Orcutt Academy High School is home to some unique and often disputed functions. Despite recent discussion of the validity of our GPA requirement, OAHS has proceeded with the lottery system for the time being.
An article written by Gina Kim in October of 2016 sparked debate over whether OAHS needs to revise our enrollment policies. The article provided insight into the “faults” of the lottery system used to admit students, but it did not clarify exactly how and why Orcutt Academy goes about the lottery system of admission. Thankfully, there is an official handbook that describes in depth the lottery method, attendance requirements, and the specific environment Orcutt Academy wishes to cultivate. This handbook is called the Charter and after some digging around with the office staff and other teachers, I discovered there is only one hard copy on campus (Thanks, Mr. Gelotti for the loan of the document). Within the document, there is a section that answers common questions about our enrollment policies.
First and foremost The Charter claims OAHS to be a “non-discriminatory” establishment in its policies and attendance requirements. This statement is further reinforced by clarifying how the lottery system works; the number of times a student’s name is entered depends on region. This is a questionable method, as it gives Orcutt students more chance of being admitted. However, it is not forbidden and works well for the time being. Furthermore, certain students are exempt from the lottery, such as siblings of current OAHS students.
On February 8, the OAHS annual lottery was held and “all open seats were filled”, according to the school’s webpage. Once the lottery takes place, other requirements must be met for a potential student to be kept on the list, and this is the specific clause that has sparked controversy. The District is still consulting with the legal aspects, so this year’s lottery winners will go through the same process of reviewing grades as previous students until otherwise noted. It may appear to be unfair to require a 2.0 GPA for admittance and re-enrollment; however, OAHS was only designed to hold 600 students.I personally believe Orcutt Academy should heed the concern of the community and adjust their admittance policies in future years to accommodate ALL students of all intellectual levels. Students who do not win the lottery are put on a wait list, and may eventually take the place of a student whose academic GPA is below a 2.0. This provides opportunities to be a part of Orcutt Academy to a wide variety of students.
In order to be a part of a progressive society, Orcutt Academy High School needs to adjust their policies. This means being inclusive of all students and not selecting students according to grades. Rather, we should update and then continue to rely on the lottery system to ensure fair opportunity.