Penn Alexander’s new kindergarten class was notified of their acceptance decisions by the School District of Philadelphia earlier this week, according to a spokesperson for the district.
Of the 78 students registered for the lottery, 72 are now set to be enrolled at Penn Alexander, School District spokesperson Chanice Savage said in an email. An additional six were enrolled from the waitlist, while one student who registered late still remains on the waitlist.
Admission decisions to the Penn-funded public school were sent to parents on Tuesday afternoon.
The school has been the first choice school for many local parents and University faculty due to its strong academic reputation. While Penn has no role in the administration of the Penn Alexander school, the University contributes over $700,000 to the local elementary school each year.
Last year, the school district changed the registration process from a “first come, first serve” basis to a closed lottery system days before the registration process was set to begin.
Philadelphia School District spokesperson Fernando Gallard said that shift from the “first come, first serve” system was made to better serve the community, in part because “not everyone can sit outside ... in the cold and wait in line.”
The change in registration process brought backlash from neighborhood parents, who rallied outside of Houston Hall during a University Council meeting last February to protest the results of the closed lottery.
More recently, the school district’s policies raised eyebrows after the Philadelphia Daily News reported in January that over 30 of Penn Alexander’s 550 students live outside of the school’s catchment zone - the area which determines eligibility for attendance at the school.
Gallard said that while many protested the change to the lottery system last year, the conversation has turned away from the choice of the lottery system itself. Parents and administrators are now more focused on how best to implement the system, he said.
Gallard hopes that the school district’s conversations with the community have alleviated those concerns, and that “people will feel more confident in registering and matriculating students at Penn Alexander.”