What has the Attendance Area Advisory Group been working on?

Our group has been meeting weekly this winter. One of the issues we’ve been studying is the attendance area between Squalicum and Bellingham high schools. Enrollment is currently about 245 more students at Squalicum, and SQHS is running out of room; Bellingham High School is currently under-enrolled. Balancing enrollment among our high schools creates better course choices/schedules and opportunities for students.

The second issue our group is working on is to make more space at Cordata Elementary School, which is currently at capacity. New, large housing developments are being planned and some will be completed this school year within walking distance of Cordata.

 

What is the BHS/SQHS proposal?

Our proposal is to change most of Birchwood’s attendance area from Squalicum to Bellingham High School (specifically the area south of I-5, near Greenwood Ave and west of Squalicum Parkway and Meridian). Please click here to see the map.

 

Why was that particular area selected for the BHS/SQHS proposal?

In looking at which neighborhoods to select for this adjustment, our advisory group also considered proximity to Bellingham High in selecting this area (approximately 2 miles to BHS and 5 miles to SQHS); students in this area could make this adjustment together; and north Bellingham is growing and projections show more adjustments will likely be needed in future years to create space at Shuksan and Squalicum. We looked carefully at many possibilities, but none worked as well to provide more balanced socio-economic demographics for both schools, for transportation purposes and for other factors in policy 3130.

 

What is the feedback and decision-making process for the BHS/SQHS proposal?

Families affected by this change received a letter in the mail and via email, along with a map and survey as of Feb. 8, 2017. Our group will review the feedback from the survey, share more of our rationale and take input into consideration at a parent input session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Birchwood Elementary School cafeteria. Our advisory group will meet to consider the input on Feb. 16 before submitting a recommendation to the superintendent during the week of Feb. 20. The superintendent will then consider our recommendation, make a decision and communicate with families. We anticipate a decision by the end of February/early March to allow students to register for courses at their high school in March.

 

What is the Cordata proposal?

Our proposal is to adjust Cordata’s attendance area to have approximately 70 students from Cordata go to Alderwood, Parkview and Northern Heights beginning in August. Please click here to see the overview map.

 

Why were these particular areas selected for the Cordata proposal?

In looking at which neighborhoods to select for this adjustment, our committee also considered proximity to other elementary schools and schools with available space. Students living in these areas could make this adjustment together. North Bellingham is growing and projections show more adjustments will likely be needed in future years to create more space at Cordata, Shuksan and Squalicum. We also considered the demographics of students in making this proposal to provide more balance to our schools.

 

What is the feedback and decision-making process for the Cordata proposal?

Our committee will review the feedback from the survey (open through noon Friday, March 10), share more of our rationale at the input meeting, and take feedback into consideration at the parent input session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9 in the Cordata Elementary School cafeteria. Our advisory group will meet to consider the input on March 16 before submitting a recommendation to the superintendent. The superintendent will then consider our recommendation, make a decision and communicate with families. We anticipate a decision by the end of March to allow students to attend welcome events and orientations at their new schools this spring.