Wallingford is fortunate to have some excellent public elementary schools, although they are unfortunately fractured in their attendance areas. Just last year the decision was made to make both John Stanford and McDonald school “option schools”, meaning nobody in Wallingford is guaranteed entrance. There’s a complicated lottery system that assigns a certain number of slots to students in the walk zone and then to other buckets as well, so nobody is guaranteed a slot.
The primary reason Sherry Carr (our school board representative) gave for Wallingford having two option schools and no neighborhood schools in the neighborhood is that JSIS and McDonald were becoming too desirable, so managing their capacity with boundary changes was getting too difficult and contentious. The fact that they are both language immersion means that parents needed to be able to not choose one of those schools, so designating them option schools made sense. It still seems stupid to me to bus kids across the street from one of those schools to a different school several miles away if they don’t want that, but that’s how things ended up.
On top of the complication of choosing language immersion or not, you also can choose a K-8 option school for your child or not. If you pick Salmon Bay you’ll get bus service, if you pick Hazel Wolf you’ll need to get them north of Green Lake now and then on up to Northgate when their new building is finished in 2 years. The upshot is that you have a lot of schools to look at, and you better have your backup schools figured out- not just your 1st choice, but your 2nd and 3rd as well. Here’s a map of where everything is at:
I’m skipping Licton Springs in this write up as we toured it and it is super teeny tiny and moving north of Green Lake in 2 years. I’m also skipping APP, as you need to test into that. Here’s the teacher survey results, with interesting bits in bold. The numbers are about 1 year old (from last year’s survey, but just recently published):
|Teacher Survey Results||B.F. Day||Green Lake||McDonald||John Stanford||Hazel Wolf K-8||Salmon Bay K-8|
|Healthy community- respect, appreciation, enjoyment of work||86||94||98||98||93||88|
|School Safety- bullying is dealt with||77||91||94||90||91||87|
|Learning environment- student behavior||52||89||97||89||89||93|
|School Professional Community- teacher collaboration||62||88||89||88||77||49|
|Helping kids that struggle (MTSS)||73||76||67||75||74||48|
|Teacher Survey Average||70||88||89||88||85||73|
My reading of the numbers is that B.F. Day has some behavior issues to deal with, and Salmon Bay has suffered from weak administration (they have weak collaboration and special education numbers). Green Lake looks great, and they have a largely new building as of this year. John Stanford and McDonald are solid, and if you want a K-8 and can schlep your kid to school and back, Hazel Wolf is a solid choice (they move to a new building in Northgate the year after next).
Here are the numbers from 2 years ago regarding demographics and school performance. McDonald was still a new school then, so take the numbers with a grain of salt there:
|Demographics||B.F. Day||Green Lake||McDonald||John Stanford||Hazel Wolf K-8||Salmon Bay K-8|
|Students in grades K-5||336||259||277||451||388||320|
|Average class size||24||25||24||25||24||27|
|Demographics- Free / Reduced Lunch||38%||19%||11%||6%||36%||11%|
|Exceeding typical growth- Reading||55%||49%||32%||48%||47%||57%|
|Exceeding typical growth- Math||68%||57%||55%||60%||53%||47%|
In terms of demographics, Hazel Wolf and B.F. Day are where you want to go for diversity, or avoid for non-diversity, or don’t care if you are color blind like Stephen Colbert. I don’t get much more from the numbers than that. Maybe B.F. Day has a great math department?
The choices are overwhelming. It seems like the rest of the city went back to neighborhood schools a few years back, but here in Wallingford school choice still rules the day. Unlike the Middle School write up I did yesterday, I didn’t do elementary school tours and my kids didn’t attend school in this neighborhood (my wife was a teacher at Whittier in Ballard, so that’s where they went). Given that, my write up here is a little shallow. Please help with insights in the comments section!