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What to do about enrollment growth, particularly at Menlo-Atherton High School

Original post made on Sep 11, 2013

Changes to open-enrollment policies for the Sequoia Union High School District and tentative revisions to the map assigning communities to high schools are set for discussion tonight at 5:30 p.m. at 480 James Ave. in Redwood City.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 11:48 AM

Comments (25)

Posted by public school advocate, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Large high schools are almost inevitably impersonal places for students and teachers that make it difficult to engage students and provide opportunities for all. I think the ideal size for comprehensive high schools would ideally be 1600 or less.


Posted by Amy, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

One thing not mentioned in this article is a key reason (or any reason) Fair Oaks residents care about boundary changes. Why is that?

In addition to the real estate value of these middle class homes largely depending on M.A. being the high school assigned them (not true of Las Lomitas despite the arguments, see the value of any local homes with strong elementary/middle schools for proof), Fair Oaks children can actually walk and/or bike to M.A. -- a mode of transportation not possible if they're transferred to other schools.

M.A. is truly Fair Oaks' neighborhood high school.

Fair Oaks has many two-working-parent homes, it's a middle class neighborhood, and this ability for children to get to and from school on their own, even for sports an hour or two after school is out, is invaluable.


Posted by oncerned, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Perhaps it is time for a new state of the art high school to serve the EPA and Belle Haven areas. With a 22% increase projected it looks like it will be imperative to begin planning for a new school. M-A is already too big.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Perhaps it is time for a new state of the art high school to serve the EPA and Belle Haven areas. With a 22% increase projected it looks like it will be imperative to begin planning for a new school. M-A is already too big.


Posted by resident of nfo, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Perhaps it's time to stop wasting money on meetings to redraw boundaries and provide great schools in Ravenswood. Communities grow when they are together not when they are bussed about.

No high school should have a population of 10,000.
Stop shifting and start building.


Posted by Also concerned, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

The high school for Ravenswood was closed years ago because there weren't enough students. Seems like that's changing, and we should be re-opening a school there again.

The priority for Menlo-Atherton should be kids from Menlo and Atherton. That includes ALL of Menlo Park (including East Menlo & Las Lomitas.) After ensuring kids from the constituent towns are accomodated, other spots should be made available as necessary.


Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm

In all seriousness, perhaps it is time to enforce our immigration laws. That should free up a considerable amount of class room.


Posted by KW, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I would only support a bond measure if it was used to open a high school in east palo alto. Think of the enriching experience we could create for those kids by tailoring the education and class size to their needs.

As growth continues in their area, lets help bring their community together and empower them to reach higher.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm

KW:

what are "their needs" beyond receiving an education?


Posted by take a look, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

There is a brand new unused high school in East Palo Alto. The district built it and the kids did not come. Maybe opening it would be politically infeasible because the school would reflect the EPA ethnic balance, which is markedly different from the average for the rest of the SUHSD. But if I were a parent in EPA, I'd rather send my kids to that school than have them travel to Carlmont each day.


Posted by Ravenswood parent, a resident of Willow Oaks Elementary
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

The Ravenswood district graduates more than 400 students every year, so our community should have its own high school in our community. Why should our children attend an already overcrowded high school when the need to build a new high school is so obvious? I am not voting for a bond expand other communities high schools while ours is as usual short changed.


Posted by Vote for Change, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:49 am

North Fair Oaks is only 1.5 miles from M-A. It doesn't make sense to force the kids to go to a school that is 5 miles away (Woodside). By pushing this boundary change, the current superintendent and trustees are just shifting problems to other locations and creating new problems for all of us.

The current leadership team is showing that they're incapable of leading us through change.

Come November, show our displeasure in our votes. Don't vote for these incumbents that are up for re-election.


Posted by M-A is too big, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:10 am

M-A is already too big, ask parents of students going there, classes are too large and sport opportunities are none. Ravenswood needs its own high school!


Posted by Ravenswood, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

Ravenswood needs its own high school. This rezoning proposal is splintering communities and creates more long-term problems for everyone in the Sequoia District.


Posted by take a look, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

There IS a new high school in East Palo Alto on Myrtle. No one is using it. Maybe if enough Ravenswood parents insisted that it be opened, you'd have your school. Isn't it better to take action than to complain about being underserved?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There IS a new high school in East Palo Alto on Myrtle."

Who paid for it?
When was it built?
How many students could it accommodate?


Thanks.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

It appears that the high school campus in question is the 1+ acre site being used by a charter school.

Web Link

While that's a real site, it's in no way comparable in size or available amenities to the current 4 Sequoia Union comprehensive high schools.

In the first round of community meetings, the Superintendent made it clear that there is no practical way to build a 5th comprehensive high school at this time, in terms of either available money or an available centrally located site in the size range required (I think 40 acres was the size he cited. It was certainly in the 20+ range) to build a campus, playing fields, parking lots, etc.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What about using the existing 4 campuses 12 months a year with 9 month staggered schedules for each cohort of students?


Posted by Has he looked?, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

The superintendent claims there is not space for another high school, but has he looked? And what about shoving more students into M-A? According to the CA Dept. of Education M-A is already too small for the students it hosts!

Web Link


Posted by peninsula resident, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm


> Superintendent made it clear that there is no practical way to build a
> 5th comprehensive high school at this time

Well, ultimately that's not his call; if we vote NO on bonds expanding the current schools, that will send a clear message that the easy way out is unacceptable. And voting "no" and making our voices heard is what we should do.

We need leadership that works toward the BEST solutions and long-term solutions, not just what's convenient for them. The current high schools, especially Woodside and MA, are already built out. If real-estate space is deemed an issue now, well it's only going to get worse in the future because...hello...the population continues to increase.

There's clearly a need for another high school; if there wasn't a need, the charter schools wouldn't exist (hello?).

The districts -- both Ravenswood and Sequoia -- keep kicking-the-can on the longstanding issues with education in the area. How about trying to come up with long-term solutions instead of short-term ones?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would certainly support a bond issue for a high quality, properly located fifth school both to better serve the existing population, to offload the current four high schools and to prepare for future population increases. The new fifth school should be the one that anyone would want to attend.


Posted by peninsula resident, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

> I would certainly support a bond issue for a high quality, properly located fifth school

So would I.

Just for the historical record, I think it would be helpful to point out how we got in this situation to begin with:

1) Ravenswood SD had a high school, with poor performance;

2) civil rights groups demanded better schooling for Belle Haven and EPA students;

3) A compromise between all parties was to send BH&EPA students to the 3 high schools with low minority attendance (Carlmont, MA, Woodside). Note that this was NOT the districts idea, it's what they agreed to;

4) not-too-surprisingly, parents in EPA and BH decided it was better to send their kids to better schools, so attendance at Ravenswood HS plummeted;

5) Sequoia closes Ravenswood HS due to low attendance;

6) the land is eventually sold and is now part of the Ravenswood Shopping Center;

And now a group of lawyers and residents want a local HS (be it in Ravenswood or MA), which of course they used to have but a group of lawyers set things in motion to have it closed.


I am politically moderate, but I must admit that the older I get the stupider liberals look.


Posted by Parent of M-A student, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm

> I would certainly support a bond issue for a high quality, properly located fifth school

So would I.

And just for clarity I would add:

Student of the Las Lomitas district go to M-A because they are told that M-A is their high school, not because they asked or are granted a privilege. There are fewer than ten La Entrada students per year who live in the Woodside catchment area and are granted admission to M-A: fewer than 10! Not allowing less than a dozen kids not to go to high schools with their schoolmates would certainly not solve the situation of hundred or so Ravenswood kids.

M-A is too large and overcrowded, we need a fifth high school.


Posted by due, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Build another school. Long overdue.


Posted by oldtimer, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

Why don't they make a cohesive study of both elementary and high school districts from the Menlo, Fair Oaks and Redwood City areas? If you are fortunate enough to live in the Menlo elementary and feed into MA you are very lucky indeed. Otherwise we have friends across Fair Oaks (street address that says Menlo park) Atherton, and Redwood City and almost all who have kids say no one on their streets goes to the same school. Many people within RCSD send their children to private schools and then shoot for a public high school. This whole boundary change is extremely disruptive for childrens lives. Draw a circle around each high school and send the children closest who live nearby. Stop trying to redress social inequities by playing god with these childrens lives and shipping thme off miles away to schools.


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