UPDATE: Issue in school selection process identified and resolved

Selection results are now online.

After working through the weekend, a team from the Metro Schools Student Assignment and IT departments have identified the error in the optional school selection process and have implemented a solution that is transparent, fair and maintains the integrity of the selection process.

Families who applied through the School Options Process need to know:

  • No one will be negatively affected by this error.
  • There is no need to re-run the lottery
  • The lottery worked as intended and was not compromised in any way.
  • The error occurred after the lottery was run in the “opt-out” process, which runs separately from the lottery.
  • 539 students were offered a seat at multiple schools, resulting in 147 students not being pulled from the waitlist. The resolution will mean good news for these families.
  • Selection results are back online.
  • The response deadline of Jan. 30 will remain in place as scheduled. 

The school selection results were temporarily taken offline over the weekend, removing the ability for families to see or accept school selections, after an error was identified late Friday, Jan. 8 – the day the results were released. The results gave some students a seat at the highest choice where they were selected but also, by mistake, other schools lower on their priority list as well. The error has been identified and has been corrected.

The district’s IT team determined that 539 students were offered a seat at multiple schools due to the error. An additional 147 students were not pulled from the waitlist as a result. If the opt-out process had worked correctly, these students would have been offered a seat at a school higher on their priority list when the results were released.

The lottery itself worked as intended. Every student was randomly assigned a place in line at the schools their family selected. The random selection process was not compromised in any way.

The opt-out process happens after the lottery and is separate from the lottery itself. When the opt-out process works correctly, students are offered only a seat at the highest priority school where they are selected in the lottery. The opt-out failure occurred due to a programming error. Schools new to the optional schools process this year did not have the opt-out code when they were run through the system. District officials took the system offline to fully analyze the issue and ensure that families didn’t inadvertently enroll in multiple schools for the same child. Only one family enrolled in multiple schools before the system was taken down, and district officials have reached out to that family directly.

There is no need to re-run the lottery. Students have their place in line, which has not changed and will not change when this issue is corrected. This error has impacted a small percentage of applicants and a fair solution can be provided without disrupting the entire system.

The solution was to run the opt-out process correctly and repost the results. Selection results are now back online. No one will be negatively affected. Consistent with our school options policy, every family will be given the option of accepting a seat at the highest priority school where they were selected in the lottery. As a result, more families will get to attend a school higher on their priority list rather than being on a waitlist, which is good news for these families.

The response deadline of Jan. 30 will remain in place as scheduled. Acceptance letters will be mailed out this week as scheduled.

We sincerely apologize for this disruption to our schools selection process and for the concern it has caused. We will send an update to every family who submitted an application explaining how this system error is being corrected. As previously stated, in addition to correcting this problem, the district will evaluate the technology and staff required to process a rapidly growing volume of applications in future years.

Parents who have questions or concerns are encouraged to view an online list of Frequently Asked Questions below or contact Customer Service, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at (615) 259-INFO(4636), in person at 2601 Bransford Ave, 37204, or e-mail CustomerService@mnps.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to cause some students to be selected for multiple schools?

The opt out process failed due to a programming error. Schools new to the optional schools process this year did not have the opt-out code when they were run through the system.

The lottery itself worked as intended. Every student was randomly assigned a place in line at the schools they selected. The random selection process was not compromised in any way.

The opt out process happens after the lottery runs. It is separate from the lottery itself. When the opt out process works correctly, students are offered a seat at the highest priority school where they are selected in the lottery and opted out of the schools listed lower on their priority list.

Who did this impact? (How many students?)

An analysis of the data discovered 539 students were offered a seat at multiple schools when they should have been offered a seat at only one school. An additional 147 students were not pulled from the waitlist as a result.

How did this impact student’s school choices?

Students were impacted by either being selected for more than one school or unnecessarily waitlisted as a result of more than one seat being reserved for a single student.

The solution is to run the opt out process correctly and repost the results. The results are back online now. No one will be negatively affected. Consistent with our school options policy, every family will be given the option of accepting a seat at the highest priority school where they were selected in the lottery. As a result, more families will get to attend a school higher on their priority list rather than being on a waitlist, which is good news for these families.

Will the deadline to accept school selections be extended?

The deadline to accept selected schools is Jan. 30 and will not change. Acceptance letters will be mailed out this week as scheduled.

Was the delay on the release of the preschool and pre-K results for Hull-Jackson and Stanford related to this issue?

No. The technical problem that caused the delay in the release of the preschool and pre-K results for Hull-Jackson and Stanford is a separate issue. Those selection results are now available online.

Will this change my child’s selection results?

No. Every student was randomly assigned a place in line at the schools they selected, which has not changed and will not change. Consistent with our school options policy, every family will be given the option of accepting a seat at the highest priority school where they were selected in the lottery. As a result, more families will get to attend a school higher on their priority list rather than being on a waitlist, which is good news for these families.

What should parents do now?

We will be sending a communication to every family who submitted an application (using the contact information submitted on their application), updating them on how the system error is being corrected. Now that the system is back online, parents are encouraged to view their results. They should see the option to accept a seat at the highest priority school where they were selected in the lottery. Families will be mailed an acceptance letter this week, as scheduled. Parents who have questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Customer Service, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at (615) 259-INFO(4636), in person at 2601 Bransford Ave, 37204, or e-mail CustomerService@mnps.org.

What is the district going to do to make things right?

The solution is to run the opt out process correctly and repost the results. Selection results are back online now. No one will be negatively affected. Consistent with our school options policy, every family will be given the option of accepting a seat at the highest priority school where they were selected in the lottery. As a result, more families will get to attend a school higher on their priority list rather than being on a waitlist, which is good news for these families.

How will parents be communicated with?

Parents will be called and e-mailed using the contact information provided on their child’s application. We will be sending a communication to every family who submitted an application, updating them on how the system error is being corrected.

What is the district going to do to prevent this from occurring in the future?

We will evaluate the technology and staff required to process a rapidly growing volume of applications in future years.

How can we trust the integrity of the system?

The lottery itself worked as intended. Every student was randomly assigned a place in line at the schools they selected. The random selection process was not compromised in any way.

The opt out process happens after the lottery runs. It is separate from the lottery itself. When the opt out process works correctly, students are offered a seat at the highest priority school where they are selected in the lottery and opted out of the schools listed lower on their priority list.

Will you consider re-running the lottery?

There is no need to re-run the lottery. Everybody has their place in line, which has not changed and will not change when this issue is corrected. This error has impacted a small percentage of applicants and a fair solution can be provided without disrupting the entire system.

Why did you have so many more applications this year?

For the first time, we offered open choice to all incoming ninth and tenth graders. They were able to not only apply for a school, but also to apply for an area of study within that school. This is largely why we saw our application numbers triple over last year. But in general, we see increased volume every year as more and more Nashville families look for school choices.

What will happen to the staff / vendors who run the lottery?

This issue underscores our need to evaluate the technology and staff required to process a rapidly growing volume of applications.

We sincerely regret that this programming error was made. It was identified shortly after the results were released. We took immediate action to notify the public, especially all families who had applied, and district staff worked over the weekend to develop a solution. The error is being fixed and no one is being negatively impacted by it.

Posted on January 10, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Estoy muy triste ya que ha mi hija y. A mi nos queda muy cerca la primera escuela que escogimos pero la dejaron en espera número 53 de la montesori
    mi pregunta es hay posibilidad que la acepten

    Like

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