Choice School and Programs Frequently Asked Questions
All students in the Bellevue School District are guaranteed a spot at their attendance area school. These Frequently Asked Questions are for those interested in applying for entry to a Choice School or Choice Program.The Choice School application period is for incoming 2021 kindergarten and 6th grade students applying for initial entry:
- incoming kindergarten students applying to Jing Mei, Puesta del Sol & Spanish DL Program and
- incoming 6th grade students applying to International and Big Picture School.
Students in all other grade levels may submit an application to the existing waitlists for possible entry in the fall for the upcoming school year. New applicants will be added to the bottom of their appropriate grade level waitlist in the order received.
If my student is currently enrolled in a Choice School or Choice Program, do I need to submit another application for them to remain in the program next year?
No. You only need to submit a Choice School/Program application if you wish to request a different school or program for your student.
If my student is in 5th grade and currently enrolled in a Choice School or Choice Program that requires changing schools, do I need to take any action?
No, students attending Puesta del Sol, Jing Mei and Spanish Dual Language Programs will automatically roll-up to the assigned middle school:
- Mandarin Dual Language students will attend Tillicum Middle School.
- Spanish Dual Language students will attend Highland Middle School.
- Spanish Immersion or ISA students will attend Tillicum Middle School.
If my student is in 8th grade and currently enrolled in a Choice School or Choice Program that requires changing schools, do I need to take any action?
Dual Language students will automatically roll-up to the assigned high school:
- Mandarin Dual Language students will attend Tillicum Middle School then Newport HS.
- Spanish Dual Language students will attend Highland Middle School then Sammamish HS.
8th grade Spanish Immersion or ISA students will need to choose Newport HS or Sammamish HS: (You will receive an email in December from email@example.com requesting a reply with your decision)
- Spanish Immersion or ISA students will attend Tillicum Middle School then Newport or Sammamish HS.
*Nonresident students: If your student is enrolled in a Choice Program and will be changing schools/levels as described above, you must submit a BSD Interdistrict Transfer application requesting enrollment at the new school in addition to the 2021-2022 Choice Transfer Request to your resident district.
What if my student doesn’t want to continue to 6th grade in the Choice Program or attend the assigned school?
Your student is always guaranteed to return to their home attendance area school. If your student will be withdrawing from the Choice Program for the 2021-2022 school year, please notify both the Choice School/Program school and your home school of your transfer plans. If interested, you may apply through Open Transfer for a different school or incoming 6th grade students may submit Choice School applications for entry level to International School and/or Big Picture school. Nonresident students are not guaranteed continued BSD enrollment; in this situation please contact Student Placement to find out if any BSD enrollment options are available.
What are the Choice Schools/Programs?
For Kindergarten entry:
- Puesta del Sol (Spanish Immersion)
- Jing Mei (Mandarin Dual Language)
- Spanish Dual Language Program (at Lake Hills, Sherwood Forest or Stevenson)
For 6th grade entry:
- International School
- Big Picture
What is a Choice School/Program?
Choice Schools/Program offer unique learning environments. For information on each choice school, please visit Choice Schools. For information on Spanish Dual Language Programs, please visit Spanish Dual Language Programs.
How are students admitted to these schools?
Admission to these schools is during the Choice Schools/Program application period and only for entry into Kindergarten or 6th grade.
What is the timeframe?
Choice School/Program applications will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 7, 2020 through Friday, January 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. It is not first come, first served: All students who apply will be placed in a lottery for each school/program. From the lottery an acceptance list and a waitlist will be created. This is done after the close of Choice School/Program Applications.
Choice School/Program notifications will be emailed in late February 2021 for Big Picture School and International School and in mid March 2021 for Jing Mei, Puesta del Sol and Spanish Dual Language Program.
Who can apply for a Choice School/Program?
Choice Schools/Program are only open to residents of the Bellevue School District*—the student must be physically living within the boundaries of the district at the time of application.
Per Washington State Law and District Policy, the nonresident children of Bellevue School District full-time employees** may apply as resident students. Full-time employment status will be verified by Student Placement (full-time is .75 FTE or 30 hours per week).
*Waitlist applications will be accepted from nonresident students for Bellevue Big Picture School, priority is given to Bellevue School District resident students:
- Big Picture school will accept online waitlist applications for secondary students. Applicants will be added to the bottom of the appropriate nonresident grade level waitlist in the order received.
- After the close of the entry level application period, the Big Picture online waitlist application will open for 2020-21 incoming 6th grade applicants who missed the deadline. Current 5th grade nonresident students may apply to be added to the nonresident waitlist at this time.
**The parent/guardian is working for the Bellevue School District (i.e. teacher, principal, in a support function) not that the parent/guardian works in the Bellevue community.
What if my student does not meet the age requirement to enter kindergarten, but will take the Early Entrance to Kindergarten assessment?
If your student turns 5 years old on or before October 31st of the entry year you may submit an application for kindergarten entry. If your student is selected in the lottery and offered placement, your student’s actual enrollment will be contingent on whether they qualify through Early Entrance testing, they will retain their spot pending the assessment results. If your student does not qualify the placement offer will be rescinded and the spot will be offered to the next student on the waitlist. Being selected via the lottery and offered placement is not a valid reason to appeal the results of the early entrance assessment should your student not pass.
What if my elementary student is entering a grade other than Kindergarten?
Students who wish to join the waitlists for other grades may submit a Choice School/Program waitlist application. New applicants will be added to the bottom of the existing waitlists in the order received for possibly entry in the fall for the upcoming school year. Students applying for language programs will be required to pass an appropriate grade level language proficiency screening.
What if my student is interested in International School and is not entering the sixth grade?
Students who wish to join the waitlist at International may submit an online application and will be added to the bottom of the appropriate grade level waitlist in the order received.
What if my student is interested in Big Picture and is not entering the sixth grade?
When you submit your application to Big Picture School you will be able to select your student’s grade level. Applicants will be added to the bottom of the appropriate grade level waitlist in the order received with priority is given Bellevue School District resident students.
How does the application process work?
Applications are completed online at our Apply to Choice Schools and Programs page. Families may access online applications using a kiosk at any school, the district office or they may complete a paper application available from Student Placement. Applicant information from paper applications will be entered by Student Placement personnel into the online application process.
How can we be sure Student Placement received our application?
Once you submit your application, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been received. This email will be sent to the email address you provided on your application.
What if we do not receive an email confirming our application has been received?
If you do not receive the confirmation email, please check your spam and junk boxes before contacting us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your student’s name and the choice school/program requested. We will confirm if the application was received or instruct you to resubmit it.
Can we apply multiple times to the same school or program to improve our chances in the lottery?
No. Any student with multiple applications to the same school/program will have all submissions discarded and will be removed from the Choice School/Program application process.
Can we apply to multiple schools?
Yes. Students may submit an application to each Choice School or Choice Program that is appropriate for your student’s grade level.
Can we apply to all three Spanish Dual Language Program Schools?
No. You may submit one application and indicate which school you prefer. If your preferred school is no longer available when we get to your student on the waitlist, you will be offered placement at the available school(s) or placed on a waitlist at your request.
How do the lotteries work?
Following the close of the Choice Schools/Program application period, a lottery is held for each school/program. Student numbers are placed on a list in the order drawn for that school/program.
Can we attend the lottery drawing?
All lotteries are closed to the public.
How will we be notified of the results of the lottery?
Notification will be made via email to the email provided on the application. Please add the email@example.com email address to your list of safe emails so you can receive notifications. Families will either receive a notification of available placement or an email with your student’s place on the waitlist.
What happens if we are placed on a waitlist?
If your student is placed on a waitlist, please plan on attending your attendance area school. If space becomes available, Student Placement will contact families immediately to get students in their schools as soon as possible.
Can a sibling automatically attend the same school?
No, siblings who do not apply will not be admitted. The new sibling must submit an application to be considered for enrollment. The new sibling will have preference in admission provided that both siblings will attend the school together for a minimum of one year.
How long do we have to accept an offer to a Choice School/Program?
Initial offers in February and March will have 1 week to respond, then 2 weeks to enroll and submit residency documents. Please reply to the offer email you receive and pay particular attention to the deadlines to accept an offer and submit paperwork. All students joining a Choice School/Program will have required paperwork including verification of residency. Failure to submit the paperwork in the timeframe provided may result in the offer being rescinded.
If a spot is accepted at a Choice School/Program will by student still be considered for an other Choice School/Program?
Once a student has accepted a spot at one choice school/program, their name will be removed from all other choice school/program waitlists.
What if I missed the initial entry application period?
After the Choice Schools/Programs entry application period closes, the waitlists will open for entry grade levels (current 5th grade and P-4 students). Current 5th grade and P-4 students who did not apply during the entry application period, will be able to submit a waitlist application and will be added to the bottom of the appropriate waitlist in the order received. These applicants will indicate the student’s current grade level (5th grade for incoming 6th grade students and P-4 for incoming kindergarten students) when applying.
I applied for a Choice Schools/Programs last year and my student was put on a waitlist, do I need to apply again this year?
No, applicants on Choice Schools/Programs waitlists will roll-up each next year.
Who do we contact if we have questions?
If you have questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with specific information: student name, grade, school, address, etc. We will answer your question as soon as we are able.