Waukee Community School District is preparing to open a second high school in 2021 with the support of staff, students, parents and community members. The following are frequently asked questions (FAQ) received from stakeholders. Please note, we will post submitted questions and answers as information is available and decisions have been made.
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Administration and staff will involve students when planning for the opening of the second high school in a manner that doesn’t overshadow the current high school students, activities, athletics, etc. Students currently in 7th, 8th and 9th grade (graduating classes of 2022, 2023, 2024) will be the first students to transition into two high schools. A timeline and process for branding the second high school will be shared with the Board of Education at the start of the 2019 calendar year. Administration will communicate with families as more details become available.
If a grade level configuration change is part of the recommendation to the BOE the administrators will work closely with staff, students and families to ensure a smooth transition for academics, curricular and extracurricular opportunities.
The WCSD Board of Education, during the Jan. 23, 2018 meeting discussed which options would be considered. The two options include 1) the current grade level configuration: K-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12 or 2) K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
Districts across the state have a wide variety of grade-level configurations depending on the size of the district, whether the enrollment in the district is decreasing or increasing and the facilities available for students. Some districts have a stand-alone kindergarten building. Some have K-8, K-2 and 3-5 or 3-8 buildings. Many districts have changed grade level configuration throughout the years as enrollment changes, or sharing agreements/mergers are implemented.
Yes, the facilities can currently accommodate the two options that are under consideration. The current grade level configuration: K-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12 or 2) K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
The district has initiated a traffic study which will be completed this spring. The study will include recommendations that could impact daily schedules for buildings, traffic flow improvements, etc. Results will be shared with the community upon receipt and analysis of the study.
The district hopes to announce the location for elementary #10 prior to the end of the school year.
If there are no changes to the current grade level configuration a solution for overcrowding at the 6-7 level will be needed in 2022 or 2023. This is based on enrollment projections shared with the district in January 2018.
At this point, the answer to your question is yes. The administration will work closely with students and families to offer opportunities for students to generate excitement in being a part of creating the culture for the second high school. Administration has also been in contact with other districts to learn from their success and also what things to avoid when adding a second high school. We want this to be an exciting time for students, their families, and the communities we serve.
Open Enrollment is the process by which parents/guardians residing in an Iowa district may enroll their children into another Iowa school district under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code section 282.18 and 281–Iowa Administrative Code 17. The deadline for students entering Grades 1-12 is March 1. The deadline for students entering kindergarten is September 1.
Waukee Community School District does not offer internal open enrollment between our attendance centers. Board of Education Policy 501.15 provides guidance for student attendance center placement.
This year (2017-18) open enrollment students are at Woodland Hills Elementary, Waukee Elementary and Walnut Hills Elementary.
The district assigns open enrolled students to buildings based on the availability of space. Building assignments can change year-to-year for some open enrolled students if a building becomes overcrowded.
Open enrolled students from Des Moines, Indianola, I-35, Martensdale St. Mary’s, Norwalk, Southeast Polk, Van Meter or West Des Moines (Except Clive) Community School District are assigned to attend Woodland Hills Elementary School, South Middle School, Timberline School or Waukee High School.
Open enrolled students from Ankeny, Dallas Center-Grimes, Johnston, West Des Moines (Clive) or Urbandale Community School District are assigned to attend Walnut Hills Elementary School.
Open enrolled students from Adel-Desoto-Minburn, Earlham, Panorama, Perry, West Central Valley or Winterset Community School District are assigned to attend Waukee Elementary School, Waukee Middle School, Prairieview School or Waukee High School.
There are 237 students currently open enrolled into Waukee Community School District. Buildings with less than 10 students cannot be reported to protect the privacy of those students and their families.
- Woodland Hills Elementary = 19 open enrolled students
- Waukee Elementary = 13 open enrolled students
- Walnut Hills Elementary = 45 open enrolled students
- Waukee Middle School = 22 open enrolled students
- Prairieview = 14 open enrolled students
- Timberline = 20 open enrolled students
- Waukee High School = 72
The district is in the process of finalizing the committee members for the upcoming boundary committee. If you would like to be considered for future district committees please complete our volunteer form. There is a question that asks: Are you interested in volunteering for a District-level committee (i.e. Boundary, focus groups, etc.)?
The Comprehensive Boundary Process Begins in February 2018.
Waukee CSD continues to experience rapid enrollment growth. School boundaries have to change to populate new schools and to alleviate overcrowding at existing school buildings.
We take many factors into consideration when defining an attendance area. Since managing enrollment growth is our primary concern, we first look at:
- building growth projections and capacity
- feeder patterns
- community unity (i.e., not splitting a neighborhood)
- geographic proximity
- frequency of change for students
- program accommodations and student needs
The enrollment numbers you see posted on the maps (upper right corner) for our buildings are projected numbers from RSP & Associates. The capacity number in each column is a number calculated during the initial design of the given facility (design capacity). The design capacity is the result of a mathematical formula which includes factoring room utilization at a 75% utilization rate.
- For example, at Waukee Middle School, we operate on an eight-period per day schedule. Teachers are scheduled to teach 6/8 of those periods (or 75%). Thereby leaving some rooms vacant for two periods.
- District and building administration have worked together with our demographers on utilization studies to predict future needs for additional facilities. Simply stated, in instances where yellow shading (upper right corner) is noted we are reaching initial design capacity for that specific facility. We can make internal adjustments, at times building modifications, assigning a greater utilization factor for a specific building, or other adjustments.
Here is what we know today (Summer 2019):
- We have purchased land for elementary #10 (located west of Ute Avenue and north of Ashworth Road). We anticipate opening this PK-5 elementary school in the fall of 2022.
- We are making plans for an addition on to Vince Meyer Learning Center, opening in the fall of 2021. That facility will house 20-22 preschool (PK) rooms, giving additional capacity flexibility in elementary schools that currently host preschool classrooms.
- Our middle-level buildings are growing as well and we are starting the initial conversations to prepare for a third middle-level building. With a third middle-level building, there will come a change in building alignments with three middle-level buildings feeding to two high schools.
- Option 1 does distribute growth evenly west, based on what we know today.
The difference in projected student enrollment at the opening of the new high school in 2021 is as follows:
- Option 1: estimated 130 student differential with fairly equal future growth
- Option 2: estimated 480 student differential with this model allowing for larger opportunity for future growth, while opening with a smaller number of students, knowing it will increase and close the gap quickly.
Based on current enrollment projects, housing developments and four municipalities’ growth, as well as major roads used as boundaries, it is difficult to know what is and isn’t accounted for at this time and families moving in and out of our district. However, we use the information available from the cities within the Waukee CSD to determine future growth, however also understand that any significant economic changes, developments, etc. could affect student enrollment numbers.
- Option 1 (F/RL):
- Northwest High School Feeder Pattern: 532 of a total number of students in grades 3-12 (4,540).
- Waukee High School Feeder Pattern: 956 of a total number of students in grades 3-12 (4,089).
- Option 2 (F/RL):
- Northwest High School Feeder Pattern: 721 of a total number of students in grades 3-12 (3,432).
- Waukee High School Feeder Pattern: 767 of a total number of students in grades 3-12 (5,197).
As you can imagine, this information and data collection changes weekly and is a constant moving target in such a rapidly growing district. What we are doing is keeping on pace with trends, programming, student needs, developments and ensuring our students are achieving the best education our families are accustomed to in Waukee CSD.
- The information used to determine “Demographic Considerations” is from April 2019. The data collected is broken down by school/attendance center.
- General similarity is providing the most balanced and similar experiences for students. In Waukee, students are our focus and any programming needs a student or school would need, we have been and will continue to provide to reach academic success for each student.
- The data used is from our student information system. (PowerSchool)
- The goal is to balance demographics, programming needs, student needs for example and other variables for a similar type of student demographics at each school. We have excellent building leaders that are always working with the administration to meet the needs of our students.
We understand this would be a concern and one we recognize this as a consideration when discussing Option 2. To provide transportation from the southern part of the district to Northwest High School would be a challenge as we grow, but one we would work within the confines of our district roads and congestion should the Board vote to implement Option 2.
- Yes, attendance center boundaries will change at all grade levels again within our school district boundaries. Extensive growth in the western Des Moines metropolitan area, of which our school district is comprised of many of these suburbs, over the past twenty years has resulted in continuous school building construction. With the opening of elementary #10 in the fall of 2022 we anticipate modifications to bordering elementary attendance center boundaries going into that fall. Most of those families affected by that change will be currently attending Maple Grove, Woodland Hills and Waukee Elementary.
- As we look to add another middle-level building, the need for change will happen again.
Either the Fall of 2020 or the Fall of 2021. This will be part of the Board recommendation and ultimate vote on July 22.
This will be part of future discussions, and we do appreciate the consideration.
This will be part of future discussions and hasn’t been officially determined. However, to balance numbers and schools, Elementary #10 would most likely reside in the Waukee High School feeder or purple section on the map in Option 1 and Northwest Feeder or green section on Option 2.
We are continually monitoring the growth of our district. At this time a third high school is a consideration and a topic of conversation. However, the actual opening of a third high school is more than 10-15 years away, so many of the current students would not be affected by that change. If growth is spurred by a development(s) and we see the need sooner, we will adjust accordingly.
- During the March 6 Board Work Session, it was apparent we had to look back at our criteria and Option 3 was to balance demographics but did not keep neighborhoods intact or duration of boundaries. It became apparent that Option 2 (east/west) should be considered and vetted.
- From March-May our administration met with staff, including teachers, building administrations, SIAC (parents/community members), and the Board to walk through a series of exercises without actual maps in front of them as to not sway the decision making based on location. This included; Board/BC criteria, demographic numbers, building capacity, transportation and other factors brought forth by staff. They were asked to find compelling reasons and data to support Option 1 or 2.
- For students who are not residents of the Waukee CSD, we will follow the current policies regarding Open Enrollment under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code section 282.18 and 281–Iowa Administrative Code 17. More information can be found here: https://waukeeschools.org/enroll/open-enrollment/
- For students who are residents of the Waukee CSD, requests for attendance/boundary changes will be considered in accordance with policy and procedures.