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reading tiger

On Kindergarten Enrollment

Questions from [profile] ritaxis and others have alerted me to the fact that I haven't really explained why I am going through this kindergarten death march program.

Elementary schools in Oakland Unified (OUSD) are all open enrollment. To quote the website,

"All parents want their children to attend schools where they will thrive, both academically and personally. For each family, though, that environment may be quite different. To allow you to find the right fit for your child, Oakland Unified allows any student to apply to any school in the District. The goal of this open enrollment practice—called the School Options Program—is to ensure all families have equitable access to high-performing schools across the city.

The Options Process does not guarantee that every family will be accepted into its first-choice school. It does, however, significantly expand the educational options available for all Oakland families. By increasing access to a range of academic programs, many of which would otherwise be out-of-reach for disadvantaged students, the Options Process serves the District goals of achievement, equity, and accountability."

Everybody goes through School Options. Everybody lists their six top schools on the enrollment forms that are due in mid-January. If you're late, tough luck. Some people get to go to one of their schools of choice, and others get assigned to their neighborhood school. Unless their neighborhood school is already full. In which case, they get shunted to a nearby school.

There is an appeals process. There is a shuffling out of kids who opt to go to private or charter schools. There is a lot of stress on parents, administrators and teachers.

There are a *lot* of elementary schools in Oakland. A total of 54 if I counted correctly, not counting charters. I have 12 (including charters) on my list. I usually attend two events per school -- a tour and a Q&A/parent information/open house style event. I was kind of hoping they would prove redundant and I could just do the tour but so far I've learned a lot by attending both, so no go.

And that's why I'm a busy little social butterfly this autumn.

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