Beaverton School District News
by Shawna Muckle, CMN student intern
Middle School Boundary changes coming to BSD
The Beaverton School District began a comprehensive review of its middle school boundaries this fall in order to reduce overcrowding in certain middle schools and shift students to the district’s newest middle school, colloquially known as “Timberland.” A Middle School Board Advisory Committee, comprised of two parent/community representatives for each middle school who applied to sit on the committee, met for the first time on October 24. Meetings with the committee are open to the public and allow for public testimony.
According to a BSD press release, the district is planning to adjust its middle school attendance boundaries because of the disproportionate overcrowding at Stoller Middle School, Cedar Park Middle School, and Conestoga Middle School. In particular, the press release emphasized that the district has not considered a boundary adjustment since 1999, before Stoller Middle School was established. Additionally, the construction of the “Timberland” middle school has created a need to reroute some 6-8 graders by the 2021-22 school year, when the school district plans to open Timberland as a middle school.
While construction of Timberland finished in 2016, the district has been using it as a “swing school” for various elementary schools and charter schools while those schools undergo renovations. Vose, Hazeldale, and William Walker elementary schools have previously been located at Timberland. Currently, ACMA is using Timberland for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years as it awaits the construction of a new building.
By summer 2021, Timberland will finally be ready to welcome new 6-8 graders as a full-fledged middle school. The Middle School Advisory Board Committee is now tasked with deliberating upon how to adjust boundaries for each of the current eight middle schools in order to effectively reduce overcrowding and begin filtering students into Timberland.
The committee plans to meet at least eight times between October 2019 and March 2020, at which point it will submit a recommendation to BSD Superintendent Grotting about how to shift attendance boundaries. It’s anticipated that Superintendent Grotting will release his final plan based on the advisory committee’s insights by May 2020, at which point the district will have a year of transition planning for the purposes of staffing, bussing, and other organizational changes to accommodate the boundary adjustment.
According to the BSD School Board charter, the key considerations for this redistricting process are student body composition for each middle school, which elementary schools will act as feeder schools for each elementary school, the current availability of space at each middle school, and neighborhood proximity and accessibility.
So far, public comments at each meeting—many of them from concerned parents who will be affected by boundary adjustment—emphasize a desire to disrupt students’ middle school experience as little as possible and avoid unnecessary attendance changes for 7th and 8th graders.
“Please allow students to obtain Legacy status so that the kids don't have to switch schools multiple times in just a few years,” Cooper Mountain Elementary and Highland Park Middle School parent Jennifer Hoffman commented at the October 24 committee meeting. “For example... 5th grade at Cooper Mountain, 6th grade at Highland, 7th/8th Grade at Mountain View, 9th grade at Mountainside. That would be 4 schools in just a few years! That would just be awful for a pre-teen/young teen.”
Other parent recommendations suggest zoning changes for various elementary schools to allow more children coming from the same elementary school to attend a common middle school. Many BSD elementary schools, such as Nancy Ryles Elementary, split fifth grade classes between two different middle schools due to spacing requirements at each middle school.
At the committee’s latest two meetings on November 5 and November 21, the committee hosted visioning workshops for the public to brainstorm how the boundaries for Timberland middle school should look. Groups of 6-8 attendees were given a district map and tasked with designing Timberland’s boundary, adjusting Stoller’s boundary to reduce its overcrowding issues, and adjusting other middle school boundaries to accommodate these changes. The advisory committee plans to draw from these public visioning sessions as it deliberates upon how to adjust middle school boundaries.
The committee next meets December 19 at Cedar Park Middle School beginning at 6:30 pm.
Visit the BSD page for this process here.
Springville is eliminating grades 6-8
The Beaverton School District is beginning a process to phase out Springville and Raleigh Hills’ 6-8 programs, transitioning the schools to a K-5 model. The 2020-21 school year will be the last year that Springville and Raleigh Hills host 6th through 8th graders. Beginning next year, the option application for Springville and Raleigh Hills will only be offered to 7th and 8th graders for the 2021-22 school year. By 2023-24, Springville will transition to a K-5 model.
|Springville School is located in North Bethany at 6655 NW Joss Aveny
The district is eliminating Springville and Raleigh Hills as K-8 options in an effort to standardize the middle school experience for students across the district. 6-8 graders at Springville and Raleigh Hills currently study according to an elementary school-modeled curriculum, rather than according to the Middle Years Programme standards or common course options offered at other middle schools in the district.
Additionally, Springville has run out of classroom space, making it critical to alleviate overcrowding. Transitioning to a K-5 model allows the district to both reduce the size of Springville’s student body and fulfill its broader goal of standardizing middle school course offerings.
Springville is considered an “option school” that students from other home middle schools can apply to for an alternative middle school experience. As a result, over 50% of students come from outside the Springville school boundary. The middle schoolers diverted from Springville will now most likely attend their home middle school or apply for another of BSD’s option schools. ISB, ACMA, and other option middle schools remain available for diverted Springville students.
Since Springville is an option school and such a large percentage of its student body matriculates from outside Springville’s boundaries, it’s not anticipated that the closure of its 6-8 program will affect the redistricting process occurring for the “Timberland” middle school, which aims to reduce overcrowding at Stoller Middle School and redirect students to the newly constructed middle school by the 2021-22 school year. For students currently residing within Springville’s boundary who attend or plan to attend Springville’s 6-8 program as it phases out, their proximity to the Timberland middle school may result in them attending Timberland by 2021-22.
BSD representatives emphasize that the primary goal of eliminating the 6-8 programs at Raleigh Hills and Springville stems from the district’s desire to provide a “common middle school experience”. BSD Superintendent Grotting is expected to unveil what common middle school course offerings and grading standards across the district will look like sometime this month.