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

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

Boundary FAQs

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Decision Process (2017-18)

Was equity considered in drawing the new school boundaries?

Ensuring Equity was one of the four guiding principles adopted by the community-led committee that recommended the new boundaries. In addition to looking at enrollment projections, school capacities and many other factors, they considered possible impacts on demographics among schools. Committee members also wanted to avoid increases in busing students across the district.

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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.

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.

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

Projections included all housing projects that were 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.

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.

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.

Impacts & Exceptions (Implemented Fall 2019)

Which elementary schools changed feeder pattern?

  • Students living in the Southern Heights, Hilltop, Beverly Park, Seahurst and Cedarhurst elementary school service areas attend Glacier Middle School.
  • High school students living in the Hilltop Elementary School service area attend Highline High School.
  • North Hill and Marvista elementary schools feed into Sylvester Middle School.

Now that boundary line and feeder pattern changes went into effect September 2019, it is important to know that each elementary service area then stays together through their new middle school and high school feeder pattern for neighborhood schools.

Since we have five main middle schools feeding into four main high schools, Cascade, Glacier and Sylvester each split into two different high schools. But only the high school students living in Hilltop Elementary School feed into a different high school than before the boundary changes. See a chart of the Fall 2019 feeder patterns.

The proposed boundary changes required my child to go to a different school in fall 2019. Why couldn't my child be grandfathered into their current school?

2019 is a year of transition. Some students changed schools due to boundary changes.

To maintain the appropriate number of students in each school, we were NOT able to grandfather students entering 1st through 9th grade in fall 2019. Students who will be seniors in fall 2019 were grandfathered and continue at the school where they were enrolled for 11th grade in 2018-19. Students who will be in 10th and 11th grades in fall 2019 and live in a boundary change area, could fill out an opt-in form by March 21, 2019 to stay at their current high school.

Principals and staff at both schools will 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.

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 the requested school. In-district transfers were not revoked based on boundary changes. When your child finishes the highest grade of their in-district transfer school, they will be enrolled in their neighborhood school and follow the feeder pattern based on where they live. 

Did the boundary changes affect the Challenge Program/Highly Capable pathways for students?

The Fall 2019 Boundary Change plan kept the north end K-5 Challenge program at Shorewood Elementary and moved the south end K-5 Challenge program from Parkside Elementary to the new, larger Des Moines Elementary School that opened Fall 2019.

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

The highly capable programs for middle school students will continue to be located at Sylvester and Chinook middle schools. See the middle school service areas for the highly capable program.

Which middle schools offer dual language in Fall 2019?

  • Dual language will continue to be offered in grades 6-8 at Cascade Middle School.  In Fall 2019, it will begin in grades 6-7 at the new Glacier Middle School in SeaTac, and in grade 6 at Chinook Middle School.
  • Eighth-grade dual language students (in fall 2019) from Hilltop, Beverly Park and Southern Heights will complete the dual language program at Cascade Middle School.
  • Glacier and Chinook will offer dual language in grades 6-8 by 2020-21.

How did fall 2019 boundary changes affect students in dual language (DL) programs?

If the boundary change would have reassigned a dual language (DL) student to a school without a DL program at their grade level, that student could stay in their current school through the last grade level at that school. Transportation is provided.

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

If the boundary change reassigned a middle school student in DL to a school without a DL program, that student was placed in a school with a DL program. Transportation is 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.)

See next question for a list of specific exceptions for students in dual language.

What were the exceptions for students in dual language who live in fall 2019 boundary change areas?

Here are a list of exceptions that took effect fall 2019 involving students enrolled in dual language programs. "Current" refers to the grade students were in spring 2019:

  1. Mount View/Hazel Valley--Current students in dual language at Mount View Elementary School who will be in grades 2-5 and live in the new Hazel Valley service area will continue to attend Mount View. 
  2. Hazel Valley/Shorewood--Students in dual language at Hazel Valley Elementary School who will be entering grade 1 and live in the new Shorewood service area will continue to attend Hazel Valley. 
  3. Mount View/White Center Heights--Current students in dual language at Mount View Elementary School who will be in grades 1-5 and live in the new White Center Heights service area will continue to attend Mount View if space is not available in the dual language program at White Center.
  4. Madrona/Midway--Current students in dual language at Madrona Elementary School who will be in grades 2-5 and live in the new Midway service area will continue to attend Madrona.
  5. Hazel Valley/Seahurst--Current students in dual language at Hazel Valley who will be in grade 1 and live in the new Seahurst service area will continue to attend Hazel Valley.
  6. Cascade/Glacier--Current students in dual language at Cascade Middle School who will be in grade 8 and live in the new Glacier service area will continue to attend Cascade in 2019-20. The dual language program at Glacier will include grade 8 in 2020-21.
  7. Highline High School/Evergreen--Because Highline High School does not have dual language, students in dual language will continue at Evergreen High School in fall 2019.

Some seventh-grade students changed 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 groups students (from the same elementary service areas) will all be changing at once, we anticipate many peer relationships will stay intact.