Controlled Choice Documents

This is my home for documents I have collected concerning Unit 4’s Controlled Choice program. I will also try to include “trackbacks” as well.

Dr. Alves’ response to changes I requested in June, 2010: This is actually a good read, if for nothing else that Dr. Alves elaborates a little on why things the way they are. It also highlights the breakdown in communication between the community and the school district (see related blog posts 1,2).

Another explanation of the Lottery process: I received this from Alison – not exactly sure where she got it from or why. But I appreciate the details that are included, as it helps to demystify the process.


6 Responses to “Controlled Choice Documents”

  1. CJB Says:

    I had a horrible experience at FIC today. Do you know who I can speak with re: the way I was treated at FIC? I am an educated (Master’s Degree), caring, and responsible parent. I was treated like an idiot because I chose an “over chosen” school for my child. I pay $12,000 in taxes each year and I have no Proximity A. My Proximity B is Kenwood; I do not want a balanced calendar. It is frustrating to contribute so much tax money to Unit 4 and to (a) have virtually no choice in where my child goes to school, and (b) be treated like an idiot while registering my child.
    My question for you is: who can I inform of this situation? How can we get the head honcho at FIC to be more sympathetic to parents of incoming students? SOC is such a difficult process, and the FIC woman (Deb?) exacerbated my stress. She told me that we have no chance of getting into the school I chose. When I reminded her that we would be placed on a wait list, she said “yes, but you’ll be at the bottom of the list because you don’t have proximity”. She didn’t say it in a friendly way! Seriously, is this the face of unit 4 for incoming families?! Something needs to change.
    My husband and I both graduated from unit 4. We attended Unit 4 K-12th, and we both had wonderful experiences. We attended before SOC was established.
    Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be taking our children AND our tax dollars to another school system.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:


    I feel your pain. First, I urge you to call the “head honcho” directly. Her name is Doretha Simmons, and her number is 351-3701 (you will get the secretary – ask to talk to Mrs. Doretha Simmons). Or you can email her at If that does not go according to your satisfaction, you can escalate up to the Mellon Center about your experience; I recommend talking to either Trevor Nadrozny (351-3752 / or Superintendent Judy Wiegand (351-3838 / I do urge you to call Doretha first, though, because she needs to know how about her office staff and I know she would want to field this call personally.

    While I cannot help you get the school you want, there is a small possibility I can help offer a picture of what is going on behind-the-scenes if you are interested. Are you dead set on attending one school, or do you have a list of schools that you would like to try for? There are several schools that are typically “over chosen”. It sucks, but that’s what we have. I can show you which schools were overchosen the last few years and we can talk about why we think this happened, but I have a gut feeling that will not help you feel better. *grin*

    Please let me know what you hear from Doretha and/or folks at the Mellon Center when you get a chance. Again, I am sorry you are frustrated. I am merely a parent myself and do not represent the School District, but I have heard from a number of parents in your position and I feel bad about it.

  3. CJB Says:

    Thank you for your response. I will talk to Doretha re: the situation. I want to be clear that it was NOT Doretha who helped me register my incoming kindergartener. I was mistaken in reporting that I spoke with the “head honcho”; I forgot that Doretha is the Supervisor.

    I appreciate your offer to help me see what is going on behind-the-scenes. I have viewed nearly all of your charts related to Controlled Choice. I have studied all the trends and outcomes. There are several schools that I think would be a good fit for my child, but all of these schools happen to fall into the “over chosen” category.

    All I can do is relax and wait until our letter arrives in the mail next month. I have a feeling that we will be one of the few families who are unassigned! I’m ok with that … I have already registered my daughter at a local private school with plans to move out of the district. Unfortunate.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:


    Sounds like you have done your homework. 🙂 Just because I am the curious type, may I inquire about your avoidance of “un overchosen schools”? I promise I will not judge you. *grin*

    The reason I ask is because I find it interesting what factors influence parents. I have suggested to the FIC and to the Unit 4 Administration that perhaps they could provide a web 2.0 application that allowed incoming parent’s to filter out schools with certain characteristics (kinda like choosing book styles, target audience, genre, etc, on the left-hand side of For instance, you could uncheck a box for “balanced calendar”.

    Ultimately, you are the parent and you know what is best for your child.

  5. CJB Says:

    I chose schools based on two items: (1) test scores (school report card) and (2) the “feeling” my husband, daughter, and I got when touring each school. We visited several schools and we all came to the conclusion that our #1 choice was the best fit for our family based on the “feeling” we got when talking to teachers and viewing the actual facility. I have a back-up plan in place, so I felt like we should go for the school that we actually like the most (i.e., principle, teachers, facility … and of course, test scores!). I have my daughter registered at a private school (as previously mentioned) and we have land in a nearby school district. I have two back-up options should we not get our “school of choice”. I refuse to choose a school simply because my daughter has a chance of getting accepted. I made my choice based on the schools that seemed a good fit for my daughter. I understand that this would NOT be a smart move if I had no back-up plan. I would tell any parent that.

    p.s., I didn’t choose Barkstall! I am smart enough to know that it would be impossible to get accepted there! Plus, I’m not a fan of the balanced calendar.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    CJB, thanks for spelling that out – your comment really highlights the big gaping holes in the fallacy of “choice”. I think (and I could be wrong) that if Unit 4 removed “choice” and called it something completely different (maybe “Schools of Unit 4 will tell you where you are going in order to meet some form of socio-economic balancing with some minor input of your preference”, but that’s too long to be catchy), the frustration level would drop a bit. It comes down to expectations and obviously the FIC needs to work on how those expectations are communicated.

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