The announcement to the CAIS community on October 27, 2021 that our bid for the 19th Avenue campus had been accepted was met with a level of celebration fitting for this transformational development in our school’s forty-plus year history. But it was also accompanied in some households by an audible groan, as families began to contemplate the logistics of transporting their children to school in a completely different part of town.
SInce that announcement several families have approached me, other CAIS educators, and trustees to ask about ways in which families and school could ally together and seek solutions to the student transportations challenges that will begin in August of 2024. At the same time, we have sought to learn from other schools in the Bay Area that run student transportation programs. Recently I held three online meetings with families from the East Bay, Marin and the Peninsula, and the City respectively to learn about specific transportation challenges. Over 100 families signed up in total, and following the meetings I sent out a survey to collect important information that will help us begin to iterate on solutions for our current families.
Here are some takeaways from the meetings and the survey data that we have received so far:
- The sacrifices that some families are already making to get their children to Hayes Valley are impressive, even moving. That families would go to such lengths for the opportunity to have the education we provide is highly motivating; my colleagues and I are dedicated to partnering with families to find as many solutions as we can.
- Parents expressed a real spirit of partnership; people want to make this work so that their kids can continue their experience at CAIS in an even better teaching, learning, and community environment.
- There is strong interest in solutions that involve public transportation with faculty chaperones, though not everyone is comfortable with this option, nor is this option practical for people in all locations.
- Parents are interested in the school’s assistance in organizing carpools.
- There are locations where it might make sense to have school bus/van pickups.
- Transportation after school is more challenging than morning transportation, owing to after school activities and parent work schedules. There is a desire and in some cases a need for after school transportation.
- Some CAIS families find the 19th Avenue location much more convenient for transportation than our current Hayes Valley locations.
I have been holding similar meetings in person with CAIS faculty and staff, many of whom live in the East Bay and travel an hour or more each way each day to get to work and teach your children. As with our families, their dedication and sacrifices are impressive and motivating.
We will communicate with the community as we make progress, and we are committed to a plan before the beginning of the fall admissions season.