BERKELEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION 5116
February 4, 2004
Link to the Board Policy
NEW STUDENT ASSIGNMENT PLAN
The goal of the new elementary student assignment plan is to integrate schools by utilizing (i) parent education level, (ii) parent income level and (iii) race and ethnicity. To accomplish this goal, we created a composite diversity map that takes into consideration these three diversity factors. The parent education and parent income diversity factors were developed from data available from the 2000 US Census. The race and ethnicity factor was developed from multi-year data drawn from the K-5 student population in Berkeley Public Schools. Our student assignment lottery will no longer rely upon the actual personal attributes of students. Rather, each student will receive priority based on a composite of attributed diversity characteristics derived from the planning area in which the student lives. This new proposal will continue to utilize certain aspects of the 1995 student assignment plan: parental choice, sibling priority and attendance zones. In addition, the same methodology will be implemented in assigning students to all elementary schools; magnet schools will not use a separate student assignment system as in the past.
Choice will continue to be an integral part of the student assignment plan. The District will continue to encourage parents to learn about the elementary schools through forums like the kindergarten fair, the school kindergarten nights, school visitation hours and outreach to for profit and non-profit pre-schools. Parents will continue to submit a “parent preference form” where they will rank their school choices as “first choice,” “second choice” and “third choice.” The District will process the parent preference forms in accordance with the parents/guardians’ choices.
Berkeley Unified School District is committed to maintaining school sibling priority. Thus, the District will continue to honor such requests to the extent possible based on space availability.
The District will continue to be divided into three elementary school attendance zones. Students who reside in a given zone will continue to have priority to the schools in their zones. The District will periodically review the zone boundaries to assess whether because of housing patterns and population changes they continue to provide student diversity and appropriate seating capacity. The zones boundaries are:
The Northwest Zone consists of Jefferson, Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet and Thousand Oaks Arts and Technology Magnet. [Amended Winter 2010 to include Berkeley Arts Magnet]
The Central Zone consists of Berkeley Arts Magnet, Cragmont, Oxford and Washington Communication and Technology Magnet. [Amended Winter 2010 to include Malcolm X]
The Southeast Zone consists of Emerson, John Muir, LeConte Science Magnet and Malcolm X Arts and Academics Magnet.
COMPUTATION OF DIVERSITY
In order to devise the composite diversity map, we divided the City of Berkeley into 445 “planning areas” (See planning areas map in the Appendix). Since 1990, we have been using this scheme of geographic divisions, which is much smaller than census tracts but larger than city blocks; typically each planning area is between 4 – 8 city blocks. The three diversity composite factors are derived in the following manner:
I. Parent Income Level
The average household income data were taken directly from 2000 Census (See parent income by planning area in the Appendix). The data are then divided into the following categories:
1. $4000 – $26000
2. $26000 – $47000
3. $47000 – $68000
4. $68000 – $89000
5. $89000 – $111000
6. $111000 – $132000
7. $132000 – $153000
II. Parent Education Level
The data are educational averages computed from the 2000 Census. Each planning area educational average is then weighted using the following methodology:
1 – Finished grade 8 or less;
2 – Did not finish high school;
3 – Finished high school;
3.5 – Some college or associate degree;
4 – Bachelor’s degree;
5 – Masters or professional degree;
6 – Doctorate.
Each weighted educational average yields a decimal number between 1.0 and 6.0. In Berkeley, each planning area educational average varies
between 3.0 and 4.6 (See parent education by planning area in the Appendix). In order to compute the educational average in each planning area the following formula is applied:
“Education Average” =
Σover all the above categories (Population of category * Weight per category)
III. Race and Ethnicity: Percentage of Students of Color
For the purpose of including race and ethnicity as one of multiple diversity factors, we developed a single-numeral measure for race and ethnicity within each planning area (See percentage students of color by planning area in the Appendix). Thus, we represent racial and ethnic diversity as a single percentage, “percent students of color.” We computed this percentage from a multi-year pool of data drawn from the K-5 student population in Berkeley Public Schools in the following manner:
“Percent students of color” =
100 * Sum students of color population in planning area
Total population in planning area
IV. Composite Diversity Map
The three diversity factors detailed above are then combined to yield an integer “classification” category limited to values 1, 2 and 3 (See composite diversity map in the Appendix). Because each diversity factor varies in the manner in which it is measured, it must be linearly transformed from these disparate outcome spaces to a common outcome space (a decimal value between 1.0 and 3.9). The three diversity factors are then “mapped” using the following equation:
“Composite Diversity Average” =
.33 x (2. + (Parent Income Level – 34000)/(70000 – 34000) ) +
.33 x (2. + (Parent Education Level – 3.4)/(4.1 – 3.4)) +
.33 x (2. + (70 – Percent Students of Color/(67-30))
Each diversity category (1, 2 or 3) is derived from this “weighted average” by applying two thresholds or “break points” to the decimal value. The breakpoints were determined after multiple experiments and careful considerations. The breakpoints were chosen to divide the city’s K-5 population into three proportions.
Weighed Avg. 1.0 to 2.2 → Weighted Avg. 2.2 to 3.0 → Weighted Avg. 3.0 and Above →
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
The following is an example of computations for three planning areas. The locations of areas 34, 231 and 239 can be seen on the map that follows.
Students of Color Diversity Composite Outcome
Weighted Average Category
34 104753 4.5 10 3.66 3
231 36250 3.4 92 1.78 1
239 47574 4.2 29 2.82 2
Use of Diversity in the Student Assignment Lottery
Utilizing the three composite diversity categories, students will be assigned proportionately to elementary schools. As noted above, the actual personal attributes of students will no longer be relied upon in determining student assignments. Rather, the lottery will give priority based on the attributed diversity characteristics derived from the planning area in which the student lives. Based on his or her attributed diversity characteristics, each student will fall into one of three composite diversity categories. Priority will be given based on these composite diversity categories.
It will continue to be an important administrative function to monitor each school’s diversity composite throughout the student assignment process (See composite diversity outcome: parent education, parent income, and race and ethnicity; composite diversity outcome: parent income; composite diversity parent education; composite diversity outcome: race and ethnicity in the Appendix). After students have indicated their school choice and are placed by lottery, it may be necessary, in some instances, to resort to a “safety valve” by which we would manually assign a student to his or her alternate choice should there be an imbalance in any of the three factors that is outside the plus or minus 5-10% range of flexibility. We expect to use the “safety valve” method of readjustment very rarely, if at all. We believe that retaining some means of discretionary administrative intervention will ensure that student needs for special programs, staffing variations, school seating capacities or late enrollments are compatible with the student assignment plan.
In October of each year as the District prepares the State required CBEDS report, an accompanying document will be included which will inform the Board of each school’s diversity balance as an additional means of monitoring the implementation of the Assignment Plan.
Each year in preparation for kindergarten enrollment, sensitivity will need to be given to the analysis of developing trends or significant shifts in housing patterns or community development projects that may alter the makeup of a given planning area. The supporting software allows for modifications should these circumstances occur over time. Staff would then bring to the Board proposed revisions to the plan in order to maintain the policy goals.
1. Planning Areas: 1-445
2. Average Parent Education by Planning Area
3. Parent Income by Planning Area
4. Percentage Students of Color by Planning Area
5. Composite Diversity Map: Parent Education, Parent Income,
6. Composite Diversity Outcome: Parent Education, Parent Income, Race/Ethnicity
7. Composite Diversity Outcome: Parent Income
8. Composite Diversity Outcome: Parent Education
9. Composite Diversity Outcome: Race/Ethnicity