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Sequoia high school district board studies enrollment options for Ravenswood kids

Original post made on Sep 12, 2013

A thread emerged last night from the tangle of priorities facing the Sequoia Union High School District as the board discussed a jump in enrollment: Fix the problems associated with high-school assignments for eighth-graders from the Ravenswood City Elementary School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 12, 2013, 11:44 AM

Comments (101)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Now is the time for the entire community to demand full equity for ALL of the students in the District.


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Posted by Mary Ellen Lemieux
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I have great respect for Carrie DuBois, but winced when I read who will be "informed advocates for 'kids of chaos' who live in dysfunctional, economically deprived families?" To label any group of children or community as such is disrespectful and further undercuts the inherent strengths of every community. Not all children who go to school in Ravenswood CSD are raised in chaos or come from dysfunctional families.

( Editor's note: Ms. DuBois referred to kids of chaos, but she did not refer to them as from dysfunctional and economically deprived families. See the post below by reporter Dave Boyce. )

I am not sure it would be accurate to state that the majority come from these types of families. The categorization also implies that children who grow up in Menlo Park, Atherton and Portola Valley are not raised in dysfunctional environments and do not live chaotic lives.

Chaos can also look like over-scheduling and excess demands to succeed, an environment many children on this side of the freeway experience. Wondering who will look out for these Ravenswood students is paternalistic and implies that their parents or guardians cannot.

Either assumption, no matter how well intended, further undercuts the authority and autonomy of the east of Bayshore parental community. Hopefully as the Board proceeds they will be mindful that they should not make assumptions about any particular group but allow that group to speak for themselves.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Peter, I know I'm going to kick myself for asking because your statement implies that there is a single community that is viewing obvious and straightforward inequities that would be simple to resolve if only we would have the will to take steps....

But which students are not receiving full equity and what action should the Sequoia District take to resolve these inequities?


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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm

It will be interesting to see if the Board does what's best for its students or its pocketbook. Clearly, Ravenswood kids should go to M/A and it should be an opt-out, not an opt-in. Also clearly, Las Lomitas kids should have to opt-in on a space available basis, BUT since they are some of the big donors, that probably won't happen. Also clearly, open enrollment is part of the issue. Draw boundaries and then take transfers on a space-available basis.


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Posted by Not Convinced
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I am not convinced that building a school in East Palo Alto is out of the question. Either way they are going to ask for a bond, why not fix the problem instead of continuously shifting populations, splitting communities, and skirting around permanent solutions?

East Palo Alto deserves better then what the SUHSD has been offering them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This problem will only get worse with time and the cost of acquiring the land for a fifth high school will only get higher with time and the cost of building a fifth high school will only get higher with time.

Add a fifth high school now.


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

Having spent much time working with families in the Ravenswood district, I have seen no more dysfunction than on this side of the freeway. However, there are many Ravenswood parents who do not speak English, are not familiar with our educational system, and don't know how to advocate for their kids (or teach their kids to advocate for themselves). The high school graduation rate for these children has historically been under 50% for many reasons.

Land is still affordable east of 101, and there are many vacant parcels, including a few larger ones that have been on the market for a while. It's time to bite the bullet and rebuild a Ravenswood HS that will serve the needs of the EPA/Belle Haven community. Right now these kids remain largely unserved by any of the three comprehensives they attend despite the existence of AVID and other programs.


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Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:04 am

I agree with the sentiment shared in the comments above; that the root problem here is that of a growing demand and a finite resource. The demand (the number of future students in the district) will not change. The fix then, must be, to address the resource side. I attended the SUHSD meeting. The expressed view among the board members present was that there simply is not enough space to accommodate the future student load and, at best, the measures they discussed will only be a temporary fix to the problem.

What troubles me is the near-term focus of the board's vision. Their design objective is to prepare for the number of students that are projected for 2020. Well guess what. There will be even more students in 2021 and in 2022 and in 2025 and in 2030 and in 2040. If the four high schools are already at capacity, it only makes sense to look at this problem strategically and set forward on a plan to a build new high school located in the Ravenswood District. And let's make it an absolutely phenomenal school. One that will be, finally, located in the community, close to home, without the long travel times to and from high schools so far away.

So far as I can tell, there has never been as much interest and as many offerings of support there is today and from right here in the Peninsula from private companies, non-profits, philanthropists and emerging technology companies who all want to improve education tools, materials, teaching methods, and the quality of the experience of the students. Let's take advantage of these resources and opportunities now and involve them in helping build a great, new high school that any of us would be proud to send our children to.

Yes, it will be expensive and yes it will take time to implement, but it will only grow more expensive the longer we wait. It is the inevitable solution so why not do it now? Postponing it will only bring additional years of overcrowding to the existing high schools and deprive the Ravenswood community and students what they deserve.

I urge the SUHSD trustees to take a longer-term vision. Initiate plans for a new Ravenswood High School and prepare a ballot measure to make this a reality. It is the right solution and the right time.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

Ok, so we float a $200M bond and build a Sequoia District High School that would allow us to segregate the Ravensdale kids to their own separate but (better than) equal high school.

Ravensdale Elementary would only feed a yearly class size of about 400.

In order to make progress across the district, the new high school really should have more students.

If all of the Las Lomitas kids also went to the new school, we would be much closer to our overall population target and improve our demographic diversity.

Perfect, let's do it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

We need five high schools.

One of them should be located east of 101.

The boundaries for the four existing high schools would then be redrawn so that the fifth school would include sufficient areas from west of 101 to create five equally sized student population.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

If all of the Ravenswood kids actually go to the new school we need about 100 more kids each year to get to a target range of 2000 school population.

Las Lomitas annually graduates about 120, so we're right on target there if all of the district's kids go to the new school.

So we're all good, right?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is hard to understand how the SUHSD trustees can ignore their responsibility to provide for the growth in student population. The Fire District is spending $10 million to acquire land and to build a larger fire station in East Palo Alto solely to serve an expanding population. And the Fire District is doing it without any tax increase.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of La Entrada School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Building a new high school in or near East Palo Alto seems like the right long term strategy, although it's not going to be cheap.

I think suggesting that the logical grouping is to just bus all Las Lomitas kids 30 minutes away to East Palo Alto for high school is a bit odd (intentionally provocative, perhaps?).

Hopefully all the high school boundaries will be looked at and shifted so that kids stay together from middle school to high school, and go to their closest high school by default.

That would mean (among other things) shifting all EPA kids to M-A for now (pending a new school being built), shifting Las Lomitas kids from M-A to Woodside High, and presumably other changes around the district as well.

I'm also puzzled by the earlier comment about the Board deciding with their pocketbook (in terms of where to send Las Lomitas kids). It's not like LL kids will be moved out of the District no matter what, if they aren't at M-A they'll be at Woodside, or Sequoia, or Carlmont (although that last one would be a very odd choice geographically). It could change WHICH school gets the support of those parents, but it's not like the LL kids would suddenly be zoned to go to Palo Alto or Burlingame schools or something.


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Posted by Mary Ellen Lemieux
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

So you all know that the SUHSD has a beautiful newly built high school campus on Myrtle Street in EPA, right? Across the street from Eastside Preparatory. Yes, it is smaller, but it is not clear to me why it is not being used on a full time basis. Check it out on Google earth.


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Posted by Trying to take it all in
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Has the idea been floated to review the elementary school district lines first? It seems to me that much of the problem stems from the elementary school boundaries that seem to be north/south "strata" that feed their closest schools within that strata but do not necessarily line up with the high schools.

Atherton would likely agree with a review. And what if all Woodside kids were moved to the Woodside district so that Woodside residency granted you the privilege of attending Woodside Elementary?

For that matter, do we need to have all three small school districts (PVSD, LLESD and MPCSD)? What are the pros and cons of combining three into two or even one?

How real are the ideas to open or build a fifth high school or creating smaller charter or magnet high school sites that could serve anyone in the district? There could be special offerings designed around IB, STEM, learning in a non-English language, college type seminar schedules with small class sizes, etc. If we created specialties both within the four campuses and added a couple smaller campuses, then we could get more students going to where they want based on curriculum choice and learning setting. Idealistic? Certainly. Doable? Probably. The goal should be to create desirable offerings so every campus is viewed as great for multiple reasons.

Yes, I am in Ladera and I love that we are in LLESD and assigned to M-A. And we like everyone else have a right to fight for keeping that assignment since we bought into this district for that reason. But at the end of the day we all want a good public education system for our kids that ideally provides everyone a voice and a choice.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm

To which I add, simply, "Hear, hear!"


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Posted by Questioner
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Can someone tell me how many Ravenswood kids are absorbed into Palo Alto's Gunn and Paly? Gunn may be too far away, but what about Paly?


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Posted by Let's Be Realistic
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I graduated from M-A in 2012 and when I was a freshman (2008-2009) class sizes were already large. During orientation administrators said that our class was the biggest class it has had and the years after only got bigger. So in my opinion the district knew this was coming and was putting a band-aid on the situation. That being said the district should have started preparing then.
Now we are in this predicament and people want a new school for the Ravenswood kids but currently the Ravenswood district doesn't produce enough kids to fill a new school and the best way would be to have the kids from the Las Lomitas district go there. Well I can already see the problems. For starters, the kids that attend Hillview would be much closer therefore they are the more reasonable choice to help fill that school. In addition, if parents are complaining and fighting moving their kid to Woodside, imagine the uproar that would form if parents were told to drive their kids to school over in East Palo Alto. That'll go over real well. Hopefully the person who tells them has tough skin. The other option is moving the kids who attend La Entrada to Woodside. Closer yes, but the fact is Woodside is not a school that is as close to M-A academically nor athletically. Many people who I have talked to said they would rather have their child attend private school over Woodside. That's simple fact. So for the people saying that the district would most likely favor the decision that makes their pocketbook thicker are probably correct.


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Posted by Carrie Du Bois
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2013 at 12:12 am

Mary Ellen, I also winced when I read the way I was quoted. I don't remember using the word dysfuctional. I was referring to our students who are most at risk and do not have educational advocates. Open enrollment does not work for this group of students. At risk students absolutely come from all over the district. Carrie Du Bois


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Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 14, 2013 at 12:55 am

Trying to take it all in wrote:
> Has the idea been floated to review the elementary school district lines

Yep :) Matching school district lines with town/city limits comes up from time to time.

In theory I love, love, love this idea. In practice, this would be massively politically difficult. Most of the elementary school districts in San Mateo County have boundaries that only roughly approximate to the towns in which they reside.

Some examples:
Atherton is primarily in MPCSD, but has 3 school districts within its borders in total: MPCSD, RWCSD & LLESD.
Menlo Park is primarily in MPCSD, but has 3 school districts within its borders in total: MPCSD, LLESD & Ravenswood ESD.

Here's the link to a PDF showing all San Mateo County elementary school districts:

Web Link

Keeping school district boundaries and town boundaries the same would have some interesting effects and address some issues, but create others. For example, if you were to put all of Menlo Park and Atherton in the same school district, this would result in:

1) Belle Haven would move from Ravenswood to MPCSD, which some have clamored for from time to time;

2) West Atherton (north of Atherton Ave & east of Selby) would move from RCESD to MPCSD;

3) Lloyden Park would move from RCESD to MPCSD;

4) Most of the neighborhoods that make up Las Lomitas ESD would move to MPCSD. There are some sections of unincorporated land with homes that would continue to to be served by LLESD. But LLESD would become a small fraction of it's current size, and I suspect would no longer have any school buildings in its district, those went to MPCSD (a bit of a problem);

5) Menlo Oaks would be excluded from MPCSD, as it is not a part of Menlo Park or Atherton. Yep, the neighborhood next to M-A HS and Laurel would have no public schools (incorporating Menlo Oaks into MP or Atherton would resolve that, though);

6) Ravenswood would contain exclusively EPA;


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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm

East Palo Alto Academy is a charter high school in EPA on Myrtle and is part of the Sequoia District. I think the District just bought more land next to it, so in theory the school could be expanded and become Ravenswood High School

@Questioner - 60 kids per year go to PAUSD through the Voluntary Transfer Program (aka Tinsley). I think about 20 kids per grade remain by high school. The kids are split fairly evenly throughout the elementary schools and I believe they continue with their classmates to middle and high school, so some are at Gunn, some are at Paly. One issue is that once they hit high school, the school no longer provides school bus transportation for them (they do for elementary and middle school).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I know that the powers that be will fight this with all of their might but why not establish a consolidated/unified school district that encompasses all of the elementary, secondary and high schools into a single entity?

Just think of the huge savings in overhead?

Just think of the ability to coordinate EACH student's entire academic career?

Why not?


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm

The districts cannot and will not be combined any time in the near future for reasons related to financing.

East Palo Alto Academy is currently located on Willow, but is planning to move to the SUHSD-owned property on Myrtle. The district acquired the property adjacet to the Myrtle property. Google 980 Myrtle, East Palo Alto, for a street view. There are other properties that could be acquired, but these are properties the district owns! If they could accommodate 500 students at that site, that would alleviate the pressure immensely.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 8:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The districts cannot and will not be combined any time in the near future for reasons related to financing." This is an excuse, not a reason.

I predict that the financial savings from the efficiency of a complete consolidation K-12 would be far greater than any reductions in revenue that might occur due to arcane State school funding practices. And the quality of the education being provided would increase.

Those currently in control would fight such consolidation because it would mean a loss in their power but we should not be running schools to keep the people in charge happy but rather to serve the students.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

> why not establish a consolidated/unified school district that encompasses all of the elementary, secondary and high schools into a single entity?

There are so many windmills to tilt at in the world, so if you are going to pick one, I guess this one is really no worse than any other. Personally, I like to tilt at the windmill of why rural states like Wyoming and Montana get disproportionate US Senate representation or why even though the total popular vote was more Democratic when taken as a whole, the US House is held by Republicans.

Last time this discussion came up I got very engaged with a rather visceral reaction to the idea. Since then I've spent some time contemplating why that is.

The question becomes what would be the consequences of starting from scratch and completely rethinking the local agency boundaries for all the school districts similar to what Peter is suggesting. One question becomes across what scope one is the redistricting. Are we just talking just the lower peninsula or do we do this across all of San Mateo, and do we include peninsula Santa Clara schools, in particular Palo Alto?

If we did combine everything from Foster City down to Mountain View into one big consolidated district, it wouldn't be the worst thing; we'd essentially have a kind of upscale version of San Jose schools, not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that. Willow Glen has a really nice school, for example, but some of the the other San Jose schools are basically armpits. It's not clear to me that all that much is fixed as result of consolidation.

But the local consequences of such a change would have a dramatic impact on me in a way that Peter is able to casually disregard. Because unlike Peter, I have what 60, 70, 80, 90% my net worth tied up in my home. I sacrificed my comfort so that I could buy into a better district. Really, just about the only reason that there is any difference in price between Redwood City and Menlo Park is because of the elementary schools. You have Redwood City homes that are just across the boundary line that are half or even a third of the cost of pretty similar construction homes in Menlo Park. They are both Sequoia Union High School District. So I look at it like the cost to me personally of consolidating districts is at least several hundred thousand dollars.

But here's the rub, Peter can declare himself suffering even more pain since he might lose multiples of value from his house, maybe. But as a percentage of our relative net worth's he can rather cavalierly dismiss the impact as elitism for maintaining the system. After all if his net worth declines by 1% it's in the noise. But I'm taking a 50% decline in net worth. Humph!

And there's more. I don't think even in Redwood City and EPA that you'll get as much support as one might hope. These are the last bastions of semi-affordable housing in the area. You domestic help doesn't live in Atherton or Portola Valley.

And also, there's this little problem that just about the only way that such a consolidation occurs is if a super majority within each local agency district support it. Good luck on that. I'm sorry, I'm voting my own personal capitalistic best interests for now. I support putting more state money into the worst schools if that's what it takes to fix them (though it should be noted that Ravenswood Elementary ALREADY gets more money per student that Menlo Park).

Or imagine that we don't include Palo Alto in this little consolidation plan. That would be fun watching the rats all scurry across the ship as they flee Menlo Park into Palo Alto :-)

Anyway, give me a few years so I can get my house sold, then I'll join you in clarion calls of rightousness :-)


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Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

The words "dysfunctional" and "economically deprived" in this story were those of this reporter in an attempt to explain the "kids of chaos" comment from Ms. DuBois.

It was presumptuous of me to make that leap and I have apologized to Ms. DuBois.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It would be a sad commentary on our collective sense of community if the concerns for individual property values trumped our responsibility to provide a quality education to all of our children.


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Peter, your philanthropy is misplaced. A big city district is hardly a panacea for educational ills. If anything, the average quality of education is lower because pockets of students who need attention get lost in the mix. That doesn't happen in a smaller district.

In this case, we have reason to believe that combining districts would not help the Ravenswood students. Tinsley students attend schools in the PAUSD, MPCSD, LLESD, and other districts. Most of them fare no better in high school than their peers who stayed in Ravenswood.

If our goal is to support Ravenswood students, we need to do what we can to provide them a quality education in their community along with after-school enrichment. The kids with the best outcomes are those who participate in College Track or Foundation for a College Education, or who attend a school like Eastside Prep that offers afterschool programming. Merely changing boundaries is not going to accomplish a thing, other than anger and frustrate many residents.


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Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Posted by J Q Public, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood wrote:

> Are we just talking just the lower peninsula or do we do this across all of San Mateo

In my opinion, the answer is "whichever approach was most likely to be successful". Making it consistent across the entire county (school district boundaries matching city boundaries) seems the most logical of the two, but may be the most work since it would require the most players to achieve.


> do we include peninsula Santa Clara schools, in particular Palo Alto

To my knowledge, school districts in San Mateo County reside exclusively within San Mateo County. So, since they wouldn't need to engage Santa Clara County school districts in order for this to be accomplished, there's little reason to include them.


> If we did combine everything from Foster City down to Mountain
> View into one big consolidated district

You read Mr. Carpenter's position differently than I did (and I am open to my interpretation being the incorrect one). Mr. Carpenter would explain his position better than I could, but I believe his model is something similar to what Palo Alto has: a k-12 program that resides within school district boundaries that are close to (possibly even the same as) the city boundaries.

Menlo Park + Atherton (MAUSD?) would have a similar setup: k-12 school district with boundaries matching the town boundaries. Which I should point out includes Belle Haven, one of the poorer-scoring neighborhoods in the area. And would potentially exclude Menlo Oaks, one of the more affluent neighborhoods in the area, since it is not a part of Atherton or Menlo Park.

(important note: having a town's name as part of your mailing address is no guarantee you live in that town. There are pockets of unincorporated San Mateo County all over the county, even in population-dense parts of the peninsula).


> But I'm taking a 50% decline in net worth. Humph!

Well, you're assuming a lot here, including how you interpreted Mr. Carpenter's position.


> it should be noted that Ravenswood Elementary ALREADY gets
> more money per student that Menlo Park

Yep. As has been proven many times, throwing money at a problem frequently doesn't solve it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 7:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What I am proposing is to consolidate all the K-12 schools currently in the geographical area of the SUHSD into a single K-12 entity. Each student would move through the same system for their entire K-12 education. All schools would operate to the same standard of excellence and new schools would be created as required by population growth.

There would be significant savings in reduced overhead and no moving across school boundaries when moving to a higher grade.

Since everyone starts in the same SUHSD boundaries there should be minimal negative impact on home values.

Objectives - a quality education for all the children in the new consolidated district and the opportunity for each student to remain with the same cohort of classmates from K to 12th grade.


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Posted by Peter Principle
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Sep 16, 2013 at 7:34 am

Peter repeatedly makes an assumption throughout his platforms: Bigger Government is Better Government.

As examples, I offer his urging consolidation among the emergency services entities, including fire and police. And, now, he suggests a massive K-12 school district.

Bureaucracies are meant to accomplish their mission. They don't necessarily do so efficiently. I take issue with the premise that a combined Menlo Park City School District, Redwood City School District, Las Lomitas School District, and Sequoia Union High School District would solve the problems.

In fact, his assertion that the single entity would have an excellent standard is absurd. The standards would be "leveled" to the capabilities of the students. Though this may be politically incorrect, the fact is the wealthier residents have more means to provide educational support than the less wealthy; their kids will be held back. Likewise, those whose native language is Spanish will necessarily struggle to keep pace in course taught in English; they will hold the rest of the students back.

It's easy to to be cavalier with one's home value when you are part of the 1%. Easier still when you have no students in the system. But, for those of use not in that elite group, with students in public school, the potential erosion in academic standards and personal wealth is certainly threatening.

In the end, this proposition is a theoretical pipe dream. Certainly interesting fodder for discussion, but the political realities are such that it would never come to fruition.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"In fact, his assertion that the single entity would have an excellent standard is absurd. The standards would be "leveled" to the capabilities of the students."

This is a perfect example of quitting before even trying. There are lots of things that some people once said were absurd that were accomplished with pride. Sad that some people do not feel that all students and all teachers are capable of reaching a higher standard.It is obviously true that some parent posters are incapable of that challenge.

I note that some posters continue to violate the Terms of Use that state:"You agree not to post comments under multiple names."


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

Peter states, "This is a perfect example of quitting before even trying." Thank goodness we don't try things for the sake of trying but certainly there is nothing wrong with discussing. Public education in California is a disaster on the whole and poorly ranked by every measure. Many reasons but certainly not lacking for throwing money at it. When you combine the overlay of the State administrating standards for school districts and then having to comply with Federal mandates to get extra money you have a poor system for achievement. No need to layer a massive central planning school district as well.
One only has to look at the UC system where they are running out of money because over 50% of the university staff are administrators. That model is not going to work in public education on any level in the years ahead. Small and local control of schools is the solution.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

One only has to look across the creek to see what a great UNIFIED school district can do.

"The reputation of Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) as one of the top districts in the United States is by design, not by chance. In cooperation with a supportive community and dedicated parents, our teachers and staff work diligently to carry out the Board-adopted Strategic Plan and implement a road map that puts students on a direct path to academic achievement. "

Web Link

They have far fewer administrators per pupil, every student completes K-12 without leaving the district's boundaries - and the house prices are great.

Here are some other large AND very successful unified school districts:

San Diego Unified 131,016 students
San Francisco Unified 56,222 students
Berkeley Public Schools are comprised of three preschools, 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, one large comprehensive high school with over 3000 students, an alternative high school and an adult school.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

More facts on Palo Alto Unified:

Population: 64,403 (2010 Census data)
Mean household income: $163,661 (2012 data from CNN)
Median home price: $1,225,000 (2012 data from CNN)

Student population: 12,268 (2012-13 enrollment)

Graduates attending college (2012): 92%
Two-year Colleges (2012): 13%
Four-year Colleges (2012): 79%
University of California system: 29%
California State University system: 7%


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

I know you like facts, Peter and subjective terms such as "great" and "large and successful" school districts so not describe much in a quantative sense.
Here is a a site with various ranking of administrative school districts throughout the State. I would prefer to think it is a complex issue but class size, economic and social composition etc far outweigh your administrative size standard as a means to an end.
Web Link

To use some local schools and some which you mention here are some rankings based to a total of 772 districts listed:
San Francisco Unified #318
San Diego Unified School District # 351
Berkeley Public Schools #148
Palo Alto Unified School District #18
Sequoia Union High School District #211
Menlo Park Elementary #19
Woodside Elementary # 11
Los Lomitas Elementary #4





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

CP - thanks for these facts - very helpful but ranked according to what measure - not clear. What is your source?

Note PA is #18 while SQHSD is #211


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

PC..Please click on web link for the site of School Digger. Not only California but rest of US.
The site indicates their Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Dept of Education, and California Department of Education"


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Palo Alto High ranked #11

Gunn ranked #48

while

MA ranked #268

Sequoia ranked #425

Woodside ranked #729


Looks like Palo Alto unified district clearly does better.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Palo Alto Unified????

What the heck? I am absolutely flummoxed by the suggestion that the existence of the excellent PAUSD proves anything about unified districts.

Sure, by most all accounts PAUSD can be an excellent place to get an education.

What a surprise that one of the wealthiest, least economically diverse districts in the state can produce an excellent unified elementary / high school district. Bowl me over with a feather.

Palo Alto: where the common man lives.

As of 2007 of the 983 school districts listed in the demographic site refed below, PAUSD had the 21st highest median family income. Amongst unified districts, it had the 5th highest median family income. Oh and there are 4 unified districts in the state with even higher MFI, what a shock, all 4 of them are ranked above the already lofty PAUSD by the site that "central planning" referenced.

Web Link

We know that if you take a collection of elementary schools that have star rankings of 10 and feed them into the same high school that you will get a high school with a 10 ranking. Big Woop di Do.

If you want to unify Las Lomitas, Portola Valley, and Woodside I'll bet you could produce an even more elite ranking. But the great scores would have little or nothing to do with school consolidation and everything to do with demographics and student population.

And student population is key. The site that "central planning" used to get his/her stats is a little odd. They use the CA API base info but do some weird massaging(site explains it as averging math + reading scores), but they don't quite jive with the API rankings that come from the state. Here's the top 30 district list according based on district API's for this most recent year (just released this month). Note that Cupertino Elementary scores great but does so with literally half the money that Woodside spends per kid; so it's not all about the money, it's much more about the student population and their family.

out of 1013 total districts....

Hillsborough City Elementary San Mateo 967
Woodside Elementary San Mateo 963
Cupertino Union Santa Clara 962
Los Altos Elementary Santa Clara 960
Saratoga Union Elementary Santa Clara 959
Orinda Union Elementary Contra Costa 958
Rancho Santa Fe Elementary San Diego 957
Las Lomitas Elementary San Mateo 956
Moraga Elementary Contra Costa 955
Del Mar Union Elementary San Diego 954
San Marino Unified Los Angeles 953
Ballard Elementary Santa Barbara 953
Reed Union Elementary Marin 949
La Canada Unified Los Angeles 947
Lakeside Joint Santa Clara 946
Montecito Union Elementary Santa Barbara 944
Santa Clara Elementary Ventura 944
Menlo Park City Elementary San Mateo 943
Mill Valley Elementary Marin 938
Solana Beach Elementary San Diego 936
Sunol Glen Unified Alameda 935
Manhattan Beach Unified Los Angeles 935
Lafayette Elementary Contra Costa 934
Hermosa Beach City Elementary Los Angeles 934
Happy Valley Elementary Santa Cruz 934
Piedmont City Unified Alameda 933
Ross Elementary Marin 932
Cold Spring Elementary Santa Barbara 932
Palo Alto Unified Santa Clara 932
Portola Valley Elementary San Mateo 931




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Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Central Planning: Comparing elementary school districts like Las Lomitas to PAUSD is like comparing apples and oranges. Test scores are almost always lower at the high school level than the lower levels (test difficulty? test burnout? I don't know why). If MA's scores were included in MP Elementary or Las Lomitas Elementary it would lower their scores significantly


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Peter I am not sure what you are championing about Palo Alto ? You started out speaking about administrative. Units like districts but above you compare individual high schools. Please note the rankings on high schools are over 1700 schools as opposed to 772 districts. So do what you want with the figures and there is no question Palo Alto has top schools. But so is Los Lomitas elementary and Menlo Park Elementary (no 4 and #19) so my argument with you is why in earth would you want to combine these success stories with lower ranked schools? Do you wish that all in a mega district from K to 12 become equally mediocre? Honest answer please.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"why in earth would you want to combine these success stories with lower ranked schools? Do you wish that all in a mega district from K to 12 become equally mediocre? Honest answer please."

Because, like in Palo Alto, this removes the elementary school boundary question and ensures that the students stay in an integrated system through the 12 grade.
There are also significant economies in eliminating multiple administrations and boards. And there is no reason that the weaker elementary school cannot be brought up, as is true in Palo Alto, to the higher standard of Los Lomitas Elementary and Menlo Park Elementary. Why assume that the better schools will be degraded? That is defeatist thinking to start with.

We need inspiration not degradation.


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Anyone who can suggest that the SF school district is high-performing is apparently unaware that most SF parents either move out of the city or send their kids to private schools because the public schools are widely perceived as inadequate.

Right now, we have a system that is working for most of the kids, with small districts allow the administrators to tailor the education to the needs of the students. Bureaucracies aren't very good at managing individual needs, and if you wander over to PAUSD -- which is hardly a large city school district -- you'll see plenty of complaints about school board favoritism toward certain schools at the expense of other student populations.

If the objective is to improve the lot of Ravenswood students without destroying existing fine programs, then we should be looking at ways to achieve that goal without disrupting the lives of all families in the south part of San Mateo County.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" we should be looking at ways to achieve that goal without disrupting the lives of all families in the south part of San Mateo County."

And your constructive suggestions as exactly how to accomplish this are??


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Open a high school on the east side of the freeway. That's the simplest, and most straightforward solution, and it's most likely to produce positive results based on the empirical evidence we have (vs pie in the sky speculation).

That is, if we truly care about the kids and their families vs humoring one poster who seems to require more than his share of oxygen.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:38 am
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

We need five high schools.

One of them should be located east of 101.

The boundaries for the four existing high schools would then be redrawn so that the fifth school would include sufficient areas from west of 101 to create five equally sized student population.


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Here at central planning there is another solution or technique that can add over 30% more students to be educated at an existing high school physical plant. The California Dept of Education has a a pretty detailed explanation of how it works and a frank discussion of the pros and cons. It is a pretty detailed explanation and the euphemism for the rearrangement of the school calendar is multi-tracking. I think I read that over 10% of public schools in the US are using multi-tracking in some form. Basically if you have serious overcrowding and no money for new classrooms this is a solution. It requires thinking outside the box but I am a bit sceptical of forecasts of student growth numbers. I wonder why build new buildings now when they are not used to the maximum. Also education is changing away from the "normal format" and on-line courses at the high school level will continue to grow and be accepted and accredited. Right now there is a Stanford university High School that is new but growing. Khan Academy courses are used right now at Los Lomitas Schools. In any event there are other answers in the short term.

Web Link


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 6:11 am

The topic article describes the problem for the District supervisors that "highly reliable" forecasts indicate a 22% increase by 2020. I wonder how they know this? Is it because they are acceding for the ABAG mandates for increased low income housing and collections like transit cities? Apparently the scheme is to shove as many people into the area and never mind the increased cost burden on school enrollment, traffic, police and fire services not to mention quality of life.
So bring on the bond issues and development. This makes "central planning" very happy. Oh yes they have already ruled out a fifth high school because there is no room and no money. From the topic article above:


■ The district must build more classrooms, which will require putting a bond measure on the June 2014 ballot. To make a credible case to voters, the board and district staff must determine what to build and where to build it on campuses that are already built out. Building up rather than out will be necessary because a fifth comprehensive high school is out of the question, given the lack of sites in the district and the approximate $200 million cost of a new school. Construction on classrooms must start by the 2014-15 school year to meet the coming demand, Mr. Lianides said.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2013 at 7:50 am

> I wonder how they know this?

They kids are already here in 2nd grade. Seven years from now they will be entering high school.

No guesswork, they are in the pipeline now.


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

OK, J Q, I looked at the study they made which is based on the current enrollment K-8 in the pipeline.

Web Link

It is interesting in that it only factors in current enrollment numbers and does not consider any new housing. A total of 1700 new students by 2020. The bulk of the growth comes from Belmont-Redwood Shores, Menlo Park City and Belmont-Redwood city so most of the need (600+) will be needed in the north district like Sequoia. It would seem that is where a new school is needed unless slicing the pie up evenly and busing is part of the solution.


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Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Regarding "year-round" schooling:

I went to a school (Bolingbrook, IL) with this type of schedule, and it worked very very well. Even as a kid I wondered why more school districts didn't do it. In a nutshell, kids were in 4 groups with staggered schedules, 9 weeks on then 3 weeks off. This would result in 25% of the student body being on break at any given time. For example:

group A: weeks 1-09, 13-21, etc
group B: weeks 4-12, 16-24, etc
group C: weeks 7-15, 19-27, etc
group D: weeks 10-18, 22-30, etc

By the way, I consider the label "year-round" not entirely correct. Everyone got a summer break, it was just shorter (I recall at least 3 weeks, but depending on the schedule you were on it could be 6. It was a while ago, so I'm hazy on the details).

Since the projected increase in enrollment is 22%, and a "year-round" school program reduces demand by 25%, it would appear it resolves the problem at hand.

Unless someone can make a compelling argument why Sequoia (and MPCSD and LLSD for that matter) doesn't change to year-round schooling, I plan on voting NO on the sequoia SD bond (at least one that builds UP the existing schools and doesn't add a school), and the Las Lomitas SD bond and the MPCSD bond as well.




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Posted by Not Convinced
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 17, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Creating a High School in the Ravenswood area would alleviate over crowding at M-A, Carlmont, and Sequoia because the students that are currently being sent from EPA/East Menlo would cease.

I personally don't think having smaller high school enrollment in EPA is a bad thing. I am so tired of political correctness hampering the ability to provide a better learning environment for the Ravenswood District students.

Build a fifth school, allow for smaller class sizes, tailor the education to the specific needs of the students that will attend the school. Why is this so difficult? When you have less then 50% of the students in a specific area graduating high school, isn't it time to try something different?


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Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Several fallacies stand out in this conversation:

Fallacy #1: Students are better off in a unified school district. Actually, the reason why high school districts are formed as separate districts is that the high school academic model is very different from the K-8 model. High school teachers have single subject credentials, whereas K-8 teachers have multi-subject credentials - because high school curriculum is more content based and specialized. High school districts can concentrate their administrative support structure on the needs of teenagers getting ready to complete their K-12 education and enter college/the work force. Unified is not necessarily better, which is why most high school students in San Mateo County attend school in a high school district (SMUHSD or SUHSD).

Fallacy #2: Districts can be aligned with city boundaries. Someone has already noted this, but there are many pockets of unincorporated SM County sprinkled throughout the Peninsula, not to mention our two largest (in terms of square miles) districts on the coastside of the mountains that serve the majority of unincorporated SM County.

Fallacy #3: It is valuable for students to attend school with the same cohort of students K-12. Why? What is the pedagogical logic to that? Many students attend elementary schools which do feed into the same middle and high schools. Many students do not attend schools which feed into the same middle and high schools. Some middle schools do not feed all into the same high school. I know of no objective data that indicates that there is any academic value to sitting next to the same kid in English 12 that you sat next to in Kindergarten. In fact, for some students, getting away from the kids they went to elementary school with can help them spread their wings.

What I do think is NOT a fallacy is that students benefit from attending school in their own community. Requiring some students to take long bus rides to attend schools that are farther away than their nearest campus puts them at a disadvantage - they have to get up earlier, have less time for homework or after-school activities, and are detached from their communities. We need students who feel connected to and care about where they live, so they feel a part of building their own communities.

IMHO


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Fallacy #1: Students are better off in a unified school district."

Palo Alto clearly proves that this is NOT a fallacy. What counts is the quality of the leadership and their commitment to serving the needs of every student.

"What I do think is NOT a fallacy is that students benefit from attending school in their own community." I whole heartedly agree.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm


> Palo Alto clearly proves that this is NOT a fallacy.

I'm very sorry to see you repeat this argument. I'm sorry, Peter. You are a smart person but this is as bogus and ludicrous an argument that I've seen in this discussion.

Palo Alto High Schools have have no weak feeder schools. Palo Alto has almost no demographically disadvantaged population. Even the least expensive in district condo in Palo Alto is about $700K. South Palo entry home price is approaching $2M and much higher just a bit north. In district renters are paying a premium to be there just because of the schools. These are the kind of parents that are going to push their kids even if they are economically disadvantaged relative to homeowner peers in district.

Let's look at the most recent API scores of the in district elementary schools:

Herbert Hoover Elementary 987
El Carmelo Elementary 944
Ohlone Elementary 946
Escondido Elementary 927
Fairmeadow Elementary 953
Duveneck Elementary 956
Juana Briones Elementary 941
Palo Verde Elementary 961
Walter Hays Elementary 934
David Starr Jordan Middle 934
Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle 942
Lucille M. Nixon Elementary 955
Barron Park Elementary 870
Terman Middle 968

These are all great API scores but they arise from the fact that Palo Alto's MFI is one of the highest in the state. Nor are they ethnically diverse.

Let's compare to the schools that you are talking about unifying:

Los Robles Magnet Academy 675
Belle Haven Elementary 660
Ronald McNair Academy 621
Costano Elementary 764
Edison-Brentwood Elementary 781
Green Oaks Academy 715
Cesar Chavez Elementary 639
Willow Oaks Elementary 740
Aspire East Palo Alto Charter 820

Seriously, you're suggesting that all we need is fewer administrators per student and softer boundary lines and we'll get school results like Palo Alto?

I respectfully (and I do mean true respect for your overall commitment to the entire community in so many ways) submit that this particular thought of yours is seriously detached from reality.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Nor are they ethnically diverse."

The facts show otherwise:
"The racial makeup of Palo Alto was 41,359 (64.2%) White, 1,197 (1.9%) African American, 121 (0.2%) Native American, 17,461 (27.1%) Asian, 142 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,426 (2.2%) from other races, and 2,697 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,974 persons (6.2%)."

"Seriously, you're suggesting that all we need is fewer administrators per student and softer boundary lines and we'll get school results like Palo Alto?"

Yes if you add quality leadership that is committed to serving the needs of every student.

What J Q Public is saying are just code words for racial discrimination. I suggest that we could do as well for ALL the children grades K-12 who reside in the SUHSD by placing them in a single unified system. Yes it may well cost money. Yes it may well have a very slight impact on individual property values. But it would be the right thing to do.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

> The facts show otherwise:

What the heck??? You just told me that Palo Alto is over 91% white or Asian. Picking the two cultural groups who have to the greatest extent excelled in Silicon Valley proves something in your eyes??? To me it proves that if you have engineer parents who moved here so they succeed as engineers or businessmen who could afford to buy a $2M+ house in Silicon Valley that they are going to have kids who are going to have the same values and abilities that will allow them to excel in their academic careers.

Let's turn to the Cupertino Elementary District. The school with the highest API in the state does it with less money and taking anybody who is in their boundaries. They scored a 999/1000 on their API. Oh, the school is 97% Asian, so by your argument the existence of this minority school PROVES that a non-unified system (such as Cupertino Elementary) is superior to a unified.

I note also that you remain silent on the issue of economic diversity, instead choosing to lob insulting labels at me. For the record I consider your personal attack beneath you.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You just told me that Palo Alto is over 91% white or Asian." Yes and the racial makeup of Palo Alto is 64.2% White - which is about the same as the population of the SUHSD. What J Q Public is worried about is the racial composition of the other 36%.


As I said J Q Public is simply using code words for racial discrimination. This is not a personal attack on J Q Public because he has chosen to remain, for whatever reasons, anonymous so it is impossible to attack him/her personally.


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I do not know when Peter Carpenter arrived in Atherton but suspect it is relatively recently. I find his stance regarding racial integration totally lacking in common sense and most importantly any historical knowledge of the turmoil that has gone on since MA founding in 1951. I have been in Atherton since 1968 and live fairly close to MA. In the the years of the 60' and 70's MA was a war zone because of mandatory busing.
In any event,those years and the eventual rebuilding of MA into a very fine school are documented in detail in this report. The early pages detail the history and anyone in their right mind would not like a repeat of those years.

Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I do not know when Peter Carpenter arrived in Atherton but suspect it is relatively recently."

Wrong, I arrived in 1982. My son went to Encinal and then graduated from MA in 1990 - before the improvements cited in the WASC report ("While campus and academic improvements were made in the 1990s and early 2000s, they were not always systemic, sustained, or thoughtfully implemented").

" MA was a war zone because of mandatory busing." "I find his stance regarding racial integration totally lacking in common sense." More code words for racial discrimination.


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Posted by central planning
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Peter, I see that you are more comfortable making ad hominem attacks then discussing the point that parental educational and economic success is pretty highly correlated with how the children are going to do.

I assume that the willingness to simply take cheap shots or change the subject into one of whether it is ignoble to use a moniker on these boards is because you are frustrated that you have no reasonable response to my points.

If my pointing out that Palo Alto's successful inclusion of a minority group who by definition of living in that district are likely part Silicon Valley's population who have been granted visas specifically because of their educational criteria makes me racist, then I think that I have to point out that those who support the Tinsley decision, of which I count myself one, are racist too since Tinsley specifically provides for integration of Hispanics and Blacks but not Asians.

I really dont' mind if you keep going with the cheap shots but along the way could you address my point. The existence of PAUSD says exactly nothing about unified districts verses non. Your arguement suggests that San Jose Unified is failing relative to PAUSD simply because PAUSD is doing a a better job at its administrative functions.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And EXACTLY what history lesson does so-called Central Planning want us to learn from - the Civil War, the civil rights movement or the beatings in Selma?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument."

I will continue to challenge the arguments made by anonymous posters which, in my opinion, use code words for supporting racial discrimination such as "I find his stance regarding racial integration totally lacking in common sense."


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Posted by J Q Public
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm


Well, at least we agree on the definition of ad hominem :-)


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on Sep 17, 2013 at 10:13 pm

The study of optimal district size is well documented and reaches far different conclusions than Peter does eg Web Link
a district wide solution creates the diseconomies of scale outlined on pages 5-6 of this report:
- transportation costs, labor costs, staff motivation and effort, student moviation and effort, parental involvement

The conclusion homes in optimal district sizes from 2400 - 3600 students - above some of the tiny districts in southern San Mateo County, but far far below Peter's single SHUSD K-12 that would span 31,500 students
Web Link

Merely citing a quest for equality doesn't justify a organizing for poor quality: regional school systems have some inherent flaws. Some of these flaws may be overcome by funding and more monoculture (eg Palo Alto)

Additional studies focus on optimal school size as a second critical element: some press for 600-900 per school Web Link others point to 100 student per grade level Web Link


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Posted by Peter Principle
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Sep 18, 2013 at 5:53 am

This thread is so typical of Peter's style. He adopts a position. He asks for "thoughtful input". He receives it, but doesn't agree with the replies. He ignores the essence of others' positions or replies with one-liners. He claims their data is not factual. He attempts to switch topics. Ultimately he claims the contributors have no credibility because they are anonymous. He always has to have the last word.

Peter decries the ad hominem replies, yet is among the best at using them. The last time I posted, he claimed I violated the rules on posting here (multiple aliases). He suggested that I somehow was incapable of rising to his imaginary challenge because I had no faith in the human condition.

I repeat my argument. For those of us who who have not accumulated so much wealth that it doesn't matter, the bottom line is always about money. Peter's proposing a major restructuring that threatens to shift property values. Many paid a premium to buy a home in a good school district. Will they accept an initiative that threatens to reduce the value of their biggest asset, their home? No.

There will be a variety of arguments against this proposal. Some may venture into demographics, particularly when seeking data about comparable districts. It's unfortunate that instead of assessing the facts and participating in the "thoughtful discussion", he steers the conversation into a racial debate. That should put an end to the discussion. Nicely done.

The bigger question, for me, relates to whether Peter Carpenter is the best choice for the Fire Board. He demonstrated he's a capable bureaucrat in the past. But, he's clearly a BIG GOVERNMENT advocate and willing to take risks with other people's money.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 7:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For those who do not have the time or the patience let me restate my principles:

1 - K-12 education is a public responsibility, although some parents elect to not utilize the public education which is provided

2 - As a public responsibility the quality of K-12 education which is provided should be uniform regardless of income level or racial status

3 - Continuity through the K-12 years, i.e. cohorts of students remaining together, is, in my opinion, desirable and best achieved when students from one grade level move to the next grade level with all of their classmates

4 - Such continuity cannot be easily achieved, if at all, when the lower grade schools are organized along different and conflicting lines with the higher grade schools

5 - Bigger schools are not necessarily better but they do have the capacity to offer a great range of learning alternatives and, done properly, they can be more efficient with taxpayers dollars. One room school houses and one block neighborhood size schools are not either efficient or effective, particularly at the higher grade levels.

6 - Being unwilling to incorporate poorer children into a school system composed of more fortunate children is simply wrong and, since the economic differences are often causally related to racial differences, the net effect is racial discrimination.

7 - Forcing poorer children to be bussed to distant schools rather than attending the nearest school, as do the more economically fortunate children, is simply wrong and, again, racial discrimination.

8 - Home values should be subservient to human values and to our responsibility to all of the children of our community. And, done properly, a school system which serves all the students in a community will actually enhance property values.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

SEC. 7.(b) A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges
or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens.

SEC. 31. (a) The State shall not discriminate against, or grant
preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of
race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of
public employment, public education, or public contracting.


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Posted by CCB
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

Peter, you're not wrong, but these two ideas are in direct conflict with one another:

a) Being unwilling to incorporate poorer children into a school system composed of more fortunate children is simply wrong and, since the economic differences are often (striking out causal and replacing it with) correlated with race, the net effect is racial discrimination.

b) Forcing poorer children to be bussed to distant schools rather than attending the nearest school, as do the more economically fortunate children, is simply wrong, and again, racial discrimination.

The inherent conflict in those two points is a huge issue, not just here, but all over the US.

a) would suggest the expansion of the Tinsley program and the continued attendance of EPA and east Menlo kids at M-A, which is geographically closer to them than other Sequoia schools. It might also suggest integrating the East Menlo kids with the rest of the MP elementary district.

b) suggests building stronger neighborhood schools east of 101. But you will not see wealthier kids attending those schools. Property values in the neighborhoods where kids are redistricted (e.g. the Willows) will fall. Kids who live there will get sent to private schools (case in point: unincorporated Menlo Park kids do not generally go to the nearest RWC school). And so those schools will not be racially or socio-economically diverse.

I think looking at the data is interesting. www.greatschools.com will show you test results broken down by subgroup, including those who are ELL students and those from a low socio-economic status. It also shows student population broken down by subgroup. In general, schools with a low % of kids eligible for free/reduced-price lunch do better on standardized tests, and vice versa. Menlo Park and Palo Alto schools (except for M-A, about which more in a minute) have very low overall percentages of economically disadvantaged students and they do well on tests. The Ravenswood district serves predominately low-income students and those schools tend to have lower API scores. But this doesn't tell the whole story--there is still variability among test scores. Why? Because some schools are better than others at meeting the needs of kids who are struggling.

M-A is an interesting example. Overall, it has a respectable API score of 819 (not much compared to the Palo Alto schools, but then, a full third of M-A kids come from low-income families, as compared to 6-8% at Gunn/Paly). But dig a little deeper and you see a different picture: the API for white kids at M-A is 942. The API for low-income kids is 657. Two schools within a school.

Aspire Phoenix Academy in EPA also has an API of 819. 87% of these kids are low-income. And those kids only fared slightly worse: the API for their subgroup is 815. Score one for the neighborhood school, subtract one for the big integrated high school with abundant resources.

Of course, it's more complicated than that. One could argue that the Aspire school, as a charter school, is taking the best EPA/East Menlo students and sending the rest to M-A. And there are other high schools in the Sequoia District that are apparently doing a better job than MA of serving lower-income populations, including Summit (another charter school) and Sequoia High School.

What conclusions can one draw from this? I wouldn't presume to know. I think examining what these more successful schools are doing right might be a start.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Because some schools are better than others at meeting the needs of kids who are struggling."
and
" I think examining what these more successful schools are doing right might be a start."

Thank you - I totally agree.

And I don't think that keeping the poorer kids out of the better schools is a fair or a good answer to anything except trying to protect one's home value.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

BTW, it is exactly the kind of above exchange between CCB and myself that makes this Forum a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion.


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

Students in the Ravenswood district do not underperform because there is something inherently inferior about their schools. And, as the Tinsley program has shown, sending Ravenswood students to schools in more affluent neighborhoods does not ensure that they will graduate from high school. Many do not.

It's not about "keeping the poorer kids out of the better schools" but rather, about creating the best possible environment for Ravenswood students. If you begin with the premise that all people posting on this board are self-interested bigots, you will reach the conclusion you are predisposed to see, but it is not the truth.

Having worked professionally in education in EPA/Belle Haven (I suspect most of you have very little experience in that part of the world) I can state a few facts with reasonable certainty.

1. It's too late to start in high school. Ravenswood students at M-A typically underperform (as noted above in the API scores) because they do not have the foundation to achieve in the honors/AP courses that are populated mostly by MPCSD and LLESD alums. So allowing all Ravenswood students to attend M-A won't solve anything.

2. The most important determinant of academic achievement, with rare exception, is the family environment. Students do well in the PAUSD, MPCSD, and LLESD not because the teachers are so amazing but because the families have grad degrees from Stanford and know how to help their kids learn.

3. Without going into the myriad challenges in EPA/BH, the key to long-term transformation is to take a family-centric approach to education. To train and empower parents to become their children's first teachers. Even without college degrees (and, in some cases, high school diplomas) parents can exert a positive influence on their children's education.

4. Reinforcement outside the classroom is also important. When the Tinsley students arrive home, they're jeered by neighbors because of their educational aspirations. The most successful Ravenswood students, as previously noted, are those who attend a program that provides enrichment and support outside regular school hours. Such programs already exist, but not in the public school district.

Instead of trying to break systems that are working for many kids or trying to embark on mass social engineering, how about expanding solutions that have been proven to succeed?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the key to long-term transformation is to take a family-centric approach to education. To train and empower parents to become their children's first teachers. Even without college degrees (and, in some cases, high school diplomas) parents can exert a positive influence on their children's education."

Great idea - how can we, as a community, contribute to that process?

" The most successful Ravenswood students, as previously noted, are those who attend a program that provides enrichment and support outside regular school hours. Such programs already exist, but not in the public school district."

Why not? And how can we, as a community, change that?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

It's also important to note: California's child poverty rates for Latinos (31.2%) and African Americans (33.4%) are much higher than the rates among Asians (13.2%) and whites (10.1%). From this link: Web Link

Peter - thank you for all of your thoughtful posts. Moreover, thank you for your clarity re racial discrimination and its terrible effects on education for lower income minorities. You've been writing about this problem for a long time.

I have seen the upside & downside of the separate & unequal at work in my community. I know that some organizations in EPA/BH are working on a whole approach to education & well-being for children. They can't do it alone, just within their own community, but it is the right place to start.

I don't believe that my neighbors need to be like me to live good lives - I may value education more than they do. What I do believe is that they have the RIGHT to decide how much they value it by having the equal opportunity to pursue it or not.


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Posted by Jim Long
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

An important and complex issue for sure. Regarding one group, I'm pretty sure that a majority of MP or Atherton families who prefer public high schools would change to private if forced to go anywhere but MA. Its their town and their school. If true, private funding to the district could be hurt significantly.

I hope the District will get a parents committee to do some work in parallel to review pros & cons of various ideas. After all, imho, the parents will have the best idea of what might happen.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"MP or Atherton families who prefer public high schools would change to private if forced to go anywhere but MA. Its their town and their school."

NO, it is NOT their school!! M-A belongs to ALL of the residents of the SUHSD.

"After all, imho, the parents will have the best idea of what might happen."

Yes, but 'the parents' should include ALL the parents not just the currently entitled few.


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Posted by Ann Haley
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

As one of the last Caucasian substitute teachers to leave Ravenswood, reluctantly, in the late 1960s, I'm sorry to see that the situation that existed then continues. It's very difficult for parents who work two or three jobs a day to earn a "decent" living to create a good learning environment for their children. They simply haven't the energy. Before increasing the breadth of the school district, which could be very expensive, might it help to reenergize a Parent-Teacher Association to improve the quality of education for everyone? It requires lots of volunteerism, primarily from the wealthier parents. The less wealthy must also find time to participate in a PTA, or their children will not be adequately represented. It's a very old idea that worked decades ago when parental authority was in vogue.


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Posted by sara
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I don't think trying to pattern anything on PAUSD is a good idea - just google office of civil rights, Palo Alto and you'll get more than I can ever explain in a quick post.

PAUSD is doing a terrible job educating underserved children - to the point where US News and World Report refuse to rank Paly and Gunn because they no longer educate all children - only the top who have zero needs and parents who basically home school. It's very sad. There's a reason why Palo Alto families are scrambling to private schools and moving to surrounding cities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

OK Sara - what do you propose we do to educate equally all the children in the SUHSD?


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Posted by Sara
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Peter -

I honestly don't know. I just know that PAUSD isn't the right model. I think you know that because I think I've seen you post about PAUSD issues.

I had the great privilege of being a reader for the Peninsula College Fund and some of the applicants were from Paly and Gunn. I was deeply saddened to see incomplete applications because the school counselors + teachers at Paly and Gunn didn't even bother to fill out the forms/or sent sloppy recommendations (as in short and unhelpful filled with errors) on behalf of students who obviously spent hours working on their essays.

The one thing I learned from my experience was this: There are parents who scrimp and save and live in terrible conditions in apartments in Palo Alto just so they can send their kids to PAUSD - and yet the bulk of the applications I read showed just the opposite experience to be true. The schools east of 101 did a superb job. PAUSD does not support minority students. My understanding is that PAUSD has the great distinction of having the most Office of Civil Rights violations in the COUNTRY and also one of the widest achievement gaps in California Agh.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sara - those are interesting insights on PAUSD. Those comments certainly call into question the often stated belief that property values are determined by the quality of the schools. perhaps the truth is that property values are determined by the perceived quality of the schools.

Sara's comments are also helpful for those of us who want to help create a better educational experience (schools, neighborhoods, homes etc) for all of our children.
Clearly dealing with the in-school issues is not enough.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Pater lays out some solid principles: public education, cohorts, local schools (although #8 starts pollyannish ... the second half is exceedingly true.)

it may point to different strategies: e.g. breaking apart SUHSD into the 4 (or 5 high schools) and making each region and the underlying K-8s into K-12 unified districts.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

There was a recent report on the news saying that 90% of the formation of children's' brains occurs between 0 and 5 years old. Yet we don't do anything organized to educate them during that extremely important period. Perhaps if we did the later years of education would be far less influenced by where a child was educated and by whom. Given a proper foundation of brain development one would think that a child would be much better prepared to learn later in life. Just a thought.


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Posted by Resurrect Ravenswood HS
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I'll tell you what Ravenswood students DON'T need, and that's politicians making decisions purportedly on their behalf but in actuality rooted in political correctness.

Stanford's Gardner Center is doing a deep dive into what is working and what isn't for children who live in that area. So I would turn to them first for their thoughts. There is also an active Ravenswood Education Foundation that could use the support (money and volunteer) of people on the other side of 101.

There are no easy answers. Which is why it's a good idea not to waste time talking about divisive and unworkable "solutions."


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Posted by Ann Haley
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

Resurrect Ravenswood HS is right on. Thank you. Bigger is certainly not nec. better.


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Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

One critical fact left out of the PAUSD discussion: It is a "Basic Aid" school district. In other words, the majority of the PAUSD budget is funded directly by Palo Alto property taxes.

My impression is that most of the school districts within SUHSD (including Belmont, San Carlos, etc.) are not Basic Aid districts.

Therefore, there is a funding disparity that should be recognized when arguing or using PAUSD as a model to emulate.

Note to "sara" - you have it wrong. PAUSD did not want to participate in the USNAWR survey and declined to submit requested data.


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Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Sep 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

The SUHSD is a basic-aid district, as are the elementary districts in Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Sep 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Sara,

"the schools east of 101 did a superb job" helping students apply for college scholarships. Are you referring to Eastside College Prep? I would hope that is the case since it is a private school with just 50 students in its entire senior class. It's not apples to apples comparing it to 500+ senior classes at large public schools like Palo Alto High which only have enough money to offer 20:1 student teacher ratios.

Palo Alto is not without its challenges but it certainly is not alone. The achievement gap is wide throughout California (Ed Trust West: "most California districts receive Cs and Ds" on the achievement gap.) It only looked at unified school districts but had it rated MA we'd likely fare worse. As for Civil Rights violations, did you mean to say Civil Rights complaints? Plenty of school districts face the same challenges in this area too. IMHO the difference is that Palo Alto has more litigious parents.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

There is a very simple solution. Send Ravenswood to MA and LL to Woodside. Geographically, that makes far more sense than busing the Ravenswood kids across the Peninsula every day. It also will better utilize Woodside High. Finally, within 4 yrs of making this transition, Woodside and MA will be at parity from an academic perspective. The energy and funding provided by the LL parent community will ensure that happens. Additionally, over time Woodside/Portola Valley/Atherton will return to the school which will add another 50-75 highly involved families per grade to the mix.

This is so obvious I'd wager a lot of money that this is what the school board eventually passes. It's a win-win for all the communities invoked. Ravenswood gets acess to an excellent school in their back yard, LL gets to attend a much more geographically convenient school that is every but as good as MA, and the district can save money by utilizing the empty space at Woodside High.


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Posted by Clarity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2013 at 4:51 am

We attended the recent meeting with the Sequoia District Supe at Hillview and, as a parent of pre-high school kids, i was extremely disappointed in his showing and how he represented the district. The sole purpose was to address parents on the issues at hand regarding Ravenswood, MA, North Fair Oaks, Las Lomitas. There was no description of the issues on the table, aside from general over crowding and the awful bus ride the Ravenswood kids have to take. He showed us a lot of maps with dots, and told us how much he loved maps. He was hardly crisp in his points, mostly evasive, apparently incorrect in some boundary issues, and not interested in a dialogue, particularly with Fair Oaks parents. This is not about dots on today's maps, it s about kids and families now and going forward. District Board was there too and they were mostly silent and apparently dis engaged from the discussion, unless they were prohibited fom speaking.

A frank, informed discussion of what is being considered and the various trade offs would have been more respectful of our time.

As to MA, the principal, whom we find to be first rate overall, seemed to towthe party line iand let parents know that any changes won't impact MA since its size will remain manageable and enrollment equally diverse. I don't think parents were comforted that a 25 percent increase in enrollment can be just absorbed easily by current MA. It would be great to hear more from mr. zito on these issues as he is direct and to the point.

Lastly, often this discussion makes it sound like MA should just take what is thrown at it since it s already big and geographically useful. While those two points may be correct, MA parents have a right to understand what the implications are for their kids in addition to having a genuine concern for the plight of Ravenswood kids, etc. These are not mutually exclusive. We can actually care about arriving at a more useful solution for all. Perhaps someone from district board can step up and offer to have a clear and engaged dialogue with families in the district. Better to thoughtfully engage than to talk past the issues.


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Posted by huh?
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 12, 2013 at 9:13 am

Anonymous: Help us understand what you believe will drive the two high schools to be at parity from an academic perspective. What do you define as academic achievement? Thanks


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Posted by Future parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Clarity,


I completely agree with your comments. It seems odd to me that the superintendent focuses on dots rather than the educational vision of the district. I thought the Hillview presentaion was very unsettling to parents.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I attended the recent meeting at Hillview and most of the parents did NOT seem unsettled. I do think that some were not pleased. However, I am very supportive of the goal of educational equity. I believe that one step towards that (but not the only step) is to formalize M-A as the high school for Ravenswood. I sensed that more than a few of the Hillview parents were also supportive of this goal.


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Posted by Hillview parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 14, 2013 at 8:22 am

I agree with anonymous - the right thing to do is to assign Ravenswood to M-A as their school. M-A is a good school that has already made a lot of progress and it can continue to improve. AND assign Las Lomitas to Woodside High; it is closer than M-A, and it has space. Woodside is also a good school and it can become an even better school. This is the logical best thing to do. Or we can continue to artificially segregate etc...


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Posted by facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

As SUHSD plans for enrollment growth, they also want to strengthen the connection between middle schools and high schools by reducing the current splintering of elementary district boundaries across multiple high schools. SUHSD's plan as it relates to MA is 1) leave all of the Las Lomitas and MPCSD District feeding MA, 2) bring all of Ravenswood into the MA attendance boundary, and 3) take all of the Redwood City Elementary School District out of the MA attendance boundary. Superintendent Lianides went through all the math to show how this will work, and Principal Zito discussed how he will run a somewhat larger school. Of course, students may still opt out of MA and select a different high school through open enrollment if this choose. MA is not able to accommodate all the requests it gets for open enrollment transfers, but Woodside has not turned down any requests for an open enrollment transfers. If Las Lomitas families want to go to Woodside, they can do so now, and they can do so in the future. It's interesting that "Hillview Parent" has identified himself as a resident of Sharon Heights which is in the Las Lomitas District, not MPCSD.


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Posted by Worried Community Leader
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

I think many people are missing the point that M-A is not really a school with an outstanding equity model and is actually one of the most segregated schools in the state. The district has had 30 years to get this right and has failed to truly integrate the students. Merging Menlo Park, Los Lomitas and Ravenswood has never worked well for all kids and the below basic kids have the most to lose. It would have been a bigger win for kids, if more options were put on the table to be discussed with the community. If 35 percent of Ravenswood students are failing to graduate from M-A, there is a great deal of heavy lifting to do to serve all kids well. The issues are much more complex than proximity and keeping feeder schools together.


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Posted by Worried
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Superintendent Lianides did NOT go through ALL the math to show how this will work, he just presented what he THINKS or WANTS to happen, but there is no guarantee that it WILL happen. He is planning on only about 60% of the Ravenswood students attending M-A, but what if more come? What's plan B when 70%, 80% or even 90% of the Ravenswood students decide to do not transfer to another when in 2015 the boundaries map will be changed? That would quickly place M-A at 3,000 students.


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Posted by Clarity
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Parent: Perhaps we were at different meetings....... That was awful from top to bottom. I have not spoken to a single parent who did not think that his presentation was weak and off-point. He then proceeded to avoid questions of any substance or requests for specificity. Sequoia board members were mum, as were MPCSD district members. Why would they not stand up for their own kids!!!? It was a piece of puffery. I'd say most parents deeply questioned the quality of the leadership.


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Posted by Further Clarification
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Firstly, just so the folks on this forum know where I'm coming from, I believe it's a travesty that the E.P.A. kids have been bused miles away from their closest school for so many years and do believe that MA should be their default school.

With that said, I am concerned Superintendent Liandes and the Board made the decision to alter this situation THIS coming school year (2014/15)utilizing the adjusted transfer program - guaranteeing admittance of all EPA kids who want to attend MA, up to capacity, by allowing them to take spots that in the past would have been been filled by open enrollment kids (many of whom have a very different demographic composition than the EPA kids), rather than waiting until they could AT THE SAME TIME offset this shift (as the superintendent said - "make it a wash")by moving some of the North Fair Oaks kids with similar educational backgrounds and needs to one of the other district schools.

What continues to be missing in this discussion, the presentation by Dr. Liandes, and some of the Almanac articles is a finer analysis of the numbers. How many 9th grade students will MA accept next year in total? How many more is this than the current year? How many and what percent of kids in the current 9th grade class entered at a proficient and advanced level and how many/what percent weren't prepared? Given the new policy, what's the max (without lots of assumptions that many will choose not to)number of EPA kids that could enter in the 2014/2015 9th grade class? If all of them choose to enter (displacing open enrollment kids and adding to all of the North Fair Oaks kids who still will be in the MA attendance boundary next year ), how many and what percent of total entering 9th grade kids would be entering at a proficient and advanced level and how many/what percent would be entering unprepared?

It's wonderful that Principal Zito and Superintendent Liandes have aspirations for MA to be an even better school down the road than it is today but what about next year's class??? Mr. Boyce, can you or can someone from the District provide the numbers? (to determine proficiency, this past Spring's Star test results can be used)

Thank you in advance to anyone who can provide more clarity about the numbers for next year!


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