Salem-Keizer Public Schools officials have created a new elementary school attendance boundary option for West Salem schools. Attendance area boundaries will be decided at the upcoming School Board meeting on March 8. New attendance boundaries are needed to balance enrollments and relieve overcrowding in West Salem schools.
In response to community input, district staff prepared an elementary school boundary option that blends the features of two previous boundary options. The updated boundary proposal designates 5 neighborhood school attendance areas as detailed in Option 1, with dual language programs at Harritt and Myers to serve English Language Learners and offer native English speakers a second language learning opportunity. The new proposal would not continue an English-only strand at Harritt as currently exists because of the potential for small, mixed grade level class groupings. Harritt students wishing to continue instruction in an English-only classroom setting will have an enrollment option to attend Kalapuya. Students choosing the enrollment option at Kalapuya whose residence is beyond a one-mile walk zone would receive transportation to Kalapuya.
The new proposal addresses parent concerns regarding impact to the English only program at Harritt under the previous recommendation, and at the same time preserves features that meet the Board’s guiding principles, such as closeness and access to schools, student safety, and balancing ethnic and socio-economic diversity. District staff are confident that the creation of a second Dual Language program will not weaken the existing Dual Language at Harritt; rather, it brings an opportunity to share resources and professional development opportunities, strengthening both programs.
The West Salem Neighborhood Work Team, a group of about 20 citizens and district staff who have spent several weeks working on the boundary process, met February 23 to review the new proposal. The new option met with the approval of a large majority of the Work Team. School district staff will revise their previous recommendation to the Board and present the new boundary option on March 8.
In addition, staff will present the Middle School attendance area boundary to the Board for second reading. Previously, district staff presented an option for middle school attendance that is defined by a geographic boundary. Students living north of Glen Creek Road would attend Straub Middle School, and students living south of Glen Creek would attend Walker Middle School. Data shows a balance of socio-economic diversity is preserved with this geographic boundary. In addition, this proposal meets the Board’s other guiding principles, such as retaining neighborhoods, student safety and closeness and access to schools.
For more information regarding West Salem school boundaries, please contact project coordinator, Mike Bednarek at 503-399-3290.