It's the only school in the District that is in session in July. There's a strong feeling of community there, and although the District struggles to fully fund the schools to support the full complement of programs, Argonne's PTO does everything possible to raise the funds needed to ensure the kids have additional support to keep class sizes manageable, enrichment activities and programs, and additional after school enrichment options which include a variety of classes, Chinese and Russian language programs, Richmond District After School Collaborative, and the Richmond Y.
We spent a ridiculous amount of time visiting schools all across the SFUSD before we applied for the lottery. We had heard good things about Argonne before our visit, and after our visit it was at the top of our list. (We were, of course, both shocked and delighted when we got a spot.) While we have to drive across the park to get there, Argonne has been everything we hoped for and then some: Our son is now a 1st grader, loves the extended school year, is flourishing in the Chinese after school program, and has been extremely happy with all his teachers and classmates. Enrichment is, well, rich, and there are fantastic programs throughout the year as a result of the support of the strong PTO.
Excellent staff and administration are always ahead of the curve, and constantly seem to get the balance right between implementing new programs and keeping students focused by not disrupting with too much change.
A school is only as good as the strength of the partnership between committed, present parents, and a staff that is supported by the district, the leadership and those parents. Argonne has all of this going for it. The PTO is a large group of very talented and active parents; so many wonderful things have come to fruition as the direct result of their hard work. Our new Principal (2011-present) is a delightful chapter in Argonne's story. She is bright, cheerful, caring and so engaged. The children love her. It is surprising Argonne averages four stars, and is rated 8 of 10. Perhaps it's a reflection of the former Principal. She'd been driven out of another SF school and somehow hired at Argonne. She would have been removed if she hadn't resigned under pressure after only four months in her role as Principal. Hopefully this gives readers some perspective on the reviews in 2011.
I have two daughters at Argonne and every morning they are happy and excited to go to school. They are both thriving academically and socially and enjoy the many benefits that come from having a Principal with great leadership skills, an amazing PTA, great teachers, a new and beautiful school, many opportunities for in and after school enrichment, an excellent after school program (rdsac), and a longer school year with many field trips built in.
I have a 2nd grader and a kindergartner at Argonne and could not be happier. Great teachers, great parental involvement (via active PTA and otherwise), now joined by a great principal whose initial appointment last fall (2012) has been made permanent. Facilities are new and getting even better with the new playground structures and new gardens. Enrichment is solid with the PTA-raised money helping to pay for some which is beyond the district's budget. While we do miss the Russian language teaching which was offered 2 years ago, Russian and other languages and activities (science, music, etc.) are offered on site after school for a fee. Great after school care is available too through YMCA, RSDAC, Chinese after school care (all on site), and a bus which goes to the JCC (we have been happy with the Y).