Ferndale Family Connections

Student Driven. Family Directed. District and Community Supported.



It is a core belief of the Ferndale Family Connections program that parents and other adults at home are the primary educators of the children in their care. With that in mind, the role of the program is to support home learning by providing supplemental services. Rather than replace home learning, it is our intention to help complete or enhance home learning by adding extra elements to it. This partnership between home and school creates an excellent opportunity for children to grow and learn.


Ferndale families and Ferndale School District staff members formed a Design Team in November 2017 to begin creating the Ferndale Family Connections program. A pilot session in Spring 2018 was successful, leading to the hiring of a coordinator, teachers, and support staff to fully implement the program for the 2018-2019 school year.


Ferndale Family Connections offers supplemental educational courses for core subjects (science, math, social studies, language arts) as well as electives.

Each student enrolled in the Ferndale Family Connections program will have a unique Written Student Learning Plan designed collaboratively with families, students, and certificated staff. The WSLP will be updated monthly to reflect the student’s learning, interests, strengths, and challenges.

Ferndale Family Connections meets all Washington State requirements as an Alternative Learning Experience.

Inquiries/Enrollment Information

Students may enroll in Ferndale Family Connections at any time during the school year. Open Enrollment Packets are available at the Ferndale Family Connections Main Office, located at North Bellingham Learning Center, 5275 Northwest Dr., Bellingham, WA 98226. Office hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 am-4:00 pm.

For more information about Ferndale Family Connections or to begin the enrollment process, please contact:

Melissa Engels, Coordinator: melissa.engels@ferndalesd.org
(360) 383-9650

Lea Morris, Administrative Assistant: lea.morris@ferndalesd.org
(360) 383-9289

We also encourage you to visit our Facebook page, where you will be able to get a feel for the program. Our regular updates introduce people who are a part of our program, highlight classroom happenings, and share information about other program-related events. https://www.facebook.com/Ferndaleschoolsfamilyconnections/

Frequently Asked Questions

Ferndale Family Connections serves students in Kindergarten through Grade 10. While there will be classes for students in each grade level, there may be more or fewer classes offered for a specific grade or level based on student enrollment. Some classes are designed for a particular grade, while others are appropriate for students of various ages. Multi-age classes are divided by primary (Kindergarten-2nd grade), intermediate (3rd-5th grades), and secondary (6th-10th grades).

Ferndale Family Connections values the role of parents/guardians as we engage in this learning partnership together. To that end, it is our policy that a parent/guardian is on campus with any student who is under the age of 12 to help establish routines, model safe and responsible use of campus spaces, and connect with program staff and families. However, if your student is under the age of 12 and you feel that he/she is ready for increased independence by attending classes without your presence on campus, you may submit a “Request to Attend Unsupervised” form.                             

Ferndale Family Connections offers both core and elective classes on a semester schedule. Depending on the semester, core classes might include science, math, social studies, language arts. Elective courses might include, but are not limited to, art, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), foreign language, and PE (physical education).

Each semester’s schedule is based on a variety of factors, including family requests, student interest, and teacher expertise. When possible, community guest instructors may be involved in teaching classes.

Class length and frequency vary, based on subject and grade level. For example, some classes meet for one hour once per week. Other classes meet in two-hour blocks twice per week. There are also classes that meet each day.

Students and families choose how many classes they will take, ranging from just one class to a full schedule.   

Classes for Ferndale Family Connections students are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 am-2:30 pm. There is a lunch break from 12:00-12:30 pm.

Click here for the second semester schedule.

Mondays and Fridays are devoted to teacher planning time, staff collaboration, monitoring Written Student Learning Plans, and monthly progress meetings. Each family is expected to meet with their WSLP teacher for a progress meeting once each month.

On one Friday each month, Ferndale Family Connections plans a field trip to build community amongst our families and students as well as extend the learning that happens at home and school. In most cases, families provide their own transportation and cover any fees.

There is also one Family Fun Night each month, an opportunity for families to join together to have fun and build community.

Please note, if there is a delay or closure, Ferndale Family Connections will operate under this schedule:

  • One-Hour Delay: Classes will begin at 10:00 am. There will be no 9:00 am class.
  • Two-Hour Delay: Classes will begin at 11:00 am. There will be no 9:00 am or 10:00 am classes.
  • Closure: There will be no classes.

Ferndale Family Connections families and students have access to a variety of district resources.

Ferndale Family Connections is working to build a curriculum library from which families can check out curriculum resources. Currently, families have access to all district curriculum, including some online programs. In some instances, families may request that non-district curriculum be purchased for addition to the FFC curriculum library. 

Each classroom has technology such as computers, projectors, and document cameras.

Students with Individualized Education Program are welcome at Ferndale Family Connections, but there are no specific special education staff or services on our campus. Students with IEPs may be better served at one of our other district schools.

At this time, there is no food service or transportation to and from school for Ferndale Family Connections students.

As a partnership program, it is our strong desire and intent to work closely with families by creating a supporting and positive environment for all members of the family. We expect that families contribute to the success of Ferndale Family Connections by sharing their time and talents at school, based on family availability and program needs. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways: volunteering for classroom learning centers, cleaning up the family room, providing supervision during lunch, planning field trips, organizing family nights, and more.

Ferndale Family Connections is located at the North Bellingham Learning Center, 5275 Northwest Dr., Bellingham, WA 98226. The program has an office, family room, and several classrooms, as well as access to the gymnasium and outdoor play areas.

Ferndale Family Connections shares the North Bellingham Learning Center campus with several other Ferndale School District programs: Play and Learn, Developmental Preschool, Jump Start Kindergarten, and Ferndale Community Transitions. There is also a Head Start Preschool on site, operated by the Opportunity Council.

The Ferndale Family Connections staff holds student interest and family involvement as a priority in the learning process. Ferndale Family Connections staff participate in WALA (Washington Association for Learning Alternatives) workshops and conferences to increase their knowledge of home-based instruction. The Ferndale Family Connections staff also cultivates working relationships with educators from other Whatcom County partnership programs.                           

For more information about Ferndale Family Connections, please contact:

Melissa Engels, Coordinator: melissa.engels@ferndalesd.org
(360) 383-9650

Lea Morris, Administrative Assistant: lea.morris@ferndalesd.org
(360) 383-9289