HS Transition Committee

Request for Information

June 4, 2018

These questions were created in a brainstorming session of the HS Transition Committee on June 4, 2018.  The following prompt was used to generate the questions:  What information do you need to make a decision on what grade levels to start with in 2020?

Questions were categorized into the following broad areas:  student population, academic program at each school, travel between schools, best practices (what others have done), athletics and extracurriculars, input, BHS renovation, and budget implications.

Student Population Questions:

  • What is the student population per class we are working with going back to the 7th grade?
  • How boundaries affect population for split (general boundary info)
  • Need to know - population, future growth projections and class sizes and school capacity
  • Project size of each class - 9th, 12th, 11th & 12th
  • Leadership of older students - is it important for underclass people
  • If not enough kids move, will new HS feel too big?
  • Establishing culture - which grade levels are important for establishing culture


  • Here are the projections for class sizes in 2020/21:
  • 9th: 699 (current 6th grade)
  • 10th: 583
  • 11th: 574
  • 12th: 542
  • Total 9-12: 2396
  • Here are future projections for total enrollment, grades 9-12.
  • 2021/22: 2453 (This will be the year when current 5th graders will start HS)
  • 2026/27: 2782 (When current K will start HS)
  • Boundaries have not been established, but we would hope there would be an even split, with room to grow to capacity at each school.
  • School Culture discussion is below in “best practices” category.

Academic Program at each School

  • What is being offered at both schools? Will students who move to new school have to compromise curriculum? For the 1st few years?
  • Opportunities for students at new school, as it pertains to their grade level.
  • How will the split affect classes offered?
  • Classes shared by/with both high schools?
  • Will classes transfer?
  • Is District going to be flexible with students with unique needs?
  • Does split affect academic offerings?
  • How teachers will be used at the two schools, make up of teachers @ schools, scheduling?
  • As we move students how will it impact diploma requirements?
  • Required/Elective classes as you move up


  • The intended outcome is to create comprehensive programs at both schools on the first day of opening.
  • New HS is being constructed with spaces for electives, similar to those at BHS.  Exact course offerings are always driven by student interest.
  • Comprehensive program is defined by Montana Accreditation Standards and BSD7 Diploma Requirements.
  • English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, Health Enhancement, Career & Technical Education, World Language.
  • Diploma requirements will be the same for both high schools.
  • Diploma requirements are intended to be broad and flexible, ie: many different types of classes fulfill the CTE requirement.
  • In general, 9th and 10th grade requirements are similar for all students - not many differences in class schedule, limited number of electives.  Most electives are entry level type.
  • By 12th, there are a fewer classes required by all students and electives become more specific and diversified.
  • More information about BSD7 Comprehensive High School Program can be found HERE.
  • Number and types of teachers will be determined by grade level split and student interest.

Travel between schools:

  • Will transportation be offered if students need to travel between schools?
  • Transportation expertise
  • Will students have the opportunity to take classes at the other HS?
  • Flexibility and how much allow movement
  • Student choice
  • Teachers and students traveling - thoughts?


  • It is the intention of BSD7 to establish school boundaries and create policy/procedure regarding student who request a transfer across boundaries.
  • Montana High School Association (governs activities) has strict rules regarding student transfer and participation in activities.
  • Best practice from other districts would encourage a policy that limits transfer, but does have some provisions for exceptions, example:
  • Academic program
  • At-risk
  • Administrative discretion
  • Creating rich academic and activity programs at both schools will limit the necessity to request a transfer.
  • Historical perspective in Kalispell: About 50-60 students first year requested “academic program” transfer.  Now that both schools are established, numbers are down and are generally equal number going back and forth between schools.
  • Allowing students to take one or two classes at the other HS does not necessarily mean a school transfer, but policy should also address this issue.
  • Kalispell reported handful of students traveling to take a specific course during the first couple of years. Not enough to establish district transportation.
  • Ultimately, transportation decision will be dictated by school schedule and how many students elect.
  • Teachers traveling may occur when there is not enough courses at either school to dictate a full schedule - most likely in elective areas.

Best Practices

  • Be informed of other models and corresponding success/failure.
  • What has been done in other Districts? (Kalispell)
  • Models of how done in other communities
  • What research, data, info, best practices already exist?
  • Research on what is best for students? Immediate split versus gradual
  • Research feedback from other schools; what did they do, why, would they do it differently?
  • Options available?
  • Are there case studies?
  • Are certain ages/grade levels more amenable to making a switch in HS (Best practice)?


  • Very little research regarding splitting schools exists.  There are some case studies which have examined the design and planning process.  But very little research on student impact.
  • Perhaps research is limited because the transition process is temporary.
  • Most research studies regarding student achievement and well-being are created when examining potential practices that have impact over a long period of successful implementation.
  • HERE is a case study that examined the impact of planning process on outcomes of 6 newly opened high schools in WA. Lessons learned about one district that opened a 2nd high school are as follows:
  • Significant thought must go into staffing, attendance boundaries and equipping the new school.
  • The introduction of second school raises issues associated with equity.
  • Research regarding appropriate grade level configurations is mixed.  Most studies have found that student success is based on internal factors, such as instructional practices, and less on school configuration.  Effective practices can be found in any configuration.

Interview with Kalispell Administrator on June 8, 2018

Callie Langhor, current Principal at Glacier and former Principal at Flathead.  Callie was the transition administrator during the switch from one to two high schools.


  • What was grade level split the first year Glacier opened?
  • Were kids allowed to transfer across boundaries?
  • Were kids allowed to take one or two classes at the other high school?
  • What did activities program look like that first year?
  • How did you build school culture?
  • Was it important to have upper grades that first year?
  • What did you learn from the process?
  • What would you do differently?


  • Glacier opened with 9th,10th and 11th grades the first year.  Seniors were allowed to stay at original school.
  • Students were divided by school boundaries.
  • Transfer request policy was established.  Only allowed to transfer for curriculum, at-risk or directed by administration.
  • First year, perhaps 50-60 students requested transfer.  Numbers have since gone way down as both schools have developed strong culture.
  • First couple of years, a few students went back to other school to take one or two classes not offered at Glacier.  Does not happen anymore.
  • Callie did not remember a lot of teachers traveling back and forth the first few years.  Perhaps a few elective teachers.
  • First year, all MHSA activities were offered, able to field teams in all areas.  Played varsity schedule.
  • Other activities: started with student council.  Other clubs developed after.  Intramurals also offered the first year.
  • School culture: draw boundaries first then involve future students and families in decisions regarding school culture.  Have all decisions worked out well before first day.
  • It was important to have 11th graders at Glacier that first year to help foster school culture and provide “upperclassmen leadership”.
  • Important lessons:
  • Having everything planned out and ready to go on day one decreased student anxiety.
  • It was important to spend time the first year to explain school processes to parents and visitors at every event.
  • Transition Principal position helped with all details.
  • Staffing decisions are important.  Making sure staff was involved in process and had some choice, if possible.
  • Do differently:
  • Tried to keep booster club together for first few years.  It worked but not sure if that was the right decision.
  • Did not do enough to Flathead in terms of renovation.  Created feelings of inequity.

Athletics and Extracurricular:

  • How are sports affected?
  • Shared extracurricular options?


  • Comprehensive high school education programs include opportunities for extra-curricular and co-curricular programs.
  • It is intended that both schools will have comprehensive activity programs from the start.
  • Both schools will have sufficient student populations to establish AA activity programs.
  • Not all activities fall under the governance of MHSA.  Here are the activtities governed by MHSA:
  • Football, soccer, cross-country, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, softball, golf, track, tennis, swimming, speech & debate, music
  • For those activities covered by MHSA, we will need to establish teams at both schools.  MHSA does not allow shared teams between schools, except in some isolated circumstances in very small schools.
  • Best practice is to discourage student transfers based solely on sports or activities. MHSA has created strict transfer rules to limit this type of transfer.  BSD7 Policy will also limit this practice.
  • Non-MHSA activities (ie: student government, intramurals) will be established at both schools.


  • Student input (Bozeman)
  • Student input (Flathead/Glacier)
  • What do students think?
  • Student opinion
  • What do teachers think?
  • What does work on other committees say?
  • Student opinion - We assume don’t want to move in senior year, but maybe that assumption not true.


  • The original planning committee met in 2015/16.  Several grade level options and configurations were discussed.  It was decided to move forward with a 9-12, second comprehensive high school.
  • Other committees have briefly discussed various grade level options during the first year of the transition, but no decisions have been made.
  • A statistically significant, random sample of current 9th grade students were surveyed during the last week of the 2017/18 school year. This group of students will be seniors when the new HS opens. 95% of those surveyed would prefer to stay together as a Senior class and graduate from Bozeman High.
  • Input from Kalispell was gathered and reported in the “best practice” section.

BHS Renovation

  • What is ideal to facilitate renovation of BHS
  • How construction @ BHS effects capacity


  • The capacity of BHS is currently 2400 students.  We expect to be very close to capacity when HS2 opens in 2020.
  • While there will be some renovation done on the exterior of BHS, the majority of interior renovation and demolition will need to wait until we move some students to the new HS.  
  • Moving as many students as we can in 2020 will relieve pressure at BHS and will facilitate renovation work. We may be able to phase some of the work during the summer and school time prior to 2020.
  • While we did budget construction inflation into the bond issue, the earlier we do the work the more we will be able to do because of current construction inflation.
  • We expect to start renovation work in the fall of 2020 and it is expected that the work will take 18 - 24 mos.
  • Once the work is done, BHS will have a new capacity of 1500 students.

Budget Implications

  • What is the effect on accreditation standards and budget efficiency?
  • Cost analysis - financial impact of different options?
  • Financial info to understand staffing capabilities


  • It is intended that both schools will achieve accreditation.  This is a requirement for participation in the Montana High School Association.
  • There will be some inefficiencies with regard to staffing when the school is split.  These inefficiencies will impact the overall budget.
  • Montana accreditation standards require a half time librarian for every 250 students, a counselor for every 400 students and an administrator for the 1st 550 students and an additional administrator for every 500 students
  • Keeping grade levels together will reduce inefficiencies, temporarily.  For example, if we keep seniors together during the 2020/21 school year, we will maintain efficiency with some courses.  
  • There are other “overhead” costs created by operating a second school, that have nothing to do with the grade level split.
  • Staffing is dictated by student sign-up.  There will be some courses that won’t be offered when the student population is split.

What information do you need to make a boundary decision?