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WE Collaborate: High School Transition Plan

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." – William Arthur Ward.

All five comprehensive high schools in the Beaverton School District are "adjusting their sails" this year, as they prepare for new high school boundaries to take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. That adjustment has been months in the making and continues through today.

"During the boundary process for the new high school, the high school administrators realized how much movement was going to happen between schools and how much they were going to need to work together," says Executive Administrator for High Schools & Option Programs Mike Chamberlain.

Once the School Board approved the key elements of the transition plan, secondary administrators sat down together to determine the best way to implement the transitions and support students. "We had conversations around academics, extracurricular activities, and communication," says Southridge High School Principal David Nieslanik.

The group came up with common agreements and developed a transition process for their in-building work. "We all want what's best for your student," says Beaverton High School Principal Anne Erwin. "We all want to make this transition a positive experience for every student."

During November and December, all high schools held several tours. They spread the word by reaching out to their feeder schools, as well as communicating directly with incoming families. In December, Beaverton High School, one of the schools that will see the most change with the new boundaries, held an event focused on the storied history of the school, with an eye on the present and a look toward the future. "This was our opportunity to tell our Beaverton story to new families. It looked at the past and where it brings us to in the present, our strengths, our core values," says Erwin.

Administrators at the high schools worked with middle school principals to focus on making the forecasting experience the same for all incoming students. Forecasting begins in late January and runs through February. High school counselors will be at the same middle school on the same day.

Other areas of collaboration include holding the curriculum night for all existing high schools, on the same date, Wednesday, February 22. Due to space, the curriculum night for the new high school will be on February 23.

The administrative transfer process, which requires a great deal of collaboration between high school administrators, will take place earlier in the year. "Even though we're very busy, all six of us have a couple of things in common. We care deeply for our school. Students are the center of every single conversation we have. At the end of the conversation, we all have the same goal," says Nieslanik.