Northshore School District (NSD) Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid, opened the Bear Creek Boundary Open House Meeting on June 5 with an apology for the change in the proposed boundary options for Bear Creek Elementary (BCE) and the short notice to families regarding the open house. Families were invited to the Open House on Monday, June 3, to learn about the new proposal and provide feedback. The final recommendation from the district to the school board will be made on June 24.
Dr. Reid was joined by Deputy Superintendent, Duggan Harman, and Chief Operations Officer, Joe Paperman. Dr. Reid admitted that this process hadn’t been as smooth as she would liked and she was committed to meeting again if an agreement couldn’t be reached with the families. She explained that on June 24, two reports will be given to the board. The first report will be on boundary recommendations for 2020-21. The board has to approve any boundary changes. The second report will be on program placements within the district. The superintendent is responsible for approving the placements so the report is informational for the board.
With the opening of the new elementary school on Maltby Road in 2020, NSD will be moving programs in the district. One of the biggest changes will be moving Elementary Advanced Program (EAP) students back to elementary schools that will feed into their neighborhood high school. Currently the EAP students are taught at three elementary schools in the district; BCE, Sunrise and Lockwood. With the students leaving BCE, it has caused the district to evaluate how to efficiently and effectively use the space at the school. It is projected that there will be 129 students in the BCE boundary in 2020. School community members have expressed concerns with only having one classroom per grade of general education students.
NSD held several open houses in March, outlining proposed boundary changes and program placement changes that could be coming to the Woodinville area in 2020. The district was looking for public input into the six options of proposed changes, identified as Options A - F. After receiving the input and updated projected enrollment data, the district developed a seventh option, labeled Option G. Option G, as presented at the open house, will redraw the boundaries for some schools and BCE will serve as a programs-only school. Option G will split the BCE current boundary based on the Woodinville-Duvall Road. BCE students who live to the north of the road will attend Eastridge Elementary and students who live to the south of the road will attend Cottage Lake Elementary. The BCE EAP students will attend an EAP school in their high school feeder pattern. EAP students in the Woodinville High School feeder pattern will be assigned to Sunrise Elementary. With this option, the preschool at Cottage Lake Elementary will have to move to a different location.
Some of the concerns shared at the meeting revolved around if this is a long-term plan and what will happen if Eastridge Elementary becomes over- crowded. Anecdotally, community members shared that there is a large number of homes turning over in their neighborhoods, with empty-nesters selling to young families. Requests were made of the district to have their demographer, Les Kendrick, look at the student generation rates from these home sales. Harman indicated they will hold a community meeting with the demographer possibly in the Fall.
Another concern is the transition for the students to new schools . The district is trying to be thoughtful with placing all district students who will be changing schools in 2020 in classrooms with students who be attending the new school as well. NSD is also looking at letting 2019 BCE kindergartners waiver into the elementary school they will be attending in 2020. There are currently 11 students registered for kindergarten. If the number increases, the district would consider leaving the kindergarten class at BCE. Several parents requested this as they would like to have all of their children attend the same elementary school if possible.
To learn more about the whole boundary process and to provide feedback, go to https://ww1.nsd.org/2020boundary.