Issaquah School District Boundary and Construction Updates
The 2021-22 Issaquah School District (ISD) Boundary Committee recently established new elementary and middle school boundaries to efficiently and equitably shift existing enrollment to support actual building/student capacity while maintaining attendance space for rising projected growth. Included in the update: the average middle school will now house approximately 800 students, compared to 1,100 plus students pre-pandemic.
“Each of our schools is consistently high quality, with common curriculum, equitable resource allocations, common professional development for staff, and common expectations for student achievement and enrichment,” Ron Thiele, ISD superintendent said. “We strive to make the quality of education in the Issaquah School District equitable and not vary depending on your school or zip code.”
According to Jake Kuper, ISD chief of finance and operations, ISD will “rethink some program placement” due to shifting boundaries and populations.
“Program expansion is on the shortlist to do,” Kuper said. “Science Tech and Merlin are some traditional programs in elementary. I’ll revise old projections with Assistant Superintendent [Jodi] Bongard, see if there’s room to expand offerings, and shift programs around. We’re in the home stretch. Not quite there, but soon.”
According to Toni Hunter, Grand Ridge Elementary parent representative and ISD Boundary Committee voting member, the committee “looked at a variety of factors that impact boundaries and made…recommendations based on what [the committee] felt best met the needs of the ISD community.”
“All documents and recordings of our meetings are available on the Boundary Review page of the ISD website for anyone interested in viewing them,” Hunter said. “This committee focused on Elementary Schools 16 and 17, and Middle School 6. For families in Issaquah Highlands, there are no changes being made to boundaries. Students who were zoned to Grand Ridge/PCMS and Clark/IMS are still zoned to those schools.”
The fourth ISD comprehensive high school, which has a proposed location at 4200 – 228th Ave. SE in Issaquah for 1,400 students in grades 9-12, intends to reduce student populations at Issaquah and Skyline high schools and has yet to start construction. The district continues to work directly with the city of Issaquah for final zoning modifications and approvals. Boundary considerations will begin the year before the official school opening.
More School News
ISD Monday Meal Pick Ups
Until the end of the school year, the Issaquah School District (ISD) will only distribute meals on Mondays. Families can pick up five days of meals from 4-6 p.m. at any of the nine available locations. The ISD meals program provides free breakfasts and lunches for any child 18 years or under. Find more program information online.
IHS PTSA Angel Donations Needed
The Issaquah High School (IHS) Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) Angel Program assists families in need. Towards the end of the year, donation needs change to help students from spring to graduation, allowing more focus on academics. Monetary donations go a long way to help with senior extras: caps and gowns, yearbooks, and senior pictures. These are important, well-earned, milestone events for seniors. Families should not feel burdened by the costs to participate in these cumulative IHS experiences. To find out how to donate, or if your senior needs assistance, visit the program website.
Spanish-Speaking Workshop Series for ISD Parents
March 6, 13, 20, and 27, at 9 a.m. Learn to cope with stress within the home due to COVID-19 changes and uncertainty. This Spanish-speaking workshop offers strategies for discipline and routines to improve harmony and emotional stability. For information and registration, contact Alicia Spinner, manager of Issaquah Schools Foundation Cultural Bridges.
COVID-19 Vaccination “Get Ready” Plan for Teachers, School Employees
Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced plans to vaccinate school employees, equitably and safely. The plan is designed to be ready when personnel become eligible under state vaccination protocols, with a focus on supporting a safe return to school for Washington communities. The announced plan includes 14-20 vaccination locations along the I-5 corridor, capable of offering vaccinations to upwards of 80% of school employees. In accordance with Washington Department of Health plans, educators and staff in K-12 facilities are expected to become eligible for vaccination after 50% of the currently authorized population are vaccinated. Get more information on Washington vaccination prioritization here.
Live Update Tools for COVID-19 Rates within ISD Boundaries
Each week, the Issaquah School District (ISD) calculates and publishes the numbers of infections per 100,000 residents living within its district boundaries, as well as in King County. The ISD infection rate is determined using data provided by Public Health (Seattle and King County). Families can learn about how ISD calculates local case rates. ISD continues to work with public health resources to obtain accurate data and update methods as needed.
9th Annual Influence the Choice Video Contest
How can students say no” and promote mental wellness to their peers? The Influence the Choice – Drug Prevention Alliance for Youth video contest positively inspires youth to influence others by producing a 2-minute public service announcement. This year is the first virtual contest. The grand prize is $1,000 and winning videos will be viewed throughout Issaquah School District, on city TV stations, and at civic events. Deadline for entries is April 9, 2021. Contest guidelines, entry forms, and past winning videos are available online.
Tracie Jones is an Issaquah Highlands resident.