There are amazing social ideals and great academic theories behind the model of SFC, but because the staff is quite busy achieving and enforcing a lofty and undefined goal of "equity", the factors that make for safe and joyful, learning are often overlooked. The result is chaotic classrooms, a revolving door of teachers, disengaged families and, most serious of all, an uncurbed culture of rampant bullying among the students. Sadly, this is not a safe nor appropriate learning environment, do not send your children here, there is always an alternative.
Very disappointed! Was told this school was a hidden gem. More like a lump of coal! No discipline, no structure, no consistency and just plain chaos in the K/1 class that my dtr was in. She was bullied by other kids, she became more upset about going to school, "didn't like learning", didn't want to go to school, her behavior deteriorated in school and home. The teacher was inexperienced and didn't have enough support. Kids w/ "behavior" problems were given different rules, which confused my dtr who didn't understand why soandso didn't have to sit still, but she would get in trouble. When she had a problem, the teacher would ignore her or not follow up...she couldn't trust her teacher to help her. She'd be left crying b/c the teacher "had 20 other kids to worry about". She was becoming one the the problem kids! The head teacher didn't show up at the parent/tchr mtg to discuss this and never returned my emails/messages. I took her out and put her into a small private school. She's now happy, likes learning and loves/trusts her teacher. I do too. I called and left 3 messages w/ SFC to let them know I took her out. They called me 2 WKS later to find out why she was absent!
Our family has thoroughly enjoyed my child's first two years at SFC despite the shrinking resource problem plaguing ALL the public schools. The project-based learning has been a highlight, as has the garden program and elementary P.E., both of which we hope will be funded again next year. The school has many long-term, committed staff and wonderful families who contribute their time and money. It is not a perfect place; no school is! But our child loves to go and has done a lot of learning there.
After 4 years with SF Community, our family is very pleased with the school. The teachers and staff are excellent. Besides being very skilled as teachers and child-mentors, they truly love the children. They also seem to love what makes the school special, like project-based learning, fairly small class sizes and a democratic, "Head-teacher-led" model of running the school instead of a "Principal-led" model. They do a lot of interesting field trips and integrate them with learning projects about things like animals, science and music. The after-school program is free, it goes until 6:30pm, and its teachers are amazing. Given the socio-economic (and ethnic) diversity of the students, SF Community has achieved very good test scores. When I researched public schools a few years ago, they also had one of the most physically healthy student bodies in San Francisco. Like most SF public schools, this school is way underfunded. But it accomplishes a lot with a little. Our two daughters (3rd grade and kindergarten) are very different, and both are thriving at SF Community. My wife and I feel very fortunate to have our children in school here.
i question the previous review as i have had children at this school for 9 years, have been around quite a bit during the day and have never seen the police summoned. my oldest is graduating this year as well prepared for high school as any of his private school friends; and with a broader view of the world.
On more than one occasion I have seen the police at this school to resolve issues with some students. Some of the kids that go to school here are foul-mouthed and show absolutely NO manners or respect to anyone (even other parents - I have seen this first-hand when picking up my own kid after school). I know there are bad apples in every school, but you cannot ignore the fact that some of the kids at this school are just too much. I'm always worried about my kid picking up negative influences from some of the kids here, especially from the older grades. As for academics, I am not at all impressed with the quality of education here. Yes, it's SLIGHTLY better than the nearby public schools, but not by much. Lesser of two evils, I guess. Bottom line: try to get your kids into private school, or move to a better public school district.
I have a Kindergartner at this school, and would highlight its strengths: project based learning, commitment to equity, dedicated teachers and parents, garden and outdoor ed (camping) program. Challenges: small school so not a lot of 'extra' resources, teacher-run governance model can lead to delays in decision-making and responding to issues,
Excellent staff who attain high standards despite the best efforts of the State and City to deny them the resources they need. The project-based learning has really inspired our son to learn and experiment outside of school.
My experience at this school has not been positive.It feels to me that you must agree with !00% of the staff politics or your arent' welcome.To me the enviornment has felt like intimidation into agreeing with political agendas.That has been my experience.
My daughter started kindergarten here this year and she loves school. She's already learned to read and the project-based programs keep her engaged and interested. The staff is devoted and friendly. Yes there could be more PE & art, but this place is free, diverse, small, and nurturing.
The worst school ever. No safty, not secured, do not recommend to any parent.
This school is mediocre at best, don't get me wrong, there are some great caring teachers here, but when legitimate mature students are treated with little respect and rights I really can't recommend this school. If they can call this a 'community' then I say I can justly call it 'communist'. I'm an 8th grade student who has been here since kindergarten and have watched the school go downhill.
Math education has really turned around in response to the criticisms referred to in some of the earlier reviews. It is a top priority to give students a solid foundation in math, including getting all middle schoolers through algebra. SFC has a very special bunch of teachers who strive to impart both the state standards and a richer curriculum to develop creative and critical thinking and love of learning, in part through multi-disciplinary hands on projects. My 3 kids have had great teachers each year. There isn't as much fundraising as at larger more affluent schools, but we do have a library teacher, PE teacher, camping, garden, and some arts (this year, elem. art teacher part of the year plus special arts program for 4th-5th including claymation, sound production and more). There's a free onsite after school program with academic support and sports, plus adjacent Boys and Girls club.
While SFC struggles with the same issues affecting all SF public schools, we have been very impressed with its staff and programs. Our daughter is thriving, learning a ton, and we feel validated in choosing not only this school but public education in general.
My family has been at SFC for 5 years. Certainly, there has been bumps in the road as far as the math curriculum goes. However, as soon as it obvious that math instruction was not attaining the necessary results our motivated and dedicated teachers made the switch and fast. Now math is of the highest priority, specially trained math teachers are now in the middle school and 4-5 grades and there is more basic math emphasis in the lower grades. SFC project based learning is amazing. Practical applications of everyday school work motivate and challange the students. It allows for creative and lateral thinking, enhances verbal and social skills, and increases academic confidence. I can't say enough about this schools positive impact on my son this school has had. It has been the perfect learning environment for him.
Academics at the school are great. Project-based learning opens up the opportunity for depth and focus. Funding for 'extras' is erratic so these activities are bare bones (PE, art, music). Teachers are miracle workers!
My daughter got an A in algebra at SFC; after testing, her high school had her repeat the class. Critical thinking is encouraged only if it leads to conclusions consistent with the politics of the staff. My daughter and I both felt that expectations were lower for African-American students, both behaviorally and academically. They have some fine theory, but their practices don't seem to be working. There were some good staff members, but overall our experience with the middle school was not positive. (My child had gone elsewhere for K-5)
This school has a lot of positives, and some very serious negatives. For my daughter, things began to go seriously wrong in her third grade year (2002-2003). The school had developed a math curriculum which wasted time on ineffectual activities and left out important topics. Her teacher decided that math wasn t important so often skipped math instruction, sometimes for weeks at a time. The STAR test results at http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2003/viewreport.asp give some indication of the scale of the disaster. As the math team coach (2003-2004), I found all middle-school classes fell behind covering material from earlier grades. The algebra class does not cover enough material to allow students to avoid repeating Algebra I in high school. There are problems with other academic subjects too.
Diverse school with dedicated teachers. Curriculum includes learning beyond textbooks and promotes critical thinking.
I forgot to add about the academics. I am puzzled by the reading program in K. The words my child is suppose to learn are all connecting words (the, in,) which seemed to me be words you don't actually learn as absorb.
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