• Growing Together: Secondary Programs

    Growing Together is a comprehensive student assignment plan that will launch in the 2024-2025 school year. It is being designed in two phases to ensure diversity and equitable access to academic programs for all Durham Public Schools students. Phase One of the initiative began with elementary school boundary adjustments and academic program enhancements approved by the DPS Board of Education in January. Phase two will focus on middle and high school boundaries and programs. For more information about school boundaries and academic programs for elementary schools, click here.


    Recommended Secondary Application Programs and Placement

    Note: The Growing Together Secondary Academic Programs and School Boundary Recommendation will be presented to the Board of Education at its May 18 meeting.

    Growing Together expands access to four application programs:  Year-Round, Dual Language Immersion or DLI, International Baccalaureate or IB and Montessori. The recommendation offers continuity from elementary school to middle and high school.

    Year-Round: The elementary Growing Together plan increases the number of year-round elementary schools from three to seven. In the 2025-26 school year, we will have 708 rising 6th graders leaving elementary school.  Currently we have only 329 year-round seats in middle school. The recommendation is to add additional year-round seats at middle school.

    Dual Language Immersion: The DLI program currently exists in three elementary schools, however, their cohorts have not matriculated to 5th grade.  The Growing Together plan adds a DLI for each region, with an existing program at Southwest becoming an application program.  The new DLI programs will start in 2024-2025 in kindergarten, so there will not be a large cohort of DLI students entering middle school until the 2030-2031 school year.  Currently, there are not DLI application seats at middle school.  The recommendation is to add DLI seats at middle school initially to meet students leaving the three current programs.  High school DLI will be ad dressed through aligned language courses rather than a cohort approach.

    International Baccalaureate: The IB program was expanded from one to two schools in the elementary Growing Together Plan to equal a total of 168 rising 6th graders in the 2025-2026 school year.  Currently, there are 546 IB seats in middle school (182 per grade level).  Since there are currently more than enough seats to meet the increased demand, the recommendation is to maintain the current number of IB seats at middle and high school.

    Montessori: The Montessori program was expanded from two elementary schools to three under the elementary Growing Together Plan to equal a total of 190 rising 6th graders after full implementation.  Currently there are 300 seats in middle school.  While there will be an increased number of rising 6th grade Montessori students, creating a new or second Montessori middle school is not recommended.  Instead, it is recommended to provide priority to seats at a Montessori-grounded program which is designed to integrate the key tenets of the Montessori philosophy (core academics, leadership, community service, career exploration, economic awareness, technology, peace and cosmic education, physical education, outdoor education, and field studies).  After researching other districts that offer Montessori, it is not recommended that we add any high school Montessori seats.

    It is recommended that the School for Creative Studies transition to a 6-8 (rather than 6-12) year-round middle school serving the North and East Regions.  Rogers-Herr will continue to operate as a full, year-round middle school and serve the Southeast, Southwest and Central regions.  The other program placements will serve all regions:

    • Brogden will offer the DLI program 
    • Shepard will continue to offer the International Baccalaureate program
    • Lakewood will continue to offer the Montessori program and Lucas will be added as a Montessori-grounded program that builds on the tenets of Montessori while capitalizing on the natural resources of the campus as well as the proximity to Treyburn Corporate Park
    • Continuing the middle school program at Durham School of the Arts
    • Ignite! will continue to offer a fully online program for middle school

    The high school program placements would all have district-wide access and include:

    • Continuing the International Baccalaureate program at Hillside High School
    • Continuing the four options for early college: JD Clement Early College High School, Middle College High School, City of Medicine Academy and Durham School of Technology.  All these schools offer students the opportunity to earn an associate degree or the equivalency of two years of college credit along with their high school diploma.
    • Continuing Durham School of the Arts high school program
    • Leaning into and enhancing the Energy and Sustainability program at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability 
    • Continuing to offer online high school at Ignite!
    • Continuing to offer CTE Pathway applications for programs that are difficult or cost prohibitive to replicate in every school such as automotive, public safety, agriculture, engineering, and skilled trades and which are not available in the assigned school.

    Proposed Secondary Boundaries

    In considering the modification of school boundaries, DPS was led by these guiding principles:

    • Ensuring appropriate utilization of facilities (addressing over or under enrolled schools and future residential growth)
    • A focus on the socio-economic diversity of the attendance zone
    • Providing vertical links for specialized programs
    • Minimizing disruption
    • Maintaining or increasing transportation efficiency

    The map on the left shows our current middle school boundaries, and the map on the right are the proposed/updated boundaries to go into effect in school year 2025-2026.  The shaded areas indicate where there is a change in the boundary. Also, the map on the right shows the boundaries of the elementary schools that feed into that school.

    The proposed shifts to the high school boundaries help to align feeder patterns and to ensure each region has a comprehensive high school assigned. Current boundaries are on the left and the proposed boundaries are on the right.

    This proposal creates well-aligned feeder patterns which will allow students to transition schools with peer cohort groups and will allow schools to strengthen connections and partnerships with feeder schools.  Lucas, Lakewood, and Shepard will transition to having both an attendance zone and lottery seats.  You may notice that Forest View and Carrington are highlighted.  A split feeder pattern was required at Forest View to address enrollment pressure at Githens. The divide does keep neighborhood groups intact and avoids long bus rides for students at the high school level. Carrington currently has a split feeder pattern, and this proposal does keep elementary cohorts together through the transition to high school. 

    Proposed Secondary Rules of Access

    These proposed rules build upon the finalized elementary school rules of access that were approved by the DPS Board of Education in January. In alignment with the Elementary Growing Together Rules, four categories were considered for the draft Secondary Rules of Access: Legacy, Sibling, Program Link and Calendar Link.