HAP Handbook

Hansen Alternative Program (HAP) Handbook 

Intro Letter

Greetings HAP Parents and Caregivers,

Enclosed is the working draft of the 2023-2024 Hansen Alternative Program (HAP) Handbook. The purpose of the handbook is to provide families and caregivers with an introduction to HAP and answer common questions before school begins in the fall. This includes outlining HAP’s purpose and structure, explaining how students are selected to participate, and describing family and caregiver involvement expectations, which is an integral part of the program.

This handbook was updated in the spring of 2023 by the HAP Board, the principal, and HAP teachers. It is currently a working draft that will be finalized by parents, caregivers, teachers, and school administrators during the 2023-2024 school year.

The prior version of the handbook was last updated in 2016. As you can imagine, much has changed since then. Teachers have come and gone, student’s needs changed, and the pandemic disrupted typical work and learning systems. Additionally, improving equitable enrollment in the program is a high priority.

Due to these changes, work began in 2023 to update and revise the manual with the goal of providing incoming families and caregivers with a more realistic view of what the HAP program is now and is aiming to become. As part of this process, three listening sessions were conducted to gather input from the HAP community about the future of the program. This visioning process will continue into the fall so your input can be included.

There are other elements from the old manual that were removed from the working draft for further discussion and revision. This includes educational goals, working groups and classroom coordinator descriptions, among others. Re-integrating these and other elements to align with the new vision will be done by the HAP community this coming school year. The Board will share more about how you can participate in the process once the school year begins.

Parental involvement is a key pillar in HAP and we highly encourage you to be part of the discussion regarding the revision of the handbook.



HAP Mission Statement  

The Hansen Alternative Program's mission is to bind children, teachers and families together in a progressive educational environment. This setting enhances a child's love of discovery and learning, while developing academic and social skills at an individualized pace. HAP emphasizes team-teaching opportunities, family involvement, multi-age and looped classrooms. HAP fosters an active, hands-on learning experience for all children.

HAP Vision Statement


The last few years have inspired changes to the HAP program. In the 2023-2024 school year, we are working towards a re-envisioning of the HAP program based on (3) community pillars: students, teachers and families.  Parents and caregivers should participate in the process of redefining the program.

Draft Vision:

    Community focus - where teachers, students, and caregivers play vital and collaborative roles;

      Academic rigor through meaningful lessons based on core competencies that include:

  • Thematic lessons;

  • Community collaborations;

  • Robust contributions from parents, guardians and caregivers

Opportunity to build relationships with students, teachers and families through looped and multi-age classrooms; Family participation;

  •     Community events;

  •     Fundraisers

  •     Volunteering

Welcome to HAP

Welcome to the Hansen Alternative Program!  Your student is in a HAP class for one of three reasons: 

(1)   Enrolled via the HAP lottery process

(2)   Sibling already enrolled in HAP

(3)   Placed by Hansen Elementary leadership

All HAP students are afforded the same HAP benefits and experiences, regardless of the method of enrollment.  See Appendix I for further information on the HAP Enrollment and Lottery Procedure.

If your student is enrolled in HAP via sibling selection or the lottery process, we hope that you have had the opportunity to attend informational meetings that are scheduled in spring of each school year. If your student was placed in HAP by Hansen Elementary leadership, this may be the first time you are hearing about HAP. This handbook is designed to answer questions and provide an overview of the program. 

What is HAP?

The Hansen Alternative Program provides families within the Olympia School District (OSD) an opportunity to engage in a collaborative and inventive educational experience with teachers, students, and other parents/guardians. The key differentiators between HAP and Hansen’s traditional educational program are multi-grade/multi-age learning opportunities with a consistent teacher for two consecutive years, strong family involvement, and program community that helps design and support programming.  HAP students and families can participate in the traditional student activities at Hansen as well as specific, HAP-driven activities. 

Multi-grade/multi-age Learning and Looped Classroom Structure

HAP is offered K-5 at Hansen Elementary.  For grades K-3, a looped classroom structure is in place to provide students with the same teacher and class cohort for two consecutive years.  The looped classroom refers to the assignment of students to a cohort that is led by one teacher for 2 years.  For example, children entering Kindergarten will have the same cohort and teacher for Kinder and First grade.  When they move to Second grade, they will have a new teacher that will stay with them through Third grade.  Fourth and Fifth grades will be a multi-grade structure where the class contains children in both grades and the teacher remains the same. This structure offers HAP teachers, guardians, and students the opportunity to build relationships that are often difficult to maintain in traditional class structures.  Teachers can become familiar with  your student’s individual learning styles to help maximize engagement and learning, and your student can build trust with their teacher over the two school years together.  Rather than getting to know a new teacher every school year, your student will have three teachers over the course of their six years at Hansen Elementary.

Program Structure and Parent Involvement

Responsibility for the HAP program is shared by three parties: Hansen leadership, HAP teachers, and HAP families. The HAP Board, made up of HAP parent/caregivers, is in place to coordinate these three components.  All three components must be aligned and engaged to sustain the unique nature of the HAP program.   Education is evolving, and without the school leadership, teachers, and families working together we will not have a program that successfully fulfills the Mission to provide a progressive educational environment.  Each component provides support and guidance to the program in the following ways:

      Hansen Leadership: The principal is involved in any decisions that affect school systems and services.  The principal attends HAP Community Meetings and provides updates to the program regarding changes in school policy or procedure that affects HAP.  The principal is the primary driver of the HAP placement process, and ensures that HAP is aligned with the school’s mission, vision, and values.

●      HAP Teachers: HAP teachers play an integral role in the design and execution of  the educational model. HAP teachers regularly attend HAP community meetings, participate in HAP events and work with the Board and HAP community to develop curricula and meaningful activities that benefit the HAP community. 

●      HAP Parents: Family participation is essential to HAP success and every family participates in some way; this is part of what differentiates HAP from the traditional school setting.  Parents attend HAP community meetings at least twice a year and participate in HAP in a variety of other ways depending on their schedules and individual situation.  Some form of  involvement from each student’s family is important to maintain the HAP core elements, carry out the mission statement and be true to our vision.  The level of involvement varies between families; this can work because when every family participates in some way, we maximize the ability to meet the needs of the HAP student body. 

Here are some of the many ways you and your family can support your student and the HAP community:

·      Classroom volunteer/project assistant

·      Join the Board or a committee 

·      Volunteer to chair or work at an event

·      Lend your skill or knowledge for a class or HAP community event 

·      Share your ideas and experiences at HAP community meetings 

·      Find guest speakers/serve as a guest speaker 

·      Support fundraising events 

·      Coordinate field trips

·      Decorate classrooms 

·      Classroom volunteer/project assistant

·      And much more!

If you prefer to not be involved or are unable, you can opt out of HAP and your student will be placed in the traditional school program.  The Board appreciates the opportunity to review your concerns with you and discuss opportunities to engage in a way that fits your needs. Some Individuals believe they cannot be involved because of time or financial reasons but there are many ways to participate that do not require excessive time or money.  HAP can greatly benefit from understanding any challenges so that the program can be developed to better serve the HAP community.  HAP is committed to ensuring the program benefits from insights, opinions, and input from all HAP families. Please feel welcome to provide input or discuss challenges with the HAP board so that adjustments or improvements can be developed.

HAP Board

The HAP Board is composed of volunteer positions held by HAP parents or guardians who have chosen to use their family involvement commitment towards the Board functions.  The Board is not a decision-making body.  Decisions about programming are subject to a vote.  Items to be voted on are brought from the HAP Board to the HAP community at HAP Community Meetings that take place every other month during the school session. See Appendix II for information on voting.

 The Board is responsible for:

      Coordinating and facilitating the HAP Community Meetings

      Ensuring committees are functioning

      Meeting regularly with the principal, teachers, and other HAP stakeholders

      Ensuring that HAP practices and procedures are followed

      Supporting the Hansen leadership in generating interest for the HAP program

      Coordinating communication pathways for new HAP students and families


HAP Positions: 

  • Co-Chair, Katie Manning

  • Co-Chair, Brandi Schmitt

  • Treasurer, Lauren Paull

  • Secretary, Laura Stengel

  • HCC/HAP Liaison, Natalie Hermanek

  • Communications Coordinator, Nathan Niederhauser

Committees and Fundraising

Committees are necessary to carry out the mission and vision of HAP.  The HAP community  aims to conduct events that foster community and strengthen connection.  Each year, HAP families determine the frequency and substance of events we engage in that align with our mission.  A general rule of thumb is to host an event every other month. 

HAP families are requested to make a donation at the start of each school year.  The suggested amount is $20 per student enrolled in HAP.   Giving money is not required but is greatly appreciated as we use these funds for our HAP family nights and to supply our classrooms with the teacher’s necessary resources.  In addition, we strive to conduct fundraising events in support of HAP twice per year to enhance these events and to pay for field trips or special curricular needs. Parents can support fundraising activities by volunteering, advertising, or donating time or resources.  There are no HAP funds designated from OSD to Hansen Elementary; all approved curriculum additions and field trips are paid for from the HAP budget directly from fundraising efforts.   

HAP Community Meetings

HAP Community Meetings are held every-other-month in the school (typically in the library) and are streamed for a virtual attendee option.  Parents or caregivers of HAP students are expected to attend at least (2) meetings per year to provide meaningful engagement and communication regarding program functioning, needs and direction.  The purpose of the meetings is to ensure that the program meets the needs of the students, and family engagement is necessary for success. 

Changes to the HAP program, including curriculum or procedures, are brought by the Board to the HAP Community Meeting for a vote by HAP families.  The Community Meeting is where your voice can be heard and where you can dissent if you disagree with a particular change in programming.   Meeting minutes are sent to the HAP family  distribution list.

The Board facilitates the HAP Community Meeting and the agenda may include budget updates, upcoming events,  program objectives or resource requests.  Committee representatives review relevant updates and needs from HAP stakeholder. The Community Meeting is a great time to find ways to participate in HAP consistent with your availability  It is during these meetings that we learn about  needs that you may be able to help with   during the course of your usual day (for example: posting events on social media, making a call, drafting a letter or emailing someone in our community or government for support in fundraising or advocacy efforts on  issues that impact HAP and/or Hansen Elementary).

Hansen Community Council Liaison

The Hansen Community Council (HCC) is where stakeholders in Hansen Elementary, including HAP families, come together to address the financial and social needs of the entire Hansen Elementary community. Parents and caregivers of children enrolled in the HAP are encouraged to volunteer and assist in the activities of the HCC. Parents who are involved in the HCC will report on HCC goals and activities, and on collaborative efforts between HAP and the HCC.The HAP Board includes one member who is the official liaison to the HCC,although all are encouraged to participate in the HCC meetings and schoolwide events.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if we move out of the Olympia School District in the middle of the year?

If you move during the year, your child can complete the year in HAP but will not be eligible for re‐ enrollment the next year. Out‐of‐district families will be offered a seat only after all in‐district students have been placed in the HAP, and then only on a year‐to‐year basis.


Can my student take the school bus?

If you live within the Hansen school boundary along a scheduled bus route, your student(s)may take the bus. If you live out of the school boundary, you are responsible for arranging transportation. Carpooling has been successful and carpool opportunities can be shared at the first school meeting.


Can my child get before- or after‐school care? What about breakfasts/lunches?

Yes, any programs available to students and families in Hansen Elementary School are available to those attending HAP. See the Hansen Elementary School handbook or office staff for details.


What if I have an idea about how to improve programming?

Contact a Board member to discuss by emailing [email protected].

HAP Communication

Most communication about HAP is conducted via email. You will be asked for your consent to be subscribed to the HAP email list.  Hansen leadership also sends emails on behalf of the HAP Board or Committee.  The HAP Board does not receive a comprehensive list of emails for HAP students, so it is important that when asked to provide your contact information for distribution lists that you provide the email(s) that are best for communication regarding HAP programming and activities.  The HAP email is managed and checked frequently; please use for your questions, concerns, and ideas: [email protected].

***July 2023 Reminder***

The entirety of this handbook, including the following Appendices, is a working document intended to be finalized during the 2023-2024 school year.  Please refer to the letter preceding the handbook content regarding next steps and requests for comment.  


Appendix I

HAP Enrollment and Placement Procedures:

1.   HAP Enrollment Committee:

A. The HAP Board will form a HAP Enrollment Committee that includes:

                            i.   At least one HAP Board member;

                            ii.   HAP guardians;

                            iii.  At least one HAP teacher

B.   This HAP Enrollment Committee will work closely with the Principal and HAP Teachers throughout the enrollment process in the HAP program to ensure transparency and fairness in the process.

2.   HAP Cohort Definition

A.   The HAP program is divided into six grade level cohorts.


B.    A HAP cohort is the group of vested HAP students in each grade level HAP classroom. 


C.    Vested students are those who are part of the HAP program in an ongoing capacity. All lottery students are considered to be vested students, and placement students are considered vested when they are chosen by grade level teams, HAP teachers, and the principal to be placed into the HAP program.


D.   Vested students are considered to have a spot in the program until they exit 5th grade, or formally withdraw from the school and/or program. 


E.    Vested HAP positions within a cohort will not be held for families that formally withdraw from the school and/or program and then return at a later date. 

3. HAP Cohort Creation

A.   A HAP cohort is initially created when a group of lottery students enters kindergarten. 


B.    When a cohort is initially created only lottery students are vested. 


C.    At the end of the year, the kindergarten grade level team, along with HAP teachers and the principal, will identify students moving into first grade that they believe would benefit from being placed  into the HAP program.


D.   All efforts will be made by the team to place students into HAP that come from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. 


E.    Parents of those students are contacted, and if they agree to join the program, they will be considered vested HAP students.

4. HAP Cohort Size and Makeup

A.   The maximum cohort size for grades K-2 is 23 (16 lottery students and 7 placements). 


B.    The maximum cohort size for grades 3-5 is 27 (19 lottery students and 8 placements).


C.    These numbers will determine the available spots for lottery students in each grade during the spring. 


D.   Placement numbers will increase along with lottery numbers, always maintaining, as best as possible, the ⅔ lottery ⅓ placement ratio.


E.    HAP cohorts will be tracked in an ongoing document maintained by the Hansen administrative team, and accessible to HAP teachers and the HAP board. 


F.    No changes can be made to cohort size or makeup without the approval of the principal and HAP teachers. 


G.   Students who are not lottery or placed may be put into a HAP classroom in order to balance grade level numbers, but they will not be considered vested, and will not be guaranteed a spot in the HAP program moving into the next year.  

5. HAP Cohort Maintenance

A.   At least two weeks before the lottery each year, HAP teachers will meet with the principal to solidify the HAP cohorts for the following year. 


B.    At this point the number of available lottery spots is determined. 


C.    Students will not be placed into the HAP program until lottery students, and their siblings, have been added into their cohorts. 

6. HAP Sibling Retention

A.   In accordance with HAP’s mission to foster community, for students that are currently enrolled and vested HAP students, their siblings entering kindergarten will be guaranteed a spot in the following year’s class. 


B.    For vested students with siblings that are in grades 1 - 5, every effort will be made to ensure that they can enter the HAP program as well.  However, spots are based on availability and not guaranteed.


C.    HAP families are responsible for notifying the school in the preceding Spring that they will have an incoming kindergartener in Fall.  If a family fails to notify the school in a reasonable time, a  sibling enrollment spot can not be guaranteed

7. HAP Sibling/Lottery/Placement Split

A.   After siblings are accounted for, it will be determined by the Principal, HAP Teachers, and HAP Enrollment Committee how many spots are left in each grade level for (1) lottery students; and (2) students that are placed into HAP by the Principal.


B.  The HAP cohort goal is: lottery is 2/3 of the HAP student body and placements from the Hansen Elementary community make up 1/3 of the HAP student body. 

II.            Lottery Procedure

1.         Informational Meetings

A.   In the spring of each school year (typically March), two informational meetings will be scheduled for prospective families that are interested in enrolling in the lottery for the HAP program for the following year. 

     i. These dates will be set at least one month in advance based on the Principal, HAP teachers, and HAP Enrollment Committee’s schedules.

ii. HAP Teachers and the HAP Enrollment Committee will meet with the Principal about content of the HAP informational meetings and will have an opportunity to speak about the HAP program.

B.    Prospective families must attend one of these meetings in order to enter the lottery, unless an exception is granted based on the Principal, HAP teachers, and HAP Enrollment Committee’s discretion. 


C.    The information about where and when these meetings are scheduled will be emailed to all Hansen families, displayed on Hansen’s website and displayed on HAP’s webpage  typically 30 days prior to the first meeting.


D.   The deadline and process to enroll in the lottery will be described on the website and scheduled within a reasonable time after the meetings to ensure that interested families have an opportunity to register to participate.

2.         Lottery Selection Procedure

A.   After the lottery deadline has passed, the Principal or their designate will generate a lottery list using a randomized method in the presence of the available HAP teachers and HAP Enrollment Committee.


B.    After the lottery has taken place, all families that entered the lottery will be notified of their place on the selection list or waitlist.  These families will be notified in the order they are selected and will have 1 week to accept or decline the placement.

III.  Principal Placement Procedure

1.  After the lottery selection process has taken place, the Principal, in consultation with HAP Teachers and the HAP Enrollment Committee will place the final 1/3 of students from the Hansen Elementary community.

2. The current class composition and dynamic will be considered when making placement decisions.  HAP Teachers’ consultation is a critical part of this process.

IV.  Placement Recommendations

1.Hansen teachers may recommend students from the student body for placement in HAP.  Students will be placed in consultation with HAP teachers and upon approval of the Principal and the HAP Enrollment Committee.

V.  Lottery List Maintenance & Mid-Year HAP Placement Process

1. When there are openings in HAP classrooms, families of students next on the lottery wait list may be offered a place within HAP up until September 15th of that calendar school year.

2. After September 15th, incoming Hansen students and siblings of students may be placed in HAP. 

3. Such students shall not be considered fully “vested” or guaranteed a spot in the HAP program if they were: (i) not enrolled in the HAP lottery the previous spring; and (ii) were not officially placed in the HAP program prior to September 15th of that year.

4. Mid-year placements will be re-evaluated by the Principal, HAP Teachers, and HAP Enrollment Committee at the end of the school year.


VI.  Re-Evaluation Process for HAP Students

1. HAP’s goal is to ensure that spots within the program go to students that are vested.  However, when it is in the best interest of the child, the Principal and/or HAP Teachers, in consultation with the child’s legal guardian/s, may recommend an alternative placement for such student.

VII.  Notification to Families Enrolled in HAP Program

1. As soon as a student has been identified for placement in HAP:

A.The Principal or designee will provide a written notice to the family.

i. The notice will include a description of the HAP program, information on how to access HAP materials, and an opportunity to opt out of the program.

ii. Families can opt out by any of the following:

a. Calling or emailing the school; checking the “opt out” box on the welcome letter and returning it to the school.

B. The HAP Enrollment Committee will provide the family with contact information and give them an opportunity to sign up for the HAP communications list serve.

2.  The Principal will notify the HAP Teachers and HAP Enrollment Committee and if a family has decided to opt out of the program by email as soon as possible.


Appendix II 

HAP Community Meetings & Voting Procedures


HAP Meetings


  • Voting will only take place during scheduled HAP Community meetings. 
  • HAP Community Meetings are held in the Hansen library every other month during the school year. 
  • A virtual option is also offered
  • The meeting's agenda will be sent to families before the meeting.

HAP offers paid child care in the Hansen gym during these meetings so that guardians can bring their children.




HAP Voting

Voting will only take place during scheduled HAP Community meetings. 

A vote of those present during the HAP Community meeting is required for:

  • Any HAP expenditure over $100;
  • Any substantive changes to HAP;
  • Any amendments to the HAP handbook.

An expenditure, procedure, or change to HAP will be approved with a simple majority of the HAP parents or guardians in attendance at the HAP Community meeting, either in-person or virtually.  


Appendix III


HAP Treasury Rules & Procedures

  1. As of the 2022-23 school year, the HAP funds are held in the HCC bank account and accounted for on the HCC profit and loss sheets. 
  2. All income and expenses are also recorded by the HAP treasurer on the HAP profit and loss spreadsheet.
  3. All HAP expense payments are issued by the HCC treasurer.
  4. The HAP treasurer will provide current financial information at each HAP community meeting.