Enrollment declines relate to Santa Clara Unified

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The Santa Clara Unified School District continues to monitor enrollment numbers. Especially after the opening of three new schools, the district is watching these trends closely.

Registration

Santa Clara Unified and school districts across the country are concerned about declining enrollment. At the board meeting on Thursday, October 27, staff presented the figures for the last five years. Director of Student Services Brenda Carrillo showed the overall decline in enrollment. Almost all grades saw declines except for secondary schools which saw a slight increase, confusing staff.

The largest decline in enrollment is occurring in elementary schools, except for some growth in some schools at certain levels. Contributing factors could be the new Agnews Elementary School and changes to enrollment limits. Additionally, the age requirements for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) have changed and more students are enrolling.

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Similarly, the opening of Huerta Middle School and MacDonald High School along with changes to enrollment boundaries also affected middle school and high school enrollment.

Enrollment center manager Johanna Gonzalez says they were able to accommodate 65% of open enrollment students. The waitlist has dropped to 30%, with most people on the waitlist requesting Millikin Elementary School, which is already at capacity.

Vocational technical training in Silicon Valley

The Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) program serves 40 high schools across six school districts. Nearly 1,000 students have completed SVCTE in 2021-22, said Superintendent Alyssa Lynch of MetroED. Santa Clara Unified has had 44 students earn UC AG credits, 22 joints earned, and 60 certifications earned.

“Sixty percent of our students go to university. I like to say this every year because people still think career tech education is for that “other student,” Lynch said. “The students we have are tied to UC, CSU, 2-year college, trade school, and it’s still college.”

SVCTE news includes the recent welcome of Jeff Arnett as the new principal. They also held their first summer school exploration program which was a success and Lynch said they would likely continue the program and expand it. A $250,000 donation from supervisor Joe Simitian will go towards electric vehicle and nursing careers programs. And in January 2023, they want to start their first after-school program.

Going forward, SVCTE plans to bring back and add programs such as cybersecurity, graphic design, game design, and mental health.

Ethnic studies

In the fall of 2021, California Assembly Bill 101 was passed, requiring all public high schools to offer an ethnic studies course by the 2025–26 school year. AB101 also requires all California public schools to add a semester course in ethnic studies as part of their graduation requirements by the 2029-2030 school year. Santa Clara Unified adds an ethnic studies semester that will be paired with a health semester in 9th grade.

According to Board Vice-Chair Vickie Fairchild, there has been misinformation about the ethnic studies course. Principal of Secondary Education Matt Baldwin and staff explained that the purpose of the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is to bring attention to ethnic and racial groups whose histories have traditionally been overlooked and central to college ethnic studies courses: Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans as well as Sikh, Jewish, Arab, and Armenian Americans.

Staff also listed the eight outcomes they hope to achieve from the course: pursuit of justice and equity, pursuit of greater inclusion, improved self-understanding, development of better understanding of others, recognizing intersectionality, promoting empowerment for civic engagement, supporting a community orientation and developing interpersonal communication.

They also hope to tackle misinformation by engaging with families in March and April once they expand the program further.

other business

The board appointed Adam Flores as director of maintenance and grounds, Jordan Queensbury as head of technology support and Michael Harris as head of security. As for the head of security, Registrar Bonnie Lieberman expressed concern about the recent earthquake and learned that venues were not following protocols. Chief Business Officer Mark A. Schiel said he was also concerned and said they would ensure this was a priority.

The Council also changed the school calendars to add Juneteenth.

They passed a full fee waiver for the Santa Visits Alviso Foundation to use the facilities at Mayne Elementary School.

The next board meeting will take place on Thursday, November 10. And the last of the calendar year will be on Thursday, December 8.

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