Posts tagged ‘schools’

The Wading Pool

School assignment letters went out from the SFUSD last week, as did letters to private school applicants. We’d listed our seven public schools, applied to five privates (fewer than the seven recommended by some preschool directors), and were curious (ok, ok, anxious) to see what the mail would bring.

The SFUSD assigned us our third choice school (not, I should correct, the plastic-fish-beating school, which on review was actually our 5th choice). We should feel lucky; the SFUSD proudly claims that 90% of families are assigned to a school on their list, but in my informal survey of preschool families, it’s more like 45% get their first choice, 45% are assigned a school that’s not on their list (let alone in their neighborhood) and the rest of us wind up in the murky middle, assigned to a school we’re not thrilled about, that’s far from home, but which we put on the list to fill out our required seven.

As for the private schools, we received one acceptance, at our last choice, Tony’s alma mater, an all-boys school about which we have mixed feelings, and four offers to be placed in the “waiting pool,” the deliberately phrased non-waiting list from which random children are happily plucked to take the spots of families who have rejected acceptance offers. So if the straight white parents of a boy from an average middle class family turn down admission to our first choice school, maybe Ben will get that spot. Or maybe some other white boy will. We have no idea.

In the meantime, here we are in the waiting pool. I am absolutely not complaining, because we have options that some families would be thrilled about, but we are not at thrilled quite yet. We’re still at uncertain and pensive. The water isn’t too clear here in the wading pool, it’s crowded, and there’s an unpleasant vinegar scent in the air. We need to climb out and dive in to another pool — but where?

Tune in next week!

Let’s Call It My 4th Choice, Now

So, the San Francisco Unified School District mails out its school assignments today, and everyone I know is on pins and needles about this.

I am interested to hear, of course, but I’ve also been quite usefully distracted by my other projects. Still, that’s not to say it’s not on my mind, and so when I went out for a run today, I made a point of circling past school choice #3, just to see what might be happening out on the playground at 10 am on a sunny day.

I saw the usual assortment of ball playing and structure climbing and running around, and then, off in the corner, I saw a group of four or five girls, gathered in a circle. One of them was holding a plastic baseball bat, and she was smacking something in the center of the circle, over and over. The other girls, they looked to be in 1st or 2nd grade, were cheering her on.

I ran around the corner to get a closer look, and there, in the center of the circle, being beaten silly by the girl with the plastic bat, was a large plastic fish.


It could have been so much worse.

Top of the List

Today was my last school tour, and I think I’ve found my favorite public school. It’s been on my radar a while: Tony used to live around the corner when we were first dating; the architect for our remodel renovated it; and a friend who used to work for the school district was in charge of choosing its color palette, fixtures and furniture (L, it looks good!)

But I’d never been inside, met the principal, seen the students in action, nor any of the rest. It’s close to home, got a varied student population, involved parents, dedicated teachers — everything you want in your child’s first school. But what caught my attention was, amongst all the other fabulous student art, a series of little books stapled to the wall, produced by second graders, titled “If I Were In Charge of the World.” I opened one, expecting to find the predictable proclamations for world peace, ice cream every day, and the abolition of younger siblings.


“If I were in charge of the world,” I read, “I’d cancel alligators.”

I just like the sheer brio of that statement.