Programming Error Shuts Down Nashville School Lottery Process


A programming error during the Metro Nashville Public Schools school lottery caused frustration and confusion for parents hoping to determine where their children would attend school. Although a programming error disrupted attempts to access the lottery online, Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register, said there were no errors with the lottery itself. Register apologized for the disruption, but added that the glitch was now fixed, writes Joey Garrison of The Tennessean.

“The random selection of students was not compromised in any way,” Register said. “Therefore, there is no need to re-run the lottery. Every student was given their appropriate place in line as a result of the lottery, and that place has not changed since we took the results down.

“No one will be negatively affected by this error or the resolution.”

The website was taken down on Saturday, resulting in parents not being able to see where their children had been admitted or wait-listed. In fact, 539 had been offered places in multiple schools, which caused 147 students to be erroneously put on wait-lists. Register said the resolution of the error is good news for the families who were wait-listed. Now that the website is back online, the January 30th deadline for students to select a school remains the same.

More students than ever, 13,378, took the opportunity to make a choice of some kind this year, which included applying for a charter or magnet school outside their geographic zone. Students were allowed to make up to seven school choices.

“Only one family — one student — enrolled in multiple schools before we took the website down on Saturday,” Metro’s Chief Operating Office Fred Carr said. “We have contacted that family and have gotten their No. 1 choice. It has been entered and that has been taken care of.”

The process was further complicated this year by the move to allow rising high school students to choose which of the district’s comprehensive high school they would prefer based on the offerings of each school. For the first time, 9th and 10th-grade students were offered “open choice”and 8th graders now have a choice on which high school they will attend. This produced a dramatic increase in school applications for the coming year. Officials say they will make an evaluation of the technology and staff needed to handle the massive number of applications for the future.

Nashville boasts three schools that received gold, silver or bronze medals in the US News Best High Schools rankings. Hume-Fogg Academic High School is ranked #1 in the state and is ranked #54 nationally by US News winning it gold medal status. A magnet school, it offers a curriculum heavy in honors and Advanced Placement courses. All students complete pre-calculus and physics, and are encouraged to add foreign languages and arts courses to their academic schedule. Number two in Nashville’s best school in the state lineup is Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet at Pearl High School which received a silver medal ranking. Participation in Advanced Placement course work is 93%, and the College Readiness Index at the school is 81.6%. The third best school in Tennessee is another Nashville high school, MNPS Middle College at Nashville State Community. It was awarded bronze medal status and has 33% male students, 67% female, and 57% minority enrollment.

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