Camping Out for Kindergarten

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    Parents pitched tents and slept outside for a chance to get their kids into Don Callejon Elementary School in Santa Clara.

    Pitching a tent and sleeping on the sidewalk is common for concert tickets. But for kindergarten? That's a new one and a sign of the times in Silicon Valley.

    It used to be the neighborhood school was good enough and there was enough room for everyone. But, those days are gone. And with test scores in play in a big way now, certain schools are in high demand.

    Outside Don Callejon Elementary School in Santa Clara Wednesday, about 70 parents pitched tents, ate pizza and played on their iPhones passing the time and waited for night to come. On Thursday morning, bleary-eyed parents got out of their sleeping bags and  gathered together, waiting for a chance to get their kids the road to a good education.

    Don Callejon is one of those schools in demand for a laundry list of reasons. Parents say test scores have improved but that's not the driving factor.

    There are 120 slots and students with siblings get first priority. Parents say the neighborhood has a high count of kids, so competition is tough. The school is one of few new ones in the district.

    There is a sense of community at the school. At 8:45 a.m. the doors swung open and the first step to getting in was under way.

    Overall, they need to find out how many students have siblings before they know how many of those in line got in.

    Christie Smith remembers her first day of college and it wasn't this impacted. There was a meet and greet with snacks and no line at all.  Ah, how times have changed.