Give input on and learn more about potential school boundary changes

A message from the Department of Teaching and Learning

Dear students, staff and families,

You may have heard that Bellingham Public Schools is in the process of reviewing our attendance areas, also known as school boundaries. We have an update to share, and we would like your feedback.

Our 40-member committee, the Attendance Areas PreK-12 Standing Committee, a group comprised of staff, parents, principals and representatives from the city of Bellingham has been working on a number of ideas and changes to our elementary and middle school attendance areas for over a year.

This group has been examining data, maps, growth projections and enrollment districtwide to help determine how to best accommodate growth in the northern part of our city and balance enrollment, particularly at two schools that are over capacity: Shuksan Middle School and Silver Beach Elementary School. These scenarios also address expanded boundaries for three elementary schools that are to be rebuilt by fall 2022 (Alderwood, Sunnyland and Parkview). For context, the district made school boundary changes in 2017 to better balance enrollment at Cordata Elementary and Bellingham and Squalicum high schools, and as our city grows, our standing committee will continue to recommend adjustments as needed.

After a lot of analysis, discussion and feedback, we have narrowed down our scenarios to Option 1 and Option 2. See tips below for viewing boundary maps.

When you review the maps you’ll notice each option displays changes to both our elementary (zoomed in) and middle school boundaries. Please find your neighborhood to see if your family may be impacted by these prospective changes and look for an arrow, which signals a move. If you do not see your neighborhood on the map and/or you do not see an arrow, your neighborhood will not be impacted. You can go here for a zoomed out view of these two options.

If a recommendation is approved by the superintendent, some of these changes will go into effect as early as 2020-21, but full implementation is dependent on completion dates of our elementary rebuilding projects listed above.  A proposed timeline for each area will accompany the recommendation.

Attendance area changes are complex. We’d like to invite you to share your feedback and learn more about these prospective changes and the potential timelines.

Please join us at one of the following meetings:

  • 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 13 at Columbia Elementary
  • 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 13 at Silver Beach Elementary
  • 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 at Whatcom Middle School
  • 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at Kulshan Middle School

You will hear from members of the committee about the process, then split into small groups with committee members to share input and ask questions. If you are unable to attend a meeting but would still like to give feedback, please fill out this survey by noon Friday, May 17.

Your input will help inform our Attendance Areas PreK-12 Standing Committee before it makes a recommendation to the superintendent this spring.

On behalf of the Attendance Areas PreK-12 Standing Committee

Co-chairs, Assistant Superintendent, Steve Clarke and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Jay Jordan