant.

    But for all Grattan area applicants (after siblings, SFUSD Pre-K, CTIP), they are offered the remaining spots at Grattan based on a pure lottery?
    Thus, one Grattan area applicant that ranked Grattan #7 has the same probability of landing a spot at Grattan as another Grattan area applicant that ranked it #1.

    Thanks again.

  7. @CVDad — being an attendance area resident is your tie breaker; so if you can’t be assigned to a higher choice than your attendance area school, you will have preference for your attendance area school EVEN IF other people rank it higher. Let’s say I live over in the McKinley attendance area and I rank Grattan first and McKinley second, while you rank Alvarado SI highest and then Grattan. If you don’t get Alvarado SI, you will still get Grattan before me because you have preference and I don’t.
    In cases where there are more attendance area residents than seats, seats will be assigned to those residents by lottery.

  8. Rachel,
    I have a follow up question to Antun’s comment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand the current policy, an attendance area school becomes oversubscribed if the school cannot accommodate ALL applicants from the attendance area, not just those applicants that listed the school on their application. This is pretty explicit in the SFUSD’s FAQ document concerning the new placement policy. So with that in mind, after siblings, area SFUSD Pre-K students, and CTIP students, how are the remaining spots determined for attendance area applicants?

    Is it random selection of all applicants from the area, regardless of whether the school is listed on the application? (This would be a form of “default” area assignment as proposed in earlier versions of the policy.)
    OR
    Does the school have to be listed on the application, then applying a tie-breaker based on how high the applicant ranked the school on their application?

    Specifically, we live in the Grattan attendance area, value proximity, but would prefer Spanish Immersion. My guess is that Grattan will test oversubscription, and depending on the algorithm, we may be forced to rank it #1 to have any chance.

    Thanks.

  9. @Antun – It’s true that over time our plan evolved from one that would give people initial assignments (problematic because we can’t find every 4 year old who is eligible for Kinder) to one that preserves an initial choice for K — middle schoolers will receive initial assignments in November based on the schools their elementary schools feed into. I don’t agree with your characterization of attendance area. First of all, most of the over-subscribed schools have very, very low CTIP (priority census tract) enrollments. Perhaps with busing patterns those enrollment percentages would change, but I don’t think it will be as much as an issue as you suggest. In this new system, where you live takes on much greater importance than it does in the current system, and new applicants from the attendance area will be placed after siblings, CDP applicants (again very, very few of these), and CTIP. Send me your attendance area and I will see if I can dig up more specific numbers for you.

  10. Antun Karlovac

    Rachel,

    Thank you for communicating with us anxious parents and patiently taking our questions. Your help is very much appreciated.

    I attended some of the meetings and have been following the assignment redesign closely. So when I read SFUSD’s literature on the new assignment system, I was very surprised that my understanding of “attendance area” was wrong.

    Essentially, “attendance area” means very little in its current definition. It is only used to break a tie in oversubscribed schools, and even then it is fourth-preference. Children living in a completely different (low-performing) part of the city will trump children living in an school’s attendance area. What I recall from the meetings where parents gave their feedback was that local schools would send an invitation to children living in their attendance area. If the parents applied to schools outside that attendance area, they would forfeit the invitation.

    I’ll post my feedback to SFUSD, but I thought I’d share with you first.

    Thanks again,

    Antun

  11. @ginny do me a favor and fill out the online survey at http://www.sfusd.edu/enroll with that comment. I am pretty sure that they know an immersion school would have to feed into an immersion pathway, so they should correct the map and make sure all information the district is putting out is correct. Be as specific as you possibly can and make sure to use the words “Buena Vista”, “immersion” and “Horace Mann Middle School” so that the response will be appropriately categorized.

  12. Wow, thanks for the quick response, Rachel. What threw me about the connection between Buena Vista and Horace Mann is the plan outlined on slide #40 in the ppt deck for language programs. For Horace Mann, the column for Spanish reads “Continue.” Since Horace Mann’s current program seems to be designated as “bilingual” based on what I can find on the SFUSD site (presumably Spanish to English transition), this doesn’t look like a plan to begin an immersion program…but I’ll take your word for it.

  13. Rachel, I just wish to clarify a few of my comments that have been misquoted in your blog above. First off, I did not classify Milk as a low performing school. In our conversation, you in fact stated that Milk’s scores were above 800. I am glad to see that you have corrected your error. Milk is an up and coming school that hopefully will continue to improve. McKinley is a school that has recently made this transition. I hope that the middle school feeder pattern does not damage all the hard work by McKinley parents that have come before me.

    Secondly, my comment to the commission and to you regarding the schools assigned to Everett was stated accurately: two low performing schools and two middle of the road/transitioning schools have been assigned to Everett. In order to really decrease the disparity between the top and bottom middle schools, it seems that it would be better to also assign at least one (and preferably more) long-time high performing school in addition to the schools that have already been assigned to Everett. I am not, and was not at the meeting, asking for McKinley to be taken out of Everett’s feeder pattern, rather for the district to assign other strong schools as well. When considering the proposed middle school feeder patterns, one quickly can see that some middle schools are heavily weighted with high performing schools (ie Aptos and Hoover), whereas others (Everett) are not. I think the current feeder pattern is not setting Everett up for success, rather it is just encouraging the parents/children that you want at Everett to leave the district.

  14. @ginny there has never been enough capacity in our middle school immersion programs to accommodate students once they move to middle school. So the district plans to expand existing pathways and create new ones where they haven’t existed before. So the placement team has proposed creating a new pathway at Horace Mann for BV students to feed into.

  15. I don’t get how a 100% immersion school can feed into a school without an immersion program, e.g. Buena Vista into Horace Mann. Can someone explain this to me?

  16. Maybe they need to under enroll because of siblings. It’s going to take a couple years for the people who enrolled via the lottery to work their way out of the system. The people who have children spaced 2 years apart will send their kids to the same middle school even if the elementary school feeds to a different one.

    I also wonder if the district is anticipating movement this year because while the feeder schools might be close to the middle school, many kids going to the elementary schools are not from the neighborhood. So they need to build some room in for that.

    Also, right now some of the feeder schools 5th grade classes are not at capacity, I think the district’s hope is that in a few years people will go to their neighborhood elementary schools which in turn will feed in to their neighborhood middle school. Thus raising enrollment to capacity.

    For example, our family didn’t get in to Alvarado so ended up outside our neighborhood. Lick is our neighborhood middle school but our elementary school is not feeding there. I don’t know what we’ll do yet. I’ll be touring Lick, the school our school is feeding in to and others. My 5th grader is already putting pressure on me to be allowed to go with his peers to the same middle school.

  17. @Karen – you’re asking a good question, but a complex one. I don’t know the whole answer and will follow up. I looked up Everett’s enrollment for 2008-09 (the last year for which data are available on the CDE web site) and it is listed as 427 students; then I looked up Everett’s total physical capacity and it is 696 students. The school enrollments I checked on the CDE web site roughly jibe with what you posted, so I won’t argue with your conclusion that if every 5th grader from all four feeder schools enrolls at Everett, the school will still have excess capacity. That is true of all the middle schools, actually, based on preliminary calculations the demographers did for the board but which were not released as part of the public packet because they are very rough and far too hypothetical to be useful. Another example is Roosevelt: its capacity is listed as 769 and its 2008-09 enrollment was 723. If you do the same calculations for the schools that are designated to feed into Roosevelt that you did for Everett, you come up with 516 (I had to estimate for Chinese Immersion School since they don’t have a 4th grade yet so I put them at 50 students; NT had 17 students, Tenderloin had 52; Parks had 53 — 50+17+52+53 = 172; 172 x3 = 516). I am not sure what the rationale was for “under-enrolling” the middle schools but that should make parents like yourself more hopeful that there will be other choices if you can’t make your feeder middle school work for you.

  18. The numbers still don’t make sense re Everett’s feeder schools.

    Data I found online show these #’s for last year’s 4th graders:
    Harvey Milk 39 students
    McKinley 57 students
    Sanchez 43 students
    Marshall 34 students

    If ALL of those students (who are in 5th grade now) fed into Everett – and there’s no way any school will ever achieve 100% of it’s graduating class feeding into middle school – that still makes only 173 students.

    173 X 3 grades (6th, 7th and 8th) is 519.

    The building capacity for Everett must be 800+. Not sure how to find the exact number, but why under-enroll the school?

    Turning around a seriously under performing school would require a large influx of high performing students. Most schools turn that corner from being poor performing to high achieving when there are enough students and families to tip the balance in favor of a culture of learning and respect for teachers (neither of which Everett appears to have now, as confirmed by students and parents and teachers I have spoken with).

    Or, SFUSD can keep throwing money at Everett and sending in consultants and then scratching their heads when the school is still failing.

    And looking at that map, I wonder how many west side schools will be complaining about their feeder schools?????

  19. @Karen – sorry you think I’m being “disingenuous.” I’m trying to approach this issue from a place of information, rather than fear. FYI, Marshall also is set to feed into Everett, so that makes four schools. I haven’t looked up all the school capacities but that sounds about right to me.

  20. I will try to make it to the next community meeting. I agree with Frank. It seems the district is not very clear what it wants for the language pathways.

    One question is whether to keep a school as a whole (seems to be the current guideline) or having language pathway as higher priority.

    The last page of the committee presentation slides has a lot of “new” language programs which need to be developed. That’s a lot to manage. Immersion programs face a lot of different issues and require knowledgable staff. The district will get better use of the money (and the kids get better environment for the languages) if there are fewer schools with bigger programs, rather than many schools with one or two classes of this and that.

    I would even say that Starr King/Ortega/CIS/WP should feed into a big Mandarin/Cantonese program. The district has stated the goal is to make Chinese immersion kids trilingual (English/Mandarin/Cantonese) anyway.

    SFUSD did a very impressive job on the elementary school immersion programs. I don’t feel the district has everything together yet for the middle schools.

  21. Rachel is being disingenuous re statements about Everett. Honestly, spend a few hours there, talk to the teachers, and then let us know that you would enroll your child there next year.

    If Everett has the capacity for 800+ students, why does it have only 3 feeder elementary schools – two of which are fairly small (McKinley and Milk probably have less than 50 fifth graders between them)? Even if all the 5th graders from both those schools went to Everett, it would not be the critical mass needed to turn around a school that has been under-performing for a long time.

    The disparity between the existing Everett students academic performance and the test scores of Milk and McKinley is vast. Both McKinley and Milk are schools with good test scores and a lot of parent involvement. Everett is on the list as being one of the lowest performing schools in all of California. Pointing this out is not elitism, but public fact.

    If the district really wants to turn Everett around, it would include more larger local high performing elementary schools into it (Alvarado, Clarendon, Moscone, to name a few) as feeder schools, not just 2 of the smallest schools (McKinley and Milk).

    Expecting 20-30 students and their families to “turn around” a school that has been floundering for years is an unrealistic and unreasonable expectation.

  22. I see that some of my questions are addressed in the Ad Hoc Committee presentation, especially in Appendix A. It’s still very clear to me that the district doesn’t have a good handle on its language programs though. There are a lot of artificial (to my eyes) distinctions between what are basically two types of elementary school programs: teach most subjects in a foreign language (one-way immersion, two-way immersion and bilingual) and teach a foreign language every day (Japanese is special and is considered a true citywide “language program, but Russian, Spanish and Italian are mostly ignored). It’s notable that in the presentation, Russian is not listed in the “Current Language Pathways” but it is listed in the “Developing Language Pathways” section. Spanish is mentioned under the “Current Language Pathways” but Italian is totally ignored. Also, there’s a supposedly a French “FLES”-type program at MLK MS that isn’t mentioned and probably should be. Then, on http://www.sfusd.edu/Enroll , Italian is mentioned, but Russian isn’t nor is the McKinley Spanish.

    Anyway, it’s just a pet-peeve of mine, but I think that the communication is so bad around the language programs because, as an organization, SFUSD isn’t very clear internally as to what its programs are. (Which is too bad, because the programs are really quite impressive!)

  23. @Frank and @Terri – Generally, FLES programs are not immersion and so they are not citywide. The exceptions to this are the JBBP programs at Clarendon and at Rosa Parks. I am not sure what the reason for this is and that is a good question for one of our community meetings on the redesign process.

  24. @John – that question was raised as a concern last night and I believe staff will be reporting back to us.

    @ Vicky – lots of questions! you should consider coming to one of the community meetings that are scheduled – a list is here. I’ll try to answer some –
    1)attendance area size – based on the work of the demographers, many of the attendance areas on the north and west side of the city will be under capacity. In 2008, 25 percent of McKinley students K-5 were from CTIP 1, but the attendance area is so under capacity it should continue to be able to accommodate everyone.
    2)This is best a question for the community meetings – it’s complex but the short answer is you do not lose your attendance area priority if you don’t list your attendance area school first.
    3)The decision to repeat a grade rests with the parents and the staff at the school where the child attends. Once your child is enrolled at a school, he will not lose his place if you and the staff decide he needs to repeat a grade.
    4)I asked the enforcement question last night — more information about the district’s plans for enforcement will be addressed at the Sept. and Oct. meetings of the Student Assignment committee. And I can say that even though school just started Monday, address verification efforts are in full swing for this school year.

  25. Why is Clarendon Second Community designated as a city-wide school when it has a special Italian FLES program? It seems that if the JBBP program at Clarendon is city-wide, then the Second Community Italian FLES should be as well–after all, it is the only Italian language program in SF.

  26. @Rachel: Your point about “immersion schools and pathways are citywide under the new system” is not clear from the draft maps. For the K-8 citywide schools, the icon is in a lighter grey, but there’s no indication that, say, Flynn has a citywide component. I believe what you say, but the message isn’t being communicated clearly enough. Also, is this true for the “FLES” language programs? (Japanese at Rosa Parks and Clarendon, Russian at Argonne, and Spanish at McKinley.) I don’t think it is. And what about the bilingual programs for immigrant kids?

    The other concern for immersion is that immersion kids don’t seem to be sent to the same middle schools, which seems silly. (And that may not be true; but it’s not clear from these maps and list.) Sending the West Portal Cantonese and the CIS@DeAvila kids to the same middle school wouldn’t be a geographic problem and would help concentrate the languages. Kids coming from the Cantonese bilingual program would be a real asset to a middle school that combined immersion kids from West Portal and DeAvila (for example).

    (And I want to echo @Anne’s thanks. She said it very well.)

  27. One more question. Does the assignment area for McKinley have a CDC preschool?

  28. First, I must agree with Anne. You are the one board member that communicates with families and treats our questions seriously. I can only hope that in the future, the board fills up with more members like you.

    Now, to my questions. I couldn’t make the meeting, as my childcare is limited.

    1) Was projected attendance considered when drawing assignment areas? Ours looks small (McKinley, which was a surprise, but a good one). Did they make any assumptions about siblings, CTIP 1 and 2 students and private school choices for each neighborhood? Would it be possible to see these? While our assignment area looks small, it’s also close to the CTIP zones so might be a preferred choice for those families.

    2) If we apply to citywide schools, aren’t parents in oversubscribed areas given a preference? If so, how will the order of your list be handled. If you put an immersion program number 1 and the neighborhood program number 2, would you lose your priority at the neighborhood school?

    3) My son was born in November. Most people have told me that he should start school at 5.9 instead of 4.9, even if the state doesn’t change the cutoff dates. But others have said that their preschool teachers recommended early K because their child was reading already. What happens if he needs to repeat K? Would he be guaranteed a spot at his existing school, or would he need to go through the assignment process again? Any other thoughts on the late birthdays? Any thoughts on putting a limit on the other end so that parents don’t “red shirt” their older child?

    4) Will the district do anything to try to prevent families that “fake move” to a CTIP 1/2 area for the fall and then move back. (i.e pay for an apartment for a few months during the lottery process)?

  29. I thought Starr King and Ortega should feed the same middle school, so the Mandarin immersion kids will have the same middle school program.

    For the same token, CIS and West Portal should feed the same middle school.

    Language immersion needs critical mess (a lot of kids speaking the language). Having one single school with a big immersion program is better than having two smaller schools with two smaller programs.

  30. @Michelle – the short answer is, yes and no. Let’s say you are in the New Traditions attendance area (NT will feed into Roosevelt MS, btw) — you would be behind siblings, students who live in priority census tracts (CTIP 1) and students who live in the attendance area for the attendance area school (Peabody, Clarendon) you request. Immersion (at Ortega or anywhere else) is a different story – all immersion schools and pathways are citywide under the new system so all students who are not siblings or who do not reside in a CTIP 1 tract have the same priority.

  31. special ed parent

    Katy asked my exact question. May I also suggest that you push for more of the K through 8 programs to offer inclusion for the middle school years? Many special ed parents are justifiably worried about putting their inclusion kids in the large middle schools. The K through 8’s — like SF Community, Rooftop, etc — have smaller total class size that gives special ed kids a chance not to “disappear into the woodwork” BUT still stay mainstreamed in gen ed classes. Right now, to my knowledge, the only one K through 8 that offers inclusion is Lillienthal, which is completely impossible to get into. In fact, and I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets, the special ed folks at Lillienthal said that, in nearly 30 years, they’d only seen one inclusion slot EVER open up at the upper grades for new special ed kids to get into! And I know anecdotally that some of the other K through 8’s — like Rooftop — have wonderful special ed people NOW who handle kids with special needs. Why can’t they take on inclusion kids for the middle school years?

  32. Rachel, thanks for your tireless efforts in keeping all of us parents updated and your always professional, balanced and intelligent commentary. You’re truly a gift to parents trying to make public schools work. The more I plug into this blog the more I see how complex and enormously important this process is. It will have long run implications for whether SFUSD will be a successful urban school district. To do that, there need to be better opportuniteis for the economically disadvantaged but not at the expense of middle income plus families who are clearly returning to public schools. You need both constituencies to feel like they have a decent shot at a strong education from a public system. It’s too early to tell whether long run this will get the district where it needs to go.

  33. I posted this on The School Boards earlier but figured I’d ask Rachel directly. If we’re in the boundary for New Traditions even though we prefer schools in other attendance areas such as Clarendon, George Peabody or Jose Ortega (for mandarin immersion), does that mean we’re now the lowest in priority for those schools under the new plan? If that’s the case, it’s frustrating to think that we actually had better chances last year for the non city-wide schools that we actually want.

  34. You raise excellent questions. At the end of last night’s meeting I asked the Board and staff WHEN we are going to have the conversation about SpEd enrollment and assignment. Carlos announced that the Urban SpEd Leadership Collaborative is going to be here to present their findings and report to the public on Sept. 14. He would like us to hear that before we address the lingering questions in SpEd enrollment — so the Board will probably schedule a Committee of the Whole for SpEd related issues in either late Sept or early Oct. The application deadline isn’t until Feb. 18, so that still gives families a lot of time to review their options.
    As far as the Cobb-Inclusion-Presidio question, I am going to push hard for students to be accommodated wherever their typical peers are accommodated. It’s time. I also think we should consider a moratorium on opening new Special Day Classes and instead look at serving students in General Education settings more of the time.

  35. Wow, if Cobb is a feeder to Presidio Middle School? That’s great! Maybe more people will enroll their children in Cobb now!

    But wait … Presidio refuses to let children with disabilities who have “inclusion” on their IEPS enroll there …

    so, what about a child in “inclusion” at Cobb, will they not allow that child into Presidio Middle School?

    When is SFUSD going to discuss Special Education enrollment and assignment? I fear it will be the same as always, children receiving special education services will be an afterthought, and they’ll just make everything up as they go along … same old … same old …