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Beaverton school options lottery (sort of) shouts bingo!

Students' names drawn from hopper to fill coveted program slots
by: Ray Pitz, A lottery for students hoping to get into options program was held Wednesday. Parents and administrators helped. They included, from left, Diana Callaway, an Arts and Communication Magnet Academy parent; Jeanne Slater, also an ACMA parent; and Lynette Haines, a district employee.

A Beaverton School District administrative conference room became a bingo hall - sort of - Feb. 14, complete with callers pulling out slips of paper from a spinning wire basket.

Those weren't bingo numbers on the slips, they were names of students randomly selected to attend district options schools.

The lottery began at 8:15 a.m. with Arts and Communication Magnet Academy first up. There were names of 413 students hoping to land one of 110 magnet academy openings.

Although Wednesday's drawing was open to the public, only a handful of spectators showed up for the ACMA lottery.

By 8:45 a.m., 129 names had been selected. To make sure everything went as planned, district employees and parent volunteers spun the basket, picked a name, read it aloud, searched for it on an overhead screen, entered it into a computer and then also wrote it down by hand.

'I think it's going very smoothly,' said Maureen Wheeler, district spokeswoman, after more than half the ACMA names were read. 'It's been a very well planned and transparent process.'

Equal chances

District officials said they went to great lengths to make sure the process was fair. In the past, options lotteries were held at individual schools.

Several months ago, some parents told the School Board that the lottery process could shut out potentially qualified students by holding lotteries that would give any interested student the chance to attend that school.

However, Superintendent Jerry Colonna has said he wants to make sure everyone has a chance to attend the program of his or her choice.

Throughout the rest of the day Wednesday, the lottery continued for those options schools where there is more enrollment demand than seats available.

Names of students selecting the school as an alternate or second choice were also drawn.

Options schools - mostly aimed at middle and high school students - offer alternatives to traditional district programs. Students whose names were drawn (as well as those who will be placed on wait lists) will be notified by letters mailed Friday. An accompanying postcard stating whether students will attend the school, must be returned to the district by 4 p.m. March 2.

If a student decides not to attend the school, the next student on the waiting list is offered the slot.

Open spaces

In addition to the art magnet academy, options schools participating in the lottery and available openings included:

n International School of Beaverton: 361 applicants for 294 openings. (Sixth grade has 240 applicants for 130 openings).

  • Rachel Carson School of Environmental Science: 125 applicants for 75 openings.
  • Summa North at Meadow Park: 98 applicants for 74 openings.
  • School of Science and Technology: 84 applicants for 102 openings. Ninth grade has 82 applicants for 82 openings with 22 students listing the school as their alternate choice.
  • Terra Nova: 44 applicants for 48 openings. Ninth grade has 29 applicants for 20 openings.
  • Medical Magnet: 101 applicants for 101 openings with 20 students listing the school as their alternate choice.
  • Aloha-Huber K-8 School: 115 applicants for 64 openings.