Updates on Enrollment

I taped the Board meeting Wednesday to listen to public comment and see what the Superintendent might have to say this time around. I'll go in reverse order on these two.

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.)
Two BIG points to remind you of:

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.


Unknown said…
I have to question Tracy Libros' statment that "Enrollment will be collaborating with principals to see if they can revise their enrollment to put in more kindergarten students." We met with John Hay's principal (where they didn't assign ANY siblings and all 18 are on the waitlist). Dan Warren made it sound like he would have zero input/role in getting kids off the waitlist and that it would all be handled centrally. It also sounds like nothing will be done to try and get siblings off the waitlist and into John Hay other than waiting to see if students who are currently assigned to the school decided not to come. I am so angry with the district and the school board for not grandfathering siblings in. I haven't had the heart to tell my son that he doesn't get to go to the same school as his big sister. Still haven't figured out how I'm supposed to drop off and pick up my kids at two different schools since they have the same start and end time.
Unknown said…
John Hay's principal did say they will be sending letters out to the families of the 99 students that have been assigned to Hay to confirm if they will be attending. They've asked for responses back by June 7. Dan Warren made it sound like the district won't start moving kids off the waitlist until July.
Gouda said…
"It's so low it's almost like you should close the school down."

Well, Betty... It's in your part of the city. It's your former school. Why don't you actually do something and get the place shut down.
Central Mom said…
So once again Tracy has more data than the rest of all district depts. combined. Still, we need more (eg the Directors' questions) and it will not be OK to not answer those questions.

Anyhow, with 65 elementary locations and 19 schools with sib waiting lists, that makes just shy of 30 percent of schools that cannot accommodate K sibs.

That is not the majority of schools, but it is also not a small number. So can we call this exercise in sib accommodation a success at this point? Discuss.
Moose said…
The situation at John Hay (and highly crowded schools like it, such as Bryant, Roosevelt, Eckstein, etc)perfectly illustrates the problem with grandfathering in siblings. If 18 siblings were grand-fathered, 18 kindergarteners who lived in the shadow of the school building could not attend it. How would THOSE families explain to their kids that they couldn't go to the neighborhood school?

I really hope that there will be enough attrition to allow for the 18 siblings to enroll in the school. But the school district cannot and should not guarantee it; that ship has sailed.
Sabine Mecking said…
Has anyone seen a summary of the enrollment data per school similar to the draft version from May 5 posted on the SPS web-site? I would be curious to see what the final enrollment was for the schools where zero siblings got in. It seems like they are struggling with those to even fit the attendance area kids. Unless they add another class to those schools or do something else innovative, it seems very unlikely to me that anyone off the waitlist will get in at all.
wsnorth said…
Our local school was designed for two classes per grade level and they just announced they will be running 4 next year at kindergarten. 100% over capacity! How's that for planning? I'm not a big worrier, but if all those kids were in the building at the time of a major catastrophe there is no way they'd all get out safely (but if it was that major, they might not all be safe anyway, of course).
Bird said…
This'll probably win me no friends, but if seats for sibs are limited, maybe we should differentiate amongst sibs.

It seems to me the families that got the rawest deal were the ones that were in the old reference area for their neighborhood school, but got put out in a boundary redraw. Those folks seem like they should go to the front of the line.

I don't know the details on all the schools, but I would assume at least some sibs don't fall into that group.

It'd be interesting to see how many kids fit in different categories. I would guess, for example, that some sibs of View Ridge kids were not in the neighborhood, but are there for Spectrum (This may not be true. Pipe up if you know.) Perhaps the sibs of those kids shouldn't jump the line of the kids put out by the boundary redraw.

Sabine Mecking said…
Bird, I do think they should have done the sibling wait lists by distance (like the old assignment plan worked). Parents did suggest that for the transition plan, but it got dismissed. So, it is unlikely that they will switch to that now.
sd said…
I'm wondering what happens if they add another kindergarten class to accomodate siblings and someone like me (who doesn't have a sibling but moved my child off that waitlist to a different one) then loses the chance to have my child in that class. I think the decisions about adding another class should have been made before letters went out.
Also, I haven't heard much talk about the fact that option schools went by lottery and not by preference. I tried to find something online that mentioned this but couldn't find anything. Basically if you put an option school down third you could get in before someone who put it first - and I know someone that has their child in an option school (that has a 20+ waitlist) where they put it third. How does that make any sense? So strategically it would have benefited someone to put all option schools you wanted as last preference since it didn't matter. If you ended up putting one as a first preference how would you feel knowing that you were waitlisted and someone who had it third got in? I can't figure whether this was a bug in their system or whether it was meant to be like this. Oh and this option school is not TOPS.
Unknown said…
In response to Moose - at some point, the District will need to adjust the boundaries. If they don't guarantee sibling assignment when they make those changes, that means that families that live in the assignment area today could live outside it next year - and end up with siblings at two different schools. This did happen this year with John Hay where last year they were in the John Hay assignment area and now they are in the Coe assignment area. They are stuck on the waitlist.

It's also quite odd that in the past, John Hay was always able to accomodate all the neighborhood kids - plus take some kids from the other part of Queen Anne as well as Magnolia and other neighborhoods. This year, they suddenly can't. It seems odd to think that there's been an enormous spike in 5 year olds just on that one part of Queen Anne. It does make me wonder about the addresses some parents are using.
StepJ said…
View Ridge: View Ridge has served as a relief valve of sorts for the NE since the large K enrollment surge in 2008-2009. During that year a K class was added to View Ridge and has been maintained each year since.

During this time period View Ridge has accommodated overflow from the Bryant and Wedgwood reference areas. All kids from the View Ridge reference that wanted in for K got in. All siblings from in or out of the reference area got in.

The new Attendance Area boundary for View Ridge is almost twice the size of the previous Reference Area and moved north and west to help right size enrollment for John Rogers, Wedgwood, and a small portion of Bryant.

The highest percentage of siblings on the wait list for K at View Ridge this year are from families that were previously within the VR boundary. People that live less than a third of a mile from the school were drawn out. The next largest group are predominately "over-flow" families that were not able to get into their overcrowded reference area school in years previous. The remaining are Spectrum and Special Ed. out of area siblings. The out or area Special Ed. siblings have provision for accommodation in the Transition Plan and can get in with a request made to Enrollment.

District Communication: We've seen zero communication from the District at our school in regards to letting them know if you will not be keeping your seat. There has been a lot of communication and begging parent to parent to let the District know if you won't be attending.

One parent who has a K assignment to Bryant is not going to attend and called the Enrollment office to let them know. The person she reached on the phone told her they didn't care -- just to not show up in September. A group of us moms gave her the link to notify the District she would not be keeping her assignment. Tracy was informed of the response parents were receiving. She is only one person and can not do everything.
Unknown said…
I filled out the district form to give up my spots.. not sure it worked. I also was contacted by the k school(TC) and told them on phone and confirmed by email, so that spot should be freed up. I'm not sure the district form worked because I didn't get a confirmation screen or email.
Seattle Mom, you reminded me to check my notes with your comment. Betty did ask why Kimball seemed underenrolled if they had a waitlist. Tracy kind of said, no, that's not right and they left it at that.

StepJ, thanks for that story. And that's why I worry; the district doesn't get this information out in a timely manner and you have many more parents just waiting and waiting until the first day of school for word.
TechyMom said…
Lowell sent home a letter via kidmail and the 'thursday note' email asking parents to let them know if they didn't plan to attend Lowell or 6th grade at Hamilton. They didn't ask people to confirm if they *are* coming, just let them know if not. It's something, but there's no way to know if people are coming, or just didn't fill in the form.

It's also a little goofy, since ALO and walk-zone APP kids would be assigned to Washington for 6th, not Hamilton.
Just to follow up, I just checked and there is nothing on the Home page of the SPS website and nothing at News and Calendars about letting the district know if you are not accepting your assignment. It is front and center at the Enrollment page.

But if it mattered to the district, to help themselves AND many worried families, it would be right where people would find it first - at the Home page.
anne said…
I opted my son out of Garfield because we decided to go private. Garfield has sent home a letter saying my son has not yet registered for GHS classes and if he plans on not attending go to the Enrollment website to indicate that you will not be attending.
Maureen said…
sdsays: I haven't heard much talk about the fact that option schools went by lottery and not by preference.

That is because of the "Barnhardt/Waldman" algorithm. It has been in use for at least ten years. It won't be in the future--next year, if you don't get into your 1st choice, and your 2nd and 3rd ... fill in the first round, you will be totally out of luck. I don't like the effect you are talking about either, but next year a whole different set of people will be upset about the algorithm they use.

The advantage to the Option schools of the new system will be that the people who got in will be more likely to REALLY want that school and not to just be cherry picking their way through a list of all of the popular schools. The disadvantage will be that people will have to strategize--it may not be worth 'wasting' your first choice on a very popular school-no matter how much you like it.
Lori said…
The frustration expressed by families with split siblings sounds exactly like the frustration rampant throughout the NE two years ago when we entered the system. Back then, siblings were guaranteed a spot, and as a result (and as Moose stated), 38 families living in the Bryant reference area ended up on the wait list for the school that year. People who bought houses specifically intending to send their kids to Bryant were sent to under-enrolled schools in the far north end of the cluster instead. In the end, the district added another K class as a short-term solution, which in turn has created some of today's problems. You can't keep over-enrolling a school year after year without eventually having to pay the price: huge class sizes, loss of PCP space, split grade classes, etc. are just some of the options for next year.

I've been perusing my email inbox from the spring of 2008 and it's full of emails from friends and even people I didn't know so well back then demanding that neighborhood kids get first shot at the school, people wondering how the 300 "unexpected" K kids who enrolled in the NE that year would ultimately be handled by middle school, and just more and more questions about how was it possible that the district so badly estimated demographic trends.

I felt bad for families back then, and I feel bad for families being split today. The problem is the same; it's just different families being sent elsewhere this time around. My anger in both situations is directed toward the district for being wholly incompetent at capacity planning.

I don't know how to solve the problem, and I empathize with all of the affected families. A competent district would have opened Jane Addams to huge fanfare with a long-term commitment to its success; a competent district would have started planning to reopen Sandpoint and McDonald way back in early 2008, or before, when demographic trends were obvious. Families could have had nearly 2 years to be involved in the successful reopenings of those schools. Instead, we have nothing but short-term solutions, crowded schools, and many unhappy families.

And I imagine some of the staff downtown think families should just buck up and deal with the "inconveniences" because things will sort themselves out in another 5 or 10 years. But, you only send your child to elementary school once. If you're the family adversely affected by the short-term solutions, it's hard to take comfort in platitudes about "change being hard" or "just have patience til we sort this all out." Maybe the NSAP will work like magic by 2015, but if your kids is out of elementary school by then, it's sort of hard to get excited about the long-term potential of the NSAP.
krod said…
Catherine saids if they don't guarantee sibling assignment when they make those changes, that means that families that live in the assignment area today could live outside it next year - and end up with siblings at two different schools.

I completely agree with you. We don't live in Queen Anne, but we are in the same situation with you.
Maybe this year 148 families are affected, but more and more families will be affected because of boundaries changes.

I also agree with Bird. Yes, the district should differentiate the siblings if they cannot accomodate all ot them. People who used to live in the old reference area should get more priority. The families didn't move, the boundary lines have moved!!
sd said…
I think the ignored preference for options schools was vague in description. It wasn't clear that you would be foregoing preference in your option school listings. If anything, everything on their website seems to indicate that everything is preference. I had thought it would be preference and then lottery. Even the description of that algorithm seems to indicate preference.
From SPS website:
For 2010-11, Open Enrollment applications will be processed as they have been in the past. If a student is not assigned to the first choice listed, the student will be placed on the waiting list for that school and the student’s second choice will be reprocessed as if it had been the first choice, etc.
Students may be on only one waiting list at a time.

Luckily I didn't put an option school first, but I almost did and I think if I had I would be really pissed since you had just as good of a chance at getting in there as someone else who put it later... and if you didn't get in you may have passed up a seat at another reference school. Though in the end it doesn't really seem like many people if any got in with these reference school open choice seats either (especially if you are non-sibling). I would like to see the numbers for non sibling open choice seats filled. The one thing I have taken from this is that you never had a choice really anyway (and I guess this isn't different than previous years). But it would have saved me some time visiting 8+ schools to know that my chances of getting in there were 2% or something.
hschinske said…
Basically if you put an option school down third you could get in before someone who put it first - and I know someone that has their child in an option school (that has a 20+ waitlist) where they put it third. How does that make any sense?

It makes sense because otherwise you would have to game your choices by which schools you thought would be most popular, rather than choosing the ones you really wanted in the order you really wanted them in. You're not penalized for choosing a popular school first and losing out. I'm sorry this algorithm is going away, actually.

Helen Schinske
FHS85 said…
Lori, you said:

Back then, siblings were guaranteed a spot, and as a result (and as Moose stated), 38 families living in the Bryant reference area ended up on the wait list for the school that year.

It does not follow that 38 kids were waitlisted due to the sibling guarantee. Many of the assigned sibs lived in the reference area. The district had posted the number of out of reference area sibs and it was quite low. I don't have it handy but it was fewer than 10.
Lori said…
thanks, FHS, for clarifying. Yes, some of the siblings were in the area and some were not. I don't remember the breakdown.

However, I'm not sure that mattered that much. If there had been no sibling guarantee, spots would have been based on distance from the school independent of in-area or out-of-area, so some of the waitlisted families living near the school would have gotten in while further away siblings might not. Every year we've lived in the NE, the cut-off line for Bryant has moved closer to the school and folks on the periphery were less likely to get in.

None of that really matters now. My point, really, was that the district has mismanaged capacity for many years now, and it pits families against one another. When people couldn't get into their neighborhood school, the rallying cry was that neighborhood should trump sibling. Now that siblings can't get in to the those same schools, the rallying cry is that families should not be split. Both groups have very valid arguments.
StepJ said…
Out of area siblings for Bryant last year was 6.
StepJ said…
oops - numbers I posted are not for the year being discussed.

2008 was a huge disaster at schools all over the NE. Parents had been screaming to be heard for years trying to get the District to hear that a flood was on the way. The District turned a deaf ear and left families to either sink or swim.

How the new NSAP is being rolled out feels the same.
Charlie Mas said…
Under the old Student Assignment Plan, students who moved were allowed to remain at their old school.

So, for example, if a second-grade student enrolled at View Ridge moved to Laurelhurst, the student could continue to attend View Ridge through the fifth grade, or, at the family's option, the student could seek assignment at another school through Open Enrollment.

Under the new Student Assignment Plan, students who move out of an attendance area school's reference area are re-assigned to the attendance area school of their new home.

Today, if a second-grade student living in the View Ridge area and assigned to View Ridge were to move to Laurelhurst, that student would get a default assignment to Laurelhurst Elementary for the third grade. The student could seek assignment at View Ridge for the third grade through Open Enrollment and, if secured, could retain it through the fifth grade. However, there is no assurance that the student would secure the third grade assignment at View Ridge.

I mention this for three reasons.

One, this rule is in direct opposition to the previous Board's wishes as expressed in the Framework document. That Board wanted to provide stability to students who changed homes - not force them to change schools. These students are generally at risk in other ways as well. The current Board allows this rule because they fear people will temporarily take an address near a popular school just until their child is enrolled, then return to their real home. They are more concerned by the spectre of cheaters than by the needs of students living in instability.

Two, no one will be impacted by this rule change until next year, so there's time to fix it between now and then.

Three, it's not clear how this rule would be applied to students who see a change in their attendance area school due to boundary changes instead of moving - a scenario that has been posited in an earlier comment.
Charlie Mas said…
If families are choosing Option Schools not so much because they are running towards the Option School as because they are running away from their Attendance Area school, then the Option Schools that were most crowded would be close to the least popular Attendance Area schools and they would be drawing a disproportionate number of students from the attendance areas of unpopular schools.

Can we see these trends in the data?

If not, the this hypothesis would be disproven.

If we can, then how should the District respond?

The Superintendent is required by the new Capacity Management Policy to produce an annual report that evaluates the District's capacity relative to enrollment and demand.

There is no way that this report can fail to note the waitlist at Salmon Bay. There is no way that the report can fail to conclude that the District's Option School capacity - in almost every middle school service area - is inadequate.

Nevertheless, I seriously doubt the District's willingness to respond to the inadequate Option School capacity. Similarly, I seriously doubt the District's willingness to respond to the inadequate Spectrum capacity in a number of middle school service areas. Similarly, I absolutely doubt the District's willingness to respond to the lack of demand for Spectrum in a number of other middle school service areas.

All of this reminds me of the missing keystone for so much of the District's policies - accountability. It is also the missing keystone for a number of the free market proposals from the Washington Policy Center and a number of the ideas from Education Reformers. They all mistakenly presume that someone in the District headquarters will take some sort of corrective action when a problem is discovered.

That belief is simply unfounded. There is absolutely no evidence to support such a presumption. On the contrary - the evidence points to a gaping absence of accountability and an institutional and adamant refusal to take action.

Let's face it, none of these problems are new. None of them have ever been fixed before. Why should we believe that the same people who didn't fix them before will suddenly decide to fix them now?
sd said…
I know that people are going to their option schools to run away from their attendance schools down here in the south. I know tons of people trying to go to Orca or a different reference school rather than Hawthorne which is one of the worst in the state. You see it at South Shore too. When you compare S Seattle schools to North I feel like the worst N Seattle schools are the best S Seattle schools. I exaggerate, but when I do comparisons to other schools its obvious that some of the worst performing are located down here.

In terms of gaming the system with this algorithm, I still don't think I understand. My impression this year was that everything would trickle down by preference. So of course you put what you want first, otherwise you end up risking not getting a spot there. In some ways I have thought of it as first preference trumps all. So if I really wanted to game the system I would (this current year) put down my most desirable reference schools in order and put all option schools last. Then if I truly wanted an option school I could still possibly get it but at the additional benefit of perhaps getting one of my most desired reference schools. If they aren't taking preference into account for option schools they shouldn't have allowed you to put them down on the option form in a seemingly preference sort of way. By listing them 1-8, it is saying this is your preference. But truly its more like what are your preferences for reference schools and list option schools that you want because these are lottery first and not preference. And just because this conversation is confusing me and I want to digress I just want to clarify what has happened just in case I am not communicating clearly:
Person 1:
South Shore (option school)
Person 2:
South Shore

Sample Outcome:
Person1: South Shore (WL: Kimball)
Person2: Reference school (WL: South Shore)
Each person actually put their preferences down and a person that desired a school less was given a spot while a person that desired the school more was not. Ok - thank you for participating in this discussion.
Unknown said…
what i keep coming back to is we are not the first district to ever experience growth, and this isn't the first time even seattle experienced growth. how can the district have screwed this up so much? and why does it seem like no one cares but the parents caught in the middle? this is a policy nightmare, the media should be all over it. it seems like SPS started from scratch, without even knowing the geography and communities they serve, and didn't even bother to look at best/worst practices from local districts, or historial data. and what do you bet no one is working on 2013-14 when all these kids are will be feeding up to middle school, that will be an even bigger problem.
Sabine Mecking said…
Here is Portland's policy for siblings and school boundary changes (from http://www.pps.k12.or.us/directives-c/pol-reg/4/10/4_10_045_P.pdf):

"V. Student Assignment Following Boundary Change
A. To promote continuity and stability for students and their families and except as provided in Section V.B.:
1. Students living in the neighborhood approved for a boundary change may remain at their current school through the highest grade
2. Younger siblings living in a neighborhood approved for a boundary
change have a guarantee through the transfer process to attend the former neighborhood school if an older brother or sister currently
attends and will be attending the former neighborhood school the
following school year
3. Transfer students attending a school subject to a boundary change may remain at their current school through the highest grade
B. In cases of school boundary changes to relieve overcrowding or for the purpose of establishing a boundary for a new school, the Superintendent or Board may recommend an exception to Section V.A. Such exceptions must be approved by the Board."
At least the default is for sibling grandfathering. Perhaps an example of how SPS could rephrase their policy in the future.
LouiseM said…
Rainier Beach should have been shut down over 5 years ago. They had multiple opportunities to turn it around. They had a small school (by population) and never capitalized on it by changing the school culture to one of achievement. They are a prime example of what happens when you let a school led by an unqualified principal make its own decisions on programming.

That's not to say they don't have some good teachers there, but you need to have everyone rise to the level of excellence to turn around a school like RBHS. And you certainly need excellent leadership!

The District doesn't have the guts to shut it down because they're afraid of being called racists (by Bob Gary's dad and his cronies) and they're afraid of all the backlash that will come because historically they've done so many wrong things to that school (which mostly failed because of poor leadership).
seattle said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said…
Where would the district put the 400 + kids from RBHS? There isn't much room available at any of the high schools in the district, except Ingraham up North, and even there it's only a couple hundred seats vacant. There is a little space at STEM but it's an option school - can't assign kids there either.

I agree though that something has to be done to improve RBHS. I am curious to see what effect Lisa Escobar has with the school this year. She may have a very positive impact.
Charlie Mas said…
"Betty... 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."

The historic enrollment growth between the close of Open Enrollment and the first day of school at Rainier Beach High School might not happen this year.

In the past a lot of Rainier Beach families didn't participate in Open Enrollment. Either

1) They wanted assignment to Rainier Beach and they knew that they didn't have to participate in Open Enrollment to get into Rainier Beach

2) They missed Open Enrollment and got assigned to Rainier Beach because - regardless of where they lived - the District wanted to assign them there.

With the new student assignment plan all of the kids who live in the Rainier Beach attendance area were already assigned to Rainier Beach. Some have opted out of it, but there isn't a big crowd of students who are standing around waiting for an assignment.

The only students who will get assigned to Rainier Beach High School between now and the first day of school will be those who move into the Rainier Beach attendance area during these months and don't request an available seat at another school.

That's not going to be as many as the District historically has seen added to Rainier Beach between May and September.
dan dempsey said…
About RBHS:
Perhaps the equity needed for Cleveland and RBHS is equity of learning opportunity in the classroom, as in enough order to have instruction take place.

It seems the Central Admin and school administrations are under the mistaken belief that the ratio of disciplinary actions to enrollment in relation from school to school among the 10 big high schools and ethnicities therein should be a fairly uniform ratio.

This has led to a situation where misbehavior is not dealt with effectively at Cleveland in several classes. See BERC here.

The Achievement Gap report from Tacoma sees better interventions needed earlier to improve the classroom environment.

Seattle seems more interested in not having a disproportionality of disciplinary actions than having orderly classrooms in which learning can occur.

This has a lot to do with the small school sizes at RBHS and Cleveland ... Every school a quality school under NSAP was predicated on money savings from transportation being used to create quality schools.

..... BUT Cleveland and RBHS had additional monies and the academic results and enrollment numbers remained equally dismal.

The funding of Cleveland seems to be counter to the NSAP for other schools as $$$$ are taken from other schools and funneled into Cleveland.

Schools looted by "Plan Arne" in Chicago did not improve .... likely the same result will occur here unless more capable students are forced to attend these "not Cleveland" schools

It could hardly be more apparent that the plan is the same plan as used by Arne Duncan in Chicago to bring Seattle in line with what the "Billionaires' Club" wants done.

Note how often the Superintendent and the four board members push phoney baloney reasons for actions.

It is about time people woke up to the fact that the "Smartest Boys in the room" have moved on the make huge bucks in education (and not by improving things).
jhparent said…
It's also quite odd that in the past, John Hay was always able to accomodate all the neighborhood kids - plus take some kids from the other part of Queen Anne as well as Magnolia and other neighborhoods. This year, they suddenly can't.

This is most specifically untrue about John Hay. Lots of people living in the reference area of John Hay, have been unable to attend John Hay, and have been served at other schools in QA/Mag in the last few years. In fact, one parent I spoke to, living a stone's throw away, was bused to Lawton. People moving in during summer... were forced to Fremont. That is no good. Most families are happy to attend Coe, the other QA elementary... but less happy to sent to Magnolia. All of the QA/Mag cluster has been designated a choice preference for the South cluster. But, over the years as this reference area has been more and more saturated with children... there has been little room to accommodate anybody except siblings. And now... when every reference area family gets first priority, it's not at all surprising that there are no more spots available for out of area siblings. There's already going to be 1 new kindergarten at John Hay... using one of the special education room.

You simply can't do it both ways. You can't move to a neighborhood reference area AND give priority to out of area siblings. And, how could we ever move to a guaranteed reference area... if we always allow siblings to supercede them?
wsnorth said…
Does QA Elementary lack the capacity to be a K-8? Seems like that could take some pressure off TOPS (and save a lot of commuting. Why didn't the district start a K-8 option in that area?.
jhparent said…
Yes, that is a real inequity. QA/Mag residents have NO middle school alternative choices. That is, choices where they are given a preference seat. Blaine isn't alternative... and doesn't take very many middle schoolers. It's a 180 seat middle school... serving almost nobody who isn't in the actual Blaine elementary school reference area.
EAO said…
I have some serious concerns about the lottery system used for "option" schools for the 2010-2011 school year. I can only speak for Pathfinder K-8 (entering Kindergarten class), but it appears there was a geographic bias and in fact a true lottery may NOT have been used. The only people I know of who "got in" that did not have sibling preference live in areas where their attendance area school is considered "undesirable" by many people's standards while people that applied to Pathfinder whose attendance area school is decent did not get in. I'd love to see a list of all attendance area schools for children accepted and waitlisted at Pathfinder.

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