Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Waitlist Numbers 2011

The waitlist numbers for SPS schools is out and it makes for a lot of head-scratching and wonderment about what will happen. (They charmingly call it the 'Waiting list.')

Sadly, it's alphabetical so you can't quickly compare high schools, middle schools, K-8s and elementaries. (Also sadly, I can't figure out how to attached the PDF yet but as soon as I figure it out, I'll put it up.)

Elementaries (these are incoming K numbers only)

The largest waitlist appears to be at Kimball at 31.  There are lots in the '20s - West Woodland, Loyal Heights, Laurelhurst, Lafayette, Gatewood, Dunlap, Muir, and Maple.

Elementaries with a focus
Beacon Hill has 58 on its list with JSIS at 46. Graham Hill's pre-school Montessori has 35 while Bagley has 19 for its Montessori.  Thornton Creek is at 33.

Middle Schools (these are incoming 6th graders only for General Ed)
Mercer is the highest with 65. Washington follows closely behind with 62.  Hamilton is at 26 and Eckstein at 23.

Well, people are voting with their feet and the alternative K-8s are far more popular than the regular ones. South Shore has a preschool number of 49, kindergarten at 56 and 6th grade at 47.  TOPS' kindergarten waitlist is at 41. Pathfinder's kindergarten list is at 48 (with no 6th grade waitlist available). 

High Schools
Garfield is at a whopping 93 for 9th grade General Ed and over 20 students for 10th grade. Sealth is right behind at 83, Roosevelt at 74, Ballard at 64, then it drops to Franklin at 37, Cleveland at 9 and West Seattle and Ingraham at 1 each. No waitlist is reported at Rainier Beach or Hale.


Steve said...

Melissa, do you have a link or other hints as to where the PDF is? I can't find it on the web site (and I must say, I think it's harder to find things on the new SPS web site).

David said...

Sounds like the alternative programs are very popular. The district should open more alternative programs, especially into the schools that are undercapacity, to attract parents and kids.

dj said...

Huh. So what you are saying is that alternative programs could, I don't know, attract a lot of parents and resolve a lot of capacity issues if the district would open more of them? Crazy talk, and clearly the district couldn't have been expected to figure that out before setting up the NSAP, given that those wait list numbers look an awful lot like the pre-NSAP waitlist numbers at alternative schools.


Bird said...

Do the recently opened elementaries have waitlists?

Anonymous said...

Every year parents beg for more alt programs.

Every year the district refuses to provide them.

This is a decade-long cycle and further evidence that at central administration logistics trumps academic opportunity. Most staff flat out has no interest in growing the offerings. Too much work.

Either get used to it or get outraged and demand change.


Anonymous said...

Sandpoint, Queen Anne and McDonald all have wait lists.

Dont understand why as the buildings could take more kids.

North Seattle mom

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many split siblings are on wait lists this year. Anyone know?

North Seattle mom

Deb said...

Is this list posted for the public? I have searched the new SPS site with no luck. I am looking for 1st Grade at Pathfinder.

Anonymous said...

I think QAE has a short wait list for K. They are going to have 3 K classes....probably don't want the school to get too lopsided as they have only 1 class each for 2-5.

A mom

Charlie Mas said...

The District did create two new alternative programs, Queen Anne Elementary and STEM. Of course the District also eliminated two alternative programs, Summit K-12 and the African-American Academy.

The Capacity Management Policy requires the District to report on demand, but the District didn't do it and the Board didn't enforce the policy. So what else is new?

At Seattle Public Schools the operations tail wags the academic dog. The District doesn't want to create any more alternative programs (contrary to all of the talk about duplicating successful programs there is no TOPS II or Thornton Creek II, is there?) because it complicates the student assignment plan and the enrollment planning.

The problem is rooted in two contradictory commitments - to approach 100% capacity utilization and to guarantee every student access to their attendance area school.

The District can reckon that, on average, a certain percentage of the students in the Adams attendance area will choose Salmon Bay. So they can figure that those seats are available and they can expand the Adams attendance area to include more students. But what if one year many fewer Adams area students choose Salmon Bay? Then Adams will be overcrowded. If the District geared everything for a target of 95% capacity utilization then they could accomodate the extra students. But, because the District is pushing for 100% capacity utilization they cannot accomodate the variation.

Since these unpredictable variations in demand for option programs complicates their efforts to manage capacity in the attendance area schools, the District doesn't want to create more option schools.

The operational concern outweighs everything else.

Charlie Mas said...

If the District set the target for capacity utilization at a more reasonable and flexible 90% or even 95% then they could more readily accomodate variations in demand, all families and students would have more choice, and language immersion programs and Montessori programs could be option programs and could provide more equitable access to students from all parts of the district.

Melissa Westbrook said...

McDonald has 13 for K and 11 for 1st which is a good sign but...they're full? Queen Anne has 1 for K and 3 for 2nd. Sandpoint has just 2 in first grade and nothing is noted for Viewlands or Rainier View.

I neglected to note that Salmon Bay has 21 for K, 15 for 2nd and 12 for 3rd but only 5 for 6th. Maybe the K-5 section is stronger?

I will try to find a link but I don't have a way to put up the PDF. Maybe I'll scan it and put it up at Scribed.

Anonymous said...

How about VR? Bryant? Jane Addams? Thanks!

dj said...

I actually think that having waitlists at schools that are not entirely full is the first smart thing I have heard throughout this process. Schools have no choice but to take attendance-area kindergarten students who show up in the fall. People are going to move into Seattle and move neighborhoods within Seattle over the summer, and it is reasonable to think, under the NSAP, that they are more likely to buy houses near desirable, popular schools (pre-NSAP, there was less incentive to do so, because assignment wasn't guaranteed). Surely people would not prefer that the school enrollments be stuffed to the gills now rather than leaving room? If the school turns out not to need the extra room, the waitlist can clear.

Charlie: if the district wants 100% usage of buildings, doesn't it have a lot of schools that are way below that that could be ramped up via option programs? I understand the point about predictability, but I would think that, given that there are far fewer slots at option schools than families that want them, you actually have less predictability in a system where you get a random sampling of students who want option schools into option schools every year.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if there is a wait list for Broadview Thomson K-8? If not most likely due to bad to worse leadership the past five years!

David said...

Good point, Charlie, that operational concerns seem to trump everything else.

You would think that the district would view demand for popular programs as a good thing, since it indicates parent satisfaction and interest. But, instead, district staff seems to view it as a hassle, even going to the point of taking actions that damage popular and successful programs in what appears to be an effort to try to reduce demand for them.

Even if that is our miserable reality, we can still talk about the ideal. And the ideal would be that the entire function of the central office would be keeping out of the way of principals and teachers, letting them run their programs and schools as they want, then expanding successful and popular programs and replacing unsuccessful ones. Perhaps some day we will be able to get a school board in that will get us there.

Jamie said...

Salmon Bay's 6th grade waitlist has dropped exponentially since they discontinued the all-city draw with transportation. I wonder if Orca and Pathfinder's 6th grades will bump up accordingly.

Anonymous said...

North Seattle Mom,

The waitlists at McDonald, Queen Anne and Sand Point are by grade level.

This makes total sense for several reasons.

1. If you you just keep taking kids because the entire school is not full, you are likely to end up with a few extra kids at a grade level. Then you have weird split classes such as a 2nd grade with 4 1st graders in it. Not good for anyone. That situation happened this year and it wasn't pretty.

2. Physicial building capacity -If you take too many K kids, it is literally impossible to roll that cohort up the ladder to the upper grades without having a year in the future where the incoming class of K will be only 1 class. i.e. QAE has 3 Ks next year, if you assume they have they have that every year - that means the school will need to hold ~450 total but building capacity is about 300. McDonald has 4 Ks next year so even more important for them.


LeFemmeMonkita said...

Melissa, If you have access to the pdf link, all you would need to do is "right click" with your cursor hovering over that link and then choose "copy link location". It will generate a URL you can post on the blog. HTH!

RosieReader said...

It's especially interesting that Salmon Bay's K and 1 wait list numbers are so high. Those grades are being expanded by a half class each, as teh school transitions to two full classes in grades K-5 from 1.5.

I agree that the changes in transportation options are what mostly skunked the middle school numbers, but I also think that the financial cut backs, which forced the MS to follow a more traditional class pattern, hasn't helped.

Anonymous said...

No waitlist at Jane Addams. View Ridge, Wedgwood and Bryant all have waitlists. Wedgwood and View Ridge have over 20 for K.

SPS parent

Anonymous said...

Are the K's waitlisted at attendance area schools mostly sibs?

Anonymous said...

MontMom, The waitlist document only gives numbers by grade and program. It doesn't give the number of siblings.

Over 70 schools have waitlists.

SPS parent

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

If they have waitlist numbers, shouldn't they also have the enrollments? Sure, they'd be subject to change as people move or get taken off waitlists, but at least it would be something.

Anonymous said...

Lowell has a weight list... And we are on it even though we sibling linked. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Oops... Waitlist

and: - Lowell Parents

dj said...

MontMom: the waitlist students (at least at the kindergarten level) may not be sibs. Because of the new algorithm, we put an attendance area school (not our own) as our #1 choice for our rising kindergarten, on the theory that our kid would have a better chance of getting into a desirable but not overstuffed neighborhood school than a popular alternative school. As it happens, our kid did get into our #1 choice (well, our #1 choice on the form -- we might have preferred one of the schools we correctly predicted would have a huge waitlist), but alternatively, he'd be on the waitlist at that school.

anonymous said...

Interesting that Hale has no waitlist. I wonder if the district added the extra couple of hundred seats to Hale's capacity now that the remodel is complete?

Anonymous said...

Adams will have almost 480 kids next year, 30 more than the district had predicted. So now the Special Ed program will lose its space and will have to share with another program (Bilingual, i think). There are only two classes in next year's 5th grade cohort, and 2 in the 4th grade cohort, (assuming 28+ students in each classroom). So if the district does not redraw the boundaries so Adams can have not more than 2 Ks for the next 2 years; some
kids will be having their classes in the lunch room, since there is no art room and the music room is too small. The dance teacher is already using the stage!
JSIS is losing the bilingual program this next year (probably to make space for next year's K cohort). Next year's 2nd graders will have 31, 31 and 33 students in the three classes unless the school go to a split 2/3 model. If JSIS has more than 2 K classes in 2012-2013 and beyond, they will have to sit in the hallways, or the cafeteria. There is no more room, anywhere, as Music will lose its classroom next year (moving onto the stage!) There is no Art room. They NEED to redraw the boundaries this next year! I don't even want to imagine the overcrowding problems, especially since they are reducing the janitorial and maintenance services.

SPS Parent 2

biliruben said...

As a parent of a 4 year old trying to figure this all out for the up-coming open enrollment period, how does this compare to previous years?

Is there a place that give tips as to how to complete the open enrollment form to your advantage?

I recall last year a document that had nearly all the waitlists "resolved" by some time in September. What does "resolved" mean? That many of the kids on the waitlists actually got into their 1st choice?

Can you be on more than one waitlist?


Anonymous said...

I have to say this, I see people commenting on the blogs and the news sites all the time that Teachers' Unions protect incompetents from losing their jobs, and therefore we should do away with their unions, as these teachers should be held to the same efficiency standards as people who work in private sector businesses. WELL, what about these administrative people at the JS Center? Do they not need to be held to some standards of competency? To have messed up so grievously in capacity predictions in drawing the school boundaries, would they not have lost their jobs if they were working in the private sector? Perhaps that is why so many former business people are working in SPS administration now. They can fail at every task, cost the district millions of dollars, cause untold Sturm and Drang and still keep their jobs year after year (and sometimes get promoted, with higher salaries, if they REALY mess up). Why do all these people pick on teachers (who are much, much more hard working and competent), and let the administrator slide?

SPS Parent 2

dj said...

Biliruben, no, you cannot be on more than one wait list. The wait lists dissolve in September, which means that after that, there are not wait lists, not that everyone gets in (in other words, if a space "opens" in December, there is no longer a wait list to move kids from).

Jan said...

biliruben: there are better (more knowledgeable) folks than me to answer your question, but I will try, in case they don't jump in:

You asked: how does this compare to previous years?

Comparisons are hard to make, except to last year, which was the first NSAP year, but even so, some of the transportation rules have since changed, as have the sibling transitional rules, and there are practical effects of the new schools coming on line, etc. Also, the old "Waldman - something or other" algorithm has changed, meaning that folks now have to do what dj describes above -- correctly "guess" which schools might not be as oversubscribed, to increase their chances in a lottery of getting in.

You asked: Is there a place that give tips as to how to complete the open enrollment form to your advantage?

Not that I know of -- at least not yet. There used to be lots of good advice available for parents under the old algorithm. But I am not aware of anyplace where you can (yet) get good advice on the new system. I would suggest heavy networking with other parents whose kids will be in K or grade 1 next year (i.e. -- the two groups who have done Kindergarten under the new rules right before you). Sometimes, staff at the enrollment centers knows this stuff cold and will help -- sometimes they don't, or won't. But if I were you, I would find out when the "ice cream social/picnic/back to school event" is for the school(s) you want this summer -- and figure out how to get into it -- volunteer, whatever. And then ask those parents to tell you what they know, what they did, who they talked to. You may have to eat ice cream and hot dogs at 3 or 4 schools :>), but you will be among the most knowledgeable of parents when you are done.

You asked: I recall last year a document that had nearly all the waitlists "resolved" by some time in September. What does "resolved" mean? That many of the kids on the waitlists actually got into their 1st choice?

The only announcements I recall were the ones tracking sibling kindergartners trying to get into the schools of their older sibs, when those were NOT their attendance area schools. The District made a one-year effort to try to split as few of those kids as possible. For the most part, except to the extent that sibling preference is now hardwired into the preference formulae, that effort has now ended, and I would be surprised if they continue to monitor and report on those waitlists going forward. They got what they wanted (the NSAP passed). The usual course of action for this District (once they have gotten the action from the Board they wanted) is to then drop any further pretence at pretending to follow through on commitments or to care about accomodating parent or community concerns. They no longer need to put out the effort -- so they don't. I don't mean to sound so harsh. But sometimes, it is just better to know how your adversary operates, than to pretend otherwise.

Bird said...

What's the word these days on who makes the waitlist decisions? Who decides the size of the incoming classes and when to move the list?

Is it the principal? Or is it more centrally controlled?

Maureen said...

Is there a place that give tips as to how to complete the open enrollment form to your advantage?

I'm considering going into business as a public school enrollment consultant. I've been looking for a way to monetize all of my obscure knowledge about SPS. (Not sure if I'm joking or serious. It seems like something real estate agents might be willing to pay for.)

biliruben said...

Thanks Jan! Good thing I like ice cream. ;)

I think you would probably make a mint Maureen.

I'm not overly concerned, given that Addams, the only option school I visited in February and liked, didn't get a waitlist.

I am just wondering how huge a mistake it would be to take a swing at a more popular school like Thornton or Wedgwood and make Addams my second choice.

anne said...

I submitted a request for TOPS for my incoming Kindergarten son, not so much to avoid elementary school (which is Stevens) but to avoid middle school (which is WMS). Amazingly he is #1 on the waitlist so I have to decide and wanted to hear from those that have kids at TOPS how strongly you would recommend TOPS: in general and for middle school. If you want to contact me privately you can email me at achinn@nwlink.com.


Lockharttwins said...

Does anyone know if they've fixed the 'twin problem'? Meaning, if I were to stick my twin boys on the waitlist for a school, would I be guaranteed that they would both get accepted if one was?

WS Teacher said...

The waitlist at Chief Sealth is on top of 1200 filled spots (there are fewer than 1100 currently at the school). And in addition to the 83 9th graders on the list, there are 8 10th graders and 16 11th graders. Pretty amazing turnaround.

Anonymous said...

Could anyone give directions as to how to view this pdf document on the SPS website? I've tried to find it, but am not having any luck.

Anonymous said...

Where is the link to the waitlist? I can't find it- please tell me where it is located or can someone supply it?
Lost on SPS website, again

connie said...

Here's another request for directions on how to find this information on the SPS website (or anywhere for that matter).


Data driven

Johnny Calcagno said...

Ahhhh yes, the new website. I'm not particularly paranoid, but does anyone else suspect that they intentionally made finding data more difficult?

Johnny Calcagno said...

@anne -

I've been a TOPS parent for 8 years. It's been a great school for our family, tempered at times unfortunately by District incompetence and interference.

I will contact you off-list for more discussion.

Steve said...

For those who want to look at the "old" website for old information they can't find now on the new site, Archive.org has the website as it was on June 27, 2009. This is the latest version of the site that they've compiled, so nothing from last year even. You can find it by clicking here.

If I knew how, I'd scoop the entire site onto my hard drive for safekeeping and historical purposes. If anyone knows how to do this, email me at stevepalbertson (at) gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Can someone provide us with where to find the wait list information on the district website? There seems to be a lot of requests for this info, but no one has been able to help so far. I have search with no luck.

If you can't put in the link, if you could just provide the information as to where it is located on the website, that would be helpful.

Thank you!

- curious -

Anonymous said...

From the APP blog, Lowell is projecting enrollment over 700 for next year.


Anonymous said...

I don't think the waitlist info is on the website. I have seen a hard copy of the list but can't find it on the website.

You can also call enrollment and they will tell you how long the waitlist is at a school because they have to tell you if you are considering moving your student to a waitlist.

One year I called and got the waitlist numbers for the 20 closest schools to try to find a spot for my daughter after we had just moved to the district.

north seattle mom

Anonymous said...

This is crazy. The district says that the documents are not availble for release to the public yet. Why not?
If this many people have seen it it must have at least been released to the schools so why not the public?

Lost on SPS website, again

Maureen said...

Steve, thanks for the 'way back' link, but when I got two layers in (looking for the old attendance pattern maps), it redirected me to the home page of the new web site.

Anonymous said...

Melissa said that she couldn't figure out how to post the link, so that means there must be a link somewhere that the rest of us can look at. There is quite a bit of interest regarding this 'waiting list' document. I for one would love to see it for myself. If Melissa can break away from ranting about the Gates Foundation for a few minutes, and give us all directions to the link, I'm sure it would be appreciated by many.

Patrick said...

The principal's letter from Jane Addams sent today says they're anticipating about 550 students next year. That's compared to 430 this year.

anonymous said...

Where are folks finding the projected enrollment info/doc?

biliruben said...

Patrick - That sounds about right, given that it's a newer school that is mostly growing their grades organically, moving full cohorts up from K over the last few years. That number sounds like a full 3 Ks (did they get the waiver for a 3rd K again this year?), and a bit of infill from transfers in the grades above 3rd.

Is that jump worrisome to you, or are you just reporting the news?

Is the letter posted someplace? I'd love to read it, as a prospective parent.

JaneAddamsKindergartenMom said...

I have a copy of the Jane Addams letter, but only in hard copy and it's quite long, so don't want to retype it. I'll try to give you the highlights:

Increased enrollment from 430 and expect approximately 550 (don't know how many K classes.)

Paragraph about Sept. 1st open house and BBQ with K-5 and middle school orientations for new families to cover schedules, bells, procedures, etc. Aimed at new families but continuing families welcome.

No classroom assignments until late august because of expected enrollment changes, but if parents want to provide input re: placement, ways are given to contact principal and should do so by June 17th.

Paragraph re: kindergartners having 1/2 days first 3 days of school so all kids can have 1:1 assessment with teacher. (I thought this was GREAT this last fall!)

Middle School elective choice sheets due by June 17th.

Invitation to all new families to field day, June 17th, 12:30-2pm on main soccer field.

Three summer K-5 playdates and one gathering for middle school families (both new and continuing). Info on the PTSA website:

A closing paragraph about office being open until July 1, then closed until Aug 15th. Contact info (phone and email). Best wishes for the summer.

discounted desktop systems said...

The Boston Globe is reporting that the number of students on the wait list at some well known colleges is up this year. The wait list is used by colleges to ensure they have enough students in the fall if the students they have admitted decide not to attend.


Dentist Seo said...

It's been a great school for our family, tempered at times unfortunately by District incompetence and interference.

Unknown said...

Sure, they'd be subject to change as people move or get taken off waitlists, but at least it would be something.
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