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Boundaries & Programs Update

Boundaries and Programs Update

Since the October 19, 2022, board work session where the Boundary and Educational Program recommendations were shared, the Boundary Change Review Committee hosted two of its four scheduled listening sessions. The Committee also received emails with questions regarding the school attendance boundary change recommendations. These recommendations included program location additions and changes to provide greater accessibility for families. After looking deeper at the data and with input from parents, families, and staff, the boundary change and educational program recommendations are being adjusted.  

Moving forward, the boundary decision and the program placement decision will be separated. The school board will vote on new school attendance boundaries on November 9, 2022, but the program placement and decision making has always been the responsibility of the superintendent. The board and the superintendent are aware of these updated recommendations and the separation of the two decisions.

After listening to our community and taking another look at the data, here is the presentation of the updated recommendations.

Educational Program Placement Adjustment 

The new recommendations add five new Support Center (SC) classrooms to Glenridge, Horizon, River Ridge, Martin Sortun, and Emerald Park elementary schools. The adjustment to the previous recommendation includes keeping the SC program at Carriage Crest Elementary and not adding a SC classroom program to Ridgewood Elementary as originally recommended. This adjustment allows the district to execute programming as it is obligated to do. In the future, SC classrooms will be added to resident schools as enrollment dictates (i.e., Fairwood, Ridgewood and others across the district) to ensure students are able to access programming from their home school, if at all possible. 

It is our goal is to increase the diversity of the Kentridge Odyssey (highly capable program) strand. In the previous recommendation, consolidation of the Ridgewood and Lake Youngs Odyssey programs into one large, new Odyssey program at Glenridge Elementary was recommended. Upon further review of all the data points, it appears this may present more issues than benefits for our students. It is our new recommendation the current Ridgewood Odyssey program remain at Ridgewood in its entirety.  

However, based on the data of the Lake Youngs program and the students served there, we continue to believe moving this program to Glenridge as a new Odyssey program is the best move. With the total number of Lake Youngs Odyssey students being less than 30 percent of the entire program and 70 percent of the students being bused from five different schools, most of which are closer to the centrally located Glenridge. The new recommendation includes the Lake Youngs Odyssey program moving to Glenridge to better serve students currently attending this program and students that may wish to attend a program closer to their home school. 

Our Dual Language programs for the 2023-24 school year will be in one strand, the Kent-Meridian strand. Scenic Hill, Kent, and Neely-O’Brien Dual Language (DL) programs will continue to feed into Mill Creek Middle School and then Kent-Meridian High School. The Boundary Change Review Committee is also currently looking at the students in those current boundary areas that may be impacted by the proposed boundary adjustments and how we can continue to provide access to the DL program for these students. 

The remaining two Boundary Change Listening Sessions are next week. 

  • Tuesday, November 1: Kent-Meridian High School Library 6:00-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 3: Kentwood High School Library 6:00-7:30 p.m. 

All families and staff are encouraged to join in-person at the location most convenient to them for an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification and understanding around the school boundary change recommendations. The Boundary Change Review Committee will compile the feedback and submit final recommendations to the school board at their regularly scheduled meeting on November 9, 2022. This work was driven by the committee’s core beliefs of giving our students, schools, and families better access to special programs; in most cases, reduce time students spend on buses; remove most of our students from learning in portables; and take enrollment pressure off our highest impacted schools and communities. 

The committees are working on a couple of things for families that may be impacted by the boundary shifts. 

  1. There will be a special transfer request window in January, specifically for students and families impacted by the boundary changes. This opportunity will occur before all other transfer windows and will be an opportunity to request a transfer to another school. This request will be evaluated based on the available capacity of the school being requested to transfer to. There is no guarantee a transfer will be granted.
  2. Knowing there will be a special transfer window open in January; it was suggested by a parent at a listening session to create an opportunity for impacted families to visit the proposed new school prior to the January transfer window. We will be working with our principals on creating time and space for students and families that may be impacted by the shift to a new school to visit the new school campus and ask questions regarding the school and its programs. 

Please find updated maps on our 2023-2024 Proposed Boundary Changes page.

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Boundary/Previous Recommendation/New recommendation    

The northern “finger” neighborhood is now back to Glenridge Elementary boundaries after a conversation with two of the five families impacted in that space.  MapDescription automatically generated

The new recommendations also reflect the current Kentlake (KL) High School northeast corner boundary above Highway 18 remain as it has been for the past 12 years, as well as the northwest corner of Lake Meridian, staying in the Kentlake boundary as it has been for the past 12 years. 

We know there still may be concerns with these slight adjustments. Please keep in mind, the goal was to reduce the enrollment in our high impact schools, which in this case is Kent-Meridian (KM) High School. To do so, boundary adjustments needed to be made at all high schools.  

The second goal was to balance enrollment as much as possible. KL has the lowest enrollment and, therefore, the most capacity. As this new recommendation stands today, Kentwood (KW) would be just over 2,000 students and KL just over 1,700 students for the 2023-24 school year. These new recommendations push right up to the KW and KM walking boundaries. This is the updated recommendation. 

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New recommendation area already goes to KL. This will remain in KL boundaries. 

New recommendation area already goes to KL. The parcel lines were cleaned up and left as stated above.