I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

21 February 2011

Whither Whether Whatnot.

Applications for SFUSD placements were due Friday.  Historically the due date - indeed, the whole enrollment process - has no impact on my school life.  I might get a couple of questions from parents whose children I had as to how to ensure their rising Kindergartner is assigned to my class (this happens at the school site; as far as I can tell, EPC otherwise fills our classrooms by completely filling the room that comes first numerically, then the second, and so on.  By this method my class fills last.  We make some changes to balance out the rooms, handle requests/certain needs/family relationships, and in the event of KIT Camp, to as much as possible place KITCampers with their KITCamp teacher.  (Man, I hope we get KITCamp.  Our enrollment was way up this year, which would've made for a better KITCamp enrollment...does that count?)

Presuming I am not laid off and class sizes are not raised to 31:1 (at which point I cannot say with certainty I can teach Kindergarten by myself with no paraeducator or team teacher and have the children be happy and successful, so I'd have to seriously think about What I Am Doing With My Life and Whether It Is Time to Quit to Write Amazing Award Winning Literature*), I will teach Kindergarten again next year (hopefully with a Resident again; I want another one and my current Resident seems to be happy enough to be stuck with me).  I have one sibling coming up.

Other than that, I don't know what our classes will look like or what our enrollment will be.  In my old district, Kinder numbers at my school fluctuated wildly - one year we had four Kindergartens, the next we had six and had to send several children to other schools since we didn't have space for a seventh.  In my time in SFUSD, we have always had the same number of Kindergartens in the end but it has often been a hectic thing with possible combination classes or even actual ones through the 10 day count.  This year we were full; my class is tiny now but I had 22 for a couple of months and then 21 until December which still bums me out and leaves me secretly convinced that families moved not to take new jobs or move closer to relatives but because of me.  This, by the way, is a common teacher delusion many educators have expressed to me in the past- which is the only thing keeping me from depressive brooding and magical thinking.

However, we had a lot of tours this year.  Well, comparatively a lot.  We are a neighborhood school and a small one at that.  Our school is conveniently placed for outdoor education but also on a hill behind another hill.  And our neighborhood is a high-poverty one.  So we are not exactly on the all-District list of top ten Kindergarten choices.  So generally we don't have many tours and those we do have occur after placement offers are made.

It may be a factor of the new enrollment map, but it does not really change our neighborhood allotment.  We are not assigned the housing project from which we draw many students, but we have never been the closest school site (and there are at times closer ones with space).  I feel pretty confident that our students who come from that mini-neighborhood are following in a long line of family tradition.

Anyway, we had tours.  People generally seemed to come away pretty happy, even the people who walked in during my lunch break to find a muddy-booted teacher wearing a grass-stained Catherine Malandrino and carrying a handful of snails.  ("We believe in INQUIRY-BASED SCIENCE!" I avowed in an attempt to explain.)  Since we do have some nifty programs and an articulated philosophy for Kindergarten ("We believe in learning, so we believe in play and the arts") I think we tour pretty well.

I am curious to see if any of these touring families did decide to list us (the District publishes counts) and then if any enroll.  I love my school and my neighborhood - my kids will go there and it is my neighborhood school - and I know we have a first-rate staff.  I wish we were better-funded and had smaller class sizes, but we do well with what we have.  However, I am definitely part of one of "those schools" for some segment of the San Francisco population and honestly, that can get you down.  It's like that whole "bad teacher" framing in our discussion of education - even if you know it doesn't apply, it is a real drag to hear every day.  So at the least I am hoping for a challenge to the narrative, I suppose.

*By which I mean "Spend More Time Dressing Myself, Doodling and Walking Around Aimlessly"

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