The Two Week Wait

On Friday, March 13th, San Francisco Unified School District sends out placement announcements for the 2015-2016 school year. We should be getting ours in the mail in exactly two weeks.

Finding out where my daughter will go to Kindergarten is the culmination of years of wondering and worry. Ever since we first started talking about whether we’d stay in the city, knowing where she’d go to school has been on our minds.

The SFUSD lottery system is an absolute and utter shit show. We listed only Spanish Immersion programs, all which happen to be relatively close to us (at least on the same side of the city). Our daughter could be placed in a general education school clear across town.

We are incredibly lucky that we have a guaranteed Plan B in place, so if we are terribly disappointed with the school we get, we know she’ll be going somewhere that we really like.

But I really want my daughter to go to a Spanish Immersion school. And I really want it to be one of the schools we can get her to.

So many things ride on this letter, this one piece of paper we expect to get in the mail in 14 days. We may need to hire some help during the work week, if she has to be at school by 7:50am. We may need to buy a second car, if her school isn’t accessible via public transportation. I am a planner. If I’m not actually planning something, I like to be thinking about how I might plan it. Not having this huge piece of next year’s puzzle is absolutely killing me.

So far I’ve been really good about the wait. I registered in November. We found out she passed the bilingual test in December. Then I successfully put it out of my mind. Once or twice I marveled at how fast February was flying by and realized that soon it would be March and we’d be close to knowing.

Now that it is March, I suspect time will come to a screeching halt. I find myself packing my schedule in an attempt to distract myself. I’m actually thankful that my grades are due around that time; I hope I’m too busy to drive myself crazy with anticipation. I’m already dreading the five long hours of classes I’ll have to endure on the 16th.

Two weeks and we get a glimpse of our future. Yes. This feels so very familiar…


    1. It does cover every single child starting school, not just in Kindergarten but in middle school AND high school AND kids coming in from other districts. It’s totally insane. The mind boggles. It’s the reason there are less school aged kids in SF than in any other US city. No joke.

  1. K-12 unless you are in private schools, city and county of San Francisco. And yes, I knew a woman with twins … each went lottery into different schools with different schedules. Yes it creates problems for after school care, transportation to and from schools, is hard on working parents, and encourages parents to look for different answers including leaving the county.
    It was intended to end racial discrimination and economic discrimination between schools in the same district. It has been in play for something like 40+ years and while it has had tweaks it remains lottery. Now if one child is in a particular school a subsequent sibling has ‘priority’ for entry into that school admission but it is not guaranteed~ how many openings at the school and how many other siblings applying plays a role. It was a huge boon to private school enrollment.

    1. Yep, a greater percentage of students are enrolled in private school in SF than in any other city in the county. It’s nuts.

  2. Looking ahead to the shit-show of Chicago Public Schools was another reason we left there, and SF sounds even worse! I hope the wait flies by and you get something that you want and that works.

    If she gets in a school that you want, does she get priority next year or is this anxiety one that you’ll have to repeat every year?

  3. May the odds be ever in your favor! March 13th is med school match day and March 20th is my match day so I have a sense of the tension. Ugh what a nasty system.

  4. I hope you get the school you want. What (personally I think) an unnecessary stress for you?!!?

    Let us know how you go!

  5. This sounds like Boston! I wonder how the stats here compare with respect to private schools, etc. Does your lottery system include charter schools? We will find out soon with S, but I’m much less emotionally invested – at this point I just want him to get in somewhere so we can use the $ we are spending on his preschool for care for Freya. I hope you get what you want!

    1. The Charter schools have their own admissions processes but they are also lotteries. We didn’t apply to the one Spanish Immersion Charter school mostly because I’m lazy. I meant to do it, but it never happened.

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