Yeah, so, we enrolled our mighty, mighty good boy Calvin in kindergarten.
We submitted the enrollment forms. Now we just wait and see what school they assign him.
Enrolling your child in the San Francisco Unified School District is a bit of an undertaking. When I was a kid, I went to the school that was closest to me. That’s how it worked. In SF, there’s a more involved process that involves touring elementary schools and filling out a form with a ranking of which schools you want your child to attend. The school district considers such factors as proximity and if you have a sibling that already attends that school. They also consider your special education needs, if you’re an English language learner, or if looking for a Spanish or Chinese immersion school.
Basically, it’s a lottery system. A lot of parents loathe the enrollment process in San Francisco. There are seminars to help parents navigate the process, and they offer tips and tricks to getting your kid in the school you want. It’s kinda ridiculous.
Through November and December, we toured some nearby elementary school. I did two, and my mighty, mighty good man David did a few more than that. With the help of a friend who is also navigating the system, David put together a massive spreadsheet with every elementary school on it, including proximity from our house, Great Schools ranking, you know – shit like that.
We narrowed down the list of 85 elementary schools to our top 10, and then attached an additional list with like 25 more schools on it, because we heard from another parent that your odds of getting your top choice improve the more schools you list. Luckily for us, our top choice is the elementary school closest to us, so we have a really good shot at getting it. We also had to attach Calvin’s IEP from the school district for his autism, and we are in the process of getting it updated.
I must give credit where credit is due: David did a lot of the leg work on this. Since the election, I’ve been channeling my frustration into angry Facebook rants, calling my representatives and donating money to organizations that fight for what’s right. David has been channeling his rage into researching the best schools for Calvin. David is rad!
So anyway, we got the forms all filled out, but you can’t just mail them in. You have to physically drop them off at the Education Placement Center. The deadline was last Friday, and David was traveling last week. I decided to go on the Monday before the deadline.
I drove downtown and parked at a meter. There was already 30 minutes on the meter, and I figured that was more than enough time. I was just dropping off these forms. But I wanted to make safe, so I added another 30 minutes. As I was walking to the Education Placement Center, it started pouring rain. Unprepared, I put the enrollment forms under my coat and made a run for it. I’d hate for all our work to get wet.
When I got into the placement center, there was a line out the door.
There was a line just to get a number to wait to drop off your forms. WTF?! It’s basically like waiting at the DMV. I waited in line for about 20 minutes before I got to the counter. The man behind the counter asked me a few questions about my form. “Do you have this?” “Do you have that?” Then he handed me a number.
“I’m so stupid and naive. I thought I was just going to be dropping these forms off in a tray or something, and then I’d walk right out here,” I said.
He laughed at me. He seriously laughed at me like I was the biggest idiot ever.
“Well, you could have done that if you dropped off your forms when we first started the process back in November, but instead you waited until the last minute, so you have to wait.”
He totally schooled me.
I deserved it, I guess. But really, how would I know? I’ve never enrolled a kid in school before.
I had to wait for about 45 minutes, and I finally met with someone who went through all the paperwork to make sure it was complete, and then she sent me on my way. I supposed to should be glad that the school district employees go through your paperwork with you to make sure everything is correct so there are not any problems or delays, but still, it’s kind of a cluster.
So, yeah, my little guy is going to be starting kindergarten in the fall. Gaaaaaahhhh!