Charlie, in his most recent post, susses out some of the nuances of the final assignment plan to be introduced at this week's Board meeting. Consider this an open thread on the plan; what do you see (or not see) that could be problematic? What are you happy about?
Here are Charlie's thoughts (the bold-faced is mine so key areas are highlighted):
"Regarding the New Student Assignment Plan, the Action Report states: "It is assumed that a majority of students will attend the school designated by their home address." Really? Is that what our current data shows?
I see that The Center School and South Shore K-8 (formerly The New School) will both be classified as Option Schools. This throws enrollment at them open to all students throughout the city equally - except for those residing in the narrowly defined geographic zone around the school building. Cleveland's status - as an Option school or an attendance area school - is to be determined later by the Board. Yet another sign of the Board defending their area of authority from the staff.
I notice that: "All of the programmatic changes, including service delivery changes for advanced learning, bilingual, and special education services, will not be in place for the first year of implementation. Many of these changes will be implemented over a period of several years."
I think that will apply most to Special Education, but this statement will also be used as cover for advanced learning and bilingual.
Look for the Facilities Management Plan, due in the fall of 2009, to include some language about setting capacity to meet demand for these services as well as general education services. I know that Special education families will be looking for that language, but north-end Spectrum families should look for it too.
The transition story on siblings is interesting.
"Entering siblings of current students are not 'grandfathered' but are eligible for the sibling tiebreaker, which is the first tiebreaker for available seats after assignment of attendance area students. The sibling tiebreaker is applicable for assignment to a school, but not for assignment to a specific program within a school."
So if the Bryant attendance area is drawn around your house and you have a second-grader at Laurelhurst, that student can continue at Laurelhurst through the fifth grade. A younger sibling, however, can only get into Laurelhurst if the school is not filled with Laurelhurst attendance area children. So it will go: attendance area, then siblings, then everybody else.
Neighborhood students will take precedence over siblings.
Another interesting point that has not been talked about much:
Neither service area nor distance will be factors AT ALL. So a non-sibling student from Rainier Beach has just as much chance of getting into Laurelhurst as a non-sibling student who lives across the street from the attendance area boundary line. Students living in the service area will get transportation while the long-distance student will not, but geography will have no role in assignment.
I think this could be a big deal if some of the schools don't fill up with neighborhood students.
Note that: "After all Open Enrollment applications have been processed, students may apply to attend any attendance area school with space available during a designated time period. Deadlines for Open Enrollment, waiting list assignments, and 'real time' reassignments to space available will be published annually."
So after Open Enrollment the District will publish a list of "space available". What then? First come, first served? It will be like a land rush!
There is specific mention of Jane Addams. It is shown as an attendance area K-8, but: "Based on continued enrollment growth in the Northeast area, the School Board may reconsider its November 2008 determination that the Jane Addams building should house a K-8 rather than comprehensive 6-8 middle school, and if additional elementary capacity must be created to accommodate the present and anticipated K-5 population. This issue would be addressed by separate School Board Action, considering capacity management and capital levy planning activities."
The Student Assignment Plan dictates that: "ALO will be offered in every elementary school, and is available to all students enrolled in the school." The District is making one of two mistakes here. They are either biting off more than they can chew or they are going to re-define ALO into meaningless mush.
I didn't see any discussion of how they will provide equitable access to the international schools.