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The Bellevue School District includes 28 schools: 15 elementary schools, 1 Spanish immersion elementary school, 1 Chinese immersion elementary school, 5 regular middle schools, 4 regular high schools, and two district-wide choice schools (grades 6-12). The district has a staff of about 2,000 employees, including about 1,100 teachers.
In 2013, Newsweek magazine named Bellevue, Interlake, International, Newport and Sammamish to its list of "America's Best High Schools". In 2013, The Washington Post placed Bellevue, Interlake, International, Newport and Sammamish on its list of "America's Most Challenging High Schools". In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Bellevue, Interlake, International and Newport among its "Best High Schools".
In 2016, there were 19,974 students enrolled in the district. More than 80 languages are spoken in the district with 35% of students speaking a first language other than English. 14% receive ELL (English Language Learner) services. 19% receive free or reduced-price meals. The racial demographics of the district are: 2% Black/African American, 38% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 38% non-Hispanic White, and 9% Multiracial.
By February 2015 the district experienced an influx of highly educated immigrant families from East Asia and South Asia who selected the district due to its reputation for strong academics and testimonials from foreign sources. The district's number of Indian language-speaking students was 185 in 2004. As of 2015 the district had about 1,600 students who spoke Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, and/or Taiwanese Min-Nan; and the district also had over 800 speakers of Indian languages. The speakers of Chinese had increased by 91% in a ten-year span beginning around 2004, and speakers of Indian languages had increased around 400% during the same period.
Students attend elementary (primary) school from kindergarten to fifth grade, middle school from sixth to eighth grade, and high school from ninth to twelfth grade. Each school, except Choice schools, has a defined geographic attendance area. Students are assigned to a school based on the attendance area in which they reside. With three exceptions, these schools are located in the city of Bellevue. Clyde Hill Elementary and Chinook Middle School are located in the city of Clyde Hill.
Puesta del Sol Elementary School (K-5 Spanish immersion)
Jing Mei Elementary School (K-5 Chinese immersion)
Over the years, the district closed several schools. In many cases, declining enrollment after the baby boomers graduated led to closure. The district leased some schools to private schools or non-profit organizations. Some properties were transferred to other local governments.
Ivanhoe Elementary School is a performing arts center and public park. Ivanhoe Elementary School opened in 1962 and closed in 1981.
Kelsey Creek Home School Center (1-12) closed in June 2012.
Lake Heights Elementary School became a YMCA location. In 2008, it traded sites with Newport Heights Elementary.
Ringdall Junior High School was Eastside Catholic School and is now used as a temporary location for schools whose regular buildings are under construction. Currently, Ringdall is the temporary home of Highland Middle School.
Robinswood Middle School and Robinswood High School were closed and replaced by The Big Picture School.
Three Points Elementary School, located in Medina, is now an elementary school for Bellevue Christian Schools.
Union S High School is now Bellevue Downtown Park. It was once known as Overlake High School.
Wilburton School is now District offices and a City park.
As of October 2012, there were 18,351 students enrolled in the district. The district is 3.2% Black/African American, 32.1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10.9% Hispanic, 6.6% Multiracial and 47.0% White. 32.1% of students speak a first language other than English; there are over 81 languages spoken in the district. 10.2% of students are ELL (English Language Learners). 8.1% are enrolled in various levels of Special Education. 21.6% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Of students who speak a language other than English as their first language, the top spoken are (in order): Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Cantonese, Russian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Telugu, Hindi, French, Persian and Tamil.
On June 10, 2008, Bellevue teachers voted almost unanimously to go on strike if a new contract could not be reached by the end of the summer. On the evening of September 1, the day before classes would have started, the Bellevue Education Association (BEA) announced the beginning of the strike. On September 14, BEA members agreed to the tentative agreement that school was to begin on September 15. The dispute between the BEA and BSD had three main issues: compensation; benefits; and use of the Curriculum Web, a strictly enforced curriculum for all teachers to follow.
President Barack Obama visited Medina Elementary School on February 17, 2012. He greeted about 450 students with hand shakes and high fives.