The lack of sibling consideration in school selection process is a major issue especially for those parents who have elementary school age children or single parent households.
I am a widow, a single mom of two boys 5 and 6. My youngest son did not get into the same school as his brother(Brandeis Elementary). This is an issues on several levels.
You want more parent involvement however, having kids at different schools will limit parent involvement. Currently, I serve on the PTA, I am a room parent, I attend all field trips, and class parties, however, having kids at two different schools I will have to pick who’s class party I attend and who I take to school on the first day. It is already hard as a single widowed mom. Instead, I am left with a heartbreaking choice of picking what event I will attend and what child I will accompany. For a mother, that is a heartbreaking choice that I refuse to make for the well being of my children. Having to pick which school I volunteer at will increase the chance of my sons thinking there is favoritism if I make it to one school and not the other. Research shows that having a parent involved increases the overall success of a student. However, when you split children you do not help parents to get involved… you make it harder. Holiday parties, conferences, and special events that fall on the same day will be impossible attend.
Secondly, the school system has allowed students who are technically not suppose to be in kindergarten to have slots. I don’t think it is fair if a child is tested up and entering school early that they should be able to have slots at magnet or traditional school. It takes away from the children who are starting on time and if parent chooses to test their child up then they should not be given priority over students who are suppose to be in kindergarten. Rather they should have been the ones on the waiting list!
It is also not fair that the lottery pick selection process is not across the board. If you want to make changes and be fair it should be at all schools in JCPS. The Brown School was not a lottery pick and it really shows bias when it comes to the selection process. If the school board wants to make changes, the school board can not pick and choose which schools will follow suit.
Lastly, bullying is obviously an issue and research shows that having an older sibling at school decreases the incident of bullying. Why? Because the child has a sibling, a friend, someone to look out for them and with all the recent negative publicity JCPS is getting considering sibling placement should have been a priority to consider.
Logistically, I live in Fern Creek and my oldest son attends school on 28th and Broadway. It would be impossible to get both of them to school. Not too mention if one of them decides to participate in sports and/or extracurricular activities.
Of course, if all schools were equal I would not be having this issue. My kids would have gone to their home. However that is not the case and I do not believe it is unreasonable to consider siblings during school assignment process especially at the elementary school level. These are not kid self-sufficient like a middle or high schooler, They are very much still dependent on a parent to pick them up and drop them off. You leave me with a choice of up rooting a well established child in order to be able to function as a parent and have them both at the same school. Not the ideal choice for a child who is excelling within his current school.
And I’m not just advocating for my own children! I know this complaint is widespeard and there are so many others in regards to the school assignment process. I have research statistics in regards to children success over the years because of my career as a pediatric nurse practitioner. I have seen over and over again how JCPS and the system has failed our youth evidence by so many issues including but not limited to the increase in countless suspension and lack of mental health resources. I have wrote several letters for patients in support of parents because JCPS would not address certain issues. Yes, I believe some of it stems from parenting skills but a lot of times it’s due JCPS’ failures.
Having this background and knowledge And as a single mother of two young African-American males I want to beat the statistics of their success rate. I have taken the extra steps, I made arrangements to take a part time position so that I could be more involved, I serve on the PTA and volunteer my time to aid in the success of my boys. However, JCPS is definitely hindering the support and engagement I can give to my boys by splitting and dividing my family in to two different schools.
You all should definitely consider keeping families together. That should be a priority in school selection process.