The Enatai PTSA Board formally adopted this position regarding the BSD Consolidation process:

"Enatai Elementary School should remain open to preserve its unique and diverse culture and position in the neighborhood, and should warmly welcome and accept new students from any attendance area boundary redistricting in the Bellevue School District."

 

Hello Enatai Parents,

We have created this guide to assist you in taking informed action in the days ahead in regards to the consolidation of elementary schools.  We’ve tried to be as concise as possible while still giving you all the information you need to navigate this process.  Informing ourselves and uniting together as a community is the best way for us to keep Enatai Elementary open for our neighborhood students!

The information in this guide is laid out in sections: 

  • What We’ve Learned - What is the situation we are in?
  • The Decision Process - Who is making these decisions & what is the timeline?
  • What You Can Do - It’s action time!
  • Letter Writing Guidance - Ideas about how to frame your thoughts.
  • Factors to Consider - Enatai Is Awesome!!
     

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED:

  • Bellevue School District is consolidating elementary schools to help with declining enrollment that is projected to decline further in the next 10 years.  Additional information about the situation can be found in these videos from BSD:
  • Enatai is in a “Triangle of Consolidation” with Woodridge and Wilburton.  It is likely that these three schools will be combined into two schools for Fall of 2023.  (See Current Boundary Map - PDF)
    • If Enatai is closed, students would potentially move to Woodridge and Wilburton schools.
    • If Wilburton is closed, students would potentially move to Clyde Hill, Enatai, and Woodridge.  Note:  This distribution is reversing the boundary adjustments that occurred when Wilburton opened in Fall of 2018.
    • If Woodridge is closed, students would potentially move to Enatai and Wilburton.
  • Students and Staff will move together to a new location.  Students who move to a new building will still see familiar staff, and schools who receive new students will not have ballooning class sizes.
     

THE DECISION PROCESS:

  • In order to prioritize elementary school community needs, this decision will be made independently from other decisions that BSD also needs to make.  In other words, a school will not be closed “so that we can do this other thing with that building.” Decisions about what to do with newly empty buildings (use for choice school, lease out, etc.) will be made at a later date.  Plans for Middle Schools will happen during the 2023-2024 school year.  High School plans will also be considered at a later date.

  • The District’s Executive Team will be making a recommendation of which schools to consolidate, with the ultimate decision resting with the Superintendent.  The School Board will advise on the process, ensuring engagement of stakeholders throughout the process.  

  • BSD Leadership will present their decision at the School Board Meeting on February 9, unless there are unforeseen reasons for them to delay.  Unless there are important reasons for them not to, we expect the School Board to approve BSD’s decision.
     

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • First, Join or Renew your Enatai PTSA Membership if you have not already done so.  Strong Communities have strong PTAs, and this is definitely a time to show that Enatai Elementary has a strong community!  You do not have to have a student at Enatai Elementary to join the Enatai PTSA.

    • We have scholarships available that make PTSA membership free of charge.  Please email president@enataiptsa.org to receive a scholarship.  No questions asked - we want you to join us and help make our amazing Enatai community even more amazing.

  • Attend the PTSA Planning/Strategy Session on Tuesday, January 17 at 7pm on Google Meet.  We will send the link for this in an email on Tuesday. 

  • Make sure your friends know what is going on!  The more people who are informing the decision makers about Enatai’s uniqueness and strengths, the better.
  • !! Come to the Listening Session at the Enatai Multi purpose room on 1/24 from 6-7pm !!  BSD is looking at many factors to consider on how best to move forward, but they also know there is information they don’t know.  In order to capture it, decision-makers will conduct listening sessions at each of the seven schools on the list. This is a critical time for BSD to hear your voice, and to show them how active and engaged our community is.  

  • Send a Letter to the Decision-Makers and let them know what it would mean to you if Enatai Elementary was selected to close.  Write to the following people:

LETTER WRITING GUIDANCE:

  • Writing from the heart is always a good place to start.  The District has plenty of Excel spreadsheets, numbers, forecasts and data.   What they don’t have is your story.  Write it!

  • Our job is not to tell them which schools to close, but to highlight why ours should remain open.  In the next section are some factors that we think the District should consider.  Which of these speak to you personally?  

  • How has your family benefitted from a program or situation that is specifically because of Enatai?  Write about one of the items on the list below, or come up with your own (and tell us what that is so we can add it to the list!).  

  • What is it about Enatai Elementary and the neighborhood that surrounds it that is unique and should remain?  The District believes that every student will get an excellent education no matter what building they are in.  Explain “Why Enatai.”

  • Do not Copy/Paste.  They will be getting hundreds of letters in the next few weeks.  As soon as they realize they’ve “already received that letter from someone else” they’ll be on to the next one hoping to learn something new.  Make yours unique, and it will be read word for word.  

  • Empathy Is Key.  Our School Board is an unpaid group of people who have been elected by the city’s residents to represent ALL families in our community.  School District employees are having to make some very hard decisions, in very difficult circumstances.  Coming from a place of information and collaboration will be received much better than with vitriol and venom.

  • Avoid negative comparisons with other schools.  Our friends and neighbors work and study at these other schools, and although we don’t know for sure how it will shake out, we will be combining forces in some way with some of them next year.  Let’s make sure we stick with Enatai’s core values of respect and inclusiveness.  Negativity is not a strategy for success.
     

FACTORS TO CONSIDER:

  • Enatai is a neighborhood school. Many of our families walk or ride their bikes to school each day. If our kids were to attend either Wilburton or Woodridge, none of them would be able to do this due to the barrier of I-405. 

  • Enatai Elementary has a unique history within the city of Bellevue.  Enatai Elementary opened its doors in 1953.  2023 is the 70th anniversary of our school.   We have had second and third generation students attend Enatai Elementary.

  • Enatai Elementary has a strong community that sees our school as a Community Hub.  Enatai PTSA was founded in 1978.  Our community has been coming together as a PTSA to support our school for 45 years.  Many people purchase homes in this neighborhood in large part because of the community, and our school is definitely a hub in our community.

  • Enatai is the only school on the west side of I-405 being considered for consolidation.  Woodridge and Wilburton are both on the east side.  Closing Enatai would mean bussing the entire Enatai, Surrey Downs, and Downtown Core neighborhoods across a freeway.  This will be a major barrier to the fostering of community.

  • HopeLink and Low-Income housing are within Enatai’s boundaries. This is a demographic that may not have access to personal transportation.  Currently, these families can walk to school and school community events.  That will end if Enatai is closed, further isolating what can already be a marginalized community.

  • Enatai is an Inclusive Practices Pilot/Continuum of Services school.  Students with special needs are served in the same general education classroom as other students. This pilot program, which is only at 3 elementary schools, has been successful in supporting students remaining in their neighborhood school (as opposed to attending center-based programs away from their neighborhood school), forming meaningful relationships within the community where they live.  

  • Enatai is home to a preschool that is a true asset for families.  Many families have students at the preschool and in K-5 classrooms in Enatai.  Allowing all children in a family to learn at the same school site is wonderful for families.  The preschool is also an inclusive preschool program, meaning that students receiving special education services learn alongside typically developing peers in the same classroom.  Enatai children can be educated at the same location from age 3 until they leave after 5th grade, prepared for the challenges of middle school.

  • Even when the students leave, they don't really leave.  Bellevue High and Chinook students who are Enatai alumni remember their time at Enatai positively and want to come back and help out.  They volunteer at Enatai's many community events, and play on the fields after school.
  • Amy MacDonald has been the principal at Enatai since 2016.  In that time she has worked to create a culture of teamwork, engagement, and openness. She knows each student by name, and believes wholeheartedly in each one of them.

  • Principal MacDonald has successfully brought the Science of Reading to our school.  Staff embraced it, and our students have benefited greatly.  They made literacy gains during the pandemic.  Many students who were behind before the pandemic got caught up during the pandemic.  The “magic sauce” that Enatai has created is being replicated in other schools across the District.  Breaking up the “magic sauce” team is not a good idea.  It is a much better idea to grow our currently awesome team.

  • Diversity comes in many forms, and Enatai Elementary’s diversity is our greatest asset.  All of our students benefit from being in class with other students with racial, cultural, and economic differences.

    • Enatai has families who come from a wide spectrum of economic backgrounds.  

    • Enatai is a school with no majority racial group.

    • 34% of our students have a first language other than English. 

    • Our children learn about other cultures and other parts of the world through our global diversity.  

  • Enatai School improvement Plan 22-23


Thank you very much for engaging with our community as we go through this very difficult process.  A big shout-out to all of the parents who came to the School Board meeting last week in person (picture of our mighty crew coming in a future email!) and to those who tuned in online.  Your involvement is incredibly important and is a clear representation of why Enatai is AMAZING.

If you have any questions, please email president@enataiptsa.org or join us on Slack and ask them there!
 

In Partnership,
Your Enatai PTSA Board