Environmental Charter School admissions lottery raises, dashes hopes
J.C. Craven left the Carnegie Library in East Liberty with some hope that his young son Dartanyan has a shot at getting into kindergarten next year at Environmental Charter School.
His wife had a more realistic outlook after the Regent Square charter school's admissions lottery on Tuesday evening.
“He's 18th on the waiting list, so I know he does not have a chance,” said Lorraine Craven, 32, of Mt. Oliver.
Most of the families who filled about 70 chairs and the spaces between left with the same results. The privately run but publicly financed school received more than 500 applications. After awarding seats to siblings of current students, it had only 28 spots available for the lottery.
“It's a reminder of our need to grow,” said Kate Dattilo, the school's chief operating officer.
To meet demand and follow students through graduation, the school wants to expand its charter to grades 9-12 and add a second K-8 charter. It notified Pittsburgh Public Schools in the fall.
The district, which awarded the initial charter, said it is awaiting a full proposal. CEO Jon McCann said the school plans to submit it in May.
As a charter school, ECS gets tuition reimbursements from districts in which its students live.
Josh Reisner and Kaira Cooper of Squirrel Hill heard from neighbors about the school's progressive curriculum and focus on environmental literacy.
“We're looking for that extra edge for her,” Cooper said as she held their daughter, Katie Reisner, 4, before board member Rebecca King began reading names of those admitted, then the waiting list. “It's the focus on the environment and how to be a responsible global citizen.”
They left before Katie's name was called, knowing that very few students on the waiting list will get in.
The Cravens and many other parents said they applied to several charters and city magnet schools.
The state school code requires charter schools to randomly select students when the number of applicants exceeds available space, state Education Department spokesman Tim Eller said.
Pittsburgh Public Schools will do the same for its magnet schools on March 12. Spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said the numbers of applicants and available spots were not available.
Propel Schools, which operates nine charter schools around Allegheny County, has experienced increased demand even as it opens more schools, said Director of Operations Richard Snyder. For example, more than 130 students applied for 40 kindergarten spots at Propel Braddock Hills, according to results of its lottery in January. Sixty-five students are on a waiting list for kindergarten at Propel Northside.
“People are looking for alternatives,” Snyder said.
Nikole Sheaffer, academic director at ECS, said the school is planning public meetings to discuss creative designs for expanded schools if the city district approves.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kids know best: It’s Santa magic
- Steelers linebackers are getting to quarterback with more regularity
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Wear with confidence: Pump up your workout with stylish exercise gear
- NFL notebook: Browns’ Manziel out for finale; Hoyer ailing, too
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin won’t ask for taunting clarification from league
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Ronstadt, Eagles among 14 to enter Pop Music Hall
- Penguins notebook: Three more players tested for mumps
- Living with Children: Using the ‘ticket system’ for misbehavior
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings