Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Boundary FAQs

Let us know if you don't see the answer to a question you have by contacting us at

Why can't all middle school cohorts stay together on their path to high school?

Since we are adding a fifth middle school, this will be impossible. Five middle schools will flow into four main high schools. The community-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee worked to recommend the best possible school boundary plan and school feeder pattern as we add a new middle school to accommodate growth, move sixth grade to middle school and lower class size in kindergarten through third grade. 

Schools of choice like Big Picture Schools, CHOICE Academy and Raisbeck Aviation High School are not affected by school boundary changes.

My child has an in-district transfer into a school outside my neighborhood. Will my student be able to stay in his current school or need to reapply for the transfer?

If your child currently has an in-district transfer, the transfer is approved through the highest grade for that school and you will not need to reapply for a transfer. Transfers will not be revoked based on boundary changes.

How will high school/middle school bus routes be combined with a new boundary configuration?

We will combine middle school and high school students from the same neighborhood on one bus when the middle and high schools are close to one another. If the high school and middle school are not in close proximity to one another, we will run separate buses for middle school and high school students. 

How will boundary changes affect students in dual language (DL) programs?

If the boundary change reassigns a dual language student to a school without a DL program at their grade level, that student will stay in their current school through the last grade level at that school. Transportation will be provided.

If the sibling of a DL student is not enrolled in DL but wants to remain in their current school, they must submit an in-district transfer. Siblings will receive transfer priority, but transfers will be granted only if space is available. Transportation is not provided for siblings.

If the boundary change reassigns a middle school DL student to a school without a DL program, that student will be placed in a school with a DL program. Transportation will be provided as long as they reside in their original elementary service area. (Transportation will not be provided if the student moves to another area of the district or out of the district.)

Will the proposed boundary plan affect the Challenge Program/Highly Capable pathways for students?

The proposed plan keeps the north end K-5 Challenge program at Shorewood Elementary and moves the south end K-5 Challenge program from Parkside Elementary to the new, larger elementary that will open at the Zenith site in Des Moines.

Moving challenge classrooms to the new school in Des Moines means fewer children in the current Parkside service area will have to be displaced to another school.

There is no plan to change the location of the highly capable programs at Sylvester and Chinook middle schools.

The proposed boundary changes will require my child to go to a different school in fall 2019. Can my child be grandfathered into their current school?

2019 will be a year of transition. Some students will change schools due to boundary changes.

To maintain the appropriate number of students in each school, we will NOT be able to grandfather students entering 1st through 11th grade in fall 2019. Students who will be seniors in fall 2019 will be grandfathered and continue at the school where they were enrolled for 11th grade in 2018-19.

Principals and staff at both schools will work to help students who are changing schools make a smooth transition.

In-district transfer requests will not be considered solely based on previous enrollment in a school. In-district transfers will be reviewed based on transfer criteria priorities and Policy 3132/Procedure 3132.

Some seventh-grade students will change to a new middle school in eighth grade as a result of boundary changes. How will they be supported to ensure a smooth transition?

District staff will work with staff, students and families to plan for a successful transition year. Principals and staff from each school will reach out to welcome and support students and make sure families are informed. Since clusters of seventh grade students (from the same elementary service areas) will all be changing at once, we anticipate many peer relationships will stay intact.

Is the new apartment development at the Des Moines Masonic Home accounted for in projections for the new elementary school?

Projections include all housing projects that are permitted for construction. We do not count projects until permits are final, because we do not know if a permit will be approved and for how many housing units. There are a number of potential developments throughout the district that do not yet have building permits.  

The Des Moines Masonic Home development was not counted in projections because it is too early for permit applications to be submitted; the sale of that property is still pending. When/if the sale is final, it could be up to two years for permits to be approved and for construction to begin.

What does “equity” mean in the guiding principle Ensure Equity?

As stated in the guiding principle, equity means the “equitable distribution of students and access to programs, in accordance with the HPS Equity Policy #0010.” In practical terms, this means avoiding boundaries that increase disparities between schools in terms of demographic makeup and special programs. For example, we do not want to draw boundaries that:

  • Create the need to move special education programs to another school, increasing busing time for students with special needs.
  • Upset the balance of special programs across schools, leaving some schools with significantly more special program classrooms than others.
  • Significantly increase racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity at one school while significantly decreasing it in another.

How is "cohort" defined as used in the guiding principles?

Committee members defined “cohort” as the students in an elementary school and “community” as neighborhoods or municipalities. A significant part of the discussion on “community” was about  the fact that students who attend school in one city but reside in another city may not be able to access city-sponsored after school programs.

This guiding principle resulted in a plan that keeps elementary classes together through middle and high school once the new boundaries are in effect and avoids splitting elementary schools between two middle schools.

Why aren't elementary schools centrally located within their boundaries?

We build schools on land that the district already owns. Real estate is increasingly expensive, and there is virtually no acreage available where we need to build schools.  Residential patterns fluctuate over decades, so sites that were central at one time may not be central now. As a result, some schools may be close to the edge of the boundaries they serve.

Will public bus routes accommodate the boundary revision?

Highline Public Schools provides transportation to all our students who do not live within walking distance of their neighborhood school. We do not expect students to rely on public transportation.

Who made the final decision on boundaries and what was the process?

The school board made the final decision on boundaries based on a recommendation from the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), following the public review period. CFAC presented a recommendation to the school board on June 6, 2018. CFAC is a committee of community members selected by lottery from our four high school service areas or appointed by local jurisdictions and organizations. This group is responsible for bond and boundary planning. The school board voted on the CFAC-recommended boundary plan on June 27, 2018.