New proposed boundary maps have been released for the October 16th school board meeting. Sherry Carr, our school board rep, offers these thoughts to our community:
In alignment the District’s schedule, the updated boundaries have been posted on the ‘Enrollment Planning – Growth Boundaries’ webpage. This link will take you to the site and you will need to page down to the title ‘Recommendations to the Board’. I urge you to read the statement and then review the updated Growth Boundaries Attachment for October 16. Please note that the September 17th boundary proposal is now obsolete.
This update takes into consideration the feedback received (email, public meetings, etc.) and the changes range from minor to substantial. There are changes affecting the Fremont/Wallingford neighborhoods so families will want to review the materials carefully. It is conceivable that if a parent liked what they saw in the draft (9/17) proposal, a change may have been incorporated that they now don’t like and they will want to offer feedback.
As it relates to JSIS and McDonald converting to option school status (from attendance area school status), it is important to review the proposed ‘geo zone’ around these schools. Students in the geo zone have priority over the general lottery for enrollment purposes. Geo zones are not a guaranteed boundary and do change from year to year in order to manage enrollment. Rules regarding Option School enrollment may be found at this link starting on page 16. Changes to these New Student Assignment Plan rules are not being considered as part of this action.
This recommendation will be made to the Board on Wednesday, October 16th with action being taken by the Board on November 20th. Feedback continues to be welcomed (Email:GrowthBoundaries@
As a follow up based on the comments from recent posts to Wallyhood, I asked her this:
The “option school” designation is technically being put in place because both schools are language immersion schools, not because they have a shortage of seats. The designation works well for the school staff and students already at the schools, since siblings are grandfathered in and the school has a reliable and diverse population of students that allows it to maintain its programs. The designation does not work well for Wallingford parents with preschool age children that want a neighborhood school they can walk to and share with their neighbors. It seems likely that virtually every Wallingford parent will choose JSIS and McDonald schools as their “option”, so some parents will need to send their kids to a school far away that is not “special”.
Would it not be better for the long term to disperse language immersion across schools, so that everyone “wins” and also has a neighborhood school? For instance, could immersion be an enrichment time 1 hour a day like music or PE instead of being a half day and could it be extended to neighboring schools that may want it, like BF Day and Green Lake? Also, how should parents engage on this issue constructively, beyond just writing a sad email to “email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org”?
The proposed designation change from ‘attendance area’ to ‘option’ school is primarily because we have a shortage of seats. Far more families want access to these schools than the schools can serve which is the result of offering an enrollment guarantee based on attendance area boundaries.
As to the loss of a neighborhood school, I would suggest families look at the geo zone boundaries. JSIS and McDonald will largely still be walkable neighborhood schools – they just won’t be ‘attendance area’ schools with an enrollment guarantee.
I would add that both Green Lake and BF Day are very good traditional schools with quality instruction in the classroom, welcoming school communities and active PTA groups. Both have capacity. I urge pre-school parents to take the time to visit each of these schools and see for themselves.
As to community engagement, we have had several rounds of community input to date (link). Email and public testimony at the Board meeting are always welcome and can still influence the direction. Instructions for signing up for public testimony can be found at this link.
Thanks to Sherry for working with me on this post- regardless of disagreements, we owe her thanks for doing the job of school board rep with so much professionalism and dedication for free. Please give your feedback in the comments section. Thanks!