Your First Choice vs. Your Best Choice: Elementary School Advice from a High School Parent

posted Feb 16, 2016, 11:08 AM by Robin Dutton-Cookston   [ updated Feb 16, 2016, 2:00 PM ]
by Georgia McNamara

My son started at school at SFUSD in first grade. We switched from private/independent school. 

(Switching was an experience because most people acted like we were the worst parents in the world, and a few wondered if they'd ever be as brave.) 
This was in 2006, and we filled out our form with the one school we KNEW we had to have at the top, English *and* Spanish, because we knew that was THE SCHOOL. 

We filled in the rest with other wildly-popular schools and schools on the closure list, like McKinley Elementary at #5. 

When we got our letter from SFUSD we couldn't even remember where McKinley was! On Monday morning our phone rang and it was Principal Bonnie Coffey-Smith, asking when we were coming in for a tour. When we hesitated, she said, "See you tomorrow morning at 9!" 

That night we filled out the round 2 application to wait pool for our #1 choice. We went to McKinley the next day (parking a ridiculous number of blocks away because we still weren't sure where the school was and it was before Google maps). We were awed by Bonnie and charmed by McKinley. 

We did more research and decided to enroll our son at McKinley and it's been the best decision for our family. It's a great school and an even better community. There are so many great schools within SFUSD that your first choice might not end up being your best choice.