Okay, what do we suppose is one the barriers to our NSAP and the transition? Yes, it's the VAX. Mr. Kennedy says they are making progress but it's still a problem and yes, they will be using it for assignments (hopefully) one last time. (Sherry really gave them an out by saying, "You'll let us - the Board - know if we bumps into any VAX issues in our questioning." I mean, you could blame the VAX for almost anything. Handy.)
Slide 6 reflects "We are unable to support additional scope (scope creep). Coding is currently underway and changes would result in project failure and our inability to support Open Enrollment."
Slide 8 started the discussion of the Transition Plan and I find it somewhat vague. This is for one year only and there will be subsequent transition steps in years to follow. How they follow depends on the enrollment patterns. They might move faster if people tend to follow their attendance area assignments.
- "All current students and all new students who register early will get an assignment letter at the end of February before Open Enrollment starts." This is pretty big as I didn't think you would get an assignment letter early as well. Open Enrollment has been extended to Jan. 15th.
- Assignment letters for Open Enrollment assignments will be mailed at the end of May 2010.
- Waitlists stay active until September 30th and you can apply to attend or change your assignment if available space at that school through then.
- Assignments for available space are first come, first serve through September 30th and tiebreakers do NOT apply
- Harium pointed out that the parent survey only asked for sibs for one year and that it seemed shortsighted. (He was listening to us, folks.) Tracy kind of waffled that the logic was that it wouldn't be useful data because people move around. (Really? that's the answer?) So Kay asked if in the future they would do it and Tracy said yes, they would add sib questions to the registration form to capture data and use it.
- Open Choice seats for High School are starting at 10% for only the 9th grade target enrollment size. DeBell asked if this was a staff recommendation and Tracy said yes, for the first year but not necessarily for full implementation. She said that they would not fill every empty seat, though.
- They are going to maintain the Barnhart/Waldman amendment for processing this time. That means (and this is important), that for this enrollment year, that if you put down a second choice and don't get your first choice, you will be assigned to that second choice as if you put it first. This amendment allowed parents to take a chance on a school that might be harder to get into without losing a more stable choice. The new plan will be to "process all first choices first, then second choices, etc.".
- The new plan will have a "keep siblings together" option to have them at the same school. This is only good for Open Enrollment (not after). Now, this doesn't mean you will necessarily get the school you want for both but that they will keep them together somewhere.
- The new plan will automatically put you on the waitlist for your first choice and no other. However, don't forget, for 2010-2011 enrollment, the Barnhart-Waldman amendment applies so you can pick a different waitlist from your first choice.
- I was confused over the "students who move" slide #37. Could someone who attended help me out?
- New students to the district after September 30th are assigned to their attendance area school (or linked school) only. Now this is gift because newcomers to the district normally had to take a seat at whereever there space. Obviously this means that most schools will not be entirely full. Keep that in mind. However, it was clarified that it also means no newcomer to the district after September 30th can apply to an Option school even if there is space. (Tracy says it is a VAX problem and that after it is cleared, they can consider that kind of assignment for a newcomer.)
- Early entrance to kindergarten applicants will be processed at the same time as any other kindergarten applicant.
- Spectrum/APP seats. Students can test in fall/winter with results back in time for enrollment. That isn't new. However, newcomers to the district can come in and if they were attending a school with a similar program, the Advanced Learning department can grant them entrance to Spectrum or APP. Naturally, this is fraught with some issues (like can they show they did test into their school's program even if the program itself wasn't similar to Spectrum or APP?) but this is new.
- No geographic zones for Option schools for 2010-2011. Huge gift. See below.
- for elementary attendance area - after sibling, it is "lives in attendance area/grandfathering at another school" and then lottery. Same for middle and high school.
- NO GEOGRAPHIC ZONE FOR OPTION SCHOOLS. This is huge. The reason? They ran out of time and couldn't have them done in time for tours at Option Schools. That means it's a free for all and if you want a certain Option school, now's the time. That also means your other children will now be able to come to that school as well under the sibling tiebreaker (or very likely). They won't be saving on transportation costs here.
- there are different tiebreakers for Montessori, Spectrum and APP. Refer to the presentation.
I hesitate to write on this as I was gone when this was discussed. It seems clear that on the one hand they want to do right:
"Accommodate non-attendance area K students in older siblings' schools to the greatest reasonable extent."
"Assure families that elementary school siblings will not be required to attend different schools."
There were slides about surge capacity strategies (including putting office space in RV's, no kidding). If these strategies don't work, there are 2 Transition Rules.
Rule #1. It seems they are putting some onus on parents. Slide 49 is about parents needing to make a request to be assigned to the younger sibling's attendance area school. A key word here is "just". It sounds like if you apply for the incoming K student "just" at the older sib's school during Open Enrollment but get assigned to the attendance area school, the older sib will be assigned to the attenance area school of the younger "upon request". "This would be done only if specifically requested by the family after Open Enrollment. The family could choose to exercise this option any time after Open Enrollment through September 30th."
Rule#2. If you apply for several schools during Open Choice and get assigned different ones, staff would (upon request) identify at least one school in the service area where families would be offered space for sibs. You could do this any time AFTER Open Enrollment through September 30th.
That certainly puts a lot of pressure on parents to (1) have this knowledge in mind and (2) remember to follow-thru. I think there should be a parent at every school who can explain this to their PTA/Community group. I wouldn't trust principals to take this all on.
I am not going to go through Transportation as I haven't read through it enough. Could someone who attended help me out here?
A lot to mull and muddle through.
Please read the Budget thread as well as it has implications for the NSAP and our entire district. I know, it's a lot. Read it at your leisure but please read it.