Frequently Asked Questions
1. What school will my child attend?
2. What does my child need in order to start Kindergarten or transfer from another district?
Your child must be at least five years old by August 31 in order to start Kindergarten in September. We also need a certified birth certificate and proof of residency, such as a driver's license or utility bill. For a full list of requirements for school registration, go to http://www.fwps.org/info/enrollment/.
3. When is Kindergarten registration held?
Most elementary schools have Kindergarten "Roundups" in May, where parents and children come to learn about the school and register. You can call your local school for the dates and time of their Kindergarten information session, or view basic information online. Registration continues through the spring and summer months. Bus schedules are posted on the district website and are included in a back to school issue published by a local newspaper.
4. What is all-day Kindergarten?
Kindergarten has traditionally been either a morning class or an afternoon class. Full-day kindergarten students attend school for the whole day like older students do. Parents may request that their student be placed in the all-day class. Because the state does not pay for all-day Kindergarten, the district charges $230 per month tuition. This can be waived for students whom we determine need the additional academic preparation of all-day Kindergarten.
5. Where can I find directions to schools and school district offices?
On the Federal Way Public Schools web site at http://www.fwps.org/info/schools/directions/.
6. What supplies does my student need?
School supply lists are available at http://www.fwps.org/info/schools/supplies/
7. Will my son or daughter need a uniform for school?
Federal Way Public Schools currently has 13 schools that require their students to wear uniforms. The list of schools and links to their uniform requirements are available at http://www.fwps.org/info/schools/supplies/.
8. What if I can't afford the cost of uniforms?
Some options include:
- The school's office often has a supply of uniform items that they can pull from.
- The FWPTSA Clothing Bank serves students enrolled in Federal Way Public Schools in grades kindergarten through fifth and is open limited hours. To be able to shop at the Clothing Bank, parents must provide ID for themselves and their student. Donations are accepted during business hours. The clothing bank is located at the Federal Way Public Schools Educational Services Center (ESC), 33330 8th Ave. South, Federal Way. For more information, email email@example.com. Donations for the clothing bank can be dropped off at the ESC; the clothing bank needs school-appropriate shirts, sweaters, pants and shoes in kid sizes 4 and up through adult sizes for teens.
- The South King County Multi-Service Center has both a clothing and food bank; call 253-838-6810 for hours and location.
9. What if I'd like to enroll my child in a school outside of my neighborhood?
- Federal Way Public Schools offers the Choice program, which allows a student to attend a school located outside of a student's resident service area on a space-available basis. For more information on the choice program, go to http://www.fwps.org/info/choice/.
- After the Choice session has passed, decisions about admitting students from outside the service area are up to the school's administrators. Please go to the school to make your request.
- Students living inside Federal Way's boundaries who wish to attend school in another district must request a release of attendance form from our district. Call 253-945-2000 for Student Placement information.
10. What before- and after-school programs does the district offer?
There are a variety of clubs and activities to meet the needs and interests of our students. Many elementary schools have on-site daycares before and after school, and offer activities like track and honor choir. Secondary schools offer homework and competitive math clubs, and activities such as dance, drill team, chess, Habitat for Humanity chapters, debate, orienteering and much more. Please check with your child's individual school for more specific information. AmeriCorps members provide tutoring and after-school programs for students across the district, as well.
11. What are multi-age classes?
These are classes in which students from different grade levels are in the same room and class. These are available in both elementary and secondary classes and have a variety of benefits, including instruction more closely tailored to the students' individual skills and knowledge. Green Gables Elementary offers only multi-age classes. The Gifted and Talented classes in the elementary schools also are multi-age classes. More information on the benefits of multi-age classes (80K PDF).
12. Does the school district offer English Language Learners (ELL) classes?
Federal Way Public Schools offers ELL services to over 2,300 students, slightly over 10% of our student population. In the district, however, nearly three times that number of students have family members who speak a language other than English - over 110 languages to be exact - at home. These parents are provided interpreters for Student Led Conferences and during other interactions with school staff. Testing is provided to determine if students qualify for ELL services. For more information, go to http://www.fwps.org/dept/ell/.
1. How can I keep up-to-date on my child's progress in school?
- You can keep track of your student's assignments and grades at: http://grades.fwps.org/. You'll need your student's ID number to access the system.
- Email or call the teacher - http://www.fwps.org/search/staff/.
- Participate in the school's information nights and student led conferences.
- For additional ideas for being involved in your child's school and education, check out the Family & Community Partnership Office webpage.
2. What are Student Led Conferences (SLCs)?
Several years ago, a district-wide decision was made to replace the traditional parent-teacher conference with Student Led Conferences, in which the student share a portfolio of his or her best work, and report on their progress in reaching the grade level standards. Teachers are present to answer questions and help direct the student's presentation. The conferences have been greeted with enthusiastic responses from parents, teachers and students, and parent attendance at conferences increased significantly with the adoption of SLCs. Parents who wish to meet with teachers without the student present are able to schedule those meetings at any time during the year.
3. How can I find the dates and times for school activities?
Look for information in your child's school newsletter and flyers your child brings home, or check your child's school website. The front page of the district website will generally have stories about district-wide events only. A calendar of sporting events are http://www.fwps.org/info/athletics/.
4. Where and when is graduation held?
All of Federal Way's graduation ceremonies are held in the Tacoma Dome and occur in June. Specific dates and times are generally announced mid-year. See the district calendar, http://www.fwps.org/info/calendar/.
1. What are my child's rights and responsibilities?
Your child should bring home a Rights and Responsibilities booklet at the start of the school year. A form in the booklet must be signed by the student and parent, and returned to the school. If you want to refer to the booklet online, go to http://www.fwps.org/info/rr/.
2. I am concerned about a school decision affecting my child. Who should I speak with?
The first place to turn is the school decision-maker(s): your child's teacher or the principal. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of those discussions, the district provides a Family and Community Partnership Advocate who can help resolve many disagreements and misunderstandings between schools and parents. This office also offers workshops on navigating the school system, and sponsors parent groups.
3. How can I get my GED?
To get your GED, you must be at least 16 years old. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, you must bring a guardian or parent to the school last attended or your resident school for approval of the necessary form by a school administrator. You should also bring your photo identification.
4. What is Federal Way's alternative high school like?
The Career Academy at Truman offers a true alternative to students who would like to experience a smaller, more personal learning environment that emphasizes finding your "true calling" and learning through real-world job opportunities. In their freshman and sophomore years, students take core academic classes and start the process of a career focus by taking DigiTools and Career Choices. In their junior and senior years, students finish the requirements for a diploma while enjoying a flexible schedule that allows them to explore an exciting array of experiences in the real world of work. For more information, go to http://schools.fwps.org/truman/ or call 253- 945-5800.
5. My child has food allergies. Who handles school lunch concerns and menu questions?
The Nutrition Services Department provides special meal planning for children with allergies. Call 253-945-5555 and request a food allergy consultation. It's free. The department also posts the monthly lunch menus, prices, and other information on their web site at: http://www.fwps.org/dept/nutrition/
6. Who handles health issues at school, like head lice, pink eye, and other contagious conditions?
The Health Services Department works with students, parents, and teachers to help make each student a healthier learner. Our district employs 16 certificated School Nurses who assess student health needs; provide in-service training for staff and students; conduct health screenings; oversee maintenance of student health and immunization records; administer medication; provide emergency first aid and CPR to students and staff; and work with the Health Department in the control of communicable diseases. Sue Overton, RN, BS, is the Health Services Coordinator and can be reached at (253) 945-4575 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. DeAnn Kachman is the Health Services Secretary and can be contacted by calling (253) 945-4576 or at: email@example.com.
1. Where is the nearest library?
Comprehensive information about all King County libraries and homework help can be found on their web site, www.kcls.org. The phone number for the Federal Way Regional Library, located at 34200 1st Way in Federal Way is (253) 838-3668; the Federal Way 320th Library, located at 848 S. 320th St. is (253) 839-0257; the Woodmont Library, located at 26809 Pacific Highway South in Des Moines is (253) 839-0121.
2. Can I rent a room in one of your schools for a meeting? Whom do I contact?
Our schools are often used by different service organizations for evening meetings Please contact the specific school directly for more information.
3. My organization is planning event that might interest your staff. How do I let them know about it?
Contact the Federal Way Public Schools Community Relations Department at 253-945-2270 or go to http://www.fwps.org/info/distribution/.
4. Who handles vendor questions? How does a vendor acquire an RFP?
Questions regarding vendors and acquiring an RFP should be directed to Dana Harris in Purchasing at (253) 945-2076 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Can you recommend a daycare or a preschool for my child?
We can't recommend a specific daycare or preschool, but can suggest some resources to help you find a daycare or preschool. You can also call the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network at 1-800-446-1114 or 253-383-1735, or go to their website at http://www.childcarenet.org. Also, please view the Yellow Pages Telephone Directory or perhaps try searching the internet for a location near your home.
Depending on your family's income, your child may qualify for the HeadStart and ECEAP preschool programs offered in our district. For information, call HeadStart at 253-945-5882 or ECEAP at 253-529-9876.
Last Updated: October 08, 2013.