Outreach to Preschools
Open House Extended tour dates
And asked for a commitment from the district to:
- Have Enrollment Staff visit the school or at a minimum read the pamphlet and website information so they can speak knowledgeably about the school .
- Discuss AS#1's restructuring at a future board meeting so that prospective families can hear from the district that they support the program and what work is being done through the restructuring.
I also wrote to Tracy Libros making the case to increase the exposure of alternative schools in the enrollment guide and website by including them in the lists of elementary and middle school drop down menus and on future enrollment guides (I noticed this is done for Broadview Thompson K-8). This would allow parents who were not initially seeking an alternative or non-traditional school the opportunity to look at AS#1's program in their search for a school nearby. Having the separate link for alternative schools does not give alternative schools the same exposure as traditional cluster schools and limits the number of families that visit our program or website as a result.
Her response is that Alternative Schools are not listed in the cluster guides because they have no reference area and students cannot be assigned there. The district's solution is the statement on the enrollment guide that:
"All elementary school, K-8 schools and Summit K-12 offer kindergarten. School descriptions provide details about services offered. Information about kindergarten options at alternative/non-traditional schools starts on Page 34."
I still believe that having AS#1 listed in a separate section puts us at a disadvantage in terms of exposure - especially for families that don't know what to expect from Alternative/non traditional schools. They may have the misconception that these are schools for problem kids that can't cut it at other schools or they may be so overwhelmed by the whole enrollment process in the first place that they aren't inclined to look at another set of options. Having our description listed with the other elementary and middle schools would give parents a chance to see that we really offer. The fact that AS#1 doesn't have mandatory assignment doesn't mean that it can't be placed with the other schools. It would be better to have an asterisks at the end of the description explaining its multi-cluster transportation and that students cannot be assigned there but have to choose it, than to be placed in another section. Now that our reference area is limited to the N/NE clusters it will be even more important for us to increase our exposure to families in those clusters.
I can't tell you how many times we hear that people have never heard of the school - even people who live blocks away from it. My kids started at Broadview Thompson and we had never heard of AS#1 - I only knew about Salmon Bay because my doctor's kids went there. The current enrollment system isolates alternative school and deprives many families of the opportunity to check them out.
On the positive side, when I contacted the enrollment center about putting our new tour dates and open house night on the Tour Dates PDF on the district site, I got an immediate response.
My biggest frustration at the moment is that the district link to our new website does not work and I haven't had any luck getting the webmaster to respond to repeated inquiries. Please check out the site!
Update: district link is now working!