Rachel Cassidy reported to the Board on June 3 about Open Enrollment.
Here are some interesting facts that I gleaned from her presentation:
1,200 more open enrollment applications. This doesn't mean that enrollment is up by 1,200. In fact, enrollment could be flat or down. It just means that participation in the open enrollment process is up. You'd be surprised how many families in Seattle Public Schools don't participate in Open Enrollment.
The schools in greatest demand for kindergarten were: Bryant, John Stanford, TOPS, and West Woodland. The next most in demand were: Beacon Hill, John Hay, Lafayette, Loyal Heights, Schmitz Park, and View Ridge. So what does that tell us? First, it tells us that there is enough demand at John Stanford and Beacon Hill to support an additional international/language immersion school. Second, it tells us that there is enough demand at TOPS to support an additional school like TOPS. Third, it tells us that the elementary schools in the Northeast (Bryant, View Ridge), in the Northwest (West Woodland, Loyal Heights) and in West Seattle-North (Lafayette, Schmitz Park) are overcrowded. The District recently closed schools in the Northwest (Viewlands) and in West Seattle-North (Fairmount Park, Cooper), which might explain why it is a little tight in these areas.
Over 500 students tried to get into the sixth grade at Eckstein. The next most popular middle schools were Madison and Washington with fewer than 400. That tells us that the district really needs more middle school capacity in the northeast.
Five middle schools attracted more than 200 applications (Eckstein, Madison, Washington, Hamilton, and Whittier). The important fact here is that four middle schools (Denny, McClure, Mercer, and Aki Kurose) did NOT attract 200 applicants. Under 200 students a year would mean a total enrollment of under 600. This reflects a serious problem at these schools if they cannot attract more enrollment than that. What is the District doing about it?
There is a similar gap between the top two high schools for applications - Garfield and Roosevelt with over 600 each - and the next tier, Ballard, Franklin and West Seattle, with 200 to 400. By the way, 200 to 400 is a pretty big range. This appears to indicate that there is demand to support more schools like Garfield and Roosevelt.
This also indicates that there are five high schools that did not attract 200 applicants: Hale, Ingraham, Sealth, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach. Less than 200 applicants a years translates into an enrollment of under 800. That just won't do. Weird fact: despite having 200 1st choice applications, Hale enrolled 312 students and has a waitlist of 7. A full one-third of Hale students would rather be somewhere else - I would guess Roosevelt. Isn't this enough to make Hale reflect that desire in their programming? We know that the District is working to increase enrollment at Cleveland and Rainier Beach, they are filling Hale with students who can't get into Roosevelt, but what are they doing to increase enrollment at Ingraham (107 1st choice, 206 assignments), and Sealth (162 first choice, 190 assignments)? Apparently IB isn't proving to be a sufficient draw.
By the way, only 17 students named Rainier Beach as their first choice for assignment. Only 49 named Cleveland. Whatever the accountability elements were for the Southeast Initiative, they should be kicking in right now. The Southeast Initiative is not working. The District has only assigned 31 students to Rainier Beach for the 9th grade. That's one classroom. They assigned 88 to Cleveland. That's three classrooms. What diversity of classes can these schools offer with that sort of enrollment? Even if they were combined it would still be a small school.
More students were assigned to The Center School (94) than to Cleveland or Rainier Beach. More were assigned to NOVA (57) than to Rainier Beach. I don't think that we can truly regard either Cleveland or Rainier Beach as comprehensive high schools anymore.
Aki Kurose only enrolled 97 students into the 6th grade. The Southeast Initiative isn't working there either. Pull the plug. Denny isn't far behind with only 148 sixth grade students assigned.
There are more than 50 students on the waitlist for kindergarten at these schools: Beacon Hill, Bryant, John Stanford, Salmon Bay, Thornton Creek, TOPS, West Woodland. I already noted the demand for more language immersion schools. The waitlist at Salmon Bay, Thornton Creek and TOPS indicates that the demand is there for at least one addtional Option school. When the District does capacity management they need to consider more than just geographic demand. They need to consider the demand for alternative schools. Any honest capacity management process, given this data, should result in the addition of language immersion and alternative schools.
Here are some ideas:
1. Make all of the language immersion schools Option schools. This will make their enrollment more liquid.
2. Open McDonald as an attendance area school since JSIS will become an Option school. Place north-end elementary APP there.
3. Open Viewlands as a language immersion elementary (Option school) with a feeder pattern to Hamilton. This will alleviate capacity needs in the northwest.
4. Open Sand Point as an elementary. This will alleviate capacity needs in the Northeast.
5. Close Aki Kurose and use the Sharples building as an international/language immersion K-8.
6. Open a new middle school at Southshore. Move Southshore to the AAA building. Move Van Asselt back to Van Asselt.
7. Make Jane Addams a language immersion K-8 without an attendance area. This will locate language immersions schools in the Northwest (Viewlands), Northeast (Jane Addams), North (JSIS), West Seattle (Concord), and South/Central (Beacon Hill), and Southeast (Sharples).
8. Re-open Fairmount Park. This will alleviate capacity needs in West Seattle-North.
9. Open Lincoln as a comprehensive high school to meet capacity needs in the north, Queen Anne/Magnolia and Central areas and place APP in it.
10. Close Rainier Beach as a comprehensive high school and move the SBOC into the building. This might eliminate the opportunity to make Cleveland an Option school.