In theory, OUSD’s “School Options” program allows Oakland families to choose a public school anywhere in the city for their children. In practice, those choices are limited by space and demand.
Ask the parent of a 4-year-old who lives near Hillcrest or Redwood Heights elementary schools (More on that later).
Here’s how the Options program has worked in the past: Families submit an application in January which includes their top school choices. The district matches the openings against each list and sends letters to families with the name of a school.
Priority goes to neighborhood children. The remaining spaces are given, in order, to applicants who live in another neighborhood but whose sibling(s) attend the school; those whose neighborhood school has low test scores; and, lastly, to everyone else (by random selection).
Last spring, there was plenty of confusion and discontent around the system — and with the way it was implemented. Now, it looks like the district is poised to make some changes. District staff are holding discussion sessions from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday night at 1098 Second Ave. , Portable 15.
Here’s a letter about the meeting that Options staffer Ruby Goodall posted to the Oakland Public School Parents listserv over the weekend:
Re: Options/Open Enrollment Process Dialogues
I am working with OUSD’s Family and Community Office to plan and
implement the district’s Options/Open Enrollment process.
We are hosting two parent/community discussion groups next week to
examine the Options/Open Enrollment process. OUSD’s Options/Open
Enrollment process is the system used to place students in schools
according to the needs, wants, and locations of both schools and
families. To ensure that the process serves OUSD’s students in the
most effective and equitable way, and in preparation for Options/Open
Enrollment for 2009-10, families and communities are being given the
opportunity to weigh in on how the Options process works for them.
The discussion groups will take place on Nov. 13th and 15th at the
Family and Community Office ( 1098 2nd Ave , Portable 15) from 6:00pm
to 7:30pm. Food will be provided.
Space is limited, so please rsvp promptly. Email Ruby.Goodall@
ousd.k12. ca.us to respond.