Beaverton School District decides on new middle school boundaries
The Beaverton School District has made its final decision regarding new middle school boundaries.
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the district announced that Superintendent Don Grotting accepted an advisory committee's recommendation on a new middle school boundary map with no modifications.
The primary objectives were to create an attendance boundary for the new middle school located in the Timberland neighborhood and to reduce enrollment at Stoller Middle School to approximately 90% of its permanent capacity.
According to the new middle school boundary map, Sato, Springville and Jacob Wismer elementary schools will feed into Stoller Middle School. Students at Findley, Oak Hills, Bonny Slope, Terra Linda and Cedar Mill elementary schools will attend the new middle school.
"I want to express my appreciation to the members of the committee for their dedication and diligence throughout this process," said Grotting in his final report. "I thank them for their level of engagement, their patient review of an unprecedent amount public input and testimony, and their willingness to consider multiple proposals from the public, staff and of their own design."
The boundary adjustment project began in June 2019. An advisory committee comprised of 17 community members was appointed by the school board to deliver a recommendation to the superintendent.
The committee held 13 public meetings, beginning in October 2019 and concluding in October 2020.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a six-month hiatus in committee meetings between March and September of this year. When the committee resumed meetings in September, the meetings were conducted virtually and livestreamed on the district's YouTube channel.
"I also want to express my gratitude to the community for their commitment in participating in this process by submitting more than 12,000 comments and letters, providing oral testimony at committee meetings, and attending advisory committee, PTO, and community meetings," said Grotting. "Prior to the suspension of public meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the public attended the meetings in large numbers."
Before the decision, the district held a final listening session with public testimony via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 29.
The public testimony portion gave allowed people to speak for two minutes to share their thoughts or concerns about the project. More than 20 parents spoke during that time, and many thanked the committee and the superintendent for their efforts.
"I would like to support the current rendering for our area, and I hope to see that stay that way for the years ahead," said Shane Morton, who was happy to see Cooper Mountain Elementary School feeding into Highland Park Middle School within the Mountainside High School attendance area.
Morton added, "Though other areas have significant changes, the current map supports parts of the committee's original goals of minimizing changes in the south."
Another parent with two boys at Cooper Mountain and Highland Park also spoke about the project and the need for a final decision after months of waiting.
"They are seeking some semblance of normalcy because their lives are out of control right now," said Alia Hedges as she held back tears. "They miss their friends, their teachers and normal school activities. They are afraid, based on what they see on the news, or the internet, whether it's COVID cases or racial injustice (or) civil unrest, or political tension."
She added, "They've just been exposed to too much this year. And with that in mind, I would really like to share my appreciation for the committee's recommendation to just maintain some consistency for our school."
At the end of the meeting, Grotting applauded the parents' efforts and thanked them for their constructive criticism.
"I also appreciate your passion for your kids, for your community and for the school district," he said. "That does not go unnoticed by me."
In addition to the adjustments, Grotting accepted the committee's recommendation to offer a legacy option to students who will be entering the eighth grade in the 2021-22 school year to remain at the middle school that they attended the previous school year.
According to the Beaverton School District's website, any parents or guardians who wish for their students to remain at their former middle schools must complete and submit a legacy student form to the district's central office. The form will be available in January 2021.
Grotting also approved two program changes that impact middle school students.
The Rachel Carson School of Environmental Science will be relocated from Five Oaks Middle School to Cedar Park Middle School.
The SUMMA program will be expanded to the Timberland-area middle school, in addition to the programs that already exist at Meadow Park, Stoller and Whitford middle schools.
The Beaverton School Board will review Grotting's decision at its Monday, Nov. 30 meeting and vote on the adjustment at its Dec. 14 meeting.
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