Skip To ContentSkip To Content


    Ballard Bag photo

    This web page answers the most frequently asked questions from prospective students and their families. We look forward to seeing you at the Feb 8th Evening Open House or the Feb 6th or 14th Morning Tours!

    When can we tour Ballard High School?
    8th Grade/Prospective Student Ballard High School Evening Open House

    (for both students & parents) Thursday, Feb 8th, 2018:  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
    •    6:30 – 7:00:  Clubs and Activities tables in the Commons
    •    7:00 – 7:30:  Welcome & Program in Main Gym: Principal, BHS Band, PTSA, Students
    •    7:30 – 9:00:  Open House:  Speak with teachers, school counselors & staff.  Explore the school building.

    8th Grade/Prospective Student Ballard High School Morning Tours
    (for both students & parents) Tuesday, Feb 6th, 2018:  8:00 am – 9:30 am & Wednesday, Feb 14th, 2018:  8:00 am – 9:30 am
    •    8:00 – 8:45:  Program in the Auditorium:  Principal, Activities Coordinator, Counselor, Students
    •    8:45 – 9:30:  School Tour
    •    9:30 – Q & A

    While Ballard does not arrange shadowing opportunities for students, we do allow our current students to host 8th grade students that they know up until March 1st.  If you know a current BHS student, feel free to contact them to ask if they would host your 8th grade student who is considering attending Ballard High School.  The current BHS student would need to complete paperwork in the Main Office at least one week ahead of the proposed visit.  Students interested in Music should contact the Directors: Michael James (Band), Courtney Rowley (Choir) or Brittany Newell (Orchestra) who may be able to arrange for a shadow with a current music student.

    How do I request that my student be assigned to Ballard High School for next year?
    All student assignments are done centrally at the Seattle Public Schools’ John Stanford Center for Education Excellence.  The most up-to-date enrollment information can be found at under the Enroll tab.

    The 2018-2019 Open Enrollment period to request to attend a school other than the one listed in the student’s initial assignment letter is from February 5th – Feb 16th, 2018, at the John Stanford Center. By February 16th, 2018, families should have submitted School Choice applications directly to the John Stanford Center.

    Once we are assigned to Ballard High School, when will my son or daughter choose their 9th grade classes?
    By approximately April 16th, 2018, the Seattle School District will give Ballard High School the names of all students assigned to us for next year.  We will then mail registration packets to all incoming new students.  This registration packet will include a Course Selection Form, a letter outlining next steps, and information regarding course choices.  BHS School Counselors will visit Seattle Public middle schools the weeks of April 23rd – May 4th, 2018, to collect Course Selection Forms from current 8th grade students.  Private school students and upper grade new students can submit their Course Selection Forms at Ballard High School between 2:30 – 4:30 pm on May 9th, 2018, or by mail.

    My student receives Special Education Services. 
    What is the registration process for my student?

    Once students have been assigned to Ballard High School in April, we will mail all students a registration packet.  This packet will include the name and phone number of the Special Education Department Chair.  We will also host an Open House on April 18th from 3:30-5:30 in the BHS Library for parents who would like to meet with the Special Education Department regarding their student’s schedule and options for 9th grade.

    What are the required 9th grade classes?

    Here is a typical 9th grade schedule at Ballard High School:
    1.    Intro to Literature and Composition:  Honors or non-Honors
    2.    World History 1 and 2:  Honors or non-Honors
    3.    Math:  based on student’s 8th grade course
    4.    Science:  Biology.  All 9th graders will be taking Biology. Chemistry may be selected if student completed high school Biology and Geometry in middle school and will be taking Algebra 2 or higher in grade 9.
    5.    Health* and PE, or Music, or Pathway course such as Digital Film, Intro to Engineering
    6.    World Language or other elective
    * Health is a required, one-semester 9th grade course.  If you are taking music or another year-long course and therefore do not have room in your schedule, you may delay taking health until a later year if necessary.

    View the BHS Course Catalog for more details.

    What Honors or AP classes are available in the 9th grade? 
    Is a teacher recommendation or application required?

    For their 9th grade classes, students can choose Honors Intro to Lit and Comp, Honors World History 1 & 2 and, depending on the 8th grade math level, Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra 2, Honors PreCalculus, or AP Calculus.  No applications or recommendation letters are required to select an Honors course.  We believe that students should be able to select a challenge if they wish.  However, we do encourage students and families to consult with your current middle school teachers regarding readiness for honors work.

    What Honors or AP courses are available in Grades 10 – 12?
    Please see the Course Catalog in the Academics section of our website for all current course offerings.  In addition, our School Profile, located under the About Our School tab, lists this year’s AP, Honors and College courses in the High School course offerings.

    How is placement in 9th grade math or world language determined?
    Students should consult with their current 8th grade teachers regarding the appropriate next level in these subjects.  Students must meet any course prerequisites as stated in the Course Catalog, but a placement test or specific letter grade is not required.  Students select the courses they think are appropriate for them in consultation with their families and 8th grade teachers.  If you have questions regarding course placement, please contact the World Language Dept.
    Chair:  Mark Quinn |, or the Math Dept.
    Co-Chairs:  Janine Logsdon | or Jan Drabek |

    Is foreign language (world language) required?
    Beginning with the class of 2021, World Language will be required for graduation from Ballard High School.  In addition, World Language is required for admission to most four year colleges and universities.  Students planning to go to a four-year college or university after high school should take at least two years of a single world language  (for instance, Spanish 1 and Spanish 2; French 1 and French 2; Japanese 1 and Japanese 2).  The first year can be taken in middle school.  Depending on the competitiveness of the college plan, we encourage students to consider taking a third or fourth year of world language after the minimum college entrance requirement is met.

    What are Academies or Pathways? 
    Do all students have to choose one, and are applications required?

    A unique feature of Ballard High School is that we offer several Academies and Pathways while simultaneously respecting students’ individual choices.  Academies and Pathways are arranged around a theme or subject.  Students do not have to select an Academy or Pathway.  Approximately one third of our students choose to do so; all other students choose a wide range of required and elective courses.  Please see our Course Catalog on the Ballard website under the Academics tab for a description of each Academy or Pathway, including the specific courses required.

    For students wanting to take an Academy or Pathway, here are the application requirements:
    Academy of Finance                    
    Students apply in the spring of 9th grade

    Biotech Academy                  
    8th graders apply April 16th - May 11th, 2018 to enter Biotech in 9th grade
    9th graders apply in spring of 9th grade to enter Biotech in 10th grade

    Digital Filmmaking Pathway   
    8th graders apply April 16th - May 11th, 2018 to enter in 9th grade
    9th graders apply in spring of 9th grade to enter Digital Film in 10th grade

    Project Lead the Way                  
    Pre-Engineering Pathway               
    No application is required for this pathway. Students may choose Intro to Engineering Design, the first course in the pathway.

    Can I get an application now for an Academy or Pathway?
    Applications for the 9th grade Digital Filmmaking Pathway and the 9th grade Biotech Academy will be available starting April 16th, 2018, after 8th grade students have been assigned to Ballard High School.  Applications will be posted on our school website at then go to the Academics tab.   Completed applications must be received at Ballard High School by May 11th, 2018.  For 9th – 11th grade students newly assigned to Ballard for next year, please submit your application by May 11th, 2018 as well.

    Whom can I contact if I have specific questions about one of these Academies or Pathways?
    For more specific information on each academy or pathway, please see our Course Catalog at then go to the Academics tab.  In addition, many of these programs have their own websites, indicated next to the teacher contact info below.

    For additional information, please contact the Lead Teacher of each academy or pathway.
    Academy of Finance:
    Eric Blazevic | |

    Penny Pagels | |

    Digital Filmmaking Program:
    Matt Lawrence | |

    Project Lead the Way:
    Brian Connolly | |

    What music classes are available to 9th graders, and are auditions required?

    Please see our Course Catalog for all course offerings in the Music Department.  Please also visit the BHS Performing Arts website:   Below are the specific musical groups available to 9th graders, including information regarding auditions.  To schedule an audition, please e-mail the Director listed under Contacts.  Auditions will begin after April 16, 2018.

    Courses available to 9th graders:
    Symphonic Band
    Open to all incoming 9th grade band students.  Middle school band experience or instructor permission required.  No audition required.

    Wind Ensemble
    Audition required for incoming 9th graders.  Middle school band experience or instructor permission required.
    Jazz Bands
    Audition required for both jazz bands. This is an additional before-school class. Concurrent enrollment in a large ensemble class will be required.
    Open to all incoming 9th graders with middle school band percussion experience, or by audition.
    Symphonic Orchestra:  Open to all 9th grade string players.  Middle school orchestra experience or instructor permission required.  No audition required.
    Chamber Orchestra
    Audition required for incoming 9th graders.  Middle school orchestra experience or instructor permission required.
    Treble Choir
    Open to upper soprano and alto voices all in grades 9-12.  No Audition required.
    Concert Choir
    Open to lower tenor and bass voices in grades 9-12 (see Ms. Rowley for voice placement). Open to upper soprano and alto voices in grades 10-12 by audition.

    Mr. Michael James, Director of Bands |
    Ms. Brittany Newell, Director of Orchestras |
    Ms. Courtney Rowley, Director of Choirs |

    My son or daughter wants to try out for an athletic team or cheerleading. 
    What is the process?

    Information on WIAA Athletics and Activities offered at Ballard High School is available on our website

    You will find links to athletic paperwork to download and complete on the BHS website.  One packet can be used for the entire school year provided the sports specific sheet is completed for each individual sport your child chooses to participate in.  Students need to submit their completed packet, with proof of insurance, a current athletic physical with an exam date within the past 24 months, and the appropriate fees 2 weeks before the 1st official practice. 

    *Middle School physicals do not follow a student to high school. Physicals must be valid through the full sports season.

    *Fall sports & late summer vacations: Fall sports begin mid-August, before school starts, be sure your summer vacations are completed by Aug 14, 2018. Missing practice or tryouts will affect eligibility to play. Expect to practice 5-6 days / week 2-3 hours per day. Teams often practice over Labor Day Weekend.
    Important Dates: Watch the BHS Website and Calendar for important dates.
    Fall Sports practices start on August 20th, 2018 (Football starts August 15th, 2018)
    Winter Sports practices start on November 12th, 2018 (Gymnastics starts November 5th, 2018)

    Spring Sports practices start on February 25th, 2018
    Cheerleading/Dance: Tryouts for the 2018-19 Cheer and Dance teams will be held in the Spring of 2018.  Please contact the coaches with individual questions - or
    Remind list:  Sign up by texting @beaverath to 81010 to get Athletic Dept. reminders about important dates/events

    Eligibility: Students must be academically eligible to participate in athletics.  For incoming 9th graders, this means that their final, 2nd semester, 8th grade report card must show passing grades in at least 5 full credit classes with at least a 2.0 (C) average. Detailed eligibility information in the Athletic Handbook and Paperwork Packet. 

    Contact our Athletic Secretary, Kim Nickerson | or call 206-252-1000.
    For information about our Ballard Athletic Booster Club visit their Website at

    What is Running Start?
    Running Start is a program available to 11th and 12th grade students wherein students can attend two-year colleges during their school day while the state of Washington pays the tuition.  Students interested in Running Start would begin this process in spring of 10th grade by taking the placement test at the college.   This has no impact on 9th grade course choices.  Additional information can be found on our website under Services, Counseling Center, and the Running Start tab.

    What is the Skills Center?  How does this affect course choices for 9th graders?
    Skills Center courses are Seattle Public School programs available to students who are 16 years or older. 

    Please see the Course Catalog for a list of these programs, and, for more information, see the school district website at, click on District, Departments, then navigate to Career and Technical Education listed in the Alphabetical Directory list.  If an 8th grader sees a Skills Center course they might be interested in, they should consider choosing a 9th grade course that would satisfy a Skills Center prerequisite. Also, the District now offers a variety of Skills Center courses over the summer that are available to entering 9th graders. Please note the grades from the Skills Center Summer Courses will be added to the student’s high school transcript.

    I’m now ready to start high school!  Will there be a 9th Grade Orientation?
    Yes!  The Orientation for BHS Freshmen will be held the week before school starts in September.  Orientation is usually scheduled for the Thursday before Labor Day; you will receive a specific date and time in a summer mailing.  We will also post this on our website.

    Where can I find additional Information?

    Be sure to check our school website Home Page at for up-to-date events and announcements. For access to all of Ballard High School’s online publications (PTSA newsletter, Daily Bulletin, School Newspaper, etc.), please view our Publications Page located on our website.  Another great resource for parents is our Ballard PTSA website -