News: Proposed Solutions for Enrollment Growth Include Full Integration of Ravenswood and New Schools
On October 22nd, the superintendent of Sequoia Union High School District, James Lianides, sent a letter to Menlo Park and Las Lomitas parents to “summarize key points” from community meetings at Hillview and La Entrada “regarding the projected enrollment growth and proposed boundary changes for Menlo-Atherton High School (M-A).”
Mr. Lianides says that “continuing to build upon academic excellence at M-A will be the highest priority in planning for the future.” Additionally, according to the slide presentation given at La Entrada, a major strategy for planning is to “keep communities together to the greatest extent possible,” meaning that “all of Las Lomitas will remain together within the M-A attendance area.”
This school year, M-A draws its student body of 2066 from five feeder attendance areas, with 619 students from Hillview, 314 from Las Lomitas, 623 from Ravenswood, 274 from East Redwood City, and 236 from outside of the M-A attendance area. Assuming boundary changes and no additional small schools, M-A’s projected enrollment of 2593 students in 2020-21 would comprise of 1138 students from Ravenswood, 957 from Hillview, and 498 from Las Lomitas.
Therefore two out of three future M-A students will come from Menlo Park and Las Lomitas, all of Ravenswood would enter M-A’s attendance area, and East Redwood City students would attend Sequoia and Woodside high schools instead. M-A’s principal, Matthew Zito, does not expect these proposed changes to significantly alter M-A’s student composition, climate, or culture, as students from Redwood City and Ravenswood share similar needs.
Rather, the presentation and Mr. Lianides’ letter seem to focus on mitigating future growth at M-A. “As enrollment grows, additional classes and sections will be added to meet student needs,” and “support staff, athletics, and student activities will be expanded proportionately with growth.” M-A also plans on adding two science labs and a two-story classroom building within the next two years to replace many of the portable buildings near the stadium.
To further address enrollment growth, the district plans on adding two high schools of 300-400 students each with “unique theme-based instructional programs.” Mr. Lianides writes that “a SUHSD Facilities Task Force has been formed that is identifying school site needs based on enrollment projections,” as well as the best locations for these two future campuses.
He plans to present an enrollment plan with boundary adjustments to the Board at its first meeting in January, “followed by a series of meetings to build further community understanding and respond to questions,” with the expectation that the Board will “take action on the enrollment plan in June 2014 with implementation projected to take place in the fall of 2015.”