Glossary of Terms


Capacity refers to the number of students that can be equitably served in a given building while preserving a sound learning environment. Overcapacity is when there are more students assigned to a building or specific grade level than can be equitably served. When a building or grade is at overcapacity, the student-to-teacher ratio typically increases and common areas are insufficient to adequately accommodate all students. Under capacity is when there are too few students assigned to a building or a specific grade level. When a building or grade is at under capacity, fewer classes may end up being offered or support service staff such as nurses and librarians may be reduced.

Common areas or facilities (also called central facilities)

Common areas or facilities (also called central facilities) refer to restrooms, offices, multi-purpose rooms/gyms, lunchrooms, and lockers. These are typically used by all students and are centrally located within or near the facility.


Demographics are characteristics of human populations. In order to understand the changing demographics of the district and how they may impact future enrollment, the EDTF monitors many factors including: the birth rates and market share (defined below) of birth rates; proposed and new single-family and multi-family home construction within the district; resulting traffic patterns of proposed construction, including school bus routes; student enrollment by grade and by school; census data, neighborhood characteristics; and local development regulations in the Northshore School District.

Enrollment forecasts

Enrollment forecasts are projections of future student enrollment. These projections are based on current actual attendance, census data, new home construction, births, regional employment, the economy, private school enrollments and waivers.

Equity in instructional programs or learning opportunities

Equity in instructional programs or learning opportunities refers to the school district's attempt to provide students throughout the district the same quality of instructional programs and learning opportunities. The district strives to provide students across the district with similar student-to-staff ratios, average class sizes, availability of extended learning opportunities, and accessibility of technology resources.

Market share

Market share refers to the proportion of children available to attend public schools who attend a particular district or school. Eight percent of all school-age children in King and Snohomish counties and therefore has 8% market share.

Pending developments

Pending developments are the number of single family homes, multi-family apartment buildings and condominium developments that have been proposed and/or approved by the jurisdiction in which the development is to be constructed. Understand the number of pending developments within NSD allows the district to better estimate future population growth.

Pipeline database

The pipeline database is used to track the process through which new developments move from first application through permit review and approval to construction and ultimately to occupancy.


Plats, also known as subdivisions, are maps of the division of land into residential lots.

Service area

Each school within the district serves a particular service area. The service area includes the neighborhoods and specific addresses at which students eligible to attend that particular school reside. The boundaries of each service area are mapped by the district.

Springboard proposal

A springboard proposal is a starting point scenario used as a discussion starter. By virtue of its name, it is a springboard which usually generates both questions and answers that in turn lead to a revised proposal. The process continues until a workable proposal is developed.

Staff requirements

Staff requirements are the number of teachers and support staff required to provide services to a set number of students in each grade level at a particular school.

Turnover analysis

Turnover analyses explore the movement of students within neighborhoods in the district and typically span five or more years. Locations (neighborhoods) where there is little or no movement are considered areas of static growth.

Urban Growth Boundary

The Urban Growth Boundary delineates the edge of the Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) designated by King and Snohomish counties. UGAs indicate where most future urban growth and development is to occur over the next 20 years. The Growth Management Act requires the County's Comprehensive Plans to designate Urban Growth Areas in order to limit urban sprawl, enhance open space, protect rural areas and more efficiently use human services, transportation and utilities. Future urban growth is to be located first in areas already characterized by urban development where existing public facility and service capacity is available, and second in areas where public or private facilities or services are planned or could be provided in an efficient manner.


Through the waiver process, students from neighboring districts may attend NSD schools. Additionally, students eligible to attend NSD may decide to waiver into a neighboring school district instead. Students can also apply to transfer to or from their service area or home school within the district to another school within the same district that might better meet their needs. Waivers are granted if the receiving school can accommodate the student without adversely impacting the student-to-teacher ratio at the school and if services are provided at the school that fit the needs of that particular student.