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Incoming Students

Welcome Families!


Enrollment 23-24

Visit the district Open Enrollment page for the School Year 23-24 and the most current date and enrollment information as it becomes available.

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Incoming Parents Orientation Handout Recap

Refer to the answers and resources below to commonly asked questions to help with your overview of BHS as an incoming family. If you have any additional questions, we encourage you to reach out directly to a department head or visit the Academy pages for contacts and more information.

Welcome to 9th Grade Family Orientation! Tues, Aug 30, 2022

Ballard High School Auditorium/Gym


  • Welcome and Introductory Comments – Ms. Abby Hunt, Principal
  • From a Student’s Perspective – Student Leaders
  • Helpful Hints from BHS PTSA – Gloria Kruzner, PTSA Interim President
  • Helpful Hints from Diversity Empowerment Council – Emi Ponce de Souza, MD &   Michelle Davila (They did not attend)
  • Information from School Counselors – Sonja Petersen, School Counselor/Overview of Packet – Helpful Hints
  • Introduction of Support Staff – Admin Team and Support Staff

Please join us in the Foyer after the program.  Staff will be available to answer any remaining questions you might have. Thank you for coming this evening and welcome to Ballard High School!

We appreciate your suggestions on improving this program. Please email Sonja Petersen at to share your feedback.  Thank you!

Ballard High School Resources (Parent Orientation Sept 30, 2022)

Ballard HS; 1418 NW 65th St, Seattle WA 98117
Main Office: 206-252-1000 Fax: 206-252-1001

Q: What makes Ballard High standout above the rest?
A: There are lots of great options for high schools in Seattle Public Schools, but of course we think that Ballard is the best place for your student to flourish. A fundamental component that we emphasize from the first day of school is becoming involved and engaged at Ballard. We know what 1650 students can seem daunting, so we are committed to providing endless opportunities for students to make the big feel small. This can be through joining a Program or Pathway, it can be through Sports, our Performing Arts or one of our more than 70+ student run clubs.

The most important thing that your Freshman can do is to find their community through one or more of these options and this will only be more important as we return to in-person instruction. We know that students that are involved at Ballard High School do better at Ballard academically, socially, mentally and physically. Make sure this is part of the conversations that you are having with your student as the school year approaches.

Q: Will there be in-person tours this year?
A: Historically, we love to invite families into our school for “Choices Night” and offer tours throughout February, we will be following district policy for the upcoming school year. Last year we held the event completely virtually. Information and videos to learn more will continuously be added to this webpage for you to explore whenever convenient.

Q: What orientation events/resources are available for transfer students?
A: Registration with your counselor ahead of coming to Ballard will set you up well for your first day, and beyond that it is all about getting involved! Many Transfer Students have found great community by joining an Athletics Team or one of our Performing Arts Programs. You should also check out the many Clubs and Organizations available and consider what sorts of extra-curricular as well if you want to try out; clubs are open to all students and no experience in any subject is necessary.

Q: My child has an existing IEP. How will this be transitioned to high school?
A: Students with IEPs will be assigned a case manager who will review the IEP and amend as needed to accommodate for the changes from middle to high school. Students receive an individualized education at Ballard High School based on their specific strengths and needs and will be enrolled in classes based on their IEP minutes that deliver specially designed instruction for their IEP goals and general education courses. For more information or specific questions, contact the Ballard High School Special Education Department Chairs: Joe Bushek, Robyn Maddess, or Jim Auld.

Q: Can students leave school for lunch?

A: Yes! Ballard students love the options available for off-campus lunch around our school, and student favorites include MOD Pizza, Taco Del Mar, Tony’s Teriyaki, and Dick’s Burgers. 

Q: Please share more about the Programs and Pathways – Overview of each one, pros/cons, do they help make Ballard a more intimate/smaller experience?
A: We encourage you to go to the Academics page to learn more about the various programs and pathways. In general, the Biotech Program is a great program, and you should join if you are interested in Science. The rest of the programs are a single-period electives that you take for one to four years focused on a potential career interest. Project Lead the Way (Engineering) and Digital Film can be joined in any grade level, while the Maritime Studies and the Academy of Finance do not start until students are Juniors or Seniors. All these programs provide great exposure to potential college majors or careers.

Q: Do incoming Grade 9 students take a math placement test?

A: We do not offer placement tests. Students generally should take the next class in the math sequence based on what they are currently taking (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, etc.) and in consultation with their current math teacher. One special course that we offer is called Intensified Algebra. A strong grasp of Algebra I is vital to the future success of students, so Intensified Algebra is a two-period block of Algebra I that also gives an elective credit. They spend time breaking down why some students think they are not good at math and take the time to work to resolve this. If your 9th grader is not confident in math, but is ready to work at improving, Intensified Algebra could be a vital class for them to take.

Q: Can you tell me about your music and performing arts programs?

A: The award-winning Ballard HS Performing Arts Program has gained regional, national, and international acclaim for its dynamic and inspired performances. The Music Department includes three concert bands, three concert choirs, three concert orchestras, percussion ensemble, two jazz bands, one jazz choir, multiple chamber ensembles and a marching band of nearly 200 musicians. The Theatre Department offers classes in Technical Theatre and Theatre I and II while the Ballard Playmakers produce two plays and one musical theatre production each year. More than 450 students—about one fourth of the school—participate in these music and theatre opportunities. Ballard Performing Arts sets a high standard of excellence for all students, ensembles, and productions while developing individual artistry through the study of high-quality repertoire and exceptional performance opportunities. Learn more:

Q: How many honor classes do you recommend for freshman who want a challenging experience but not be too overwhelmed? How do Honors and Core classes work in the same classroom?
A: There is no way to answer this question for every student. Students come in at different levels of preparedness and have different strengths and passions, so parents and students should keep this in mind when making their selections. It is a core philosophy of ours that students working towards both Honors and Core credit should be educated in the same classroom, so all our Honors classes are integrated within Core classes. This means that generally the instruction will be the same, but that Honors students will be expected to complete more or more challenging aspects on assessments. Sometimes this means completing more elements of a project and often it means being required to complete more complex tasks that show a greater depth of understanding. We also believe that all students can work at the Honors level, but that they should have the opportunity to choose which subjects to pursue a greater challenge.

Q: Do counselors get assigned to Freshman in the Spring and advise about what classes to register for? Beyond initial Freshman class registration, do Counselors advise about what classes to take?
A: All students have an assigned Counselor based on their last name. Counselors assist all students with registration for classes each year. Visit the Counseling Center page for more information about your student’s Counselor.

Q: How do incoming students get registered for the appropriate math, science and English classes?
A: All incoming Freshman take intro to Lit & Comp 9 A/B (English). Biology is the first science class students will take unless they have already done so in Middle School. Students take the math class next in the sequence after the previous math class they completed in Middle School. Go to Academics Overview for more information and refer to the Course Catalog.

Q: If a student is transferring in at a higher-grade level (e.g. as a junior), how do they calibrate previous course work so as to choose the right level course at BHS?
A: They will work with their assigned Counselor reviewing their previous coursework and what they need to take continuing at BHS prior to registering.

Q: If you are currently in HCC and come to Ballard, do you have to retake classes like math and science?
A: Students would not repeat a class if they have already taken and passed it previously. If it was a high school level class (e.g. Algebra 1, Biology) they continue onto the next class in the sequence or grade level.

Q: How do you know if you should take a class as regular, Honors or AP?

A: The best answer to this question is to think about their schedule as a whole and what other commitments they have that are important to them. High school classes are often harder than any middle school classes, but there is a big range of experiences within our 450 Freshmen. Freshmen are almost never in an AP course, but make sure to build the habits you will need to be successful in AP and College in the High School courses from the beginning. All students can be successful in college level courses, but it requires preparation, time and sometimes support.

Q: Do you register in the Spring for the all of your classes for the following year (both semesters) or do you register for Fall only in the preceding Spring (one semester)?

A: Students register in the Spring for the entire following year. Most classes are yearlong classes, but students often have 1-2 semester electives to choose from. Think carefully about what you choose, as there are very few scheduled changes that we can make after registration.

Q: How does an incoming Freshman learn about the Programs and Pathways?
A: Information about Programs and Pathways can be found on our Academics page.

Q: What is the difference between IB at Ingraham and AP or College in the High Schools classes at Ballard HS?
A: IB stands for International Baccalaureate and it is a wonderful program that is offered at many international schools around the world. Advanced Placement courses are aligned to college standards and students have the option to take a national exam in the Spring that if they pass may result in credit depending on what college they attend. College in the High School classes are courses aligned to college standards at local colleges that offer credit through those institutions for a reduced rate. If your student is interested in attending college in a different country, then IB may give them an advantage in their applications, as IB was created for international programs. For colleges in the United States and Canada, they are going to view AP, CIHS and IB courses the same. They want to know that students are challenging themselves and working to prepare for the rigors of college. That means that there is not a difference in how the IB classes will be viewed versus the AP and CIHS courses at Ballard for most students.

Q: I’ve heard Freshman can’t do PE waivers because of Health class. Is this true? Do all Freshman take Health in the Fall and PE class in the Spring? Or if registering by semester only, does the “no PE waivers” apply for Freshman Fall only so they can do a PE waiver for Spring? What if their team sport is actually a Fall sport, can it apply for a Spring PE waiver?
A: First, three semesters of PE are required for graduation. The state allows these semesters to be waived if students meet certain requirements. The most common ways that students qualify for PE waivers are through playing a school sport or having six academic classes for all four years of their high school career. Waivers aren’t granted until students are Juniors, but sports from Freshman and Sophomore years can be used to earn those waivers. That being said, Ballard offers some excellent PE classes and we strongly encourage your students to take advantage of them. Classes like Weight Training and Lifetime Sports are loved by students and create happy, healthy teenagers.

Q: What PE options does Ballard High School have? Do you have Partner PE?
A: Students are required to take 3 semesters of PE for graduation. We offer Partner PE along with several other PE options. Go to our Academics Overview page or for more information in the Course Catalog.

Q: How can I get more information on various athletic programs?
A: To get information on specific programs, such as off-season workout offerings, you can reach out to the head coach of the program. All our head coaches have contact information are listed on the BHS Athletics Directory. If you have any general questions about our athletic programs, feel free to reach out to Eric Ensign at

Q: Will there be tryouts for sports teams like basketball? How can I sign up?
A: For all “Cut Sports,” tryouts occur the first couple of days of the official start date for a season. If an athlete wishes to participate in off-season workouts, they don’t need to have officially made a team, but everyone is required to go through the tryout process at the beginning of each season, which includes current athletes who have participated in a regular season in the past. To sign up for a sport, fill out the athletic paperwork through Final Forms. More information on the Athletics Overview page.

We Have Open Key Roles: PTSA President and Vice President (Can be shared)

Ballard HS relies heavily on parent volunteers to help provide the best possible experience and opportunities for all students…even more so now! Find out more about your BHS PTSA and how you can help just by becoming a member and how the PTSA supports your student, staff, teachers and families too!

Read issues and sign up for the PTSA Weekly Newsletter to stay informed.

Speaker Gloria Kruzner Interim PTSA President
Hints for Families:

While we do want our students to show increased autonomy during their teen years, don’t think that teachers are off limits because this is high school. I’ve been blown away by the responsiveness and the awareness these teachers have when my students have reached out or when I needed a quick clarification as well.

We’ve learned, that because of high school’s increased workload, getting caught up, even after a day or two, can be more challenging. The online Source has been a helpful tool for monitoring progress. And teacher office hours are good to know, they’re more than willing to look at a math problem or go into further detail about missed concepts.

I highly encourage you to attend Curriculum Night. This is a super fun evening in which you get to follow in your kids’ footsteps around the school. I find this evening extremely enjoyable, and very informative. Take a moment to say hello to each teacher and make sure they know whose parents you are. I think they like that!

Attending Curriculum Night gets you introduced to what your kid is working on, and who’s teaching it to them. And how.

Encourage your kids to get involved with some of the extracurricular activities offered here at Ballard such as performing arts, sports, or one of the many clubs. These activities help promote belonging. Encouraging involvement in organized school activities fosters teamwork and a sense of place, which ultimately leads to confidence and community.

And speaking of involvement, the kids may have grown out of room parties, but we still need you, our dedicated parent volunteers. Did you know that there is a connection between parent/guardian involvement and student academic achievement?

Being involved can help your kid because you’ll know more about what is going on and they can see you modeling giving back to one’s community. In many ways, the opportunities for parental involvement are even greater than elementary or middle school. The way and the extent to which you might be involved might be different than you may have experienced, but there is still a need, and we welcome your involvement. Contact us and we’ll find something you can and want to do!

While I’m up here, I would like to take a moment to make you aware of the work we do as a PTSA.

  • We offer teacher grants twice a year, so if there’s a great new library book, professional writers working with your students in their language arts classroom, or some cool technology in math or science class, it’s likely your PTSA donations helped pay for that. We also, of course, support our teachers and staff through volunteer service.
  • We also offer a weekly newsletter. With the largest high school in the city comes a lot of moving parts, and we want to make sure our school community is engaged and informed.
  • And we like to have fun. Last April, we celebrated our first PTSA auction bash that we were able to hold in several years and it was a joy to be able to gather as a community once again. We also enjoy honoring our staff at teacher appreciation events, and our seniors at their all-night safe graduation party, SPREE. There are a few board members here tonight, and I’d like you to come meet us and say hello at our table. Some new parents have already stepped forward to take on roles and we appreciate you getting involved.
  • Sign up for your PTSA membership, the newsletter, and volunteer needs, and ask any questions you might have. So congratulations on this next big step to high school. What a special time for us as parents. And the PTSA is honored to join you on this ride. Over these next four years, we’ll watch our students grow from teens into young adults. Let’s work together to make what I can assure you will be a great four years into something even better. Let’s go Beavers!

Ballard High School Community

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Explore our website including the About page and view our Ballard High School’s playlist to hear from Ballard High School staff & students on why… “It’s Always Great To Be a Beaver!” 

Explore our Playlist

Explore our Playlist to learn more about Ballard High School!

Learn more about all the things that happen in and around the BHS Library with Teacher-Librarian TuesD Chambers:  Watch videos on YouTube

Watch this student produced film from our Digital Film program documenting a Day at Ballard High School. ~2014 Watch video on Vimeo

Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?

Email me with tips on information you would like located here or better ways to support your searches on the Ballard HS website. Diane Taylor, BHS Website Editor at Thank you!