Changes are coming in 2019. The time to talk about it and plan for it is now. In fall 2019, Highline Public Schools will open two new schools and sixth grade will move to middle school. With a new elementary school and a new middle school, the district needs to redraw some of its school boundaries. The community-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) is working on it this school year.
Draft boundaries are expected in spring 2018.
“We are knee-deep in district maps and data,” said CFAC Co-chair Rose Clark. “In early January we will receive the latest demographics and the extended forecast for enrollment from a demographer.”
It’s been more than a decade since Highline changed school boundaries (in 2004).
At the committee’s December 13 meeting, members considered guiding principles for recommending boundary revisions:
- Forecast for Future Needs: We will design school boundaries that allow for future growth and changes in population and land use, to the best of our ability with the information available to us now.
- Ensure Equity: We will plan boundaries that serve the good of the whole district, with equitable distribution of students and programs. We will engage diverse voices and take into account impacts on families with fewer resources.
- Plan for Safety: We will prioritize student safety by drawing boundaries so that students cross major arterials and high traffic areas as little as possible.
- Value Cohorts & Community Connections: As much as possible we will keep cohorts of students together and recognize community connections, municipal boundaries and possible impacts to after-school programming. We will retain high school service areas for the existing elementary schools, if possible, acknowledging that five middle schools will now feed into four high schools. (In education, a “cohort” refers to a group of classmates. For the purpose of boundary review, a cohort is a group of classmates at one grade level in one elementary school.)
The committee began looking at draft boundary scenarios at the December meeting.
“Change is never easy, and having neighborhood service areas change can be challenging to a community,” said CFAC Co-chair Aaron Garcia. “As representatives of each high school service area in our district, from each municipality and from various stakeholders, we have skin in the game and are looking carefully at impacts. We want to get this right.”
The boundary review process will focus on feeder areas for neighborhood schools and will not directly affect district schools of choice that require an application to attend, alternative schools or inclusive education programs.
The next CFAC meetings are Wednesdays, January 10 and 31, and February 28. The January 10 and February 28 meetings will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the district Central Office, 15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW, in Burien. The January 31 meeting is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Sylvester Middle School in the small gym at the far north end of the building (enter through doors from north parking lot). The public is welcome to observe.
A community meeting is planned for March 14, as well as a variety of other feedback options. More information will be coming. Make sure your email address and phone number are updated in school records in order to receive information. If you do not currently have students enrolled in Highline Public Schools, but you wish to receive information about school boundary changes and district news, please sign up for our eNewsletter service.