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Las Lomitas, Woodside High parents spar

Original post made on Jun 3, 2013

There was both faint and full-throated praise for Woodside High School at the May 29 public forum to consider strategies to address a projected 22 percent enrollment surge by the 2020-21 school year in the Sequoia Union High School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 3, 2013, 5:11 PM

Comments (46)

Posted by Woodside HIgh former parent, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

It sure would be horrible if those Las Lomitas parents' properties values went down as low as the property values in Woodside, where students all go to Woodside High already. Or as low as they are in Portola Valley, where the students all go to Woodside High already.


Posted by Hopeful, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Honestly? How many Woodside Elems are going to Woodside now?How many from Corte Madera?
If a switch is made, keep all Las Lomitas together. Equalize any investments made by the LLEF. The scores and programs will improve perhaps more of Woodside's proper students will return
Don't split La Entrada as was done in the past. All kids deserve that repect!!!


Posted by Politically Incorrect, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

There was a time when any public school in California was excellent -- our State had the premiere public education system in the country. Then came Prop 13 and we destroyed our stellar public school system. Now, schools are only as good as the involvement of parents and their ability to make up the funding gap. Is it "fair" that kids who live in less expensive homes and therefore have a lower school tax base and whose parents can't afford to give thousands of dollars to supplement education get less? No -- it's NOT fair. Talk to the State of California and tell them to support schools instead of prisons. In the meantime, don't put the guilt trip on people who can afford to move to communities where the schools are stronger because the property values are higher.


Posted by PV Resident, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Actually Hopeful, you should get your facts straight on this...of the current 8th grade at Corte Madera, the majority of students are going to WHS...happily I may add. I believe the same is true at WES...

My 8th grade son is thrilled at the prospect of joining the WHS community along with a large group of friends from Corte Madera. We looked at both WHS and MA and concluded they were absolutely on par with eachother academically with slight differences on strengths in sports programs.


Posted by Not buying it..., a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Responding to the last sentence of the end of the article: "It shouldn't matter, at the end of the day, where you went to school"
...But it DOES matter!
I would love to see the data on specific college admissions to Woodside vs MA. I bet they are very different. College is getting harder to get into and thus where you go to high school makes so much more difference now than 20 years ago.

If all the schools were equal and it didn't matter, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
They are not equal.
If the academic achievements, enrichment programs, and teaching faculty were equalized, the conflict would disappear.


Posted by fed up, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

If you live in Las Lomitas, aren't you living in Menlo Park or Atherton, or do they pull from Woodside as well? By definition of being a resident of M or A, wouldn't it be reasonable to attend MA? Just because you are closer to a school doesn't mean you should automatically attend it (though it is a convenient commute). What about the kids living in the Menlo District near 101 who have to go all the way to the other side of town to attend Hillview middle school? Nobody is suggesting we move them to Ravenswood just because it's closer.

Nothing about public education is "fair;" to be fair is not the point. If you're looking for the best chance at getting into college, try being the top student in the worst school around--that makes you a stand-out who is able to overcome obstacles to learning. I fear for what my young kids will face in the future of education.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Letting the Las Lomitas kids skip the lottery is unfair. A tiny district, wanting to be separate from MPSCD, gets to pull rank at the high school level? Explain why?

What's also unfair is sending kids from EPA to Carlmont. That commute is way too far & time-consuming. Transportation itself is onerous & the distance discourages participation in extra-curricular activities. It's also problematic for working parents to slog through late commute traffic for back-to-school nights, etc.

How about sending all Las Lomitas kids to Carlmont? Not a bad commute via 280. Let them apply on a space-available basis for Sequoia, M-A or Woodside. Betcha Woodside would get popular, fast.


Posted by Woodside HIgh former parent, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

To the parent who asked about college admissions - I don't know the figures, but I can tell you about my daughter who went to Woodside High. She was admitted to UCBerkeley, UCLA and about five other UCs, to Tufts, to NYU, and to Lewis and Clark. She will graduate from Cal in only 3-1/2 years due to all the AP units she picked up at Woodside and was very well prepared for the competitive environment there by Woodside. She had no tutoring, no SAT prep (except for a friend who gave some advice on the essay section) and filled out all her college applications completely on her own.
I know from friends who had students at St. Ignatius prep at the same time that in the year my daughter graduated, Woodside High had more students admitted to UCLA than St. Ignatius did.
And I have heard that the school has only improved since my daughter graduated.


Posted by Shhhhh, a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jun 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

WHS Parents: We do not need to defend our school. Let the LL parents send their kids to MA. Urge the district to abide by the LL parents wishes. Get my drift? Best kept secret......


Posted by Former Los Lomitas Parent, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Anyone who thinks this wouldn't impact property values in the Los Lomitas district is living in a fantasy. I'm sorry but MA is perceived as being the better of the two schools. The way that Los Lomitas has avoided the ravages of Prop 13 is by raising millions annually for its foundation. This foundation functions because parents see the advantages of having a public education pipeline through high school and if the parents don't see that they'll be less willing to give to the foundation. This in turn will hurt Los Lomitas, one of the best public K-8 districts in the state. Short sighted and unnecessary in my opinion.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jun 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm


Disclosure: I am a Woodside High graduate, from Woodside. Many of the local kids that I knew did not go on to attend Woodside High.
-----------------------------------------------

I can see why possibly many Las Lomitas Elementary School District students' parents are concerned about potentially breaking up the graduating classes of their kids in order to send part of the student body to Woodside-- largely for PC purposes of creating more diversity.

Debates on how schools are often evaluated aside, commonly read school rankings (e.g. greatschools.org: MA = 8 out of 10; Woodside = 6 out of 10), and CA Department of Education Index numbers, portray MA as a better academic performing school than Woodside.

Parents who want what appears to be the best for their kids are understandably going to try and keep them on track to attend MA. This is especially true for parents who bought into pricey neighborhoods specifically for purposes of sending their kids to MA.

It is also naive to think that maintaining property values isn't important when many people put just about everything they have into a house location where their kids can attend a provably great school.

Trying to force protective parents to send their kids to a school that doesn't appear to be up to the academic standard of the one their children were destined for, is not likely to work. There are other options (private school, home schooling, etc) that parents can turn to. A voluntary program is the way to go. When Woodside academically pulls even with MA, more parents will send their kids to Woodside High.


Posted by Member, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Our son is graduating from Woodside this week. We also have another student at the school. Our experience has been nothing but excellent.

His teachers have been nothing but supportive and caring. The administrators go out of their way to be encouraging to the students. I think our college and career counselor is the best in the district. Our guidance counselors are extremely caring.

I understand the concerns about splitting up students who have always gone to school together. Maintaining friendships is important.

That should be the only concern. Real estate values will not go down. Students will receive an excellent education at Woodside - in fact, they will receive an excellent education at any high school in the district.


Posted by Money talks, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Another perspective on the issue could be to promote school bond issues from the Redwood City community. The cities with bond measures passing: Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley have elementary programs that are quite highly regarded. If the parents, whose children would attend the public high schools that overlap with and feed from these financially fortunate schools, could put as much effort into raising bond $$ for the high school district this would not be an issue. Many blame prop 13 - that is too easy.I and my children love their grandparents and would lose them to cheaper cost of living if it did not exist. If we have specific financial needs for our students, the community should raise it - as a whole. Then the whole will benefit.


Posted by California Mom, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

To Observer. The lines are not being redrawn "largely for PC purposes of creating more diversity." Woodside High School is already diverse. The lines are being redrawn because of a large increase of students who'll be enrolling in high school in the next 7 years. Purely demographic.
And your other remark "Trying to force protective parents to send their kids to a school that doesn't appear to be up to the academic standard of the one their children were destined for, is not likely to work" is also groundless. The opportunity to succeed by taking a great variety of AP classes and ascending into the top 10% or higher at Woodside High are far greater than being in a school where every student is a high achiever. Maybe that's why Woodside High had 6 students go to Stanford last Sept. 2 went on to Harvard. Dozens went to exclusive private school and the remainder of the high performing students went to a UC campus. Oh never mind... I best keep my mouth shut. If everyone knew what a great education they'd get at Woodside then the odds of being accepted to such great colleges and universities would be lowered. Forget I said anything.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jun 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

In a previously printed Almanac article (5-14-13), it was generally conveyed that Sequoia Union High School District Superintendent James Lianides feels that keeping a balanced diversity within the schools of the district is a priority (I didn't post that it is the only priority). The matter was mostly left to be read between the lines as Mr. Lianides spoke of a predicted increase in the number of students in the district, and that "the district should strive to evenly distribute the students."¯ I think the diversity issues within the district were most clearly spelled out in a point made using Carlmont as a stark example. However, for anyone who is familiar with the ethnic composition of Woodside High, it is pretty easy to see that the same concerns could be applied as enrollment grows.

"The ethnicity at Carlmont High School is becoming increasingly white and Asian, so preserving socio-economic diversity has become and will be a priority."
-----------------------------------------------------------

My opinion that trying to force protective parents (of means) to send their kids to a school that doesn't "appear"¯ to be up to the academic standards of other options isn't baseless. Many of the kids I went to Woodside Elementary School with were sent to private schools (including several who "stumbled"¯ at Woodside High, and were removed) because the parents believed that Woodside wasn't the best choice available.

I never said that a student can't get a good education at Woodside.

San Francisco has had similar problems in trying to send kids to schools that are perceived by parents as not being up to the academic standards of other choices.

Another example might be found in the San Lorenzo Valley (Boulder Creek, etc). Higher income parents (especially, fathers) have resisted efforts to send their daughters to the public elementary schools because they are "perceived"¯ as not being the best choice available for their girls.


Posted by Not Buying it..., a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Seriously...is there real data available on # of kids from WHS vs MA that went to each college that we can examine? Does anyone know how to get this data?

To all the Woodside parents above trying to defend their school: Nothing personal, but this is not a personal attack on you, so stop trying to defend your school. Your projected 10 year numbers are the lowest in the 4 high schools, so some group of students is going to get moved to your school to keep things even. I'm sure your school is very nice and you would not know any different since this is your school, but the state scores and reputation speak very differently. I am tired of hearing WHS parents tell us about their individual happy kid case stories who got into UCLA or Cal.

to Downtowner: You must have not seen the 10 year projected enrollment data. Carlmont has the highest projected enrollment numbers so they are looking to shed students, not gain them. Moving all the LL students to Carlmont would be the completely opposite solution.


Posted by carin, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm

My kids are younger so right now I am listening to the conversation here. The Las Lomitas parents think that it's unfair to separate their kids? That's exactly what the Ravenswood area has been dealing with for years. This would potentially make life easier for those kids. They would get to attend the school closest to their community, just as the Las Lomitas kids would. What is not fair about this? Those kids are just as important to their parents as yours' are to you. The argument that they should not be separated is flimsy, if not offensive.

If the Las Lomitas parents move their resources to Woodside High School, I'm guessing more Woodside parents might have their kids attend there as well. Then you have two strong parent communities that will undoubtedly make Woodside High School on par with M-A - or better - in short order.

I live in Woodside. Property values are doing just fine here, despite the Woodside HS designation.


Posted by LL parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I'm part of the Las Lomitas community and here's what I believe. Much of the anti-Woodside HS sentiment is based on very little knowledge of Woodside HS and an over-emphasis on test score results. Let's be real: LL kids largely bring their test scores into Las Lomitas and La Entrada when they enter the school,and the fact that M-A has better test scores than Woodside has everything to do with the balance of the student population and less to do with the quality of the educational program. At LL and LE, there are good teachers and mediocre teachers in both schools, and the programs in each are solid (but completely ordinary and traditional, not cutting edge in the way a 21st century school should be, especially ones with all the advantages of LL and LE) in large part because the teachers are teaching motivated, well-fed students who have every academic advantage imaginable. As a long-time educator, it's so much easier to teach a homogenous group of motivated kids than to teach diverse learns, so it's patently unfair (but simply a reality for an affluent school) that LL teachers are paid better than virtually every other teacher in the state, and their counterparts east of 101 have paltry salaries by comparison in an exponentially more challenging environment.

I understand concerns about property values, and I get the desire to keep continuity from MS to HS--those are legitimate concerns. But completely lost in the whole hysterical energy around this issue is this question: why do the Las Lomitas kids' needs take precedent over the rest of Sequoia district kids' needs? The district is trying to solve an issue that affects all the kids in the districe. That kids from EPA are commuting to Carlmont and Woodside makes no logical sense, and if the EPA parent community had the influence capital of the LL parents, there's no way those kids would have to travel so far to school.

So no one is asking about the greater good, where the LL kids best fit in the Sequoia HS universe in light of the shift in demographics, or how this is a repeat of shifts made 25 or so years ago, when Woodside was the premiere HS and M-A was the scary, less safe school that LL parents were reluctant to send their kids to.

If LL kids were re-directed to Woodside HS, the sun would still rise in the east, and the anxious LL parent community would be faced with a choice: pony up for private schools, or throw their fundraising muscle to Woodside HS and create the advantages that M-A now enjoys. In either case, our community has resources and options that the kids in EPA simply don't have. Let's not lose sight of this bigger picture.


Posted by Former LL and MA parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

College admission depends on an individual student's academic record, extra curricular's, AP classes and ability to write answers to essay questions on the SAT. Parent's should welcome a high school that is in walking distance of their homes. Get involved in the neighborhood high school and show your kids that they can succeed by hard work and being a good citizen in their community.


Posted by RWC resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Not Buying It

So you're "tired of hearing WHS parents tell us about their individual happy kid case stories who got into UCLA or Cal"? Really? Do you have a problem with a kid being successful?

You, obviously, have your eyes stuck on one thing - the API scores. Your dismissive and smug attitude against Woodside High is completely unwarranted. We WHS parents who have had successful experiences for our children do take your comments personally. When outside observers make obtuse and uninformed comments about our community school we can't help but get defensive. My husband and I cherish our children. Don't think for a minute we would have sent our kids to a school where we thought they would not be safe or would get a sub-standard education. It's insulting to read your comments. We need to embrace all our community schools.

Former LL and MA parent you said it best. "Get involved in the neighborhood high school and show your kids that they can succeed by hard work and being a good citizen in their community."


Posted by Cathy Oyster, a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 6:41 am

Our sons had a choice between Woodside and M-A. We,and they, chose Woodside. The choice was not about API scores or property values. My son's attended La Entrada before we moved to Portola Valley, the eldest through 6th grade. MANY of their friends went to M-A. NEITHER La Entrada nor Corte Madera had all of the students attend one high school (following the crowd has its positives and negatives.)

Parents should be making choices based on student based needs, INCLUDING time. One factor for us was indeed the hour it would take for them to get to and from school every day.

I see a lot of anxiety from parents in these comments. Remove that and evaluate your students needs, talk to people who have transferred FROM your school of choice as well as those that transferred TO your school of choice. Talk to students/parents that ended up where they wanted to be after completion of high school as well as those that fell short and find out why.

No need to spout your fear, that makes your kids anxious. Seek to allay your fear, your students will be better for it!


Posted by M-A parent, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

Las Lomitas parents, you are so lucky. Your kids get to be pioneers! It may take a while, and the first few generations of LL students may not get classes that are the caliber of M-A's, but they can be content in the knowledge that they paved the way for others, even if they had to sacrifice their own academic careers. Sometimes, you have to consider that the wellbeing of society is more important than your own.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

This is definitely a "first world" problem, isn't it?

The issue isn't which high school has the most impressive list of college acceptances. The upper 15% of students tend to do pretty well no matter which high school they go to. If you have Harvard-level academic performance, you're actually more likely to get accepted there if you graduated from a poorly performing high school than an elite one.

The bigger issue is how both schools are failing those students in the middle and those students on the margin who could be saved. So while you're arguing about which school gives your kid a better shot at Stanford, you're ignoring the thousands of students at the same school who are dropping out and giving themselves two strikes before they even step up to the plate.

How progressive of our community!


Posted by Menlo Park Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

I understand that this isn't an easy task for the board, but at the end of the day, most parents want what is best (as the parents see it) for their children. I'm not prepared to have my children "sacrifice their own academic careers" in order "to consider that the wellbeing of society is more important than your own." I'm a big fan of community, and I support mine, but not at the expense of my kids.

Most Las Lomitas children are assigned to M-A. It is no different from the children assigned to M-A from the MPCSD so for those LLESD kids, there is no "pulling rank". The lottery (skipping) noted in Downtowner's post is for the handful of children in the LLESD who are assigned to Woodside. When we bought a home in the LLESD, it was because of the schools – including at the high school level. To shift boundaries when one has made such a major commitment isn't reasonable.

Keep in mind that if LLESD students are sent to Woodside, scores at M-A will likely decrease. That is something that MPCSD parents should consider. This may have an impact on your children and possibly your property values even if you remain assigned to M-A.

I agree that the Belle Haven kids should go to M-A if they so choose. I can't imagine being bused so far every day.


Posted by Former Los Lomitas Parent, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

"I understand concerns about property values, and I get the desire to keep continuity from MS to HS--those are legitimate concerns. But completely lost in the whole hysterical energy around this issue is this question: why do the Las Lomitas kids' needs take precedent over the rest of Sequoia district kids' needs? The district is trying to solve an issue that affects all the kids in the districe. That kids from EPA are commuting to Carlmont and Woodside makes no logical sense, and if the EPA parent community had the influence capital of the LL parents, there's no way those kids would have to travel so far to school."

The obvious answer is because we're not dealing with a blank slate where we're deciding where to allocate students who aren't currently attending any school. This arrangement has been in place for decades. We're talking about changing an existing arrangement, not creating a new one. The property values people paid for their respective homes is based on the schools. The Los Lomitas familes paid more for their houses because this arrangement was in place. A significant percentage of these families have significant means. They will (not may) send their kids to private school if this occurs, so WH will not benefit from their "fundraising prowess" and the public schools will be hurt. Brilliant.


Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

My kids have had many friends from EPA over the year thru the Tinsley Program. It is grossly unfair that the Ravenswood students, many who already have significant challenges, get bussed to multiple schools and the much more financially fortunate kids get a choice of what school to attend.

One of the biggest indicators of school success is the educational level of a student's parents. If Las Lomitas students end up at Woodside, they will still have the same parents, the same resources and the same support from their families. Woodside's API will go up.


Posted by Parent in Redwood City , a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

To Menlo Park Parent
"I'm a big fan of community, and I support mine, but not at the expense of my kids" Is really code for I don't want my kids in the same classroom as brown kids. God help us. Those brown kids are loved as much as you love yours.


Posted by Menlo Park Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm

To Parent in Redwood City:

Don't put words in my mouth. Your comment is ridiculous and serves to fuel something that doesn't exist. Show me a parent who cares more about other children than his/her own. It's not reality. No one said anything about "those brown kids" not being loved as much by their own parents. BTW, you have no idea about my background/color or that of my children. You must have missed my comment about the Belle Haven kids and my support for them to attend M-A.

I'm tired of a few people who want to make this about race when it is simply about the quality of education, expectations and yes, real estate values.

To Palo Alto Parent:

I agree that parental education plays a huge part, but as others have noted, parents can and will move their children to private school if they feel the quality of education is inadequate. That will not improve the API of Woodside and it will likely harm the API of M-A.


Posted by Real Data, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Yes, the data on outcomes for WHS and M-A exists. Worth noting that the privates never publish this data (because their outcomes are so inferior to M-A).

Where M-A grads are going to school, by each year 2005-12
Web Link

Where WHS grads are going to school AND WERE ACCEPTED for 2010-11 COMBINED
Web Link

If you review these links you will see that the outcomes for schools are not comparable today. M-A sends over 5x the number of kids to top schools as WHS. If the LL kids were to attend, clearly that will change, but there is a big gap between these schools.


Posted by Atherton Parent, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Dear Real Data,

Why do you feel it necessary to malign the Local Private schools? This discussion is not about them. And for the record, most private schools do publish this information and it is readily available to anyone who asks for it. I can only speak for the school my children attend, but the data on the school website is in no way inferior to those of MA or Woodside. The total number of graduates attending any particular university may be lower, but that is because the total population of students is lower. 100% of the graduating seniors attend 4 year universities and in just this last year 22% of the students were accepted to Ivy League schools and Stanford. Do you consider that inferior?


Posted by A Parent, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I've heard this same argument play out over and over again on the Peninsula. I do not live in this district, but however special the LL folks may feel they are, their situation is not at all unique. I think Parent in Redwood City hit the nail on the head, as much as Menlo Park Parent would like to deny it.

These "elite" parents lack perspective. First of all, if you want your kid to go to Stanford, my best advice for you is to not live on the SF Peninsula at all. Stanford wants geographic diversity and their admissions office is clogged with kids from PAUSD, SUHSD and private schools. They could fill an entire class with high-performing students who live within 50 miles of campus, but that's not what they do. If that's your goal, move out of state.

Second, Junior is not going to end up homeless and bereft if they don't get into Princeton. Our world and our country would be better off if you and your child had more concern about your community than yourself. Attending (and improving) your community school is much more valuable to your child (and your family, AND your community) than it is making all your decisions based on me, me, me. That's why millenials are being called the Me Generation (although probably every generation has been called the "Me Generation" at some point...)

Finally, even though you don't like anecdotes, I've seen this happen, over, and over, and over, and over (my kids are all college aged and older and I've lived on the Peninsula for many, many years.) Take 2 kids of similar backgrounds with supportive families who believe in the importance of education. Kid 1 goes to the local public schools and Kid 2 goes to private schools. Fast-forward 13 years and you find those kids in the same freshman class of the same university, but the parents of Kid 1 have more money in their bank account because they didn't spent it all on a $20,000 per year preschool.

But seriously, all of our kids deserve a high quality education. Test scores are a very shallow gauge of educational quality and when that is your primary gauge, you are doing exactly what Redwood City Parent has accused you of - not wanting your child to attend school with children from a "lower" socio-economic stratum. There is a clear correlation between parent income and parent education level and test scores. That doesn't mean kids from low-income parents can't excel (they can, and they do) and it doesn't mean that kids from high-income families don't screw up.

Standing at the other end of this long journey, with 3 kids in college and one graduated from medical school, the hysteria of Peninsula parents afraid their child won't get into the "right" school is getting pretty old.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Classes with heterogeneous student demographics probably open minds to a greater effect than do classes of homogeneous populations.


Posted by A Parent, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Joe:

Thank you. Very well (and succinctly put.)


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I'm in the part of Woodside that is in the Las Lomitas district, and I have two kids at Las Lomitas/La Entrada right now. I'm definitely torn, because while M-A does seem to have somewhat better average performance right now, it's unclear if the relative performance of the top academic tier (say the top 25%) is that different between the two schools. And Woodside High is much closer to my house, so not spending an hour to/from school every day has real value.
What would be interesting to see, and I don't think Sequoia Union has this data unfortunately, is how much of the difference between M-A and Woodside's outcomes is due to the schools, and how much is due to the difference in the demographics of their incoming 9th graders. I know when you look at the economic distribution at each school, percent in the free lunch program, etc there are some significant differences. It could be that Woodside's actually doing a BETTER job of educating kids than M-A, but because many of their students are starting out further behind they can't catch up all the way. Just looking at outcomes without knowing those starting points makes it impossible to tell.


Posted by Hopeful, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Again, the Sequoia District should not split ANY feeders! What has been done to EPA, EMP, and Redwood City has been wrong for years. It was wrong when they split
LL previously. Keep school communities intact.
Figure out the busing for the Seq District so that ALL students can get there easily and stay late for activities and tutoring. We live in the "First World" why are we settling for third world thinking in terms of the money we are willing to spend?
Bus some kids from Foster City(?) south to M-A to re equalize the schools once all the LL students are at Woodside. If all the Portola - Woodsiders are already there GREAT! As an alumnus that's my hope. The superintendent is also an alumnus and wants the same!
Stop splitting schools AND offer accelerated 8th grade clAsses where needed and desired. Bridge the gap earlier, don't wait until 9th grade or 8th grade summer. Get the whole high school community focused on helping: teAchers, parents, and STUDENTS


Posted by Menlo Park Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I and other LLESD parents are not "in denial" about our motives and most people making negative comments here don't know us (although they clearly believe they know what we are thinking). I probably have a more diverse set of friends than many people. I went to school with individuals from over three dozen countries at different income levels (I'm not originally from here) so I know all about diversity/heterogeneous demographics. Did it serve me well? Of course it did. It continues to play an important part of my life. This isn't about "being afraid" of diversity. In fact, both Woodside and M-A (according to schooldigger.com) have very diverse populations. Here is the break down for 2011 (rounding to the nearest percentage):

WOODSIDE
Caucasian: 31%
African American: 4%
Hispanic: 56%
Asian: 5%
Other: 4%

M-A
Caucasian: 41%
African American: 6%
Hispanic: 39%
Asian: 7%
Other: 7%


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Heterogeneity may be important, but it's probably not enough.

It's well known that students self segregate at both M-A and Woodside. And AP classes are somewhat homogeneous, are they not?

These kids need to be in the same classrooms, with kids of varying skill levels sitting next to each other and in the presence of teachers skilled at addressing individual needs of all students.

That experience, being part of a diverse whole in fact, face to face, as well as in the spirit of a diverse school and school district, that is what being an American is about.


Posted by Nancy Krosse, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Joe, a resident of Menlo Park

YOU ARE MY HERO!! I couldn't have said it any better.


Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Back in the 70's, SUHSD had a voluntary transfer program - this program was put in place to (successfully) avoid mandatory bussing/integration as required by Federal authorities. This was also long before Tinsley came to be. That was also when LL kids were part of the WHS geo-draw. However, LL kids could volunteer to transfer to MA, Ravenswood or Sequoia. Sequoia kids could transfer to some of the schools as well. I remember one of my friends transfered to MA after attending Sequoia for a couple of years.

The kids who lived closest to Ravenswood had the opportunity to transfer to any of the other schools in the SUHSD.

To be very honest, there were plenty of Atherton, Woodside and MP families that did not want to "voluntarily" transfer their kids to MA. MA had a great academic reputation, offered more APs than any other school in the district - but race integration was the problem or perhaps properly phrased would be *fear* of integration.

And MA did have its issues. There were war protests that closed the school. And there was a race riot in the fall of 1974 that closed the school as well.

And there were families in Atherton that sent their kids to Menlo School, Casti, SHP or Bellarmine (SHP was an all girls school at the time) to avoid their mandatory attendance at MA.

What's my point? None of this stuff is new for this area. The real question is how are you parents going to handle this with grace and and respect for others?


Posted by mom of 3, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm

We live in Ladera. Our three children, who went to Las Lomitas and La Entrada, chose to attend M/A, even though we offered them the option of private schools. All have since graduated from good colleges. One's now in a PhD program. I asked them what they thought about this dispute and they said they just wanted a high school with diversity, which La Entrada did not have. They said they would have been happy to attend Woodside, plus it was closer. They were ready for something different.


Posted by Hopeful, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Joe, that's a real nice goal. So how do we manage to put those kids into the same classes when the start at such different spots? There are places where they come together, and I agree there is flight from those classes.
If you think you can manage a class that has beginning algebra and higher algebra in the same class, or students that need English assistance vs those writing essentially on their own, then make that school.
What we need to do is lift many to a better high school entry point. The problem is that some have risen far higher than any of the rest of us ever did in school. Should we be holding them back? I think we should use that brilliance to help the others in tutoring programs, but not at the detriment to their own education.
That problem isn't really the issue with this balancing of the populations. What we should do is to try to right the wrongs of the last few decades, not recreate what was wrong in the past.
The district has plenty of money to make changes. We've denied busing to M-A students whose families really shouldn't have to pay to get to school. LL families can probably afford that cost.
Also, as usual, the Almanac is doing a bang up job rabble rousing with headings like "Las Lomitas, Woodside High parents spar"
There were OTHER things discussed at the meeting. The reporter COULD set out to find the common ground and erase the misunderstandings. Instead, the reporters seem set upon causing more friction, so we'll end up with a really impossible situation like what happened with the Alpine bike path. Thanks for nothing, Almanac. Do some work here to provide the FACTS that we are all asking about.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Schools similar to the one I described are as closes as Redwood City -- at Summit Prep and Everest.


Posted by La Honda Parent, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm

This is an interesting discussion. I think the success of Summit and Everest, as mentioned by Joe, is about a smaller learning community. My children attended Pescadero HS (you can't find a smaller comprehensive public high school in San Mateo County;-) and they truly enjoyed the socio-economic diversity, AND ended up in the same colleges as their neighbors who sent their children to Summit or Everest. I wonder if the issue with all 4 SUHSD comprehensive high schools is that they are too large and need to be broken up into smaller learning communities?


Posted by Riley L, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jun 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Here is a link to SAT, ACT, and AP scores for Sequoia Union High School District that might be of interest to folks just looking at data -- albeit old (2010-2011).

Web Link


Posted by Member, a resident of Willow Oaks Elementary
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:59 am

Reading the material that has been posted on the Sequoia school Board page for the meeting tonight, it is fairly anvil us that the superintendent considers the feedback from few hundreds parents, mostly from Las Lomitas, rappresentative of the district. Instead of privately meeting with selected parents from one community only, the trustees and the superintent could consider a task force on the matter and a survey of all the parents in the district.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

As some posters have pointed out, this isn't just about Los Lomitas. Carlmont & Sequoia HS' will be over capacity by a couple hundred students, and the busing from East Menlo to Carlmont and Woodside needs to stop. There are many moving parts and considerations. Woodside will need to take the bulk of growth, but not all. Some feeder schools will need to move to new high schools across the district. It's inevitable. There is already tons of movement of kids to HSs that are not their assigned school, and that will continue, as space allows. By 9th grade kids are looking to meet new kids, and are less concerned with some of their classmates going to other destinations, as that is the norm already with some going to private schools, others transferring or moving. Kids wants diversity, not just of ethnicity, but of experiences.

However it all shakes out, new parent groups will lobby successfully for more and better AP classes, college and vocational counseling, anti-homework and later starts to the school day, and the list will grow and change. Get "fairness" out of your system now, because life will never be perfectly fair, and your house values and your kids will be just fine in the long run.

I don't know which news forums the Carlmont parents read, but what do they want to happen? What about Sequoia parents? What about East MP parents?

Can't please everyone, but they must all be heard.

If you don't like it, help start another charter school.


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