School "walk zone" vs. attendance area

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    This is premature, as my son won’t be entering kindergarten for a few more years, but I am trying to understand the SPS boundary maps. Right now, we live literally less than two blocks south of the south end of the Fairmount Park Elementary attendance area. The southern boundary is at Juneau, and we are north of Graham. Our house is within easy and safe walking distance to FP, but according to the map our attendance area school is Gatewood (which I am not comfortable allowing a young child to walk to, given that getting there involves crossing Fauntleroy or Morgan and California).

    Anyway, I noticed outside of the “attendance area” boundaries is a second pink line for “walk zone.” Our house is definitely within that boundary. Anyone know what this means? To me it implies that families within that boundary should attend that school, but knowing what I do about SPS, I’m guessing it’s actually meaningless. I did email SPS with this question, but am not confident I’ll get a reply, so I thought I’d ask here. :-)



    Not sure what the pink lines mean, but with three kids currently in SPS, I can tell you they’ve never gone to the school they are suppose to.

    The only thing I can think of that may hold you back from getting your child in to Fairmount Park (Go Falcons!!!) is a waiting list. You should just go straight to the John Stanford building when enrollment is open and sign your child up for FP.



    I am not 100% sure, but I believe walk zone refers to whether you get transportation to and from a school or not. Even if you are not in the walk zone, you can get busing if there is space on a bus near you though (you have to call and request this). Attendance area guarantees you get admission into that neighborhood school. Geozone is for option schools and that also gives you priority after siblings. Both Pathfinder and Stem have those. Since you are not in the attendance area for FP, you will need to apply to it during open enrollment (typically in March) and keep your fingers crossed that there is space in that year’s kindergarten class for out of area kids. There is certainly a good chance you could still get in, but you won’t be guaranteed a spot as you would if you were in the attendance area for FP. Good luck! It is confusing and I feel for parents with young ones. There needs to be better information out there for prospective families trying to navigate the district.



    Every school has an attendance area. If your address is within that area, your child’s initial assignment will be to that school. You can verify your attendance area on the SPS website. Now, within the attendance area is the walk zone (typically, about 2 miles from the school). If you live within the walk zone, you will not be provided transportation and will have to rely on your own means (walk, bike, drive) to get your child to the school.

    You can apply for a different school during the open enrollment period. You can choose an option school or any other school different from your current attendance area school. You are not guaranteed placement and will be placed on the waiting list if there are no open spots at the moment. The lists are active through Sep 30 and are dissolved after that.



    Thanks for the answers, all. What confuses me with the FP map is that the “walk zone” extends beyond the attendance area, so like I said, our house is in the “walk zone” for FP, but we’re not actually in the attendance area (which again, I think is silly…). So I’m still a little confused, but I understand better after your explanations. :-)



    Sarah are you in Highpoint? I noticed our assigned K-6 school is West Seattle but we are in the walking area of FP. I guess what the district is saying is we will be assigned to West Seattle but if we (for some reason) end up in FP then we’ll be walking.



    Skeeter, no, not in High Point–we’re in Fairmount Park neighborhood, west of 35th, east of Fauntleroy, north of Morgan. :-) Boundaries currently have us going to Gatewood. I think you are right, and it aligns with what others said about “option” schools. It’s just funny to me that they drew the boundaries in such a way that the walk zone actually extends past the attendance area. ;-)

    Edit: Like I said in my OP, I was planning *way* ahead… my kid won’t even be entering K until fall 2018 (he’s just 1.5 now), but I figured I should keep an eye on these things and try to figure out some of these aspects sooner than later!



    Good for you for keeping an eye on things, but history suggests that the current zoning plan will change once or twice before your kid gets to kindergarten. I wouldn’t stress too much about it just yet.

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