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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Understanding the wait list

***Update August 27 2011 - there is movement on the Montessori list, so there is hope... Look for an email from SPS noting that you have been offered a spot (check your spam folder)***

Being in limbo is not easy, and based on discussions at this morning's playground meetup, there are quite a few of us in this position!

(Great to see so many families out to play in the sunshine at Greenwood Park this morning, BTW - another one next Saturday morning, 10:30-12 - cross your fingers for more summer weather!)

Right now, many Seattle families are still making decisions about their fall school choices, and sometimes students will not withdraw from Bagley until the last minute, when they accept a spot at another school, and open up a spot for someone from the wait list.

There will be a lot of movement in the first few weeks of September as the class sizes become solidified and kids move around (through their choices; as far as I know, the school will not unilaterally move anyone after the initial teacher assignment).   Wait list acceptance is happening at other schools too, so students sometimes leave Bagley to go elsewhere partway through that first month.

Last year, people as far down as 7 or 8 on the wait list were offered a position, but it was not until the third week of school.  A mid- to late-September transfer could be disruptive for your child.  We were offered a Montessori spot for our kindergartener last year around September 25, but turned it down because our son had already made good friends, had a terrific teacher in contemporary K, and was happy.  Now we're on the wait list again for 1st grade, and are aware that we might have to make a decision to jump mid-September if an opening arises.

This process also works the other way - I know several families who haven't gotten around to registering yet because they know they are guaranteed a spot in their local school anyways.  They will be bumped ahead of any out-of-area waitlisters.

Some good links:
  • The summary wait list by school: go here and click 'waiting list numbers by school' to see an up-to-date tally of the number of kids on the waiting list by school, grade, and program (e.g. contemporary vs montessori).  Right now there are 8 kids on the K contemporary wait list, 1 kid on the IEP (special education) wait list, and 20 kids on the K montessori wait list.
  • To check your student's wait list status in real time, click here and enter his/her student ID and birthdate.  Updated each Friday.
As I remember, and maybe this is on the website somewhere, wait lists were active until September 30, and then erased until the next year.  If selected, SPS will call and ask you to make a snap decision about taking the spot so that they can move down the wait list immediately to the next person if necessary.

Hope this helps.

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