Archive for June, 2010

Talking 281

June 29, 2010

Please tune in to the Andrew Richter Show on Thursday, July 8 on Comcast channel 19 at 6 pm.  Vicki Lechelt once again serves as the guest host.  Joining her is divestiture committee member Ron Stoffel and 2009 school board candidate and author Andrew Richter.  The three of them discuss the  district’s back door referendum (sorry alternative funding), what the district is planning to do with their surplus property, the switch to even year elections, and the overall budget situation.  The show will replay on July 9 at 2 am and 10 am.  The show will re-air on July 15 at 6 pm and replay on July 16 at 2 am and 10 am also on channel 19.

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Lottery or Cherry Picking?

June 10, 2010

Has anyone looked at the Kindergarten Entrance policy to the Spanish Immersion Program lately?  Entrance to this program (and its 132 slots) is supposed to be a lottery system but check out all the special provisions;

Special Provisions

PROVISION FOR SIBLING PREFERENCE
Applicants with siblings currently enrolled in RSIS and/or the middle school immersion program are enrolled automatically providing the completed application is submitted by the annual application deadline.

PROVISION FOR SIBLINGS IN THE SAME GRADE
In the event that siblings from the same grade apply, only one name is entered into the lottery and if drawn, each of those students is admitted.

TERMINATION OF THE SIBLING PREFERENCE PROVISION
The sibling preference provision is terminated when the family moves out of the district boundaries or when the family of children enrolled through the Minnesota Choice is Yours Program moves outside of the qualifying sections of Minneapolis. Children enrolled before the move may remain in the program.

PROVISION FOR GRADE 5 RSIS STUDENTS
Students enrolled in grade 5 at RSIS are automatically enrolled in the middle school immersion program. Grade 5 RSIS students who leave the immersion program are automatically enrolled in their neighborhood middle school unless an Intra-District Transfer has been approved or the student has been accepted to a Special Program (IBMYP or Pre-AP).

PROVISION FOR CHILDREN OF IMMERSION CLASSROOM TEACHERS
Licensed classroom teachers from RSIS and from the middle school immersion program who demonstrate proficiency in the Spanish language, and who complete and submit an application before the annual application deadline, may have their kindergarten child enrolled automatically.  Students admitted under this provision do not displace other students admitted through the lottery process or students from the wait list.  Children in grades 1-5 are admitted as seats become available providing they have been consecutively enrolled in a Spanish immersion program elsewhere.  This provision will be reviewed every three years.

PROVISION TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY FOR DISTRICT STUDENTS
The information night for RSIS is held shortly after the other district schools’ kindergarten registration night.  An RSIS application form, including an application for the Educational Benefits/Meals*, is available to all families attending the kindergarten registration night, as well as to all families attending the RSIS information night.

  • The RSIS application form is also included in Kindergarten Information and Registration, a district publication provided to all families during the pre-school screening process.
  • The RSIS kindergarten lottery is held shortly after the RSIS information night. This provision will be reviewed every three years.*Form submitted to qualify for free/reduced tuition slots

PROVISION TO ENCOURAGE A MORE DIVERSE STUDENT BODY
The number of kindergarten openings at RSIS reserved for students who qualify for the federal lunch subsidy is equal to the number of students included in one section of RSIS kindergarten for the upcoming school year.

  • One-half of these openings are reserved for qualified applicants who reside in the attendance area of Northport and Meadow Lake Elementary Schools* and who qualify for the federal lunch subsidy. Names of applicants not selected under this provision are placed into the general lottery.
  • The number of scholarships awarded for full-day kindergarten at RSIS will be equal to one-half the number of students included in one section of RSIS kindergarten for the upcoming school year.  This provision will be reviewed every three years.*Northport and Meadow Lake Elementary Schools meet the statutory description of racially identifiable schools and are thus named in the district desegregation/integration plan.

PROVISION FOR MINNESOTA CHOICE IS YOURS PROGRAM
Two openings for the kindergarten program are reserved for applicants qualifying for the Minnesota Choice is Yours program. Students admitted under this provision do not displace other students admitted through the lottery process. The openings are eliminated if they do not fill before the second week of school in the fall.  This provision will be reviewed every three years.

Let’s see; there are special privileges for kids of staff, brothers and sisters, free and reduced lunch (of course), and we have an affirmative action provision as well as slots for kids who don’t live here.  So how many “slots” are actually chosen based on a lottery?  Two-thirds?  Half?  Maybe less?  It sounds like we are trying to cherry pick what students go to this school.  Perhaps it is time to end this program, we have enough kids who supposedly can’t speak English let alone Spanish.