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Elementary school placement

Original post made by Lillian Kvitko, Midtown, on Feb 20, 2007

What experiences have you had with elementary school placement? Which school would we most likely be placed into for 5th grade next school year? Are all the schools OK? What do you know about Hoover lottery?

We are planning to switch our daughter from the private school to a public school starting next school year. Our two older kids went through Palo Alto public schools and did fine - ended up at Stanford and Wharton/UPenn. Our current experience with the private school is marginal at best.

Look forward to getting feedback. Thanks.

Comments (8)

Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 20, 2007 at 12:58 pm

You don't say exactly where in midtown you live. We have new neighbors with a 4th grader and 3rd grader. The 4th grader got into Palo Verde, no trouble. The 3rd grader had to go to Escondido where there is space. She is now on the waiting list for Palo Verde, number 3 with the sibling priority, but if they had not got that sibling priority, they would be about number 18 on the waiting list. The bottom line is, it is different for each grade at each school and the best thing to do is to ask at the neighborhood school to see if there is space or not. It is best to do this now and get on a waiting list rather than wait until nearer the beginning of the school year.

Posted by Cheerleader
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2007 at 4:06 pm

All PAUSD elementaries are good. You'll fall in love with whichever one you get. Don't waste any time registering.

Posted by Lillian Kvitko
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2007 at 5:41 pm

We've already registered - on 02/04/07. We are currently in suspense mode waiting on our school placement which should be determined by end of March according to the district? Next we need to contact Palo Verde, our neighborhood school, to see if they have space and if not where there is space? Is there a maximum number of kids per class in 5th grade? Is there an advantage to wait till the start of next school year or try to get a place in 4th grade now? We were told that Hoover does not fill vacancies for the remainder of this school year, only for next school year. We are both working parents and for our daughter to be able to walk/bike home from school would be a great help. Is there a school bus service? Would we need to hire a driver to get her home after school if we were sent to far away school? Currently we have a carpool at the private school. What are the differences between the schools? Thanks again for your responses.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 20, 2007 at 6:56 pm

You can get school bus service to/from the nearest neighborhood school (not door-to-door). You'll have to pay for it.

All schools have after school care, and if that interests you, check into it as soon as you know which school your child is assigned to.

Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 20, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Once again, I would say check with Palo Verde for places in the current 4th grade. I know one child who moved here recently got in straight away. At 4th and 5th grades, there is a limit of 22 students per classroom. I am not sure if you can get in the Hoover lottery at 5th grade if you are already in a different school or not, but that is worth checking with Hoover itself. If you live in midtown, Palo Verde, El Carmelo, are the closest for walking, but Fairmeadow and Hoover are not too far, particularly if you let your child bike. Getting a carpool to any school other than your neighborhood school or Hoover might be difficult, but you can as the other parent suggested, try the childcare onsite, but they are often full unless you register at the beginning of the year.

Whatever you decide, do check with the school themselves as they will have answers to some of your questions. 5th grade is quite different from the other grades (particularly at Palo Verde) as they treat the 5th graders as one group divided into 3 classes, whereas earlier they do keep the individual classroom groups apart more. 5th grade is definitely geared up to preparation for middle school, in areas like homework, rotations and disciplines, e.g. working on homework at lunch time if you didn't get it done last night. You may be able to get a tour of the school and visit the current 4th and 5th grade classrooms if that is something you would like.

Posted by Lillian Kvitko
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Thanks again for all your responses. Who do we talk to at the school about the placement - people in the office or the principal? Do we need to make an appointment? How do we ask them all these questions like how many students do they have and how many applicants, etc. and try not to annoy them to the point that they would want to send our kid as far away as possible :-)
Could we somehow increase our super slim chance to get into Hoover - talk to the principal, maybe? Our older daughter went through Hoover K-5 program some time ago and we loved it.

Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2007 at 10:04 am

I think you will find Chris or Joan very helpful in the Palo Verde office. They will refer you to the Principal if they feel that is necessary. He is also very approachable. I don't think they will look on it being a waste of their time talking to potential parents although they may ask you to make an appointment or come back at a more suitable time, e.g. not at recess or whatever.

Posted by DJ
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Palo Verde staff is extremely helpful ! When I was a incoming-kinder parent, I called them more than I should have .. I wanted to make sure I was not missing some important step. Every single time, the office staff answered my questions and assured me that I was on the right track :)

I took my daughter to the school when the school was still in session. I saw Mr. Goddard in his office and marched right in .. just to say hello! He bent down ( so that he was at the same eye-contact-level with my tiny kid :) ) and welcomed my daughter and told her to expect a fun time with the school .. and sure enough, we have had a great time with the school, the staff, the parents and the children !

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