District Guide

Learn About the District

The Bellevue School District serves approximately 19,000 students and employs about 2,000 teachers and staff. The District has 17 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 4 high schools and 2 district-wide middle/high schools, for a total of 28 schools. We serve students living in the city of Bellevue, as well as smaller communities of Clyde Hill, Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point and Beaux Arts, plus portions of Issaquah, Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and unincorporated King County. Learn more about us…

Our Mission & Goals

The mission of the Bellevue School District is to provide all students with an exemplary college preparatory education so they can succeed in college, career and life.

Our Goals

  • All students will reach or exceed academic proficiency levels
  • Eliminate the achievement gap
  • All students, including those who already meet or exceed academic proficiency, will show measurable progress.

Our Guiding Principles
Our Guiding Principles were developed by the Bellevue School Board and reflect our values:

  • Excellence: Exemplary Education
  • Equity and Access for All
  • Accountability
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Quality Teaching and Learning
  • Innovation and Continuous Improvement
  • Diversity
  • Resource Stewardship
School Board

The Bellevue School District’s Board of Directors is made up of five community members, one from each of five regions of the district. Board members are elected to four year terms. To contact Board members, call the Superintendent’s office at 425-456-4172 or email board@bsd405.org.

Board meetings are open to the public and normally held the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 4:30 p.m. Unless otherwise noted, Board meetings are held at the Wilburton Instructional Services Center (12241 Main Street, Bellevue), in the Rainier Room. Interpreters are available upon request. Please contact the Superintendent’s office at least three days in advance and an interpreter will be made available if possible.

Board agenda and packets are available prior to meetings on the School Board page on the District website or by calling (425) 456-4172. Audio recordings and approved minutes are posted on the website following each meeting.

Enroll for School

In Bellevue, students in kindergarten through fifth grade attend elementary school. Students in grades six through eight attend middle school. Students in grades 9-12 attend high school. Students are assigned to schools based on where they live.

To register your child:

  1. Locate your neighborhood school
  2. Establish residency
  3. Gather required forms and documents
  4. Enroll at your neighborhood school

Children who reach the age of five by August 31 are eligible to register for kindergarten. Elementary-age children who enter our schools from other countries will be placed in classes based on the years of education completed in their home country. Proof of US citizenship is not required. School principals make the decision on appropriate grade placement. Typically, for students who come to the U.S. from other countries, schools counselors or principals talk with families and review students’ official school records before making a decision regarding grade placement.

Academics & Curriculum

Our schools consistently rank among the top schools in the nation. Academic programs include the following:

Attendance

Consistent school attendance is critical to student learning. School attendance is mandatory, and unexcused absences and truancy are prohibited. Parents must notify their student’s school about an excused absence. Excused absences include:

  • Student illness or injury
  • Illness, injury or death of a family member
  • Pre-approved planned absences, such as a doctor’s appointment

If you have questions, please contact your school’s attendance office.

School Hours

Start and dismissal times vary by individual school. Contact your school for more information, or visit your school’s website for the start and end times for each school.

Students are released early on Wednesday to allow teachers and school teams time for planning, collaboration and training.

Transportation

Free transportation to and from school is provided to students who reside inside the school’s attendance boundary but are outside their school’s walk boundary zone. Visit the Transportation Department page for more information about bus services.

School Lunch

Bellevue school lunches provide a variety of healthy and delicious choices, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat milk. The monthly menu is available at your school or on the Nutrition Services page.

You may add money to your student’s meal account using the online PayPams service, or by visiting the school office. Families may also apply for free- or reduced-price meals, based on your household income. If your child has certain foods that they cannot eat, please talk to your school office.

School Closures

During bad weather or other unusual situations, schools may start late, dismiss early or be closed. The district will inform parents of this decision as soon as possible.

You can find updated school closure information in several places:

The decision whether to send your child to school in bad weather is a parent’s decision, regardless of the school district’s decision whether or not to cancel classes. Parents must decide for themselves and their child whether conditions are safe enough to send their children to school.

School Safety

Safety is a top priority in Bellevue schools. The district’s procedures for use in an emergency are reviewed and updated annually. A copy of the district’s emergency procedures can be obtained from your school’s office or in the Emergencies section of the Board Policy and Procedures page on the district website. Each school must have a written plan for evacuation, lockdown and parent/student reunification. In the event of an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake, students will remain at school until released to their parent or guardian.

Ensuring a safe environment for all students and staff is crucial to learning. When an incident occurs involving a student which could impact others or raise questions or concerns, the principal and staff of the school work to obtain facts and determine next steps. They may also send a letter or email to all parents and guardians of students at the school to provide facts and information. You can sign up to receive emails through School Messenger at www.bsd405.org/stayconnected.

The Bellevue School District has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to weapons on campus. If a student brings a firearm to school, he or she will be expelled. Principals will report all incidents to police. The district’s annual Weapons Notice is posted on the district website and is available from your school office.

Rights & Responsibilities

Students who attend Bellevue schools have certain rights and responsibilities, based on state laws, regulations and district policies. These rights and responsibilities address everything from participating in athletics and the use of district internet to student discipline and policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying. Student rights and responsibilities are posted on the the district website and are available from your school office.

How Can My School Help?

Most questions about your child’s education can be resolved at the school level. The chart below shows the person most able to help you at your child’s school.

Question or Subject: The First Person to Talk to is:
My child’s test scores or report card Teacher
Has my child earned enough credits to graduate? Counselor
My child says he or she doesn’t understand the material being taught. Teacher
My child doesn’t speak English well and is confused in class ELL Teacher or regular Teacher
I need an interpreter for school meetings. School Office Manager
My child has health concerns that impact his/her learning or safety at school. School Nurse
My child says he or she is bored because school is too easy Teacher
I would like to have a volunteer tutor work with my child. School Volunteer Program liaison
I think there are mistakes in my child’s class schedule. Counselor
My child will try anything to avoid going to school. Counselor
My child says that another child is treating him/her badly. Teacher
My child is having difficulty making friends. Teacher
I worry that my child is not telling me everything I need to know about his progress in school. Teacher
I can’t get my child to do his/her homework. Teacher
My child will not listen to me anymore. Teacher or Counselor
I’d like to know how to volunteer in my child’s class/school. School Volunteer Program liaison
How can I meet other parent’s? See ‘Get Involved’ above or your child’s school
My child is complaining about his teacher. Teacher first, then Principal
why am I being told that my child must attend summer school? Counselor
How can I apply for a scholarship to cover fees for summer school? Counselor
How do I register my student for summer school? Counselor
How can I check my child’s homework and assignments from home? PIV on the website, or your Teacher
How Can the District Help

Most questions about your child’s education can be resolved at the school level. If you need information beyond what can be provided at the local school level, help is available at the district level.

Question or Subject: The First Person to Talk to is:
I don’t agree with the principal’s decision. Principal, then Directors of School Support 425-456-4109
I’m not happy with my student’s current school and would like to transfer my child to a different school. Student Placement Office 425-456-4200
When does school begin and end and when are the school holidays? Ask your school for a copy of the district calendar, which is also posted on the district website.
When it snows, how do I know if classes are cancelled? See ‘School Closures’ section above
I don’t know who to call. Communications 425-456-4000 or Contact Us page on the district website
My child has a disability and the school has developed a plan to provide services. I disagree with the plan. Special Education Department 425-456-4149
How do I have my child tested for the Gifted program? Gifted Program 425-456-4136
Why must my student attend ELL classes at a school outside our neighborhood? ELL Office 425-456-4135
Where can I get more information about summer school? Summer School Office 425-456-4089
I was told my student will be bussed to a different school. I am concerned. Deputy Superintendent of Operations 425-456-4025
My child was suspended or expelled and I disagree with this punishment. Supervisor of Pupil Management 425-456-4201
How can I apply for a scholarship for preschool or full-day kindergarten? Early Learning Programs Office 425-456-4030
Glossary of Frequently Used Terms and Acronyms
Acronym or Term Definition
AP Advanced Placement.  Students in grades 9-12 may participate in AP courses.  AP courses are academically rigorous courses that help prepare students to be successful after high school.  In contrast to many other districts, we encourage all our high school students to take AP courses.
ASB Associated Student Body.  The official organization that oversees middle and high school program of sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities.  Students must pay a fee to participate in ASB-sponsored activities.  Those who cannot afford to pay these fees should see a counselor to apply for a scholarship to cover them.
AVID Advancement Via Individual Determination.  AVID is a student-support program designed to ensure that all students, especially the students in the middle, complete a college preparatory path.  AVID teaches study skills and questioning strategies to help these students succeed.
AYP Adequate Yearly Progress.  AYP measures each school and district’s success or failure in meeting annual targets in reading and math proficiency. Test scores are separated, by grade, into nine different groups or cells.  Those subgroups are all students; English Language Learners (ELL); students whose family incomes make them eligible for free-and reduced-price lunches; African American, Asian, White, Hispanic, and Native American students; and special education students.  Every cell must meet the same proficiency targets.
BECCA A state law that requires students to attend school regularly and has very specific consequences for those who do not.  More details…
CADR College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs) refer to college admissions criteria established by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.  CADR reflect the minimum number of credits required in six subject areas that students must earn to be eligible for routine admission consideration by four-year public baccalaureate institutions.
Conferences Parent-teacher conferences are private meetings held at elementary and middle schools between parents and teachers.  It’s important to attend the conferences to discuss your child’s strengths and areas for improvement.  Each school sets its own schedule for conferences.  You may also contact your child’s teacher at any time if you wish to discuss your child’s progress in school.
Counselor School counselors help in many ways, such as working with students to solve personal or behavior problems, choose courses in middle and high school, plan for college, find outside resources, monitor student progress and meet with parents.
Curriculum Night Also called “Back to School Night”.  This is a school wide event that takes place in the evening with every classroom teacher discussing what students are learning and what the teacher expects from both students and parents.
Early Dismissal On Wednesdays, school is dismissed early.  The early dismissal days allow teachers time to work together in grade level teams and attend special training.  See your School Profile page for Wednesday dismissal times.
EOC End of Course Exam.  EOC exams in Math are new state tests, as of June 2011. The EOC Biology exam will be given for the first time in June 2012.
ESL/ELL English as a Second Language or English Language Learners.  Students whose native language is not English and who are not completely fluent in English receive English language instruction.  More information.
Family Connections Centers Family Connections Centers, located in some elementary schools, serve families across the District by providing resources such as backpacks and used clothing for children.  They also connect families to agencies that can help them with legal, financial, personal or health problems. More information…
Free and Reduced Some students are eligible to receive school lunches for free or at a reduced cost, based on their family’s annual income.  The identity of students participating in this program is completely confidential.  Families must fill out an application form for this program.  Forms are available online and at each school.
Gifted Program Students with high academic and intellectual ability who pass a special test may qualify for Gifted education programs.  More information…
IB International Baccalaureate.  The IB diploma program is an academically rigorous college preparatory program which focuses on classical liberal arts and sciences.  A full IB program is offered at Interlake High School.  Students in IB courses earn college credit if they perform well on national IB exams.
IEP Individual Education Plan.  These plans are developed for students with certain kinds of disabilities who have been identified as needing Special Education.
IHP Individual Health Plan.  If your child has health concerns that may impact their learning or safety at school, an IHP can be developed, with input from you, your health care provider and the School Nurse.
ILT Instructional Leadership Team.  Each school in the District has established an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).  The ILT includes the school Principal and a group representing certificated teaching staff.  The PLC involves all certificated staff in the school.  The ILT and PLC establish goals to improve student learning and determine strategies for reaching those goals.  Staff members take part in professional development around those strategies, practice with peers and open their classrooms to observe each other’s teaching strategies.
LAP Learning Assistance Program.  This is a supplemental program offered in some schools specifically for students needing extra support with reading skills.  Contact your classroom teacher if you think your child is in need of these services.  More information…
NBCT National Board Certified Teacher.  Teachers who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.
NCLB No Child Left Behind.  Under the 2002 NCLB Act, states are required to test students in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high school.  All students are expected to meet or exceed state standards in reading and math by 2014.
OT Occupational Therapist.  An OT works with students who have been identified as needing Special Education services by helping them improve the functioning of fine motor skills lost through illness or injury.
PAAC Parent Action and Advisory Committee. The PAAC parent group works to promote the highest levels of academic achievement for all students, with a special focus on English Language Learners and culturally and racially diverse students.  PAAC takes an action-oriented approach to develop programs and practices that create the conditions for parent involvement and student success. Learn more…
PLC Professional Learning Communities.  Each school in the District has established an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).  The ILT includes the school Principal and a group representing certificated teaching staff.  The PLC involves all certificated staff in the school.  The ILT and PLC establish goals to improve student learning and determine strategies for reaching those goals.  Staff members take part in professional development around those strategies, practice with peers and open their classrooms to observe each other’s teaching strategies.
PT Physical Therapist.  A PT works with students who have been identified as needing Special Education services by helping them improve the functioning of gross motor skills.  An example of a gross motor skill is moving in or out of a wheel chair.
PTA or PTSA Parent Teacher Association or Parent Teacher Student Association.  This group of parent volunteers provides many services for schools including sponsoring social events and school-wide educational programs.  PTA volunteers help schools stretch their resources. More information…
Resource Room Students who are identified as needing Special Education services, generally under guidelines set up in a child’s IEP (see above), may be assigned to a Resource Room.  Students are pulled from their regular classroom for these specialized services.
Room Parents or Classroom Parent Parents who volunteer in their student’s elementary classroom.  They often help to plan parties, but also assist teachers with office tasks and help individual students.
School Newsline Parents can call the School Newsline to hear a recorded message and find out if schools are closed because of snow or other weather-related emergencies.  The School Newsline number is 425-456-4111.
SIP School Improvement Plan. We expect each school to be engaged in a process of continuous improvement, and the SIP is an avenue for schools to report on and monitor their work. Through the SIP process, schools reflect on their goals, assess their progress and strategies, and refine their approach as needed. Learn more…
SLP Speech Language Pathologist.  A SLP works with students who have been identified as needing Special Education services by diagnosing and providing services to students with speech and communication disorders.
Social Workers Mental health specialists from community agencies such as Youth Eastside Services, who, when parents give their permission, work with students to solve specific problems such as coping with parents’ divorce, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse.

STEM     

 

STEM is short for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.   STEM content can also be found in career and technical education (CTE) and vocational education courses.  Skills developed in STEM courses, such as critical thinking, collaboration, self-directed learning, creativity and communication, are considered essential for success in college and career in the 21st century.
Title 1 A federally funded program that allows schools to provide extra help for students in certain middle and elementary schools in reading and mathematics.  More information…
Tutorial A 30-minute period immediately following the final class of the day in all middle and high schools for students to complete their homework or ask teachers for help.
VIBES Volunteers In Bellevue’s Education System.  This is a District program that recruits and trains parent and community mentor/tutors to spend time with a child each week working on homework, providing other academic support or just being a friend the child can talk to.  You may request a VIBES volunteer tutor for your child by talking to his or her teacher. Learn more…