By Marian Wilde , GreatSchools Staff
Seattle mom Christal Duyungan couldn't rely on going to her neighborhood school. "Our reference school was one of the schools they were considering closing down," she says. "We knew that that school would end up on the chopping block, so I thought, I'm just going to look elsewhere."
"A lot of the schools that I looked at were alternative schools, which don't have neighborhood boundaries. These schools are very popular and they're particularly harder to get into. We put John Hay Elementary as our number one school and we got in."
"Schools are slowly jumping on the bandwagon as to figuring out how to be safe for children who have anaphylactic reactions to different things," she explains. "I really wanted to put Salmon Bay School higher on the list, but I chose not to. I felt it wasn't the safest school for my son to be in, although it's a really good school. I wrote a little blurb at the bottom of the application explaining why we wanted to go to John Hay."
Duyungan said she simply stated that the school would be safer for her son than other schools. Many schools are not yet adequately prepared to handle an emergency anaphylactic reaction, which would require educating staff on food allergies, stocking emergency medicine (usually epinephrine) and training the staff on how to use the medicine.
"They say that it doesn't make a difference to write a note, but these are human beings making these decisions and John Hay is not an easy school to get into."
Duyungan also shares this cautionary tale of two families that went too far in trying to land a spot in their first-choice school:
"Last year there was a huge deal where two families lied about where they lived. These parents were part of my son's co-op. One said they lived at a residence of a relative when they didn't. Another actually rented out an apartment. A family that lived in that cluster [as groups of neighborhood schools are called in Seattle] knew. As soon as they heard that these other families got in and they didn't, they approached the school district to deal with it. They put their friendship on the line. These are families that carpool together. The woman who blew the whistle actually contacted a friend that she knew at the Seattle Times and an article was put in the paper. It just blew me away! I was like 'Oh my gosh, look at the lengths people will go to!' "
The Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child's School with Confidence by Bryan Hassel and Emily Ayscue Hassel,Armchair Press, Ross, California, 2004.
Education Commission for the States. School Choice State Laws: State Comparisons This site provides a detailed, state by state comparison of open enrollment laws.
The Web site for Parents for Public Schools, an organization that champions public education, offers in-depth information on how to help support our public schools.
InsideSchools.org provides useful guidance to parents seeking to learn more about New York City public schools.
If you have a tale from the trenches about getting into a school and you would like to share it with others, please fill in the box below and we will post some of your comments.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.