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Since 2000, enrollment has fallen 76% in Ravenswood schools, report shows

Original post made on Feb 6, 2023

Ravenswood school district officials are reporting a significant drop in enrollment over the years, due to charter schools and changing demographics.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 6, 2023, 11:55 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2023 at 12:39 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Just a reminder, Belle Haven is actually the northern most part of Menlo Park. The Almanac had in these past few years stopped using that EPA word association that doesn't match geography and this is now the second article I've seen going back to that misnomer. It is not an accurate description, but one that rose from the racial isolation imposed on these communities by past redlining practices. It would be nice to see my local paper not using those inaccurate names any longer. It would be even better if that change could be institutionalized enough to not need a public comment to do better. Thank you. You can refer to numerous city documents referring to this neighborhood in more accurate terms if you're looking for some more accurate ideas.

Posted by Patricia
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2023 at 12:55 pm

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You state your education programs are strong. Why are your test scores so low?

Posted by Banes
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Feb 6, 2023 at 1:31 pm

Banes is a registered user.

Dawn1234 why can’t you just spell out that “misnomer “ you claim, so we know what you are referring to more specifically.
Test scores DO tell the tale of the teaching facility. Why wouldn’t a parent want to give their child a positive start on their educational experiences?? Even it it costs more. Can’t go backwards once you destroy or damage a childs’ experience in a school system. Add
If there is more time spent on discipline or 2nd language factors, there is less learning by the class collectively.

Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of La Entrada School
on Feb 6, 2023 at 2:38 pm

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My son is in the Tinsley Program in the Las Lomitas School District. When we were looking at schools 8 years ago, it was very clear that the Ravenswood School District had no intention of catering to middle class, college educated parents and went out of their way to repel them from the school district. There were no open houses, no effort to attract the many middle-class residents of EPA and BH to the schools - instead we saw news articles on the high rate of "homeless" kids and articles on how the district is installing washers and dryers because the kids come to school in dirty clothes. Other districts have at least one high performing magnet School, Ravenswood Schools were all 1/10 while Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Las Lomitas are 9/10 or 10/10 on academic rankings. The people who I have spoken to about RCSD who are most adamant about not sending their kids to school in district are they themselves graduates of the RCSD system - and do not want their kids to go through what they experienced.

I've been fairly supportive of the changes brought by Gina Sudaria and her team, but the district needs to make a special effort to reverse this trend and increase enrollment. This starts with improving test scores and providing parents a solid reason to trust the district with our kids education. It is a very tough task to turn around a failing school district, and I do not know if it can be done. Certainly, in the 14 years I have lived in EPA I have seen little or no improvement in the schools, despite increased taxes and bond measure for new facilities. Maybe some in EPA do not want good schools - after all, good schools would lead to gentrification and opposing demographic changes is a core part of EPA's political identity.

Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2023 at 2:38 pm

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[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 6, 2023 at 2:40 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Fascinating graph above.

Posted by Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2023 at 3:42 pm

Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer is a registered user.

Hi Dawn1234,
The language "eastern Menlo Park" pulls directly from a district staff report: "Compared to 2000, there are fewer children living in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park."

Full staff report here:
Web Link

Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2023 at 6:09 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Thanks, Angela. I'll direct my public comment in the right spot. Appreciate the clarification. I give credit to Rose Bickerstaff for bringing it my awareness years ago. I've appreciated how the city has shifted its descriptions to be more accurate because it had in the past (with capitalization and all) led some to believe Belle Haven was a different city.

Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 6, 2023 at 6:10 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

Banes -


Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 11, 2023 at 8:25 am

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

You don’t see a decline of this magnitude without a serious and systematic problem. Parents might shop at a local grocery to help their community but they will draw the line at their children’s future. You don’t get a second chance at that. I can’t imagine any parent sending their kids to the schools Mark describes above, and I certainly would not. RCSD won’t be seeing an increase in enrollment until the community turns over and more middle class parents start to move in. It’s happening now, but probably not fast enough to save the district.

Posted by Rob Silano
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 11, 2023 at 9:40 am

Rob Silano is a registered user.

Consolidation of the Menlo Park City School District and the Ravenwood City School District makes a lot of sense. Let’s give all a chance in a good educational foundation. The Tinsley Project was a start, but, I’m sure they may have a feeling of “ being an outsider”, since they must travel to the MPCSD facilities.

Posted by Mark Gilles
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 14, 2023 at 3:53 pm

Mark Gilles is a registered user.

Parents have responded to the abysmally poor academic achievement numbers by opting out, either through the Tinsley program or through private and charter schools. Who can blame them? They only get one opportunity to give their children a quality education and they will not entrust that to RCSD. Stu is correct, the district should merge with Menlo Park. RCSD for years has been a "state funded" district, but according to their 2020-2021 audit report will likely convert to a locally funded model. The differences in funding models was one objection to merging the districts.

The RCSD has significant debt due to a recent bond issue and much deferred maintenance and is looking to sell or liquidate real estate assets to make up for an underfunded pension obligation. However, the efficiencies gained through merger would likely offset the negative financial position and deliver a superior product to the community.

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