It’s now been a week since the Round I assignment letters went out, and depending on where you look, parents of students applying for 2009-10 are either happier or more furious than their counterparts a year ago. I have been mining some of the data we’ve been given on Round I application patterns, and thought I’d share some interesting tidbits:
- A significant number of people still list far fewer than seven school choices. For Kindergarten: 1 choice — 17 percent; 2 choices –8 percent; 3 choices — 9 percent; 4 choices — 7 percent; 5 choices — 6 percent; 6 choices — 5 percent; 7 choices — 47 percent. Overall, just 23 percent of applicants for grades K, 6 or 9 took advantage of their ability to list 7 school choices.
- Applicant pools are less diverse than ever. At 47 schools, applicants for K, 6th or 9th grades were more than 45% of a single race or ethnicity: African American — 4 schools; Chinese — 16 schools; Spanish speaking — 15 schools; Other White — 12 schools.
- Enrollment will almost certainly go up between now and the first day of school, even though almost 3,100 students district-wide did not receive an assignment to a school of their choice in Round I. Last year, the number of students actually showing up in the first 10 days of school was 103% of the number of applicants for seats in Round I. This means our schools will actually be a bit fuller come September than they are right now. That’s a striking piece of data when you consider the numbers of students “designated” (i.e., assigned without choosing) underenrolled schools.
- Underenrolled schools are not so underenrolled, at least at the moment. Virtually every seat in the district is full, except for a handful of classrooms. In fact, based on historical enrollment patterns (e.g., the “yield” of students who actually enroll after being assigned to a particular school), some of the less popular schools have been significantly overenrolled because the district expects a certain amount of attrition as families exercise their right to seek other options. One of these schools has 44 Kindergarten seats and currently has 122 students assigned to it — 116 of whom did not request the school. If, as expected, we continue to get more applicants who didn’t apply in Round I, this year could be the “game changer” for many schools that have been spurned by families in previous years.
- Formerly “hidden” gems continue to pick up applicants. Elementary schools to watch: Cobb, Garfield, George Moscone, Rosa Parks (general ed or JBBP), Paul Revere (a K-8! Spanish Immersion!), Sanchez, and Daniel Webster.
I was in D.C. this week learning all about the stimulus package and the unprecedented amounts of Federal money on the table for innovative educational programs — I’ll post about that tomorrow.