Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are you revising attendance boundaries?
A: Several of our schools are at or over their recommended capacity to hold students, and therefore have placed classrooms in portables or do not have the ability to add any electives. They have no space to add teachers, and would experience increasingly larger class sizes without any changes to the attendance boundaries. At the same time, several of our schools have room for growth. You can learn more about school capacity by looking at the statistics overview of the committee’s proposal.
We know change can be very difficult and frustrating, and we certainly would not be making revisions if we didn’t face an urgent need to ease overcrowding.
Q: When do the boundaries take effect? Will there be the possibility of “grandfathering” for some students?
A: The new attendance boundaries will likely take effect in September 2020, but the School Board must formally adopt the transition plan and timelines for new attendance boundaries. A transition timeline will be recommended by the Administration after any boundary adjustments are recommended by the Committee. The Committee is not charged with establishing a timetable for potential changes.
Q: With Hood River growing in size, why wouldn’t you build a new school?
A: Hood River County School District is not actually experiencing an increase in student enrollment overall. Rather, the district is experiencing uneven rates of enrollment growth and decline throughout the County with a flat/slightly downward trendline over the next decade. With ample space in many schools (and overcrowding in others) it does not make financial sense to build a new school prior to utilizing existing facilities.
Q: How was growth and development considered in the plan? What data was used?
A: The district, with the consultants at FLO Analytics, has collected and compiled data from various sources to determine residence-based enrollment projections. This includes historical and current student enrollment grade progression trends, population and census records, birth rates, land use laws, county and city planning and permitting of new housing developments, existing enrollment and facility capacities, etc.
Q: Was transportation time and walking distance considered in this plan?
A: Yes. The committee has carefully considered existing walking paths and infrastructure, and the district’s transportation director has served as a technical advisor to the committee, weighing in on any impacts to bus routes.
Q: When will the final decision be made public?
A: May/June 2019. The Committee will take input from the first open house and make adjustments as needed before bringing a second draft proposal to the community again on April 23. Any final adjustments will be made after April 23 by the Committee and a subsequent recommendation will be provided to the Superintendent. The Superintendent will make a proposal to the board for a final decision in May or June based on these recommendations.
Q: How will staffing decisions be made and will new staff be added for particular programs so that both schools have equal programs?
A: In general, staff are assigned to where the students are. Staff decisions are made in alignment with the collective bargaining agreements, the staffing budgets for the district as a whole based on the Oregon legislature’s budget, and school-based program needs.
Q: How do the boundary changes affect class size?
A: Class size is primarily a factor of the state budget (“State School Fund”) and available space to add teachers. With adequate state funding, changes to boundaries will enable us to maintain smaller than average class sizes as there would be available classroom space to add additional teachers.
Q: What is the projected attendance at each school in this proposal?
A: The committee is working with specific maximum target capacities that they should not exceed based on projections for 2023. The numbers associated with the committee’s draft proposal indicate the number of students anticipated to reside within that school attendance area upon completion of the boundary revisions. This could change with future revisions to the proposed boundaries during this process.
Q: Will there be any changes to the proposal viewed at the first open house?
The committee will review all feedback provided at the open house and in the online form. This will inform any possible revisions that would be presented at the April 23 open house.
Q: How was the committee selected, and are they just trying to make changes that benefit themselves?
A: The Committee consists of 13 parents, seven principals (from the five elementaries and two middle schools), and two district administrators. Parent members were nominated by their principals, and collectively, have children attending every school in Hood River County School District. The Committee was designed to balance perspectives from various schools.
Q: Why was there a phone survey and who did it go out to?
A: FLO Analytics worked with survey expert “Critical Data” to survey 265 households in Hood River County. Critical Data completed one-on-one executive-style telephone interviews in order to get statistically significant and proportionally representative community feedback from parents/guardians across the district. Households interviewed included:
- 74 parents/guardians of middle school students (140 students)
- 85 parents/guardians of elementary school students (264 students)
- 51 households surveyed with students from both elementary and middle school (74 elementary, 59 middle school students)
These conversations informed the guiding principles and the committee’s decisions making process by elevating our communities’ values. Specifically, Hood River County parents care most about:
- Small class sizes
- Access to special programs like dual language instruction and engineering
- Keeping elementary classes together in their transition to middle school.
- Creating and maintaining neighborhood schools
Q: How does academic programming and student achievement compare from school to school in Hood River County School District?
A: Educators across our district receive the same professional development and work with the same specialists and support systems, such as TAG, English Language Development, and Special Education.
Elementary - All of our elementary schools use the same curriculum materials for math, literacy, science and PE/Health. They all provide: a 90-minute reading block with extra reading intervention when necessary; at least 60 minutes of math instruction; and the same special offerings, including PE, music, technology and library time.
Middle - Both schools use the same curriculum materials for math, literacy, science, and PE/Health. They also have comparable elective offerings in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), PE, and music. Both school’s STEAM programs are centered on student interests, and receive extraordinary community and grant support to fill classrooms with state-of-the-art equipment and materials. We are also proud that both schools produce robotics teams that win regional and state-level competitions. In fact, Wy’east sent a team to the World Championship last year after outperforming 59 other teams from across Oregon and neighboring states!
Dual Language in Hood River County School District - Mid Valley Elementary and Wy’east Middle uniquely host our only dual-language program. Students who elect to participate in these programs receive general education instruction, e.g. math, science, etc., in both English and Spanish. These students are excellent candidates for receiving the Oregon Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation from high school.
Consistent with nationwide trends for dual language learners, academic achievement at Mid Valley and Wy’east can appear lower at first glance (e.g. lower scores on standardized English Language Arts tests in 3rd grade). However, when biliteracy is achieved over time, students in our program consistently outperform or are on par with their like-demographics across the state on standardized tests administered at the end of middle school.
Q: Do parents have the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes?
A: YES -- April is about collecting your direct input and feedback on the proposed map(s). Your collective knowledge of the communities our district encompasses will help us come to the best possible solution to a very tough challenge.
Provide your comments online (https://www.hoodriver.k12.or.us/Page/9136) or attend our next community open house on April 23 from 6 to 8 pm at Hood River Middle School.