PPS is proposing new transfer admission preferences for dual language immersion programs with enrollment percentages of students eligible for reduced price meals under the district-wide average of 45%. The Spanish immersion program at Ainsworth, with 4.0% eligible for reduced price meals, is one of those programs.
The challenge is to apply the proposed new transfer rules relating to sibling and students eligible for reduced price meals to the existing categories, or buckets with fixed allocations of slots, for kindergarten admission to the Spanish immersion program at Ainsworth.
There are currently four categories (here called "buckets') for applicants to the Ainsworth Spanish immersion kindergarten program: neighborhood (NH) English speaking, neighborhood Spanish speaking, transfer (TR) (or out of neighborhood) English speaking, and transfer Spanish speaking. These are how the applicants played out in the 2014-15 lottery.
Sibling applicants, presumably, were given admission preferences in their appropriate buckets but are not reported in these summaries.
The proposal before the PPS Board would give some students eligible for reduced price meals some preference as described in the following:
There can be numerous variations in the application (or interpretation) of these proposed rules to Ainsworth. Let me suggest three of those variation
(1) Variation 1 :Create eight buckets as shown below.
Then proceed as follows. First, all sibling and other policy preference students are admitted to their appropriate category. Second, students eligible for free and reduced priced meals (low income) are admitted to their appropriate category. Third, unfilled slots for students eligible for free and reduced priced meals (low income) are next filled by non-low income in the same general category (for example, NH English - not low income fill unfilled NH English -low income slots).
(2) Variation 2: Create same eight buckets. First and second steps are same as above. Third, unfilled slots for students eligible for free and reduced priced meals (low income) are next filled by other low income. For example, unfilled NH English - low income would next be filled by TR English - low income.
(3) Variation 3: The preference for students eligible for free and reduced priced meals (low income) applies only to the TR English bucket.
I prefer variation 1 and would suggest that the PPS Board amend their proposed policy as follows:
Students who qualify to receive free and reduced-price meals, or qualify for enrollment in a Head Start Program, in a proportion corresponding a percentage up to a the district-wide average. The preference will occur at schools programs where the rate of enrolled students who qualify for freeand reduced-price meals is was lower than the district-wide average during the previous academic year. Dual language immersion program may reserve various numbers of admission slots for separate categories of students such as neighborhood students, non neighborhood students, English speaking student, target language speaking students, and combinations of the previous. Students who qualify for freeand reduced-price meals, up to the district-wide average, shall have this preference in each of the categories separately.
Note: I have also proposed changing the word "schools" to "programs" in the above suggested amendment. In 2013-14 Ainsworth school had two program components: (a) an English only (called "neighborhood") component with a free and reduced meals eligible percentage of 5.9% and (b) a Spanish immersion component with a free and reduced meals eligible percentage of 4.0%. I believe the intent of the Board (and SACET) is to apply these proposed new transfer rules only to the Spanish immersion program component.
Beyond the Board and SACET transfer proposals, I think Ainsworth should admit more of its neighborhood applicants to its Spanish immersion program. As I comment to the PPS Board on 11/10/14 (here):
Neighborhood applicants to dual language immersion programs should get admission priority over out of neighborhood applicants so that dual language immersion program are neighborhood friendly.
This is not happening at Ainsworth. For 2014-15, 24 English native neighborhood applicants ("NH English") were either "Wait Listed" (8) or "Denied - No Space" (16). 20 0f those neighborhood applicants could and should have been admitted in place of the 20 out-of-neighborhood applicants.
For 2013-14, 29 English native neighborhood applicants ("NH English") were either "Wait Listed" (8) or "Denied - No Space" (21). Again, 21 0f those neighborhood applicants could and should have been admitted in place of the 21 out-of-neighborhood applicants who were admitted.
PPS could and should open another west side Spanish immersion program for the out-of-neighborhood applicants that would have been turned away. I have suggested reopening Smith (for examples, here, here).
AS always, I welcome comments. Did I miss something important? Are there better ideas?