The discussion was based around the availability of information for your average parent to the choices available within District 150 (i.e., Washington Gifted, Edison schools, Valeska Hinton, Roosevelt Magnet, Richwoods IB, Arts Academy, the Manual 7th & 8th Grade Academy, MST Charter School, etc…)
The discussion revealed a shortcoming that if District 150 does not take a serious look at fixing, they too will more than likely be more prone to manipulation of principals and admission policies. Truth be known, I personally can attest to admission rules to a specific District 150 School being different depending on who is calling and/or who answers the phone. This has got to change.
The bottom line is that access to information on enrollment options and admission policies for the District schools is so hard to come by, that only the highly motivated parent and/or the highly connected parent can even begin to ask the right questions for their student. Just basic stuff like what are your admission policies, how can I get my child in, what does my child need to know?
It's imperative that ALL families have the opportunity to explore the best option to educate their children. Parents must be able to access information in a timely manner. Right now, only a limited number of parents know the intricacies of enrollment and admission to the District’s schools. Unfortunately that number is not inclusive of the majority of the clients the District serves.
Because I am a parent who is concerned about access to opportunities and parent involvement, I didn’t like what the discussion with Sharon, Jon and Frustrated revealed, so I sent Stacey Shangraw, District 150’s Director of Marketing/Public Relations, a link to the post and asked her:
“What will the District be doing to better inform ALL parents about all of the enrollment options before the upcoming school year? Will these schools at least be updating their websites so that parents are clear these are "choice" schools?”
Ms. Shangraw responded expeditiously and explained that advertising for the charter school is separate from the District. She pointed out that limited funds, staff and resources makes it difficult to justify spending money on direct mailings, billboards and yard signs. She further informed me that in the past the District has sent letters home with families and they market the information through school newsletters and the publication “Making the Grade”.
Ms. Shangraw suggested to me that if I have a suggestion for free marketing ideas to please let her know.
At this time, I would like to point Ms. Shangraw to the San Diego Unified Schools Enrollment and Option Choice page. Hopefully when Dr. Granita Lathan (Ms. Shangraw's new boss) gets here from San Diego, she will be able to instruct Ms. Shangraw on how to implement this “free” method of getting information about enrollment options and admission policies out to parents.