Student Assignment Planning (SAP) Phase I (2021-2022)

  • Student Assignment Planning Project Phase I Completed

  • Overview

    Starting in spring 2021, we will embark on a multi-year process to develop a comprehensive Student Assignment Plan in order to modernize our district structure and address historic inequities that continue to most significantly impact students of color. This may include changes to school attendance areas, reconsideration of a more equitable selection process for magnet schools and programs, and establishing a local school in the Fifth Ward.

    Despite changes to enrollment, student demographics, and academic services and programs, we have not reviewed our boundaries holistically or recommended changes in over 25 years. This is a necessary process, one that should be completed annually per board policy, to ensure all students have access to high caliber educational experiences that are proximate to their homes and neighborhoods.

    In order to do this, we must make informed, thoughtful decisions. Student assignment is a part of our multi-faceted approach to long-term planning for the future of our public schools. Addressing our structural deficit and ensuring a strong financial position will require systemic change. We must look carefully at our building footprint, operational efficiencies, transportation costs, and the needs of our aging buildings. We must do all of this while maintaining the strength and quality of our instructional and social emotional programming. To support this effort, D65 will engage independent firms to lead the creation of a master facilities plan and to conduct a thorough audit of our curriculum.

  • Committee
  • Master Facilities Plan
  • Attendance Boundaries
  • Engagement Opportunities

      Video Presentation

      • SAP Video Presentation 

        Watch an informative presentation to the School Board on February 8, 2021 by Sarita Smith, Manager of Student Assignments, on student assignment planning which offers important historical context, a deeper dive into the “why” behind the process, and an outline of timeline and next steps.


      Recommended Scenario

      • Recommended Student Assignment Plan

        During the week of February 27, members of the District 65 leadership team held a series of virtual sessions to present the scenarios (related to attendance boundaries, overall district configuration, and, eventually, programming). We had approximately 700 people attend the virtual sessions and received over 1,200 thoughts and questions! Scenarios were developed by the community-based 40-person SAP Committee.

        On March 7, 2022, Sarita Smith, Director of Student Assignments, presented an update along with the SAP Committee’s recommendation for a new Student Assignment Plan at the Board Curriculum and Policy Committee Meeting. If you missed the meeting, tune in to watch the recording and view the presentation in the Board Packet.

        Our team really listened to the feedback shared by our community and knew we had to make some changes to more fully and equitably meet student needs through the first student assignment plan in nearly 30 years. 

        Recommended Student Assignment Plan At-A-Glance

        • Construction of a neighborhood school in the 5th Ward (K-8)
          • Financed through Lease Certificates and repaid by the District using transportation savings. No additional cost to taxpayers.
          • Programming would be determined with community input
        • Closure of the physical Bessie Rhodes building and co-locating the school community and magnet programming as part of the proposed 5th Ward campus
          • Building would eventually be sold and funds would be used to support building needs and improvements across the District
          • While several communal spaces would be shared, the magnet school would operate independently from the neighborhood school.
        • King Arts remains a K-8 grade magnet school
        • Revisions to elementary boundaries (all schools within 1 mile of students’ homes)
          • View current boundaries and proposed boundaries on Google Maps
          • Boundary revisions are largely reflective of the students who will attend their neighborhood school in the 5th ward and to better align to natural/physical barriers and reduce busing due to hazards across the district
        • No proposed changes to middle school feeder pattern.


        • The earliest a new Student Assignment Plan will take effect is the 2024-2025 school year. Students and staff will remain in existing schools and programming during the transition period.
        • Decisions related to programming, across the District and at the proposed 5th Ward School, will take place with community input over the next year. 
        • Efforts will be made to help ensure a smooth transition and continuity for all. For example, students will be able to remain in their existing elementary school (through 5th grade) or middle school (through eighth grade). However, transportation is unable to be provided by the district.
        • All families will be required to re-register their child(ren) in advance of the new student assignment plan going into effect.
          • Sibling preference will remain in place for magnet schools/programming.
          • Newly enrolled students, including siblings, will be assigned based on the approved student assignment plan.
          • Recommendation to broaden policy around Permissive Transfer to offer families more school choice.

        We strongly encourage our community to watch the recorded presentation for important context on the scenario presented.

        Next Steps 

        A public presentation of the Student Assignment Plan along with the recommendation for Board action will take place at the Regular Board Meeting on Monday, March 14, at 7pm at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center (1500 McDaniel Ave, Evanston). The meeting will also be live streamed on the D65 website and the recording will be available on-demand following the meeting.

        If the Student Assignment Plan is approved, the District will enter into the Implementation Phase (next 1.5 years). This will require significant input along the way by educators, staff, families, students, and residents. An approved plan is subject to change as a result of continued collaboration. In addition, student assignment will be reviewed on an annual basis with an in-depth assessment of the system every five years.


      • Student Assignment Planning Definitions

        A helpful list of definitions to better understand key aspects of the Student Assignment Planning process.

        Attendance or Neighborhood Schools are the schools and their feeder schools in each boundary area and are assigned  based on the address of residency.

        Magnet Schools serve students in grades K-8 and focus on a special area of study embedded in the core curriculum. 

        Selective Enrollment Programs

        African Centered Curriculum (ACC)
        ACC is a culturally immersive program option for kindergarten through fifth-grade students that centers around the identity, heritage, and culture of people of African descent.

        Two Way Immersion (TWI)
        TWI is a Spanish and English program option for kindergarten through fifth-grade students that develops strong literacy skills and language proficiency in English and Spanish.

        School Boundaries are the school district's physical borders that define how students are assigned to school. 

        Student Assignment is a system that aligns the values of the community and the district to assign students to schools and programs.


      Process & Timeline

      • Student Assignment Process & Timeline


        PHASE 1

        Dec 20, 2020 - Mar 21, 2021

        • Review of all systems and processes, current student assignments, policies and procedures related to student assignment, and existing community information

        • Establish detailed timelines

        • Establish working team

        • SAAC application development and selection metrics


        PHASE 2

        Feb 21, 2021 - Oct 21, 2021

        • Goal Setting

        • SAAC applications and selections

        • Community, parent, and staff surveys

        • Engage superintendents youth advisory team

        • Ward specific town halls

        • Data Analytics


        PHASE 3

        Dec 21, 2021 - Mar 22, 2022

        • Analyze Master Facilities Plan to inform recommendations

        • Community Feedback Forums

        • SAAC work teams

        • Board recommendations

        Detailed Timeline

        See the detailed timeline that outlines the Student Assignment Planning process.