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What the New School Means for Southridge

Julia Stalnaker

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For seventeen years, the Beaverton School District has been home to five high schools. This upcoming school year, however, that will change. Mountainside High School is scheduled to open in September 2017.

But what does this mean for Southridge? An interview with Principal Nieslanik over email sheds some light on important issues such as potential changes to classes and the staff department, and our new student body.

 

Who is Affected?

Most notably, the Southridge community itself will be changing. Next year’s juniors and seniors will stay at their current schools, but freshmen and sophomores will attend the school that they are in district for based on the new boundaries. This means that next year about forty percent of our incoming freshmen and sophomores will be new to our school.

 

Who Are The New Students?

This new group will make our student body much more diverse, but not necessarily by means of race or culture. Southridge will gain more Spanish speaking families, and there will also be more students enrolled in English Language Learning classes. However, the biggest change to the Southridge community is that our students will no longer be mostly from upper-middle class backgrounds. Instead, we will see a greater range of income levels. For example, the percentage of Southridge students with Free and Reduced Lunch will increase from about twenty-five to forty.

 

How Will Our Staff Change?

Our community includes the school’s staff, and we will be seeing changes there as well. As some of our staff is leaving to go to Mountainside, we will have some roles to fill. However, nothing is really certain until staffing procedures begin this February. The only guarantee is that we will be hiring an athletic director, an activities director and an assistant principal.

 

Will Classes Change?

It’s easy to assume that our changing student body and staff department will cause changes in course offerings. It is true that courses will change somewhat next year, but it is not necessarily because of the new community/high school. Our school has always been evolving, and it will continue to, independent of such changes. The career pathways of Computer Science and Engineering, Performing Arts and Business and Communications will be better defined. A Spanish for Spanish speakers class and more IB courses could be added as well.

 

Will Activities Be Affected?

After school programs and activities will not be significantly affected. Since the number of students receiving Free and Reduced Lunch will increase, the need for financial support for our after-school programs will also increase. But other than that, such programs and activities will continue as always.

 

Of course our school will change, that is inevitable. But despite new students, some new staff, and a few tweaks here or there, next year will be just like any other year for us. We will still be Southridge. We will still be Skyhawks.

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