Since 1991 District #1 has had an evolving Schools of Choice Admissions Policy based on four principles:
- Equitable Access
- Schools as Learning Communities
- Parental/Family Involvement
Recognizing that there are several elementary schools within walking distance (½ mile) of almost all families in District #1 the Community School Board did away with all school zoning within the District and created instead a Schools of Choice policy. This policy means that students’ families can choose to have their children attend any school in District One that best meets their child’s needs. For families who would prefer to send their children to a nearby school, District One offers at least one elementary school within a half-mile of every family in the district. However, students are not required to go to the school closest to home and every District One student has Equitable Access to every District One school.
For schools where more children apply than there are seats (over-subscribed school) a lottery was held. This lottery allocated seats in the oversubscribed school equally between boys and girls and by race and ethnicity to reflect the demographics of the District (based on the Census). This policy assures Diversity and recognizes that children’s academic learning is enhanced, and their social and emotional development is strengthened, when they are able to learn in a diverse setting.
Also in the 90’s, the Community School Board established all day Pre-Kindergartens in every district One School. District resources were committed to all day Pre-k programs because early education is a key to success and most families in the District had working parents. Educators and parents in the community viewed their Schools as Learning Communities investing in their children in the very early years and helping them from an early age understand the education values in such areas as cooperation, respect, conflict resolution and community that are unique to the education culture in each school. Pre-K was made the point of admissions for District One Schools to maximize to strengthen our Schools as Learning Communities.
In all schools, siblings were given priority in admissions. In this way whole families became part of our school communities and brought both continuity and experience to the parent body. Parental/Family Involvement is well recognized as another key to a successful school. For parents, the assurance that all their children would have the opportunity to attend encouraged them to invest time and energy into the school starting in Pre-K.
The District One Schools of Choice Admissions policy, that ensured fair and Equitable Access to all schools regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, gender or academic achievement; that promoted Diversity, strengthened our Schools as Learning Communities and encouraged Parental/Family Involvement has been opposed, misinterpreted and dismantled by the Department of Education over the last several years as part of the Student First “reforms”.