It was suggested in the post about AP classes, that under the New Student Assignment Plan it might be harder for south-end students to gain access to Ingraham and the IB program there. Why might that be?
Under the old plan Ingraham did not fill. While that makes us wonder why the school needed to expand, it also means that any student from anywhere in the District was certain that they would get an assignment there if they requested it. They had predictability. Ingraham has been very popular with south-end students. There are 143 students there from the Rainier Beach area.
But under the new plan Ingraham will be more full and assignment to the school from outside the attendance area might become uncertain. Who, you might wonder, will be going to Ingraham - and taking up those seats - under the new plan who wouldn't be going to Ingraham under the old plan? Students living north of Ballard who don't already have a sibling at Ballard.
For the next few years I think most of the students who are going to get an assignment to a popular out-of-area school will be those with siblings already in the school. There are a lot of families living north of 85th who could get into Ballard on the old distance tie-breaker but are now outside the school's attendance area. Those who got an older sibling into the school under the old rules will dominate the group of out-of-area students who get into the school under the new rules. For the first few years, there could be more than 40 out-of-area applicants with a sibling in the school so that no out-of-area student will be able to get into Ballard without using the sibling tie-breaker.
A similar dynamic will be at work north of 85th between Roosevelt and Hale which will make it difficult for any student outside the Roosevelt attendance area to get an assignment there without a sibling already in the school.
All of the rest of the students in North Ballard and Crown Hill, who would have gone to Ballard under the old rules, will now be at Ingraham, taking up the seats that used to sit empty and available for south-end students. These Ballard area students don't have a lot more attractive choices than Ingraham, so that's where they are likely to go. As noted, a similar situation will also push a lot of first-borns into Hale. Will the schools fill? Maybe. Maybe not. There's no certainty like there used to be.
But it's nearly a zero net sum deal, isn't it? A student shifting to take a seat also lets go of one. So if more seats are taken up at Ballard, forcing those Crown Hill kids into Ingraham, then seats must open up somewhere else - right? Right. The seats at Ballard that used to go to kids in Crown Hill will now go to kids from Queen Anne and Magnolia. So the seats that the Queen Anne and Magnolia students used to take should now be available. Where are they? Some of them - a lot of them - are at private schools. The greatest number of them in SPS, 103, are at Garfield - 56 in APP there. Those choices probably won't change much as I suspect many of the non-APP students are APP-siblings because nearly all of the QA/M area is outside the limit of the distance tie-breaker for Garfield. I also suppose that the 16 who chose NOVA would make that choice under the new plan.
Of the school choices by students from Queen Anne and Magnolia that are likely to be impacted by the change in the plan, the greatest number of them, 65, are at The Center School. After that, 39 are at Ingraham. 38 at Roosevelt, 32 at Nathan Hale, 7 at West Seattle, 5 at Cleveland, 4 at Sealth, 1 at Franklin and 0 at Rainier Beach.
These numbers and my assumptions lead me to project that when Queen Anne and Magnolia students are assured of access to Ballard High School, that a number of them will enroll at the school who would not have enrolled there under the old rules. This change in enrollment patterns will leave seats available at private schools and at The Center School.
If I were a member of the Center School community, I might be concerned about the size of the incoming freshman class now that families in Queen Anne and Magnolia have certain access to Ballard High School. I would consider intensifying my recruitment efforts and I would focus on Crown Hill.
Every shift brings another.
I'm thinking about four moves ahead here, and the accuracy drops with every jump, so I could be really, really wrong. However, even if I'm close to right, the families living in the south-end who reject the assignment to Rainier Beach might not find space available in the same places they found it under the old plan. It used to be at Franklin and Ingraham, but it may be at STEM, The Center School and West Seattle more. It is unlikely to be at Garfield unless you have a child there already. The end of the distance tie-breaker won't open up Ballard and Roosevelt until the sibling tie-breaker runs it course.
There are 56 APP students from QA/M at Garfield and another 47 QA/M students also there. Even if some of those 47 are not APP siblings - say only 35 of them are, if that ratio holds for other APP families, then there is reason to believe that for 400 APP students there would be over 225 APP siblings wanting to enroll at Garfield. There will be room for only 160 out-of-area students at Garfield, so non-siblings wouldn't have a chance.
Blocked access to Garfield would fill Franklin. A full Franklin would deny access to students from the Rainier Beach attendance area. Franklin has been the most popular high school choice for Rainier Beach area families. Many more students from the Rainier Beach area are enrolled at Franklin (548) than are enrolled at Rainier Beach (255). That can't continue under the new plan.
It's unclear how families in the south-end will respond to the new student assignment plan. Will just as many as ever seek high school assignment outside the area or will more of them accept the assignment to Rainier Beach? They have really been pouring out of there. See this map.
I don't think Franklin area students be able to get into Garfield very easily because most of the seats set aside for out-of-area students at Garfield will go to siblings of APP students. Also, Franklin inherits most of the students from the Cleveland area. A full Franklin cannot accept students from the Rainier Beach area in anything like the numbers they have been coming. Also, like I have been writing, the improved academic outcomes at South Cluster elementary schools is now being seen at Mercer and will soon appear at Franklin. Public opinion of Franklin will improve and people will begin to accept assignment to Franklin in higher numbers - particularly when they are shut out of Garfield.
So where will Rainier Beach families who reject that assignment find an available seat? Best guesses right now: STEM, The Center School, and West Seattle. I'm less sure about Ingraham and Hale. Sealth is looking very full under the new plan and I'm thinking there won't be space for non-siblings at Ballard or Roosevelt for years or ever at Garfield.
To choose STEM is to choose significantly higher graduation requirements. They may go for this; they may not. Presumably the families rejecting Rainier Beach are looking for something else; maybe it's STEM. It has the advantage of being close - they can get there on the 106. The Center School is also easy to reach, but it has a non-standard curriculum which isn't for everyone. West Seattle is a conventional choice, but it could be hard to access. You might have to go downtown first and then take a 55 bus to Admiral.
In April we'll know how many Rainier Beach attendance area families accept their default assignment to Rainier Beach and how many reject it and participate in Open Enrollment. In May we'll know where they found space. Everything until then is merely conjecture, but if I lived in the Rainier Beach attendance area, I would go to Open Houses for STEM, The Center School, and West Seattle.