Steamboat Springs redraws school districts as it prepares for new school
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs School District released plans to set new geographical boundaries in the district for the first time in 40 years, changing where many students go to school within the district.
The district is setting new boundaries for the first time since Strawberry Park Elementary School opened in 1981. Like then, the current changes are being made to accommodate a new school, Sleeping Giant School, the new kindergarten to eighth-grade school being built on the west side of town.
“We drew these new boundaries, we played with it a lot to make sure that we were balancing not only school population but the demographic makeup of the schools,” said Mark Rydberg, the district’s finance director.
A planning committee of community members and school officials drew the boundaries with anticipated growth and development in mind and hoped to create a balanced demographic profile.
Students currently in seventh and fourth grade will be allowed to finish out their last year at the school they have been attending as long as they submit an intra-district form by Feb. 12, 2021.
All other students can still try to open enroll at a different school than they are assigned by submitting an intra-district form by June 8, 2021.
Seventh and fourth-graders who apply will be automatically placed in the school they request. The rest of the spots will be filled through a lottery of students who applied to move.
Previously, this had been done on a first-come, first-served basis, but with the likelihood of more intra-district transfer requests this year and in the hopes of a more equitable process for everyone who applies, the district decided on a lottery.
“We thought, if we do a lottery and we make it a bigger window, we will give equal opportunity for all people to apply for this,” Rydberg said.
There also will be consideration given to sibling students. Students who already have a sibling at the school will be given priority, but there needs to be room in the grade for them to actually transfer.
Parents will be informed of which school their students will attend next fall by June 18, 2021.
There is no change to annual March open enrollment period for new students. This would include any students who stopped attending school in the district during the pandemic. There also are not any changes being made to the annual student update event in May.
While some lobbied for the new school to open with sixth grade being the highest grade and let that first class of sixth-graders grow to eighth grade with the school, the large size of the current seventh grade class prompted district officials to have the school open with all grades.
Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools will still have three sections of each grade level, with a goal of having 360 students at each school. Sleeping Giant will start with two sections of each grade level with a total of 240 students.
For sixth- through eighth-grade students, there will be six sections of each grade, totaling 450 students at Steamboat Springs Middle School. Another two sections will be offered at Sleeping Giant, serving about 150 students.
There are plans to offer pre-kindergarten at all three schools that serve elementary school students.
The redrawn boundaries will change where a lot of students currently attend school. The new population of students at Strawberry Park will have more students who went to Soda Creek the year prior than those staying at the same school.
At Sleeping Giant, 114 of the students will have previously gone to Strawberry Park and 64 to Soda Creek.
The district will have three different zones, one for each of the elementary level school.
The West Boundary students will attend Sleeping Giant School. They include students from Steamboat II, Silver Spur, Heritage Park, West Acres, West End, Sleepy Bear, as well as neighborhoods accessed by Routt County Road 129.
The Central Boundary students will attend Soda Creek Elementary School and Steamboat Middle School and will include students from the Reserves, Riverside, Whitehaven, Fairview, Conestoga, Indian Trails, Dream Island and downtown neighborhoods east to Second Avenue. It will also include the area east of Routt County Road 33, south of U.S. Highway 40 and west of U.S. 40, including Brooklyn, Treehaus, Daugherty Road, south of Walton Creek Road and west of Whistler Road.
The East Boundary students will attend Strawberry Park Elementary School and Steamboat Middle School and include students who live east of Second Avenue, north and east of U.S. 40 including Alpenglow, Fish Creek Falls mobile home park, the Tamarack, Hillside and Fish Creek Falls neighborhoods as well as Steamboat Boulevard and other mountain neighborhoods.
All students will still have access to a bus to get to school. Most students will continue to ride the same bus, it just may now take them to a different school.
Open-enrolled students in the West Boundary can ride the bus in their area and be transferred from Sleeping Giant to one of the other schools. If in the Central or East Boundary, students will be able to ride a bus from the Stockbridge Transit Center to Sleeping Giant.
“They can still get on one of our buses and then get to another school,” Rydberg said.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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