Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Secret for Getting Your Kid into a Top Rated Broward County School

By Sharon Arron Baron of Tamarac Talk  (

My son goes to one of the highest ranked High Schools in Broward County and we don’t even live near the school.
How did we do this? You’re probably thinking that I got special favors from important people I know downtown at the KC Wright building, don’t you?
The truth is, I do know important people, but that didn’t help me one bit.
I got my son in the old fashioned way… by working with the school district.
You see, it’s no secret that parents can reassign their children to another school, but what most parents don’t realize is that you don’t need any special circumstances to do so. In fact, you don’t even need to write an explanation on the application when it asks for a reason. Take it from the parents of our community to find this out for ourselves.
Back in 2010, many of us in our community in Tamarac wanted to get our boundaries changed. The middle and high school were not meeting Annual Yearly Progress (or AYP) and parents were enrolling their children in charter, magnet, private or religious schools. Many just gave up on the public schools.
We believed that having the boundaries changed would give us better performing schools.
Unfortunately, we soon found out that moving boundaries around was not something that would ever be approved by the school board due to fact that it would under-enroll many of our assigned schools.
When representatives with Broward Schools visited our community to speak to us about the boundary issues, they brought up the idea of reassignments. They said that as long as the Broward County school that we applied for had space, and as long as we provided transportation, our reassignment request could be granted.
This was certainly an eyeopener for many of us.
I met with the Demographics & Student Assignments Department at the KC Wright building and discussed this further and found out exactly how reassignments work. Every May 1 through June 15, the reassignment application window opens to allow parents to apply. This is not done on a first come-first serve basis. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your application is sent on May 1 or on midnight June 15. If there are more applicants than spaces, then the applicants are chosen by lottery.
Two years ago, this understanding of how the reassignment process worked allowed us to enroll our daughter into a Tamarac Elementary School that was performing better than our assigned North Lauderdale Elementary School.
Fast forward to this year when our son would be making a transition from private to public school. Our assigned school, Boyd Anderson, was ranked 399 out of 404 High Schools in Florida and rated a D.  Initially we applied for Pompano Beach High School, a magnet school, which ranks 13 in state of Florida and number one in Broward County.
Pompano Beach High School is not a very well-kept secret because over 900 students applied for 300 slots during magnet school enrollment last December. Unfortunately he was not one of the students that won a slot, so we researched other top performing high schools near us and Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which ranks 20th in the state, would be our next choice.
Last April, Assistant Principal Denise Reed, informed us that Stoneman Douglas would have a decline in their enrollment based on projections from the two feeder middle schools. Hearing this gave us confidence that we might have a shot if we chose it on the reassignment application.
We crossed our fingers and waited.
In July we received the good news that our son’s reassignment to Stoneman Douglas was successful. Yes, it’s an 18 mile trip each way, but thankfully, another child in our community had her reassignment approved and now our families carpool each day.
So remember that anyone can reassign, and you aren’t getting special treatment by changing from your assigned school to a better performing school.  Parents must be proactive and research school rankings, test scores, and overall atmosphere to make sure their child and the school are a good fit.
To find out more about the school, I suggest you take a tour or visit the school like we did. If the school you are interested in does not want to give you a tour, don’t give up. The first time we visited Stoneman Douglas, a receptionist found out that we didn’t live within the boundaries and told both my husband and I that they do not give tours. We were treated like we were an inconvenience and went home.  Fortunately, I was able to get the name of the assistant principal, so that later I was able to get an appointment. If I hadn’t have met with the assistant principal, I wouldn’t have learned more about the school, its curriculum,  and with it, information on the fall enrollment.
Interested in reassigning to another Broward school? If you are willing to do a little research, and more importantly, willing to drive your child to and from that school, here is how the application process works:
  • The student reassignment application window will open on May 1 and close on June 15th at midnight. Applications received after June 15 will be considered late and will not be processed.
  • Each applicant must have a Broward County Public Schools student identification number in order to apply for a reassignment. If your child is not currently enrolled in a Broward County Public School, please go to your child’s home boundary school to secure a student identification number. This must be done prior to completing a reassignment application.
  • Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have the option to submit either an on-line application or send an application to the Demographics & Student Assignments office in hard copy.
  • Only one application per student will be accepted. Duplicate applications will not be processed. No faxed applications will be processed.
  • Students applying to kindergarten must be 5 years old by September 1st.
  • You will find a list of schools with reassignment seats available when completing the application.
  • Schools with available seats will be identified for reassignments based upon capacity at the school to align with Florida legislation regarding Class Size and School Concurrency within the District. Reassignment seats are identified at schools based upon the Permanent Capacity at the site. A reassignment will not be granted if it increases the school’s enrollment beyond the Permanent FISH (Florida Inventory of School Houses) Capacity (Policy 5004.1).
  • Please be sure to fill out all sections of the application.
For more information on School Choice:
For more information on School Reassignments
Reprinted with permission of Sharon Aron Baron, with our thanks.

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