by Flo Beaumon
My son is a first grader at Beacon Hill International School. It’s a dream come true for us, and we felt very lucky that though it was not our reference area school (we live 1.8 miles north of the school), after a month on the waiting list he got in. We were doubly happy that our son’s little brother will be able to join his big brother at BHIS in a few years.
Or so we thought.
Though I had heard rumblings about a change in the school assignment system, I had no information about it until I saw a posting on Madrona Moms last spring. The new Student Assignment Plan, evidently years in development, quietly eliminated the sibling priority for enrollment. The plan to make the schools neighborhood schools would break up thousands of SPS families into two different elementary schools, or would force families to pull their older child out of his or her school to be able to attend the neighborhood school with the incoming kindergartener.
We have been trying to get the word out at our school. It’s greatly complicated by the diversity of languages at students’ homes. Only about half of the students’ families speak English at home. My husband got letters to the school board translated into Mandarin and Spanish, and families from those cultures signed them. Our school’s principal pointed out that over the years many Beacon Hill Elementary School families from outside the reference area chose the school because of its strong support for English language learners.
In June, the School Board voted to approve the new Student Assignment Plan. But, due entirely to the growing outcry by parents, they addressed the question of grandfathering in younger siblings of currently enrolled students by promising to consider a transition plan this fall, after the new boundaries are released and voted on.
Continue reading Opinion: School assignment plan lost in translation