Help with Enrollment

A couple of previous posts had mentioned a link to a document about enrolling for the new SAP created by Elizabeth Walkup, a Seattle schools parent (and yet another smart person who knows how to analyze data). I had looked at it myself and it seems like a big help for parents who are new to the both SPS and the new SAP.

There have been many questions about the Barnhart-Waldman amendment that has been and is being used (likely for the last time) in the SAP. Elizabeth explains it quite clearly in her document.


seattle said…
I've volunteered at school tours for years. I've never seen so many confused, frustrated parents, as I have this year.
Phernie said…
I believe choice is dead.

I have a hard time believing the district will assign many kids to different attendance schools. This commits them to bussing kids. Choice will be largely limited to option schools, I believe.

Why I believe this:

The district has estimated 92 kindergartners will enroll at McDonald Elementary, one of the newly opening schools. No teachers have been hired yet, just a principal. It is in a temporary location (Lincoln) for two years. Any kind of special programming (that parents have been advocating for) has been put on hold. The district has flat-out said there will not be on-site child care at Lincoln nor in its permanent location after its $15 million remodel. Under a "choice" scheme, I believe few people would select this school during year one (certainly not 4 kindergartens worth!).

Laurelhurst Elementary (bordering McDonald and in the same middle school service area) is going down to two kindergartens from its usual three. I have heard that there is concern that many siblings can be accommodated, much less kids from other attendance areas.

Green Lake Elementary, also bordering McDonald, but in a different service area, is also going back to two kindergartens (this year they have three classes).

I think the district is sizing the kindergartens in accordance with predictions for attendance area kids only. Perhaps a few siblings of current students can be accommodated, if there are any extra spots.

I think in crowded areas of the city, families should not expect to have much "choice" of schools. We have switched to an attendance school model, folks. Good luck with getting a good lottery number if you want to get into an option school.

I would be curious to hear how other schools are sizing their incoming kindergarten classes, in comparison to previous years.
Elizabeth W said…
Thanks, Melissa!

The document was prepared at the request of parents organizing the Option School Fair this weekend. It addresses ranking strategies for the choice process, and does not begin to cover all current enrollment issues. The last update was late in the day on March 9.

All my related documents can be found here:

-- Elizabeth
Maureen said…
Does anyone have a sense of the turnout at Option School tours? The K tour attendance at TOPS seems smaller than earlier years, but the Open House seemed well attended-so it is hard to judge the net impact.

I am concerned that many families are not aware that they can request any Option School in the city and that if a bus is currently running to that school from their neighborhood, they will probably be able to get transport there (on a space available basis) for at least two years. The District has not made this easy to find out.

With all of the confusion and no geographic zone guarantees, this could be THE year to get into the Option School of your choice.
Maggie Hooks said…
"Note that this will change when the NSAP is complete. The final plan calls for using a simpler algorithm in which families who list a school as their first choice have priority over families who list the school second choice or later. This can result in cases where your best chance for getting into one of your choices is to “lie” and list your second choice first."
can someone explain?
txh, mh
yumpears said…
RavennaJen - Alki Elementary has 2 kindergartens this year and will have 2 next year. No change in the number of kinder classes.
Megan Mc said…
Some Kindergarten numbers for new schools from the budget page:
1/2 day K
Full K


Queen Anne

Broadview Thomson (temporary placement of Viewlands students)

Sandpoint's numbers all around seemed a little odd (does the district expect that many families to move older sibs?:

k-half 23
k-full 23
1 20
2 20
3 20
4 12
5 0
Fremont Mama said…
B.F. Day (also in the same middle school service area) is scheduled to go from 4 kindergartens back down to 2 kindergarten classes next fall.
Fremont Mama said…
Also, I find it interesting that all the new elementary schools will have half day kindergarten (at least it looks that way based on the numbers Megan Mc posted). Why then are they discontinuing the half day kindergarten at Laurelhurst?
TechyMom said…
Lowell is expected to go from 2 k classes to 1.5 and may have a k-1 split. I think this estimate is low, as Capitol hill has had a baby boom in the last 5-6 years. We shall see.
Phernie said…
Megan Mc, thank you for those numbers. Indeed, I thought McDonald numbers for higher grades were high as well:

1 20
2 12
3 12
4 10
5 10

I think the district believes families will move their older children to McDonald and Sandpoint once they realize that younger sibs won't be able to go to the older sibling's school. Sandpoint is close to the major congestion--View Ridge & Bryant--and I think these numbers foretell potential problems in grandfathering siblings to these schools.

Fremont Mama, McDonald (I can't speak for the other opening schools) will have full-day K, but for budgeting purposes it is only reflected as half-day (the other classes are Pay For K). Very interesting about B.F. Day, which is of course another bordering school to McDonald. Again, if people don't have "choice" they will go to these opening schools.
Lori said…
This is just a guess, but I suspect that they list them as 1/2 days Ks in the budget but they won't really be because of Pay for K.

Each school is funded for one full-day K, then all the other Ks are technically half-day Ks but get funded up to full through the Pay program. That's sort of how I understand it from the few budget-related talks I've been to at my school.

I would talk to the staff at those schools and inquire what they are planning for next year, though, because I'm certainly no expert. I just have a hunch that this is a paperwork thing and that most of those will be full-day.
Megan Mc said…
Thanks RavennaJen and Lori, I should have stated that the 1/2 days will be filled out with pay for K.
old salt said…
Sandpoint is budgeted for 5.4 classroom teachers including 2 for K. That leaves 3.4 FTE for 1-5 grades.
Fremont Mama said…
Yes, makes perfect sense that half day K numbers are in there for budget purposes only and will actually be full day because of the pay for K program. I do wonder if any schools will be offering half day K this year. Does anyone know of any?
Unknown said…
We've been discussing hte .5 day k (or lack thereof) on the NE seattle moms group. Laurelhurst plans to discontinue theirs. Does anyone know if Greenlake or Sacajawea are still offering half day programs?
seattle said…
Hale is growing. They are expanding from 1075 students a couple of years ago to 1400+ students after the remodel is complete. They have already begun growing and have over 1200 students this year.

I hear tours have been very well attended.
Unknown said…
Adams anticipates 87 kindergartners according to person who answered phone earlier this week when I called to ask. North Beach Principal said there will be two kindergarten classes during tour yesterday. I don't know if these include siblings of out of area students at the school or not. Salmon Bay will have one 1/2 day K (as of late February anyway.)
wsnorth said…
Can someone post a link to the budget numbers? At Schmitz Park Elementary today we learned the district will continue to re-open previously closed West Seattle schools in the parking lots and playgrounds of existing schools (i.e. portables). This school was already overcrowded with portables, and will now be tragically more so.
Maureen said…
wsnorth: Here is a link to the Purple Book proposed budgets for each school. Is that what you are looking for?
Uh, Joe, where did you get that Hale figure? Because I have a document in front of me, handed out at a recent Budget meeting, that says Hale has 1020 (which is pretty much what I thought). Now, it is true Hale is being built bigger but they don't really want to grow bigger. So if they are getting bigger, it's the district's doing (but if they are being built for 1400, then fill it).

I attended the Audit and Finance committee meeting today and I'll try to get a post in tomorrow about it. There is NO good news.
wsnorth said…
This "Purple Book" thing contains some odd, terrible, and seemingly unrealistic numbers. Is this how they budget? No wonder it is such a mess. Am I reading that RBHS, for instance, plans to have a 200% increase in 9th graders vs last year? 231 next year vs. 78 this year??? Ballard has been full with wait list, so they are cutting its budget by 70 students?
seattle said…
Melissa why do you refuse to accept that Hale is growing?

Look at this SPS document (historical enrollment) it shows how many kids were assigned to each school last year, including Hale/

Hale enrolled 312 students in their freshman class for 2009/10. That's up from 256 (or less) freshman students enrolled each year prior to that.

They will continue growing with each phase of the remodel that is completed until they accomodate 1400 students.

Note ** I did not say Hale WANTED to grow. They don't. Hale parents loved having a 1050 kid high school. But that's not realistic and Hale is following district direction to grow, meet demand, and fill their new building.

Melissa at this point it's time for you to call Jill Hudson, the Hale Principal and get the fact straight. It's time to put the "Hale refuses grow" theory to rest.
Elizabeth W said…
On 3/11/10 at 1:07 PM, Maggie Hooks asked why under the NSAP your best chance of getting into one of your choices may be to "lie" and list your second choice first.


I started to write up an example for this, but then realized that (a) it'll take substantial work to make it very clear, and (b) the chances that someone reads it and hoses themselves by applying the future NSAP algorithm during this year's enrollment is just too great. I'll write something up after this year's enrollment season.
wsnorth said…
The "purple book" numbers show Hale staying about the same, while RBHS grows a lot and Ballard and West Seattle (full with wait lists for years) shrink. Does any of this make sense?
SolvayGirl said…
I don't know anyone in my neighborhood who is planning to send their 9th grader to RBHS. But then I also have no clue how their attempts to make it into other schools via the 10% choice will pan out. Most are putting 10 choices on their list—with none being RBHS. Some already have put deposits down at various private schools in case they end up being assigned to RBHS regardless. But then I'm only talking about 10 kids, so they may be the exceptions. Perhaps everyone else will accept their auto-assignment and the school will fill.

Since the assignment process is not transparent, can anyone of us have any idea how that 10% choice deal will work out?
Unknown said…
At the JSIS tour, the principal said that that there would be 3 kindergartens next year, and possibly 4. That is interesting in light of RavennaJen's comments on BF Day's, Laurelhurst's, McDonald's and Greenlake's projected kindergarten enrollment.
Lori said…
RavennaJen, I think some of the kindergarten class sizes also reflect the need to accomodate the larger cohorts already moving through certain buildings in the NE. You can't keep having 3 and 4 K's per school per year when you are already having to add additional teachers at 2nd and 3rd grade because of larger-than-usual cohorts. At some point, you run out of classrooms.

Take a look at projected enrollment in the purple guide. Some of the NE schools have 100+ kids in first grade right now and another 85-95 in second grade, yet they will only be graduating 70-75 5th graders and another 70-75 now-4th graders the year after that. If the schools are already out of physical space, you cannot bring in more Kindergartners than you graduate 5th graders.

It all comes back to the failure to manage capacity over the last decade or so. We all saw the little baby boom happening in NE Seattle, yet it caught the district off guard and they created short-term solutions by adding extra classes to popular schools. If the new SAP weren't in place, I think that they'd still have to limit incoming Kindergartners at certain schools; it's just that with the new SAP, it's a different set of families that are being turned away.
Maureen said…
I just don't see where these K numbers are coming from. Are they actual preregistration numbers? Are they (greater or)equal to the number of letters that went out in a given attendance area. Do any of them leave some room for open enrollment? What about room for people who didn't preregister but are still guaranteed a seat when they walk in the door in the fall?

I looked over the (purple book projection) K numbers for Montlake/McGilvra/Stevens/Lowell all of them are suspiciously close to 23 kids per class. That can't be reality based--under the NSAP some schools will have 17 kids show up and others will hve 62. SPS can no longer apportion kids in neat little groups of 23. Why do they seem to be budgeting as if they can?
TechyMom said…
The Lowell number is a of 1.5 K classes is a "district projection". We all know how accurate those are. Everyone in the building says they have no idea how many kids will show up, and are talking about different strategies to deal with 1 K class, 1.5, 2 or more.
zb said…
I looked at the purple book and I'm confused by the numbers. Do they contain a budgetary bottom line? They don't tell us how much money the school is getting, right, they reflect the adjustments, based on FRL & special ed supplies. This is funds on top of some other number that reflects the FTE's?
Joe, I note you didn't refute my 1020 student population number which I got from a very recent document. Where did you get your 1200 student number that you stated? What I am saying is that the school may grow larger but the growth started because of the district's push, not the school's.
zb said…
OK. I think I get the model now: Is this right? Schools get assigned a set of staffing numbers (whose actual cost will depend on the salary level of the teachers who take those spots) & get the funds described on this allocation on top of that. The values for per student numbers (before LAP & Title I on the table) are adjusted after school starts, and actual student numbers are known.
seattle said…
Yes, Melissa, you are right. The families and admin at Hale are not excited about seeing their school grow 30% larger. But Hale has no choice in the matter. The fact is when the remodel at Hale is complete it's capacity will grow to 1400. If demand is there the district will enroll it to 1400.

According to the historical enrollment document I posted earlier, Hale enrolled 300 freshamn in 2006, 282 freshman in 2007, 256 freshman in 2008, and 312 freshman in 2009.

Currently Hale has 1170 students enrolled (according to an office staff member that I just spoke with). They have grown by 120 students despite being in the midst of a major remodel where they lose use of large portions of the building with each new phase of the remodel.

Looking at the big picture Hale is not so small anyway. Out of the districts 12 high schools, Hale is the 5th largest.

1700 Roosevelt
1680 Ballard
1500 Franklin
1290 Garfield
1170 Hale
1050 West Seattle
850 Ingraham
800 Sealth
500 Rainier Beach
450 Cleveland
360 Center
280 NOVA
SE Mom said…
Joe, not so sure those numbers are accurate. According to info I got at the Garfield open house, their enrollment on October of 2009 was
1642. And I am pretty sure that Sealth is closer to 1000 on student numbers.
Maureen said…
zb you've got it right. One small addition, you say: The values for per student numbers (before LAP & Title I on the table) are adjusted after school starts, and actual student numbers are known. That is true, but the FTEs can also change when they get actual enrollment numbers. For every 30 students (or so) enrollment increases, you get another FTE.

Also, if you are short a fraction of a teacher, you can use the 'cash' part of your budget to pay for that, but then you are giving up supplies or a specialist or something. So what I have seen in practice, is that if a school knows their projected enrollment is fictionally small, they use all of their 'cash' to guarantee their classroom teachers and string along some poor IA, office staff or specialist through the summer with the understanding that when the kids all show up in the fall the school will be able to pay that person. That leads to unnecessary turnover in those positions and stress for those people as well as scrambling in September to make sure those positions are filled (but it's better than trying to hire 0.4 of a classroom teacher and rearranging all of your classrooms).
seattle said…
Oh, sorry. Going back looking at the historical enrollment PDF, it showed ON TIME enrollments. So those numbers are not accurate totals. My apology.
Phernie said…
Lori, I agree. I wasn't trying to argue that schools should still cram as many kids as they can into schools, as they have been doing. I was only trying to illustrate my point that explaining how to rank order your preferences is good for parents to know, BUT in my opinion it is highly unlikely that many children will be able to choose a different attendance school than the one they have been offered during early enrollment. For the reasons I gave, I believe the district is being disingenuous by not being frank with parents about their real choices. "Choice" will mainly exist for those who get a good lottery number and who choose to enroll their kids in option schools. If I was brand new to SPS, I think I would like to know what my choices really were.
Shannon said…
According to a friend who toured Bryant yesterday, they have 91 K's enrolled already (from the principal). They are definitely having 4, possibly 5 kindergarten classes. They have 4 classes this year so there is no decline anticipated.
Unknown said…
Not sure where to post this. At a tour yesterday (3/24) at Whittier the principal said that the latest from the district about the $207 for pay for K is that if there is any $ left over after the teachers salaries are covered they are considering a refund to families. What a waste in overhead that would be. Giving the money to the principals to allocate to K class resources would make more sense to me. On the other hand getting some $ back would help families with tight budgets.

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