Woodside High prepares for 19 percent enrollment growth


The 2015-16 school year will be well along at Woodside High School by the time construction crews break ground for a new two-story, 10-classroom building between the gym and the softball fields. Inside the new building will be a chemistry lab and new classrooms for engineering and robotics, Principal Diane Burbank said.

The school is facing predicted enrollment growth of about 19 percent -- to about 2,100 students -- by the 2020-21 school year. Because the Woodside campus is, like all four major campuses in the Sequoia Union High School District, built-out, classroom expansions will tend to be in the form of two-story buildings, district officials have said.

The new year will see improvements in vehicle traffic flow, including more organized procedures for boarding buses, and better traffic flow for student parking and parking near the football field, Ms. Burbank said.

Software professionals

Woodside will be raising the number of seats in its computer science program by 67 percent -- to 100 from 60. For the fourth year, volunteer software programming professionals will come to the classroom to help teach. Participants include employees of Microsoft, Google and Twitter, Ms. Burbank said.

According to its website, the TEALS program -- Technology Education And Literacy in Schools -- recruits, trains, mentors and places high-tech professionals in team-teaching situations in high school classrooms.

At Woodside, the professionals will be working with math teacher Josh Rubin, who teaches introductory computer science, and with math and computer science teacher Eric Ettlin, who teaches advanced-placement computer science. A class on mobile apps is planned for the 2016-17 school year.

According to the website, which is cited by TEALS, the U.S. economy will need 1.4 million computer science graduates by 2020, but is on track to graduate just 400,000.

Woodside's athletic director Chuck Velschow will be teaching a new class in sports leadership, which looks into team management and logistics for students interested in reporting on the game and being involved in what happens behind the scenes.

For incoming students, Woodside held several boot camps over the summer -- for ninth-graders to review algebra ahead of registering for geometry, for ninth- and tenth-graders to review what it takes to succeed in advanced-standing and advanced-placement courses, and for upperclassmen to review their math chops ahead of taking calculus.

New teachers

Woodside has six new teachers this year.

English teacher Rachel Bycer has a bachelor's degree in journalism and international studies from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her teaching experience includes the humanities, civic leadership, video storytelling and photojournalism in San Diego. She also taught Judaic studies and advanced Hebrew in La Jolla.

Special education teacher Kumar Chaudhari has a bachelor's degree in geography from Pennsylvania State University and a master's in special education from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont. His teaching experience includes language Arts at Charles Armstrong School in Belmont and the Burlingame Intermediate School.

Special education teacher Juan Gabe has a bachelor's degree in English literature from San Francisco State University and has been assisting in Woodside High classrooms as an instructional aide and summer school assistant to the principal.

Special education teacher Anna Roger has bachelor's degree in social work from Skidmore College and a master's in social work from Boston College, with a concentration in mental health. She has been a mental health service caseworker.

Mandarin teacher Jing Xu has a bachelor's degree in English from Huainan University in Anhui, China, and a master's in teacher education from Stanford University. She's been student-teaching Chinese at Cupertino High School for the past year.

Social science teacher David Hartford has a bachelor's degree in political science and Japanese studies from Adrian College in Michigan, and a master's in teaching from Santa Clara University. His experience includes teaching high school English in Japan, and student teaching at Monte Vista High School in Cupertino.

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Like this comment
Posted by W parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:51 am

Great to see CS expand to 100. Is that for the whole school or per class?

One would hope it expands further so that as many students as possible can take it. 50%. 75% ???

Like this comment
Posted by John McGraw
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Such sad news 19% more kids subjected to a horrible education.

10 people like this
Posted by CJ
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Mr McGraw. On what are you basing your comment? Education in the USA in general, or Woodside High in particular? If Woodside High in particular, I suggest you actually visit the school to see all the good things that are happening there. Also visit Menlo-Atherton, Gunn, Sequoia District, Palo Alto High, so that your views may be expanded and more informed. Following those visits, if you still believe education to be 'horrible', volunteer, become involved, donate and do something about it.

Like this comment
Posted by e life
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Horrible education? Like education involved with failed social media startups? Quite the education.

7 people like this
Posted by PV resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 30, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Mr. McGraw, what a ridiculous and ill-informed comment.

2 people like this
Posted by TJ
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 31, 2017 at 11:52 pm

Woodside provides decent education.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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