Seattle School Board Approves Boundary Changes

Update, February 1, 2012: You can find the most current New Student Assignment Plan Transition Plan by clicking here.

As expected (though one week later due to the snowstorm), the Seattle School Board unanimously approved the proposal to shift the school boundaries here in Wallingford to address enrollment growth. The changes are for the 2012-13 school year, so if you have a child entering Kindergarten next fall, please read the information below. Kelly Bradford was kind enough to provide us with this report:

Last night the school board adopted a Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2012-2013.  The part specifically relating to Wallingford permanently redraws elementary school attendance area boundaries:

  • 45th becomes north boundary of JSIS
  • B.F. Day boundary extends east to include both sides of Bagley (Corliss stays in JSIS boundary)
  • Students living north of 45th and between Stone Way and 15th NE will be in the McDonald area.

For 2012-2013 only, entering kindergarten students in these areas that were formerly in the John Stanford area, and who have a sibling at John Stanford, will be guaranteed assignment to John Stanford if they request it as their first choice.  Also for 2012-2013 only, entering kindergarten students in the area newly annexed to B.F. Day will be guaranteed assignment to McDonald if they request it.
Parents of entering kindergarten students in these areas should make sure they submit their enrollment paperwork on time.  Go to seattleschools.org and look under Schools for the Enrollment page to find all the details, including an address-lookup tool to give you the information for your address – especially useful if you live between Corliss and Sunnyside. (Editor’s note: the address look-up tool will be available to use starting Tuesday, January 31: http://bit.ly/SPSaddresslookup.) Forms for choice requests will be available February 27 and must be submitted by March 9 to receive guaranteed assignment – after March 9, choice assignments will be on a space-available basis only.  The school board will be watching with interest to see how many families choose the language immersion programs at John Stanford and McDonald.  Pass the word to anybody you know with a student ready for kindergarten!

Now that plans are set for 2012-2013, it is a good time to let your school board members know what changes you would like to see for 2013-2014 and beyond.  On seattleschools.org you can look under District for the School Board page to find all their email addresses.

Click here to read the Capacity Management and Transition Plan for 2012-13.

  • coco

    I listened to parent comments on a televised episod eof the meeting. If I were a parent whose children are now goign to be switched to BF Day who had planned on JohnStanford I would be asking for several actions: 1.) revote 2.) redrawing of lines 3) exemptions 4.) special considerations for people who bought homes with intent to send kids to Stanford with need and desire for Spanish Immersion and 5.) a language immersion option which allows kids to be put in McDonald instead of BF Day.. or right to house kids with grandparents or nanny within Stanford boundaries. Or an immediate kindergarten Spanish curriculum for kids whose parents wanted the immersion program but had to be put in F Day.. they might be able to hire a part time teacher.. OR get thee to Cometa or Our Beginnings and ask them to help with additional sections, teachers etc..

    One of many problems is that if a child does not get into a language immersion program in kindergarten he/she likely will nto be allowed in for later grades and thus his/her education will be different ( not necessarily bad) than that of a child who has a language immersion program.

  • Thomas

    I get the feeling, which may be misplaced, that Coco has not followed this story the past three years.

    I applaud the Board for making a tough decision that hopefully permanently addresses the capacity issue at JSIS and also permanently addresses the uncertainties that parents throughout the JSIS boundary have been dealing with the past several years.

  • Kelly

    Students in the attendance area of an immersion school are admitted to kindergarten or first grade. For admission to grades 2-5, students must first pass a test in Spanish (or Japanese for McDonald and John Stanford, or Mandarin for Beacon Hill).

    School board members Sherry Carr and Kay Smith-Blum have said they would like to investigate opening a language immersion program at B.F. Day. They would like to hear from parents of preschoolers in the B.F. Day area, including much of Fremont as well as Wallingford.

  • Wiley

    Thomas, there is nothing permanent about this solution and it resolves no uncertainty beyond 2012. It is a one year plan. By the board’s own admission, with this new boundary, within two years, JSIS will be offering only two incoming K classes, while McDonald and BF Day will be at or over capacity. It is a short sighted plan devised to appease parents of current students. It it almost guaranteed that the boundary I’ll change again within the next two years. Sherry Carr is also guaranteed to hear a lot about thus in the next election.

  • impliedobserver

    No, most *new* parents have not been following SPS news for three years. We looked up the boundaries and heard “guaranteed assignment” and silly us thought that meant something. After attending the community meeting, I now understand having gone through a crash course in SPS. As one person at the meeting said eloquently Seattle families make decisions on a long term basis, SPS makes decisions on a short term basis. I didn’t buy a house that would fit my needs for the next year. I bought a house with a school that I thought I’d be sending my son to in four years.

    Having said all that, I think B.F. Day will be fine and the only thing keeping me from being excited about the prospect of sending my son to B.F. Day is the thought that the boundaries will change several times in the next 4 years. I mean think about it. Area 1 is on the periphery of B.F. Day. B.F. Day’s area is huge now. I don’t think this is the end.

  • a

    Coco,
    Is your child heading to school this fall? If so, you can take advantage of putting them in McDonald (also immersion) if you enroll on time. If not, it gives you some time to plan.

    Wiley, with all the siblings being guaranteed admittance, it is very unlikely they will be getting down to 2 kindergartens. Certainly not for next year. If they do manage to get down to two, that means JSIS is merely very over capacity, but not in crisis mode (such as needing to move the upper grades to Lincoln.) The current 3, 4 and 5th grades all have two homerooms each, so any year that there is more than two kindergartens in the next three, a new homeroom must be created. Next year it will be the music room. After that I suppose it would have to be the library or some other drastic measure. Nearly all schools are going to be over capacity until new schools are opened. No solution is going to look good- at this point the school board needs to go for the least bad, and in this case I think they’ve done it. I will be voting for Sherry again.

  • Parent of JSIS 1st grader

    So, I would appreciate some clarification. I have a 1st grader in the spanish program at JSIS. We live on 37th and Meridian (which, under the new plan would put us at BF Day). Is this new plan only for incoming kindergarteners? Or will it also affect students in higher grades? Is there some sort of gradfathered clause for students already at JSIS? I apologize for the confusion. It makes sense if you have an incoming K student, but I haven’t heard how it affects higher grades. Thanks for any info!

  • Curious

    Does anyone know if the “west of JSIS, now BFDay” kinder families who now opt in to McDonald will get busing to McDonald? Or is it, they can attend, but have to find their own transportation?

  • Allison

    @Parent – the way I understand this is once you are in JSIS you don’t loose your spot. No current students will have to move to another school because of these boundary changes. This new plan is mainly for incoming Kindergardeners.

  • Margaret

    Allison is correct, @Parent. Your child is grandfathered in and remains at JSIS until 5th grade.

  • more questions….

    Because there seems to be more pertinent info here than anywhere else I have found, I have another question. I also have a 1st grader at JSIS. We currently live across the street from the school, but were planning on moving into another home this summer near the corner of 39th and Burke (new boundary for BF Day). If we move as planned, will my daughter still be grandfathered into JSIS? Or because of the change of address will she be moved to BF Day? You say once your child is in JSIS, they stay….but with a move during the summer, do these same rules apply? We had planned on moving before the boundary change issues arose when this address was still in JSIS boundary, but now we are wondering if we should reconsider. Any thoughts?

  • Margaret

    @more questions…here’s what I believe may be true (but please, please, PLEASE double-check with SPS!) If you have a grandfathered assignment, you may still stay at your assigned school. This link will show you why I think that’s the case:

    http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Forms/Enrollment/Move%20Rules%20Chart.pdf?sessionid=47fd5fe24956046a7591403092ef9924

    If you can’t get to that link, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you the pdf. But again, I ask that you call the SPS Service Center: 206-252-0000

  • Wiley

    From the transition plan….

    Students who live in Area # 1 (changing from the John Stanford attendance area to the B.F. Day attendance area) who are already attending John Stanford will continue to be assigned to John Stanford as long as they remain at their same address. If they move to another address within the revised John Stanford attendance area, they may remain at John Stanford. If they move out of the revised John Stanford attendance area, they will be reassigned to their new attendance area school.10 See “Students Who Move” for more information.

    So if you move to 39th and Burke you are BF Day Bound, even if you are a current student.

  • Margaret

    Ah, thanks @wiley. If it’s in the transition plan then it’s more pertinent to Wallingford residents than the “Students Who Move” file, which is where I saw the information about being “Grandfathered”. Very confusing, to say the least.

  • Bente

    We are looking at moving to Seattle next year (2013) so I imagine there will be many more changes, but we are trying to get a feel for the neighborhoods and schools. The McDonald school area seemed appealing but I believe it’s currently closed and being remodeled. Kelly above said that for grades 2-5 in immersion (like McDonald is to become) the kids would need to be tested. So if my 3rd grader wasn’t able to get in to the immersion program can she still go to school there? Does anyone know if ALO or Spectrum will be offered? Thanks for any insight as we’re trying to make sense of this.

  • beyond 2012…

    So, if this is just a one year plan are they going to move the boundaries again next year? They’ve drawn them in quite a bit, and I’ve heard people saying that they will probably move the western boundary back out to at least Wallingford Ave next year to alleviate the overcrowding that will certainly transpire at BF Day and McDonald. They are calling this a ‘temporary short term capacity management issue’. Anybody have any insight into this? Is all of Wallingford pretty much just left up in the air for the 2013, 2014 school years??

  • more questions…..

    @Wiley….would it make any difference if we move and change our address before the end of this school year? That is a possibility for us if it would make a difference… And is there a link that I could read the complete transition plan? I’ve found recaps and summaries, but haven’t been able to find the entire text. Thank you so much for your information!

  • Margaret

    @Bente, I can tell you that McDonald Elementary will re-open its campus on Latona at 54th in the fall. That’s the plan, but I can’t answer the McDonald/testing question for you. I’m sure someone else will jump in. It takes a village to figure this stuff out! I’m thankful for others who are also in the know! I can also tell you that B.F. Day has Spectrum.

    @beyond 2012, yes, this is a temporary fix to alleviate this overcrowding issue. Who knows how long they’ll keep these boundaries (it was on Wallingford Avenue back in 2006).

  • Margaret
  • Nancy M

    It is obvious to me over the years that what is at the core of all these misunderstandings and changes and promises unkept that there needs to be a There There with the actual administration of the Seattle School District. Like an administrative partner or superintendent parallel or above the school superintendent. Much time elapses between board meetings, and my experience is that the community feedback at those monthly meetings in endured at the best, and the people giving feedback are often vilified.
    To whom or what does the district answer or is it like a little vatican unto itself? Besides voters.

  • coco

    to Nancy,
    you may enjoy attending one of the meetings or catching their rebroadcast on tv. I didn’t feel anyone was vilified from what I watched. I did hear concerns about how the Board and Superintnedent might function to gether.

  • Nancy M

    and so it goes, year after year after year. Plenty of people have been vilified over the years, perhaps just not at the recent meeting. Whomever coco is, please take a long historical look at the big picture of things Seattle public schools, from the Facilities department “challenges,” to unkept construction promises, ignoring neighborhood plans, to building small schools next to public parks so there is room for recess, to building schools that get overcrowded in their first or second year of operation (Hamilton) . . . The Superintendent needs a superintendent or a department head from what I have seen as superintendents come and go over the years . . .

  • http://www.floorpie05.blogspot.com Floor Pie

    My sympathies to the families whose planning was disrupted by this change, especially those who already have an older sibling enrolled. As a special ed parent in this school district, believe me when I say I know how that feels. (And I’m sure all those parents with students at Lowell @ Lincoln know how you feel too!) Things are tough and unfair all over.

    We are public school families and, as such, we are part of a much larger whole. Frustrating as it is, boundaries are going to continue to change. Even under the best of circumstances, the district expects the boundaries will slightly change every six years. It’s not perfect, but at least knowing that lets us come to it with realistic expectations. If you’re particularly attached to a certain public school for your child, your best bet is to move in across the street from the place.

    On the plus side, at least now you won’t have to cram your new kindergarteners into classrooms of 30+ kids at a school with every spare inch of space overflowing with students. That’s not good for anyone, no matter how much you love foreign language immersion.

    To those of you who will be reassigned to B.F. Day, I hope you will be happy with our school the way it is. We have a kick-ass principal, an advanced learning program, special ed inclusion, and a vibrant community of authentically diverse families. My second grader is learning chess and long division and reading classic children’s literature. He’s not fluent in a foreign language, but I believe he and his classmates are bright enough to learn one without necessarily being immersed in it.

  • Curious

    @Bente McDonald for 2012/13 school year will have immersion for K, 1st and 2nd graders.

    3rd-5th graders for 2012/13 school year are not in immersion. So if you lived in the boundary area, your child would be fine.

  • Bente

    Thank you @Maragaret & @ Curious. All of the information is helpful putting together this puzzle!

  • coco

    I did not see anyone vilified on the rebroadcast of the recent meeting.
    I worked for Seattle SD for 11 years and was a part of many meetings and committees in that time.

    I am well aware of what the budget cuts do, as well as change of leaders. I wept at the loss of John Stanford.

    I am still saddened at the elimination of Summit K-12. I am biased towards language Immersion, but it is not mandatory nor necessary for many.

    Its a complex district with MANY opinions and needs and with folks whose styles of communicating do not always mesh.

  • coco

    I see great value in keeping promises to parents and to keeping siblings in the same school.
    I have also been moved to a portable when an enrollment change occurred.

  • ta bien

    @ Floor pie, I totally agree with you, schools do not need to be language immersion to be great schools, and I have learned the hard way that langauge immersion schools are not a good fit for EVERYONE. I have three kids at JSIS and one of them is struggling academically and I cant help it but wonder how he would do in a traditional school where he would learn in his native language – English. My other two are just fine so pretty soon I have to make a decision and potentially look into requesting the school district to transfer him to BF day. I am glad to hear the school is so vibrant and diverse. My kids are Mexican-American and I always assumed bilingual education was just the best for all my kids.
    If you can take the time, can you tell me more about the special ed inclusion?

  • One Parent

    We suffered a lot 2 years ago with not guranteeing sibling issue afer they changed the boundary. Since SPS pushed for predicability for family with new assigntment plan, this keep changing boundary things makes me really mad since Wallingford families can never predict anything. What really were they thinking when they moved JSIS boundary to Stone way initially??
    Now, Walligford families are split because of new boundary changes (again). JSIS will have many siblings as well as a few neighborhood kids within 10 blocks around JSIS. What makes me mad is that I know there are a few people who don’t live even in Wallingford go to JSIS. If they own several properties, they can use any addresses even though they don’t live there. If they own businesses, they can use that address. I really believe that SPS needs to check the address every year so people cannot cheat. Knowing the overcrowding issue at JSIS, I cannot believe they haven’t already enforce the policy even more.

  • Kelly

    Students in the B.F. Day area who are assigned to McDonald will get transportation if they live more than one mile from McDonald. Probably most of the students in Area #1 are less than a mile from McDonald.

    Wiley is correct that first-grade students who move from the John Stanford area to Area #1 will be reassigned to B.F. Day. One of the reasons this is confusing is that the school district documents use the term “grandfathered” to refer to students who entered under the old choice system instead of the new neighborhood-school system. So a fifth-grade student who entered under the old system could move anywhere inside the city limits and still stay at the school. But a fifth-grade student who entered under the new system (because their family recently moved into the area) would not be able do that.

    The Spectrum program for the Hamilton Service Area (West Woodland, B.F. Day, McDonald, John Stanford, Laurelhurst) is at B.F. Day. West Woodland and Laurelhurst have ALO programs.

  • Anne

    Hi Margaret,

    Based on what the school is saying the boundary is between Corliss and Bagley and Corliss is still in the boundary. If you look more carefully at your map, you will see this. Please refer to:

    http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/Boundary%20Changes%20JSIS_McD_BFDay.pdf?sessionid=76da25a99da060e2d1187e0ca0a0649e

    This will give you the exact details. Your blog is probably stressing people out on Corliss that now think they are cut out!!

  • Laura

    Yes Anne is right – based on the meetings I have been at the blog should read that it is a line between Corliss and Bagley – not Sunnyside. Both sides of Corliss are in and Bagley is definitely out. I went to Sherry Carr’s last meeting and she said she was going to ask for more clarification about the houses that are between Corliss and Bagley since she wasn’t sure.

    Also, as for bussing, my understanding is the district does not solely use distance to determine bussing they also take in to account whether or not youth have to cross a main arterial. Under this years bussing plan (unless I am reading it incorrectly), students who lived north of 45th who were in the JSIS boundary were eligible for bussing even though it is only about 1/2 mile from the school. But, I would keep in mind that they revised the bus routes and transportation plan this year to save money and wouldn’t be surprised if they do so again if the current economic conditions hold.

  • http://www.floorpie05.blogspot.com Floor Pie

    @ ta bien – Yes, I’d be happy to talk more about special ed inclusion at B.F. Day. Special ed students are in general ed classrooms with extra support from a teacher’s aide and the special ed teacher. The old self-contained special ed classroom is now a “learning center,” which works kind of like a resource room. They use it for pull-outs, small group instruction, a space for the kids to chill out if they’re having a rough time in their regular classroom (somewhere safe to go that’s not the principal’s office).

    Most Seattle public schools mainstream their special ed students now, but it actually works at B.F. Day because they have the headcount and expertise to support it. There are two special ed teachers (one for K-2 and one for 3-5), a resource room teacher, and several teacher’s aides. The classroom teachers are free to focus on teaching while the special ed staff provides extra support to the students who need it.

  • Margaret

    @Laura and Anne, I will make the change, then, so that it reads that the line is between Corliss and Bagley and that families living on Corliss are still a part of the JSIS area.

  • a

    Beyond 2012,
    My understanding from the meeting I attended at JSIS where Sherry and Pegi presented the new plan, is that this is a one year plan to deal with capacity in emergency mode. Now they need to work on mid-range planning. Social justice came up at the meeting more than once, and Pegi and Sherry both seemed agree that the privilege factor is a problem. The idea of making JSIS an option school is very much on the table. But if they are also talking about making BF Day immersion then, I doubt that would happen. The simple answer is that there is no mid-range plan yet. Write to administrators and school board directors with your suggestions!

  • jd

    @ta bien — one of my kids is in a class at BF Day with special ed inclusion, and it seems to work incredibly well for the classroom as a whole. There are an additional 2-3 aides working in the classroom, and even though they focus primarily on the small subset of the kids who need support, I think their presence is a big help to -all- the students.

    I fully understand the frustration and anxiety that many must be feeling at the change in boundaries, but I can assure you that BF Day is a gem of a school.

  • http://www.floorpie05.blogspot.com Floor Pie

    And now that I’ve talked about our school’s awesome special ed program, let me just add that it would be absolutely destroyed if the district tries to make B.F. Day into another immersion school. Please be mindful of our community before you all start pushing for that.

  • dm

    The district’s international school expansion plan is in place. There are south end schools slated to get immersion/international status in the next years. Likely much sooner than any further expansion in the north end would happen. The K-12 track for immersion in the Hamilton cluster is now in place. They have to work on the other two tracks in the south end before anything more in the north. It’s probably not worth people’s time thinking about possible immersion at B.F.Day any time soon.

  • Laura

    @ more questions – you ask if moving this year will help. Based on my read of the rules they are saying that kids are grandfathered in based on their address under what is now the old assignment system. I think that if you moved this year it might be okay since the new assignment system doesn’t go in to effect until the 2012 school year. If you move I would make sure that you update your address with the school district and the school as soon as you do so and before the end of the school year so that is your registered address. But that is just my best guess since they never directly address this in the new assignment plan. If you want to be sure you could call the district but I suspect you are going to have a hard time finding anyone who is able to answer that question.

  • a

    Laura and more questions, the district is actually great about answering specific questions. Call enrollment services. My understanding is that any kid who moves between now and when school starts needs to enroll in the neighborhood school they belong to. So no, I don’t think it will be an advantage to move now.

  • Allison

    It really depends on if your assignment is a grandfathered assignment or not. My son started at JSIS in 2009 and he is grandfathered. That means no matter where we move in the city he can continue to attend JSIS if we want him to. If you have transportation through the school district it is possible that you loose your right to bus service if you move, but his spot at JSIS is secure through 5th grade.

  • Laura

    @a glad you have found them helpful. My statement regarding them being unlikely to be helpful was not a reflection on the desire of people there to be helpful but rather that this is a relatively new situation and I am not sure that all of the details regarding handling this change will have made it to enrollment services yet. When I called them with a question about the proposed new assignment plan a few weeks ago they did not have the details and were unable to answer how it would affect my assignment (they directed me to call the school board offices).

    Since with the new changes students are only grandfathered if they remain at their current address, I guess the main question is when do the new boundaries officially take effect? If it is right away then a is right – moving now would not be an advantage. If they don’t take effect till the next school year, then moving this school year might make a difference. I would be interested to know if anyone finds out.

  • a

    Allison, Laura is right that grandfathering refers to students getting to stay at their school if the boundaries change after they enroll. A student who doesn’t move is entitled to finish the highest grade at his or her current school. For *any* student who moves out of their current school’s boundaries, they have to enroll in their new school the next fall. If a student moves during the school year, he or she may stay at their old school until the end of the year. If you move in the summer you have to enroll in the new school. The only exception is for those who apply during open enrollment and successfully get a spot in a school that has room in a certain grade.

  • Meridian
  • jack

    Thanks for all of the great info regarding the change of attendance area, as it’s not easy wading through the SPS website. Isn’t the area east of I-5 to 15th ave plain hilarious? SPS provided me a great laugh, as I imagined the tribulations of living with K-5 age children whilst sharing a bath and kitchen with university students. Makes it seem like the long term plan will be an option school.

  • a

    Apologies to Allison: I just read the final product, and it looks like I had it wrong: they *are* grandfathering kids who were enrolled in 2009-2010. The policy states that kids who were at their current school in that year (or before) are allowed to move out of that school’s attendance area and still stay at their school. This contradicts what the enrollment services employee told me a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know if it is an explicit change in policy from before or if the person I talked to didn’t understand the policy.

  • Nancy M

    I suggest getting your specific family contract with the school district in writing and copy the school/s involved and the board of directors.

  • Margaret

    Thank you, @Meridian! I’ll post it as an update.

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