Lowell High admissions process may change / Quince sells out of $5,000 memberships

It's Monday, February 1st.

Good evening, San Francisco. 

Walking around the city this weekend, it was nice to see people (safely) eating outside at restaurants, picnicking in parks, and biking down the slow streets. Hopefully, much more of that in our future!

Now, onto some news.

  • San Francisco’s school board is deciding this week whether its top academic public high school can continue with its strict admissions process or if it should permanently switch to a lottery system like other schools in the district, The Chronicle reported on Sunday. Lowell High School for years has admitted students based on grades and test scores, but some critics say that has led to a less diverse student population and fostered instances of racism. At Lowell, 2% of its 2,900 students are black and less than 12% are Latinx, while district averages are 8% and 32%, respectively. “San Francisco Unified School District does not believe that any student or school is more or less ‘elite’ than any other school,” wrote board members who support the change. “All SFUSD high schools are academic schools.”

    News of the measure, which could be finalized with a school board vote later this week, has prompted those against the admissions changes to speak out. “It’s a fundamental and intentional misunderstanding by the school board of the makeup of the Lowell student body,” one Lowell alumni wrote on Twitter. “The people that go to Lowell come from the working class families of the city.”

  • Speaking of Lowell, it is one of the 44 public schools in San Francisco in search of a new name after the board voted last week to do away with those it deemed inappropriate. The Chronicle reported that “school communities” have until mid-April to propose suggestions. At that time, a “renaming committee” will review the recommendations, pick one of them, and bring it to the school board for a final vote. Potential names already being floated include Barack Obama, poet Maya Angelou, and musician Jerry Garcia. Others have suggested a simple numbering system, like in New York City, where schools are named Public School 1, Public School 2, and so on, The Chronicle said.  

  • The city’s first neighborhood vaccination site opened in the Mission District on Monday in a parking lot on the corner of 24th and Capp Streets. Currently, the site is administering vaccinations by appointment only for health workers and those over 65 years old within the United in Health network. At its peak, the site may administer up to 400 vaccines a day, which is much smaller than the capacity at sites the city has opened at City College near Balboa Park and the Moscone Center in SoMa. Still, Mayor Breed has said neighborhood sites, along with the mass sites, are both a part of San Francisco’s plan to be able to vaccinate 10,000 residents per day when doses become available. 

  • Jackson Square’s three-Michelin star restaurant Quince has found a new revenue stream amid the pandemic: memberships. Eater reported last week that for a hefty $5,000, members will receive a quarterly “provisions box” with produce from the restaurant’s farm in Bolinas, as well as access to exclusive events like cider pressing, beekeeping, and cheesecake-making workshops. The membership also includes a $1,000 “dining budget” at Quince or its sister restaurants Cotogna and Verjus, and “prioritized reservations.” Eater said the memberships sold out soon after their mid-January launch, though it is unclear how many were actually sold. 

  • And finally… while trying to soak in the sun this weekend, my wife and I met Jersey McDermott, who was sitting in her driveway with a table, typewriter, and sign that said she would type, seal, and mail an apology letter for you for just $1. We had to stop. Jersey told us she wasn’t a poet, but had a typewriter and wanted to use it in a way that interacted with the community. “There’s a certain melancholy as well as self-reflection that happens with an apology and the only way to repair relationships is with a heartfelt one,” she said. So far, one of her favorites was an apology for snoring. 

    Jersey said she’ll be in her driveway, which is on Page Street (just above the Sightglass Coffee on Divisadero), on Sundays around noon, weather permitting. In future weeks, she may offer to type “thank you” letters as well.  

That’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading, and as you may have noticed, I’ve decided to continue sending these newsletters in the afternoons. The feedback from readers was mixed, but overall, afternoons had a bit of an edge. That timing also seems to work better for my schedule (I take care of admin type stuff in the mornings, and by around noon, start reading/writing). I’ll try to have them out by around 5 pm, Monday through Thursday. 

Thanks again to everyone who responded with that feedback. I’m sure I’ll have more questions for you all in the future, but in the meantime, if there’s anything on your mind, feel free to reach out at any time! Talk soon. - Nick B.

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