School Types and Terminology
Attendance Area School
An attendance area school is one to which elementary, middle and high-school students are assigned based on where they live, as long as the school offers the services the student needs.
An entry grade is usually the point at which a student enters elementary school (kindergarten), middle school (sixth grade), or high school (ninth grade).
A feeder pattern is the predictable flow of students from elementary to middle school. Elementary attendance areas are combined to create middle school attendance areas, resulting in feeder patterns from elementary school to middle school.
There are not feeder patterns from middle school to high school; each attendance area high school has its own geographic attendance area. The exception to this is in West Seattle, where students in the Denny attendance area feed into Chief Sealth International High School and students in the Madison attendance area feed into West Seattle High School.
As growth boundaries are phased in, there may be changes to elementary school attendance areas. These changes may result in the elementary attendance area feeding into more than one middle school during a transition period. In other words, changes to elementary attendance areas and middle school attendance areas may not always be implemented at the same time. Visit our Growth Boundary webpage fore more information.
Example: Part of the new boundary for Jane Addams Middle School will be implemented for 2014-15 assignments. However, all changes to the Olympic Hills elementary boundary will not be implemented for 2014-15, because the new boundary is dependent on construction of a new and larger Olympic Hills elementary school.
Geographic Area (Geo Zone)
Students who want to attend an option school need to apply – no one is assigned automatically to an option school. Each option school has a geographic priority area (geo zone). The geographic zone tiebreaker is for applicants to an option school who live within a defined area in proximity to the school. Please note that living within the geographic zone does not guarantee assignment to the requested option school, but gives a priority for admission after siblings. Geo Zones may change from year to year as a tool for capacity management.
Option schools provide a variety of programmatic opportunities for families looking for choices in addition to their attendance area schools.
A service area is a geographic area within which various services, such as special education services, are provided for students who live within it. Service areas use the same geographic boundaries as those for attendance area middle schools.
Service schools are those other schools and services that are available to meet individual student needs. Students may request assignment to a service school and/or may be referred there and assigned individually as appropriate. Unlike attendance area schools and option schools, students may transition into or out of service schools during the school year. The annual timeline and deadlines for assignment to attendance area schools and option schools do not apply to service schools.
Specialized Programs or Services for Students
Most students will be able to access advanced learning, bilingual or special education services in their attendance area school or in a nearby linked attendance area or option school.
There are some services that will continue to be available in just a few locations because they serve small numbers of students. Services for medically fragile students are one such example.