Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Popularity of West Zone schools by parents' lottery choices

I’ve always been curious about what the most chosen schools actually were, beyond what I hear on the playground (or playspace, now that it's winter). In a document presented to the Boston School Committee last week on the proposed five-zone assignment system, BPS also laid out a map showing schools that had the most (and least) families list them as their first or second choices. It’s like everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Here are the West Zone and citywide elementary schools in the top quartile for the 1st and 2nd choices in the first round of the lottery for the 2008-9 school year:

Haynes EEC
Mission Hill
Young Achievers

The second quartile:

Third quartile:
West Zone ELC (I think this is in the 3rd quartile. It’s difficult to read.)

Fourth quartile:

The map actually has the city divided into the proposed five-zone system if you prefer to look at schools that way. I still think in three zones.

There’s definitely a lot of data in here on the proposed vs. existing zones. The last page notes all of the outstanding issues associated with this plan, including grandfathering in existing students.

By the way, the superintendant’s meeting with Roslindale parents on K-8 options was postponed until Thursday, March 12th, 7:00 p.m. due to the snow. Judging by the above document, the five-zone system would increase Zone 5's proportion of K-8 schools over the three-zone system from 31% to 40%. Maybe they're taking the BTU school into account. The proportion of the zone’s middle schools would drop from 8% to 5%.


Katrina said...

Sorry, I'm duplicating my comment on Universal Hub here.
"This data can be misleading if you don't keep in mind that schools are picked in two rounds.
First for schools with K1 spots (for four year-olds), and then for schools who start with K2 class rooms (for five year-olds). Because the lottery for the entry grades can determine the quality of your child's schooling for as long as ten years, almost all parents use both opportunities to enter the lottery.

This means that many more families are competing for K1 placements making the K1 schools seem more popular. The lottery for schools that start with K2 is smaller (All pre-schoolers minus those that got a desirable or needed K1 spot, minus all those families that couldn't face the school choice process one more time).
The map would be much more useful if it were based on the percentage of students applying for each school."

This explains why the Hennigan would appear to be vastly more popular than the Manning for instance. I suppose one way to make it more useful would be to break the K1 and K2 schools into two separate lists by popularity.

Geeky Mama said...

Good points, Katrina.

BFW (Tammy) said...

You stated this was "last year's lottery" choices. Do you mean for the 2008 school year? My guess is that this year's choices are different...

If not, I AM surprised by some of these.... My top 3 choices aren't even in the top 3! Good for me I suppose!

Geeky Mama said...

Yes, schools parents ranked last year for the 2008-2009 school year. I'll clarify that above.