Parents upset over lottery selection process used at Old Donation School

Parents upset over lottery selection process used at Old Donation School

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — VIRGINIA BEACH, Va – Some Virginia Beach parents say they are frustrated after their children didn’t get into the Old Donation School for Gifted Students.

Some parents claimed the system was unfair and they would like to see more transparency.

“My daughter is a rising second-grader who scored extremely well and she got waitlisted,” said parent Erica Steckler. “The reason she got waitlisted is because the school district decided to do a lottery instead of giving the seats to the children who were the top scorers.”

The Virginia Beach school district says it received a high number of qualified applicants and had to turn away many students. They released this statement:

“Each year we face an issue in at least one grade level at ODS where the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of available seats. When this occurs, we use a process that is fair to all qualified candidate.”

“She’s in the 99th percentile. There is absolutely no reason for her not to have a spot at ODS,” Steckler said.

The school district’s statement goes on to say:

“Students who are not selected through the random-selected process still receive high-quality gifted services by a certified Gifted Resource Teacher in their home school.”

But many parents, like Leslie Brouillard, disagree.

“My daughter would go to Independence Middle which doesn’t have a reputation,” Brouillard said. “It’s just not the best environment so it would be a shock to her. I have heard that the advanced classes are not different than the regular general classes.”

She says she’s considering other options since her child didn’t get into ODS.

“Now we’re wondering if we home-school them another year and try to send them to ODS or send them to our local gifted cluster and readjust them,” Brouillard said.

Another parent, Aju, told News 3 he wants transparency.

“What makes her not take a seat at the table and make somebody take a seat at the table? After careful consideration, she was not chosen,” Aju said. “That’s not sure, because this is a game of luck. So why would you not say it transparently in the first place?”

The school district says it’s planning to provide an update to the school board in August about the process of how students are selected into ODS.

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