Updating school boundaries with an open enrollment policy

Client: Tacoma Public Schools

Location: Tacoma, Washington

With close to 30,000 current students, a growing student population, and a diverse demographic base, Tacoma Public Schools had many complex variables to consider when updating school boundaries. Complicating the issue was the district’s open enrollment policy, which allows families to choose which schools they’d like their children to attend, rather than mandate attendance by geography. To make sense of their priorities while taking into consideration growth, diversity and open enrollment, Tacoma Public Schools was in need of a boundary review based in sound data and community engagement.

To help the district understand how future land use trends are likely to affect the distribution of students, our team completed a district-wide land use analysis to assess 10-year student enrollment projections within the geographic context of the district’s future land use and current development patterns.

This information, used in conjunction with the district’s student enrollment information and recommended program capacities for its schools, informed the district’s decision-making process for facility planning.

To make the boundary review process easier for the district’s boundary committee members, we developed a custom web mapping application to support on-the-fly scenario modeling during boundary review committee meetings. The tool empowered committee members to ask and then answer questions about the effects that a particular boundary scenario or a neighborhood may have on student demographics and school capacities in real-time. We received feedback from the boundary review committee that the interactive mapping tools were central to the success of the district’s boundary review process.

Spatial Analysis
Mobile, Desktop, and Server Applications
Other Projects
  • Updating School Boundaries with a Data-Driven and Consensus-Based Approach

    Client: Central Valley School District

  • Planning for tomorrow’s students with a land use study & school siting portfolio

    Client: Bellingham Public Schools

  • Communicating School Facility Needs with Accurate Data

    Client: Ridgefield School District

View All Projects
Tyler Vick

Tyler Vick


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.