Chippewa Valley Schools has added 15 students to its rolls this semester as a result of the district’s first time as a midyear school of choice.
Although Chippewa has been a school of choice for many years, it was not until a that the district opened to allow nonresident students to transfer midyear in addition to the standard summer/fall period.
While not every school of choice application was accepted, Chippewa Valley Community Relations Director Diane Blain said a total of 33 students in grades six through 11 were enrolled for the second semester, which starts today.
Of those accepted applications, 18 belonged to families that had moved out of the district but wished to have their children remain in Chippewa until the end of the 2011-12 school year.
Considering timing and advertising efforts, Blain said the number of midyear applications was always expected to be significantly lower than the spring and summer totals.
“We do a lot more advertising in the spring with radio ads and more things on the Web and cable TV,” Blain said. “In spring, it is not uncommon for us to receive between 400-500 applications. That is mostly when people think about changing school districts. They don’t like to relocate midyear.”
It was this question of why a student would want to relocate midyear that caused hesitation on the part of some school board members when the midyear option was first introduced in August 2011.
The main concern, was that midyear schools of choice may “run the risk of students that are looking to escape discipline problems in another district or academic problems or shortcomings.”
Discussion of this topic initially proved divisive for the board, although members finally agreed on a trial of the midyear option.
Trustee Andrew Patzert was supportive of the option from the beginning.
“I’m supportive because there are some kids that sign up too late in the fall … and it does give an avenue for kids who want to move so they can participate in activities,” Patzert said. “Sometimes you have students who want to get in–athletes–who want to be eligible for sports.”
Whether midyear school of choice will become permanent will depend on the outcome of this year’s trial, and the success or disciplinary issues found among the students enrolled during it.
For parents concerned about how the number of nonresident transfers will affect space availability for resident students, Blain said rest assured, residents are always placed in classes first.
“We leave open a number of spots in each classroom,” Blain said. “We don’t fill a classroom with school of choice, even in the summer, because we know we may get late registrations in the late summer or fall.”
School of choice students are required to find their own transportation to and from school.