Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is Claire Lilienthal?
Claire Lilienthal was born in San Francisco and as a child attended the Madison School, an elementary school that occupied the current Madison campus of Claire Lilienthal. Claire Lilienthal was appointed to the school board in 1957, serving until 1979. She was school board president twice (in 1961 and 1967). While on the board, Claire Lilienthal drafted a schools plan that fostered parent participation, improved instructional programs, and racial integration. After Claire Lilienthal retired from the board, the Madison school was named in honor of her.
2. Claire Lilienthal is a parent participation school. What does this mean? How do parents get involved?
While all public schools encourage parents to be involved in the education of their children, the commitment to this philosophy at Claire Lilienthal is embedded in the educational approach of our teachers and administrators, and very actively embraced by parents at our school. Parents are involved with the school in many different ways that enhance the academics, the social atmosphere and extra-curricular activities. Parents volunteer in the classroom, school library, computer lab, lunchroom, playground, and school office, serve as chaperones on field trips, coach sports teams and help out at special events at the school. Many parents volunteer for fundraising activities that help support valuable programs (more about that later). Parent volunteers also run the PTA and participate in the SSC. Visit our Volunteers' page to see how you can help.
3. What is the PTA?
The PTA is the Parent Teacher Association; a national non-profit organization (separate from the school district) dedicated to bringing parents and teachers together to support and improve local schools. Our PTA is very active: the PTA helps mobilize parent volunteers and it conducts a variety of fundraising activities on behalf of the school. The officers of our school PTA work with the school administration (Principal and Vice Principal) and teaching staff to identify program needs and how the PTA can provide support.
At the beginning of each school year, every family receives a letter from the school PTA, asking you to join. The letter also asks you to consider a commitment of both time and money to the PTA and to the school, presenting a range of options, from heavy volunteer participation in lieu of a financial contribution, to less participation and a larger financial contribution. Our goal is for every family to make a commitment to being involved in whatever way works best for them.
Our PTA holds open meetings every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm alternating campus locations. They are held in the early evening, and you can bring your children and let them relax or study in the school library during the meeting. The meetings will be listed on our Calendar page. Reminders about meetings, will be sent out in our the weekly CL PTA News (through School Pages). To make sure you receive the CL PTA News please register on School Pages here.
4. What is the SSC?
The SSC, or School Site Council is composed of teachers and parents and it works with the school principal to develop, review and evaluate school improvement programs and school budgets. Their peers elect site Council members. (e.g. parents elect parent representatives and teachers elect teachers) Site Councils vary from school to school, but in general, they work with the principal to consider the goals of the school and district and work with the principal to evaluate the school's progress toward those goals. The council is responsible for developing a site plan each year to help the school meet its academic goals.
5. Why does the school raise money?
The funding that the state provides to our school pays for the basic expenses of running a school: teacher and administrator salaries, staff salaries, books and supplies, building maintenance, etc. However, per-child funding for schools in California is less than many other states. This means that our budget generally isn't able to fund programs and expenses that enrich the curriculum beyond the basic budget. The money that the PTA raises supplements many programs and also pays for enrichment that would otherwise not be covered
6. What does the fundraising buy?
PTA contributions fund many activities including: physical education, classroom supply budgets for every class, outdoor education, teacher continuing education, arts programming, the computer lab, computers in the classroom & library books.
7. What is the school day?
Our elementary school day starts at 7:45 am (sharp!) At both campuses, children and their teachers start the day together in a short assembly (usually in the playground) where the principal greets the children and makes announcements. Children and teachers then go together to their classrooms. The specific schedule varies by grade, but includes instruction, a short snack recess, a second instruction period, lunch and recess, and a final instruction period before dismissal at 1:45. In the lower grades, some teachers ask parents to share snack duty by providing a small snack for the class each morning for a week or two during the school year. As the children get older, morning snack becomes an individual choice. Your teacher will distribute an approved snack list.
8. Is there a special procedure for dropping off and picking up my child?
Yes. Children should arrive at school before the daily 7:45 am assembly. (Middle school students start their day at 7:35 am). Several school buses bring children to both campuses. Those schedules are sent out to parents. You may also view a copy in the school office. Parents who drive their child to school can park and walk their child in, or they can drop their child off in the designated drop-off zone.
For the Madison Campus, the drop-off (and pick up) zone is on Clay Street, at the back entrance to the school. Parents must drive east on Clay St. There is usually a small queue. Between 7:30 am and 7:50 am, and 1:45 pm and 2 pm, teachers and parent volunteers assist children in getting in and out of the car. Your child's teacher will need information from you about whether you will pick them up at the school, or if they will attend the after school program.
For the Scott campus, drop-off/pick ups are on Divisadero Street, school side of the street. Pull forward when there is space in front of you out of consideration for others and for children's safety. Never stop opposite or in the middle of the block. All students should enter through Beach Street gate. Students on the Yellow Bus will enter through North Point Gate.
In each case, it is very important for your child's safety for you to use only the designated drop-off and pick up zones. Do not drop off your child in the school bus zone. Also we ask you to take care not to block our neighbor's driveways. With the high volume of cars that use the drop off/pick up zones every day, following these rules goes a long way towards preserving safety and good relations with our neighbors at both campuses.
9. How do I find out about things going on at school?
Every Wednesday, the school will email the Wednesday Bulletin (you may also elect to receive a hard copy) and the CL PTA News. The Wednesday Bulletin may also have inserts from your child's teacher about classroom events or other items of interest. The CL PTA newsletter contains all of the latest news, including dates of meetings, community announcements, school events, updates on fundraising, and links to volunteer sign-up lists. This newsletter is intended to supplement the information in the Wednesday envelope, focusing on PTA and parent-led events.
10. How will I know how my child is doing academically?
Report cards are sent home three times every year, and give you detailed information on how your child is doing in many different areas. For children in grades K-5, those report cards are preceded in the fall and spring with a parent/teacher conference, where you and the teacher have a chance to talk one-on-one about your child's progress in school. Many teachers also include the child in the conference, so that they can be involved in the discussion. If your child's teacher has concerns at other times, s/he will contact you to arrange a time for additional discussion. You should always feel free to contact your child's teacher if you have concerns about their progress.
11. Does Lilienthal have sports and after-school programs?
Yes! Our middle school sports program is fantastic: Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Soccer. In fact, Claire Lilienthal has teams participating in every district middle school sport. In K-5, we do not have a formal sports program, but many parents help organize and coach sports teams, usually organized by grade. Often they are announced by classroom memo, or in the Wednesday bulletin, but don't be afraid to ask if you're interested in a sport for your child but haven't heard about any plans. On the other hand...please also think about how you can help organize or coach a team. Because we have lots of parent "veterans", you'll have lots of support and advice on league procedures and how to get things started.
We also have after-school programs at both campuses. CLASP (Claire Lilienthal After School Program) operates at the Madison Campus, so children can go directly to CLASP at the end of the school day. This non-profit program is open to children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade on a first-come, first serve basis. There is a fee for the program. The program offers recreation, homework help, crafts and story quiet time, and operates from 2 pm - 6 pm.
At the Scott Campus, CLLA (Claire Lilienthal Learning Academy) operates as a free program for children in grades 3 - 8, on a first-come, first-serve basis. (Priority is given to children who will attend at least 3 days per week.) PE instructor Linda Marcelo, under the auspices of the Presidio YMCA, runs the program. The program offers a homework period, and a variety of enrichment activities (Lego club, biking club, cooking club, sports, etc.), and operates from 2 pm - 6 pm. General questions may be left for CLLA at the school office number of (415) 749-3516 prior to 3:00 PM daily. To reach CLLA directly once your child is already enrolled, call (415) 749-1869.