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    Jan. 5, 2018

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Will you allow students to stay at their current high school, or will you require that they change schools?

    Staff will make a recommendation to the School Board that high school students entering grades 11 or 12 in 2019 be grandfathered at their current high schools. This would mean that 2019's juniors and seniors could stay at their current schools until graduation.

    What is the timing of high school boundary changes?

    Lincoln High School is scheduled to open in fall 2019, which will increase high school capacity by up to 1,600 students. An addition at Ingraham High School is also scheduled to open in 2019, adding space for additional students at that school.

    Why is it necessary to increase high school capacity?

    Enrollment in Seattle Public Schools has grown by 8,000 students in the past 10 years. New capacity has been added at the elementary and middle school levels, and now we need to add more space for high school students.

    Why are the high school boundaries changing?

    Lincoln will be opening as a comprehensive attendance area high school to help reduce overcrowding at the high school level, which means students will be assigned to Lincoln based on where they live. There is not currently an attendance area for Lincoln, therefore one will be established by re-assigning areas from other high schools.

    Lincoln is expected to open with only grades 9 and 10, pending School Board approval.

    When will we know the boundaries for Lincoln and how they affect the other high schools?

    The final decision on high school boundary changes will be made by the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors. The Board is expected to take action in January 2018.

    Which high schools will have boundary changes? Won’t it just be those closest to Lincoln?

    To best balance enrollment and capacity at all Seattle high schools, it may be necessary to change boundaries for several schools.

    What programs will be offered at Lincoln?

    Lincoln High School will be an intellectually vibrant place that is equitable and provides personalized support for all students. Lincoln’s program will be more specifically defined over the next year or so with community and student input. The principal has community planning meetings scheduled. More information about Lincoln planning.

    Where can I find information about construction at Lincoln?

    Work is underway to modernize the current facility including earthquake safety upgrades and accessibility improvements. The modernization of Lincoln is being paid for using voter-approved Capital Levy funds. More information about Lincoln construction.

    What were the guiding principles and criteria used by the High School Boundary Task Force in developing the recommendations?

    The task force developed these principles and put them into priority order. They were used in developing the task force's recommendations on high school boundary changes. An additional set of prioritized principles was developed in December based on a survey of families conducted in November. See below.

    1. Equity: Use an equity lens to ensure that the changes don’t unfairly impact students with higher needs.
    2. Align high school boundaries with elementary and middle school feeder patters as much as possible.
    3. Use data, such as enrollment counts, enrollment projections, capture rates, student demographics, etc., to inform decisions.
    4. Create high schools that are the optimal size so that there can be a diversity of programs and services for students at their schools.
    5. Minimize fiscal impact.
    6. Minimize disruption to existing boundaries.

    What was the result of the community engagement survey about priorities in November?

    In November, families and the community were asked to prioritize principles in order to determine what was most important to families. The principles families were asked to rank came from feedback from families and the principles developed by the task force. These principles are informing additional scenarios and discussions with the School Board.

    1. Consider proximity of students to schools, safe walk zones, and transportation time.
    2. Align high school boundaries with elementary and middle school feeder patterns as much as possible.
    3. Create high schools that are optimal size so that there can be a diversity of programs and services for students at their schools.
    4. Use an equity lens to ensure that changes do not unfairly impact students with higher needs.
    5. Use data to inform decisions.
    6. Minimize disruptions to existing boundaries.
    7. Minimize fiscal impact.

    What was the process for developing the task force scenarios?

    A Task Force was formed in April 2017 to discuss boundary changes when Lincoln opens in 2019-20. The Task Force began by discussing the needs of a comprehensive high school and then developed guiding principles for opening Lincoln and adjusting high school boundaries. Various scenarios were drafted for review by the task force based on the guiding principles. Ten different scenarios were developed and reviewed. In addition to the guiding principles outlined, the Task Force also discussed scenarios based on transportation routes and with consideration of a downtown high school.

    How were the scenarios cut down to three?

    After carefully reviewing scenarios and comparing them to the guiding principles, the task force members were asked to vote on the preferred options. They were also asked what data or information they needed in order to move forward. This resulted in additional maps/scenarios for review at future meetings.

    Ultimately, the task force narrowed the scenarios down to two, scenario E and scenario F. They then asked for an additional map that had greater alignment with the elementary and middle school boundaries, scenario H. Based on feedback around the capacity of Nathan Hale and Roosevelt and the travel distance for families that were moving from Nathan Hale to Roosevelt in scenario H, a new scenario was built. That scenario, H version 2 (H2), is the final scenario recommended by the task force.

    Why were these three scenarios recommended? Do they meet the criteria of the task force?

    Each of the scenarios has advantages where it meets some of the principles. Each also has considerations that call out areas of potential concern. Please visit the scenarios page to see the advantages and considerations for the three scenarios.

    If these are the recommendations of the task force, why are you adding new scenarios in December and January?

    Beginning in December, district staff, the high school boundary task force, and School Board Directors began looking at additional scenarios for high school boundary changes that also take into account community feedback and recommendations for potential changes to high school Highly Capable (HC) pathways. You can see these scenarios on the task force update for Dec. 14. Enrollment Planning staff continue to develop scenarios and provide data based on School Board requests.

    If enrollment is less after changing the boundaries, would that mean there is more of a chance that students could choose into a school other than their attendance area?

    Currently, many of our north and central area high schools are significantly over the physical capacity of their buildings. The opening of Lincoln will help to reduce the overcrowding, but the capacity relief will be slower if there is grandfathering meaning there may not be space for students to choose into a school from outside their attendance area until the grandfathered students’ age out. Additionally, there continues to be growth at the high school level, so any choice seats will be based on available capacity within the allocated staffing for the school after attendance area students are accommodated.

    Does interest in or enrollment in a specific program: IB, Maritime Academy, Video Program, etc. that aren’t offered at all schools have any influence on whether a student will be moved?

    No. Students who are interested in a specific program offered at a school they are not assigned to can participate in the school choice process.

    Last updated: 1/5/18