"I applaud all parents who take an active role and interest in their
child's education. Education is one of the most important aspects of your
child's life. A good education in a great school can make all the
difference in your child's life and future.
I can relate to all six of the parent's stories about getting their
children into the right school. My son is 5 years old and just started
Kindergarten this year. We are extremely blessed to have gotten him into
the best Elementary School not only in the county we live in but two other
neighboring counties as well! The teachers, staff, and the parents at
this school are fabulous.
My story goes like this....I started researching all the schools in our
district on Great Schools, word of mouth, and in person. I did my
homework. I found which schools were the best academically and also which
schools were the best fit for my son as well. In choosing a school, I
felt that if I could give my son the best opportunity available to him, he
had a better chance at being a successful student. I found two schools I
was interested in. One was a new public charter school in our city and
the other was a public Elementary School in our district. Neither one was
my son's 'home school.'
I made many phone calls, sent many emails. and made a few visits to the
schools. I started doing this while my son was in Pre-School and I got
even more serious when he had reached Pre-K. I went and interviewed with
the school's Administrator. I had a huge list of questions. I took a
tour of the school and looked in while some classes were being taught.
I entered the lottery system for the public charter school and I made a
request for an Intra-district transfer to the other Elementary School. I
was able to make that request under the 'No Child Left Behind' program.
Our home Elementary school was not performing as well as I was comfortable
What happened was absolutely amazing. My son was accepted into the public
charter school via the lottery. (Very lucky) We were so ecstatic! We
could not be happier. So we thought. See, I mentioned we had also put a
request in for the Intra-District transfer, we never thought we would
actually get approved for the transfer because the school was always fully
impacted and we had missed the normal deadline by a few weeks because we
did not know there was a deadline. Therefore, we pretty much put that
school out of our minds and focused on the great news of the charter
Then a few weeks later, I decided to call the district and check in on the
status of our request. I had done this several times already previously.
However, they did not have any answers for me in the past. This time, I
was told that our son had been approved for the transfer to the best
Elementary School in three counties!! Now we had gotten him into both of
the schools of our choice!!
We came to the conclusion after much consideration that we would go with
the public Elementary School instead of the charter. I felt good knowing
that another child who did not get in to the charter was now going to be
able to because we gave up our son's spot.
We could not be any happier at our son's current school. It is a great
school with a wonderful Principal and spectacular teachers. I volunteer
in my son's classroom every week. I am a PTA member and I plan to get in
more involved in my son's education. It is just the beginning for this
great journey of ours. We are truly blessed and could not be more
thankful or happier.
My advice is NEVER settle to second when it comes to your child's
education. NEVER give up and do your homework. Be nice and be actively
involved. Good luck!"
"That's great for the Zofreas, who apparently know how to work the system.
This just sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen on the part of the 200
other people who remained on the waiting list. I cannot believe that this
"Right or wrong, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good to be reminded that some parents are badgering
the schools to get their kids in. You might be only a few spots away and
end up missing out, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make personal contact. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t
think there are many real tips here. In 5th grade my son jumped districts.
With CA school choice I could have moved him to a different in district
school when learning issues surfaced, but I wanted a different type of
learning. A neighboring district had such a program, and we were able to
fill a spot vacated mid-year, avoiding the lottery! Mid-year isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as
favorable, but we were in, and his transition was remarkably smooth. I also
had a friend apply to one of the schools describe as Ã¢â‚¬Å“never accepting
transfers.Ã¢â‚¬Â� Turns out it scared so many people from trying to get, she got
in to the highest performing school in the district! IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also
discovered that there are a lot of alternative programs out there, so the
advice to do research is spot on.!
Lastly in CA we have had reduced class size through 3rd grade. That
gives persistent people who missed the kinder cutoff a chance to get in
again in 4th grade. I was hoping for more advice along these lines from
"This story is so wrong in so many ways and never should have been
published in this educational 'newsletter'. This is about a woman who
knew the 'inside track' about schools and their politics and took
advantage. How dare she 'make sure they knew she would volunteer if they
accepted her son'. What about teh other 200 kids who probably had 2
working parents. This is school politics at its best and NEVER should
have been published. SHAME........."
"Not sure how school choice works but it may not necessary work on first
come, first served, in which case I believe choosing the best suited
student for the school from that waiting list is not a big deal. If I
were a school administrator I would want smart, cooperative, non-trouble
makiing students that would make my school a desireable one. Which would
bring more revenue to my school. Wish we had school choice here too.
Some may call this unfair but that's why we have such a strugling school
system. Competition, is not bad... it makes the best rise to the top."
"I am also one of the group on a waiting list.....thinking the system
works..... Very sad....it doesn't"
"public schools for everybody, not for favor.
Principal and other administrator have to stand equally to every child and
"Leslie, good for you in writing on this topic. This is definitely the new
trend; getting parents involved in their child's learning and applying
school choice. It is not 'dodging the system' but rather following new
policy. This article encourages other parents to be persistent, proactive,
engaged in their child's education, yet polite. The squeaky wheel gets the
grease in almost every situation, even though you are 'standing patiently
in line' - probably looking the other way."
"I am sorry, but that is just an awful story..for the 200 parents with
children on the waiting list. Some of those children may also have been
straight A students, or had great attendance. Perhaps some of them would
have become those perfect students with the same chance this boy had. I
think what the principal did for this mother was shameful."
"I suppose the mother has a right to fight for her son, even in a most
unethical manner; however the principal, ought to be especially ashamed
of caving in to her pressure. "
"Hold on you bloggers who seem to take verbatim everything you read. The
way Mrs. Zofrea described how it happened isn't exactly my recollection
and since the term unethical is attributed to my name I feel a need to
respond. Not to defend my name to you but to anyone that I might know and
respect who may read your opinion of my charactor. Mrs. Zofrea, a
wonderful person and parent, desperate to find the right school for her
son, did approach me about him attending our school around Oct of Zack's
4th grade school year. Although our school does have a very long list of
people trying to get in now, we did not have a list of people waiting to
get in 7 years ago. My hesitation of letting him in centered around him
leaving his current school after the school year started and being able to
adjust to our curriculum which is somewhat different than the school he
was currently in. For example we teach Spanish as a second language to all
of our students. Zach was accepted because we did!
have room and I felt confident that after meeting both him and his
mother he would make the transition successfully. Zack did! He was an
awesome addition to our student body and I'm glad to see he is doing so
well. Brenda thanks for the kind words and support you have always given
our school. "
"Well I am now waiting a third year for our choice magnet school (we can
only pick one) while footing the bill for private school because our
neighborhood public school in L.A. is not so great- but not so bad that we
can automatically get on a wait list at a better school.
So goody for the 1% that got the school they wanted with out having to pay
for it. We still need better schools and more options."
"I'm Happy she got her son in a good school! i've been fighting with New
York board of Ed for two years already!!!! isn't that sweet???"
"i wouldn't judge what anyone is willing to do get their child in a good
school. remember the movie 'forrest gump?
despite living in what of the best school counties in the country I am
ironically in one of the worst school districts in the state. it has an
amazingly low student teacher ratio, and tons of funding but the student
body makeup is really bad. only way to fix it would be to ship kids out
and ship kids in. that will never happen... i thought i would have an easy
time to picking my school because of child left behind. failed 7 of the
last 8 years including last spring of 2010. but... the one year it passed
was 2009. and it has to fail consecutive years to have automatic transfer
approval. so i had to either send my kid to private school, work at a
county school i want to send my kids too, hold my kid back a year, or lie.
my wife and i chose to hold him back and reapply to all the lottery
schools again and hope our district school fails child left behind again.
i don't judge anyone, because i might do something scrupulous come next
year if i have too."
"Wow. So this mother bumped her child past all the others who did not try
to cheat the system and she is proud of it?
Great example to set for your child--can we say 'entitled?'"
"Wow, great for her, but unfair to, at the very least, one child whose
parents had followed the rules and hoped in vain that the system would
work for them, but saw their child denied a spot. "
"Very sad to feature a story on someone who feels so entitled that she took
these measures to force her child into a school ahead of others waiting. A
terrible example for both the mother and the school to set for the
"Good for her. But what about the other 200 kids on the waiting list, who
did not cheat? What about the not so brilliant kid, who needed that school
more than her straight-A son, and will not get it? Aren't public schools
supposed to serve the public, and not the other way around? Wasn't Flynn
the principal very un-ethical, if not downright fraudulent?"
"I don't consider this a 'legitimate' way to get in. I'm a mom who has to
'compete' against you - I guess I'll schedule lots of meetings w/
administrators in the future to try to push my personal agenda through.
Rather than following Florida's lottery system for public schools, you
tried to push your personal influence. I consider this unethical in a
public school system. You actually dodged the system. Perhaps the next
school you want your kid in you should just write the principal a big
check. Leslie Crawford at GreatSchools - you shouldn't be giving this
"This is a great story and its why every State in the country needs School
Choice. We cannot let our politicians fool us into thinking its impossible
to have in States like Illinois. Its is possible and we need to DEMAND
SCHOOL CHOICE accross the board. Schools want more money..well not without
competition. The money belongs to the child NOT to the
Administrators.Until we agree we will never have school reform that
improve education for the kids.Remove the politics and start doing the
right thing for children."