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    International Education Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What do current families need to do about transitions from elementary to middle or high school?

    A: If you reside in the neighborhood attendance area of the middle or high school in the International/Dual Language Immersion pathway, your child will be assigned to that school by default (so you do not need to submit a form).

    To check your student's current assignment, use our Assignment Lookup Tool.

    If you do NOT reside in the school’s attendance area (use our Assignment Lookup Tool to check), then you do need to submit the School Choice form available on the Open Enrollment and School Choice. Indicate the International/Dual Language Immersion pathway middle school or high school and your child will be guaranteed placement in that pathway school.

    Here are the pathways for 2020-2021:

    • John Stanford and McDonald International > Hamilton Intl MS > Lincoln HS
    • Beacon Hill Intl and Dearborn Park Intl > Mercer Intl MS > Rainier Beach HS
    • Concord Intl > Denny Intl MS > Chief Sealth Intl HS

    Q: How do I know if my child qualifies for the middle or high school Intl/DLI pathway?

    A: If your child is in the Spanish, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese Dual Language Immersion program at John Stanford, McDonald, Beacon Hill, Dearborn Park or Concord International School, then they qualify for the Intl/DLI middle school pathway. If they are in the middle school Dual Language Immersion continuation classes at Hamilton, Mercer, or Denny Intl MS (Spanish/Japanese/Chinese Language Arts 3B), then they qualify for the Intl/DLI high school pathway.

    (Note that there may be students who joined the Dual Language Immersion pathway during middle school but did not attend one of the elementary International Schools; they still qualify for the high school pathway.)

    More questions about our International Schools or Dual Language Education? Feel free to contact Dr. Thad Williams, International Education Administrator, or 206 252-0191. Questions about assignments or school choice? Please contact our Admissions office at 206-252-0760.

    Q: What are the International Schools Dual Language Immersion Pathways?

    A: The concept of a pathway is that a student entering a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program within an International School in elementary school would be able to continue in that Dual Language Immersion program into middle school, and that middle school DLI students would be able to continue on a pathway into high school.

    A good example is the International Schools DLI pathway in the Southwest region: Concord International School feeds into Denny International Middle School, which feeds into Chief Sealth International High School.

    In the Northwest region, the two elementary International Schools, John Stanford International School and McDonald International School, feed into Hamilton International Middle School, and the Hamilton DLI students pathway is to Lincoln High School.

    In order to access the DLI pathway:

    • Rising 5th graders at John Stanford and McDonald International Schools who live outside of the Hamilton Attendance Area will need to fill out a choice form to continue in the International Schools DLI Pathway at Hamilton. Assignment is guaranteed for these students, but they must fill out the form.
    • 8th graders in Hamilton DLI who live outside of the Lincoln Attendance Area will need to fill out a choice form to continue in the International Schools DLI Pathway at Lincoln High School.

    In the Southeast region, two elementary International Schools, Beacon Hill International School and Dearborn Park International School feed into Mercer International Middle School. The high school Dual Language Immersion pathway continues to Rainier Beach High School.

    Mandarin and Spanish Dual Language Immersion continuation students from Mercer who attend other high schools, such as Franklin, Garfield, or Cleveland, may have the opportunity to take higher level world language classes at those high schools, but no content classes are currently taught in Spanish or Mandarin.

    Q: What about students who join the Dual Language Immersion Continuation language program in middle school?

    A: If a student has demonstrated language proficiency at a level expected for placement in the Dual Language Immersion Continuation classes in middle school, then that student may also be placed at the designated International High School pathway for that region. If a student wants to enroll in an International High School in a different region, the family can apply during Open Enrollment. See: Enrollment Services.

    Q: What are the policies regarding admission to elementary International Schools?

    A: For information about admission to any school in Seattle Public Schools, please check the Enrollment Services web page. Here are a few specific links that might be helpful to you:

    • FAQs on School Types and Terminology
    • Schools page with information about Option Schools, such as John Stanford International School and McDonald International School. As Option Schools, they have 15% set-aside for native/heritage speakers of Spanish or Japanese to join their programs. The Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment 3130 SP explains the process.
    • All of the other elementary International Schools are Neighborhood schools. Families outside the neighborhood boundary can still apply to them during Open Enrollment, but space may be limited.

    While admission to one of the elementary International Schools at Kindergarten is quite competitive, especially for families living outside the neighborhood (for Beacon Hill, Dearborn Park, or Concord), or outside the GeoZone for Option Schools (McDonald and John Stanford), it is quite possible that there could be open spots in 1st - 5th grades, and especially from 3rd - 5th grades because those grades have higher class sizes and need to attract fluent speakers of the immersion language to join the program during those grades.

    Q: Can students from other countries enroll in Seattle Public Schools?

    A: Visit the district Enrollment webpage: Enrollment Services: International Students. It is the practice of the Seattle School District to admit as a student any person, regardless of national origin or citizenship, upon documentation that the student or parent/guardian resides within the boundaries of the Seattle School District. The Seattle School District will not provide legal advice to families on immigration related issues.

    Please see the I-20 document and F1 brochure for the process and requirements to apply for F-1 visa status, and registration information for International Students to attend a Seattle Public High School.

    For more information, contact 206-252-0760. For students seeking to attend school as exchange students on the J-1 visa, see the district policy and procedure regarding International Student Exchange for more information.