Feeder patterns to become regular

Under the new feeder pattern system, students will follow a certain track all the way from elementary to high school. Children will still have the option to stray from their predesignated paths if they so choose.
Under the new feeder pattern system, students will follow a certain track all the way from elementary to high school. Children will still have the option to stray from their predesignated paths if they so choose.

The new school selection process kicked off its first application period on January 17 and will end on February 24.

Each student will have their public school’s–from elementary to high school–assigned to them. If they are not happy with their choices, they have the option to apply to their chosen school.

For the purpose of this article, let’s create a kindergarten age student named Suzy. Suzy is excited to get into elementary school, and her parents want her to go to the best schools available in her area. With this new program, her parents can log on to assignment.wcpss.net and view their choices for each school. Her parents will be asked to rank five elementary, 5 middle and 5 high schools in order of preference. After a period of time, Suzy will be given her feeder pattern based on where she lives, where she wants to go, and the capacity of each school she chooses.

Now let’s say Suzy is in 8th grade. Her feeder pattern says she should go to Broughton High, but over time, Broughton has become a dump. Her parents still have the option to apply her to a different high school.

Superintendant Tata created this program to avoid the controversy revolving around school assignments. Most people remember the issues revolving around changing school districts– the 8th grader was assigned to a different high school than her older siblings, or to a high school 25 minutes away. A huge part of Tata’s job was solving that controversy, and this new program was his best attempt. He took a more appeasing route– if the parents don’t like the school, they can change it.

Tata created a committee by selecting key people from different departments in the central office. He freed them up completely from their prior responsibilities so they could focus on creating this program.

For the 2012-2013 school year, however, Leesville High is only concerned about the applicants for their freshman year, as the kindergartners won’t be attending Leesville High for a while.

Many factors play into a student’s selection, should they choose to apply to Leesville.

“Applications are carefully reviewed by the committee, and students are selected based on several factors,” said Scott Lyons, principal of Leesville Road High School.

First, the school considers its capacity. Leesville Road High has an approximate capacity of 2550 students total, and a freshman class capacity of about 700 students. Two middle schools officially feed into Leesville High– Leesville Middle and Hillburn Academy. However, Hillburn just turned into a middle school, so the next middle school graduating class from Hillburn will be in 2015. Approximately 350 8th graders from Leesville Middle come to Leesville High every year, which leaves 350 spots open for applicants this year.

“So far, we’ve had about 150 applicants. If that number does not exceed the available positions, then all the hopeful students will be accepted,” said Lyons.

The problem lies when the number of applicants is more than the available positions. In this case, the committee created a selection process based on several factors.

Students are selected first based on if they have siblings that attended the chosen school. Then, the committee considers if the student lives less than 1.5 miles from the school. The third characteristic considered is if the chosen school is the closest school to the students house.

The selection is not first come first serve, and it also does not consider extracurriculars or grades from middle school.

The staff at Leesville have taken several steps to promote the school and ensure the interest of future students.

“We have created a website where each department created highlights to show off. We also show all the different clubs and organizations available at Leesville,” added Lyons.

Leesville’s new digital media class, taught by Mr. Korreck, also created a promotional video to exhibit all the fine qualities Leesville has to offer. You can also view this video on the website.

Student services also offered several open houses to show prospective students and parents around. The next open house was Feb. 6.

So far, Leesville High is top three in applications along with Heritage and Millbrook.


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