Comparison of Bellingham’s learning models available for families during the 2020-21 school year. 

All 22 of our neighborhood schools will follow the Reconnect Plan to serve students PreK through grade 12. We will begin the school year in Stage 1. The Bellingham Family Partnership Program (BFPP) serves students from kindergarten through grade 8. Our online-only option, Bellingham Virtual Learning (BVL) serves students PreK through grade 12. Both the BFPP and BVL options are available to families during the 2020-21 school year and require registration.


  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): All 22 of our schools will follow the Reconnect Plan. This is a continuum of stages that are responsive to the health and safety conditions ranging from fully remote to part remote/part in-person with the ultimate goal of serving students in schools. This is also referred to as the hybrid model. 
  • Bellingham Family Partnership Program (K-8): An Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) that supports families as the primary instructors of their students. Supports include partnering with a certificated teacher, curriculum materials and on-site enrichment courses (as conditions allow). This is also referred to as our home school family partnership model.
  • Bellingham Virtual Learning (PreK-12): Fully online learning by design, intended to stay online even when the hybrid model is functioning with in-person phases. 


  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): Participate in daily class instruction online or in-person (as conditions allow), with live lessons/meetings, recorded meetings/lessons, and additional offline activities.  
  • BFPP (K-8): Work on home learning that is identified in their learning plan. Every learning plan is individualized to the learner. May choose to attend some on-site enrichment courses (as conditions allow).  
  • BVL (PreK-12): Grades K-5 need a learning coach at home to support them, on that coach’s schedule. Grades 6-12: Work more independently, expected to keep pace, able to reach out for support. 


  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): Regularly scheduled daily instruction with structured live and recorded/taped (independent) learning times that mirror the regular school day. 
  • BFPP (K-8): Schedule is determined by the family. There is a weekly contact requirement in ALE which can be done in person with on-site classes (as conditions allow) or via Zoom, phone or email. It is recommended that students do not attend more than two days on-site (as conditions allow) to ensure time for home learning. 
  • BVL (PreK-12): Mostly online videos and interactions for grades 6-12, some offline activities for K-5 with optional live support meetings. 


  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): Teach the essential standards and curriculum developed by and identified for school using in-person (as conditions allow), Microsoft Teams, video conferencing and collaboration tools.  
  • BFPP (K-8): Teachers have dual roles; they are Learning Plan Partners with families as well as instructors for the on-site courses (as conditions allow). They provide support and connection that is differentiated for each family. 
  • BVL (PreK-12): Support students and families using the online curriculum and offer office hours as well as support when needed. 

All three models use Bellingham Public Schools certificated teachers.


  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): Grades K-1: Parents/guardians are partners with the classroom teacher(s) to set learning goals for their child. Grades 2-5: parents/guardians partner with classroom teachers and support the instruction and activities provided by the teacher. Grades 6-12: parents/guardians support their student’s attendance and participation in live and recorded instruction and offline activities. Teachers are the primary provider of instruction and connect with families to support students’ learning.
  • BFPP (K-8): Role of the parent/guardian is primary educator who collaborates with their Learning Plan Partner in co-authoring the learning plan and maintains connection with the school through weekly contact and monthly reviews. Families are part of the larger learning community of the program. 
  • BVL (PreK-12): For younger students, the role of the parents/guardians is as learning coach (or they need to designate a home learning coach) and assisting students with the curriculum and a schedule. For grades 6-12 the family’s role is to help keep students accountable for meeting class pacing expectations and assignments.

Why choose this model?

  • Neighborhood Schools (PreK-12): This is the core school model for our students and families. Instruction is provided by Bellingham teachers at a student’s home school and, when remote, through tools like Microsoft Teams. This model provides opportunities for students to develop as part of a community of learners with age level peers and a teacher. This model provides options for in-person instruction when medical conditions allow. Most closely resembles pre-COVID-19 classroom environment.  
  • BFPP (K-8): This model is designed for families who want home learning to be the main model for their child’s educational experience. They seek support from the school district and a program to have community with. Families in the BFPP choose alternative learning options and create learning plans. 
  • BVL (PreK-12): This model is designed for students who respond well to independent, self-paced learning. Could be helpful model for families that have older children who will be supporting younger children’s learning at home. May also be a good fit for families with child care needs and/or who aren’t able to support their students with teaching and learning over a six hour schedule established by the school.