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Thursday, March 2, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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New home for Indian Heritage school

Seattle Times staff reporter

American Indian Heritage High School students soon will be going to college.

The school will move in September from 1330 N. 90th St. to North Seattle Community College under a plan outlined to the Seattle School Board last night.

With only 71 students, American Indian Heritage is the smallest program in Seattle public schools. And that has made it difficult to provide the course offerings of a comprehensive high school.

By becoming a "middle-college" program at North Seattle, students will have their own classrooms and instructors but will be able to take advantage of the community college's courses and cultural offerings. The Seattle School District operates a Middle-College High School on the Seattle Central and South Seattle community-college campuses.

School officials are still studying the future of seventh- and eighth-graders who now attend American Indian Heritage. One possibility is that they will move to the Seahawks Academy.

Putting high-school students on a college campus means "a ratcheting up of the academic rigor in their program," said Seattle schools Superintendent Joseph Olchefske. But the move makes it important to provide some kind of "safety net" for students who are struggling academically, he said.

In other business, a busload of Cooper Elementary School parents and their children traveled to district headquarters to ask that bus transportation for the children not be eliminated at the end of this school year.

Under an elementary-school assignment plan that went into effect in 1998, the school district plans to stop providing bus transportation in September for students who attend schools outside a designated "cluster" of schools near their homes.

"I'm very sad that I hear that transportation will be taken away from my children at Cooper. I'm glad my children are attending Cooper because they are doing well," parent Norberto Garcia said through a translator.

The School Board took no action on the parents' request, but several members said they were moved by what they had heard and would look for possible solutions.

"They made a tremendous effort to get here and make their case," said Barbara Schlag Peterson.

The current plan would end busing for 1,000 students districtwide next fall, cutting district transportation costs by as much as $900,000.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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