They have tightened up some rules about switching schools. I don't think the rules have changed really, they are just more clearly stated. If your child has been assigned to an attendance area school for an attendance area other than the one where you live since before the new student assignment plan, that seat is a "grandfathered" seat and harder to change than if it post-dates the plan.
They are shrinking the attendance area for JSIS. They will have to continue to shrink the attendance area for this school until they finally admit that either it needs to be an option school or the language immersion program in it needs to be an option program and re-located out of the building. The district is simply deferring the inevitable here. It's easier for them, but it creates a lot of wear-and-tear on the community. They have a number of reasonable rules for families who are re-zoned out of the attendance area. Many of them are getting re-zoned into the McDonald attendance area, which may not be so bad since McDonald is also home to a language immersion program. Others are getting re-zoned into the B.F. Day attendance area. I have to wonder how many more students can be pushed into B.F. Day before that school, like Hamilton and Ingraham (two others schools that were over-targeted for additional students), becomes overcrowded.
There are changes to the geozones for some option schools. The original idea for geozones - that they would be small areas immediately around the school so that children who were super-local to the school could have preferred access - has been completely swept aside and forgotten. Geozones are now used exclusively as a capacity management tool. The geozone will expand aggressively into the attendance area for any overcrowded school and avoid the attendance area for any under-enrolled school as if it were hot lava. This represents yet another example of how unprincipled the district staff are. Everything exists only as a tool to address their immediate crisis (or cause) du jour. No matter what the intended purpose, everything gets bent to serve the Strategic Plan, closing the Achievement Gap, as a Pillar, an element of AGREE, to close the budget gap, or, as in this case, to address the capacity management
Think of all of the families in southeast Seattle that were so delighted to get STEM, an academically focused high school in their neighborhood. Think of how shocked they are to learn that a student living in North Capitol Hill has priority access to that school (as part of the Garfield opt-out) over a student living right near it on Beacon Hill (cut out of the geozone).
One new twist in the assignment plan is guaranteed access to the Spectrum program for eligible 6th grade students enrolled at their attendance area middle school. I'm not sure how this is going to work. As we have noted, Spectrum students do not come in convenient 30-packs. If a school has 42 Spectrum students entering the sixth grade, what will they do? Will they create two self-contained classes of 21? Will they put 21 of them into each of two classes and fill the remaining seats in the class with high performing students? Will they put 21 of them into each of two classes and fill the remaining seats with a heterogeneous group of students selected at random? Will they create one self-contained class of 30 Spectrum-eligible students and one mixed class with 12 of them? Does the District care what the school does? Does the District regulate it in any way? After the experience with Wedgwood Elementary, is it possible that the middle school will make no effort to create Spectrum classes at all? We shall see.
The District has yet to identify the additional elementary schools that will be host to the language immersion programs that will feed up to Mercer along with Beacon Hill and to Denny along with Concord. That said, we can be pretty sure that they will be Van Asselt (when it re-opens) and Boren. I don't know why they don't just announce it now.
As this year, the set-aside seats in high schools have been eliminated. High school choice, which was supposed to be specifically preserved in the New Student Assignment Plan, is gone. No principle or commitment means a thing in the face of the capacity management
The elegant process that allowed families to name their true choices in their true order has been swept aside because it was too much trouble for the staff. Now families have to game their first choice because if they don't get it they have seriously diminished chances to get their second choice. All second choices will be processed after all first choices. All third choices will be processed after second choices. If you name a popular school as your first choice and don't gain access, your will have no opportunity to get into any school that fills with students who name it as a first choice.
The tie-breakers, intended originally to provide fairness, have been perverted to serve the capacity management
I'm not sure if I'm reading the rules correctly, but it seems to me that new students entering the district after September 30 will not be allowed to enroll in any attendance area school other than their own. Here's what it says:
After September 30, assignments for new students are to their attendance area school (including K-8 attendance area schools), or to an option school with space available.There is some clarification to the rules for siblings and twins, but I don't believe that these clarifications actually reflect any changes in the rules.
Finally, the plan doesn't include any program placement decisions. It only says that such decisions have been deferred, but that they will be made in time for Open Enrollment. That's what it said last year, but we know that some of the decisions were made after Open Enrollment.