The Superintendent herself didn't speak much for her updates. She had Tracy Libros, from Enrollment Services, talk about how this enrollment season had gone, early data and what to expect before school starts in September.
- during Early Registration, 84% of those registering were kindergarten students
- Enrollment processed 7,038 forms, 5,780 were for choice seats
- Notification of waiting list movement should start soon (but again, it depends on the school)
- there are 8 schools that have 6-10 K sibs on their waiting list, 6 that have 6-10, 3 with 11-15 and 2 with 16-20
- Enrollment will be collaborating with principals to see if they can revise their enrollment to put in more kindergarten students (okay, but what does collaborating mean? Arm-twisting or promises for more resources? It's hard to say.)
- Enrollment has a place at their website for parents to say "will not attend" their assignment as well as having schools take that information and pass it onto Enrollment (great but has this been widely disseminated? Has the district instructed schools to make sure this request gets out to parents so that parents on the waiting list can find out sooner what school their child will attend? No mention of how this information is getting to parents. Have you heard this at your school?)
- Update: I rechecked my notes and I forgotten this one. Tracy was talking about how many fewer requests for non-attendance area schools there were previous to last year. First, she had this information from a previous year available but when a couple of Board members asked for similar info, not available. What gives? She also stated that this must mean there are more satisfied families who like their assignment. Maybe but it could also mean that (1) the district didn't make it clear there was STILL choice and many thought they HAD to accept their assignment (if they didn't want an Option school) and (2) the district has no idea how many of those are going to show up. Just because they had fewer people using Open Enrollment doesn't necessarily mean more families are satisfied. I'm surprised no one on the Board pointed that out.
Questions From Board
- Harium: how does this year's kindergarten enrollment measure to previous years? Tracy: Don't have that information but this year was a new SAP and parent may have made decisions differently, etc. (I'm sorry, it's still enrolling students so it seems like a valid question and frankly, something you might expect the Board to ask.)
- Betty spoke of the long waitlist at Kimball and worried parents. She also spoke about RBHS and its low enrollment. She said, "It's so low it's almost like you should close the school down." Tracy said that RBHS traditionally enrolls low and gets more students closer to the start of school or into the school year. Dr. G-J said that RBHS will still have core AP classes.
- Sherry asked about how the waitlist movement might play out and Tracy said that they had simulations and that as one school moves their waitlist then that would free up seats at another school with assigned students who now are going elsewhere. (All the more reason to let parents know that the district really wants them to let the school/district know if they have made a decision.)
- Peter asked when parents might know when the waitlists are moving. Tracy said they will now and continuing throughout the summer.
- Harium worried aloud about how the extra K kids might affect schools' budgets. He said the "subtleties of budgets" were a concern.
- Michael asked how many older sibs had moved to a younger sibs school. Tracy didn't know but said that people had until September 30th to make this decision.
- Michael also asked about the percent of Open Choice seats requests that had been granted? Tracy said she'd get that info to them.
- He also asked about how many sibs got in on the Open Choice seats as that had been a concern that most of those seats would go to sibs making for few seats as truly "open".
- He also asked about the use of half-day K as a surge mechanism and Tracy said that was no longer on the table.
- He also mentioned the issue of waitlists for Spectrum. Tracy said that parents had priorities and some people wanted a certain school, Spectrum or not and some wanted a Spectrum school. She said there were some opens Spectrum seats at certain schools as well as ALOs. (But, of course, we all know Spectrum schools are not created equally so it's not just a matter of going to a different school for Spectrum but what is the quality of Spectrum at that school.)
One, you CAN reject your child's assignment and still remain on the waiting list for the school you want. From the district's website:
Dropping a student's assignment does NOT drop them from a waiting list. Waiting lists stay active through September 30, 2010. If space becomes available at that school, you will be contacted to see if you want the assignment for your child or not.
Now I guess you might do this if you absolutely didn't want your assignment but I would guess that most people, unless they had a spot at a private school waiting or knew their assigned school couldn't possibly fill up, could reject an assignment but it seems like most would keep it as a bird in hand.
Two, Tracy said, very clearly, that the Enrollment Office will be handling the waitlists, not the schools. This is different from in the past. If, for any reason, your school indicates it is handling them, you should ask why and then let the Enrollment Office know because she was firm on this issue.