Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Fisher Center selects lottery winners

The clock is ticking for families whose names were called in the first-ever lottery drawing at the Fisher Early Learning Center on Feb. 15. They have until Feb. 25 to decide whether they want to enroll their children.

The center recently eliminated a waitlist that had grown to 594 names in favor of annual drawings for available classroom positions. Families who were on the previous waitlist were entered in the drawing based on the age of their children — infants, toddlers and pre-school.

In the future, families wishing to enroll will be able to join the lottery each January with drawings to be held in mid February. There is a $50 registration fee to be part of the lottery.

“We’re very pleased with how smoothly the transition has occurred,” says Marcee Martin, Fisher’s executive director. “I’m aware that not everyone thought this was the best solution, but having a waitlist of that size wasn’t fair to families who often waited years to join Fisher.”

Martin went on to say that the new system is designed to let parents know very quickly if their child will get into the center, which will enable families to look at alternatives for the coming year.

Families were contacted after the drawing and given 10 days to accept the available position. If they decline, another name will be drawn until all classrooms are filled.

DU statistics Professor and Chair Anthony Hayter supervised the drawing. Hayter chose the names from fishbowls that were labeled based on age and whether the family is affiliated with the University. About 60 percent of the children accepted into Fisher have parents who work at DU. Remaining slots are reserved for families in Denver and surrounding communities.

The Fisher Center — open since 2000 — specializes in early childhood education and accepts children ranging in age from six weeks to 5 years.

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