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Sequoia Only School to See Enrollment Jump

Sequoia High School board says more students attending charter schools is additional cause for concern.

’s campus just got a little more crowded this year, by 129 students to be exact.

As the only comprehensive high school to see an enrollment increase, it accounted for a total district enrollment increase of 65 students from last year. This is the third year in a row that the _ enrollment has increased, according to a report released Wednesday at the district board of trustees meeting.

The district has 8,316 students enrolled this year, 65 more students than last year, and 199 more than the 2009-2010 school year.

The 2,023 students enrolled at Sequoia High School in Redwood City make the school the second largest in the district this year, only behind Carlmont High with 2,092 students. This was a decrease of 35 students from the 2010-2011 school year.

Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park is the third largest school in the district this year. There are 1,979 students enrolled at the school this year, which is 45 fewer students than 2010-2011.

And Woodside High School remains the district's smallest school, in terms of enrollment. The 1,734 students enrolled there this year is three fewer than how many attended the school last year.

But only accounting for students attending the four comprehensive high schools does not tell the entire tale of the district's enrollment issue, which is a cause of concern for trustees and administration.

This year there are 20 more students enrolled in the district's variety of alternative programs and academies than there were in 2010-2011. , one of these programs, has 286 students, a large increase from the 41 students enrolled at the beginning of 2010-2011 school year. Many other programs experienced a large decrease.

But at Wednesday night's board meeting, administrators and trustees focused on the enrollment spike at the four charter schools affiliated with the district.

According to Director of Enrollment, Registration and Personnel Susan Berghouse, who authored the report, there are 1,147 students who live within the district boundaries but elect to attend charter schools.

Those students enrolled at Stanford East Palo Alto New School, , East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy and are not accounted for in the report as being members of the Sequoia District.

Each district charter school, except Stanford East Palo Alto New School, grew in size from the previous year. Across the district this year, 110 more students elected to attend charter schools rather than comprehensive high schools.

Attendance at Everest High School, located in Redwood City, grew the most this year as it gained 95 students from the year prior. Everest joined the district in 2009 and has been adding about 100 students annually to its enrollment roster.

Trustee Alan Sarver said that the increasing popularity of local charter schools disguised the issue of enrollment growth in the district.

District concerns regarding the growing student population size are compounded by the issue of Sequoia, Carlmont and Menlo-Atherton high schools nearing to reach the enrollment capacity of each campus, according to a district report released last year.

Sarver said the district needs to begin addressing possible options to accommodate the increasing enrollment figures.

"We need to be looking off into the future and having our enrollment projection discussion and doing a lot of planning," he said.

Berghouse is expected to return to the board in January with enrollment projections for the coming years.

"We need to take some of this into account regarding what will be the impact on facilities," said Superintendent Jim Lianides. "That will be a very important report in terms of guidance."

Mary McLinden August 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Sequoia High School offers a variety of options for students to achieve academic success suitable for entry into a four year college, most notable, the International Baccalaureate program and the Middle College option. WHY don't we increase funding for and encourage participation in these types of programs, rather than opening small exclusive charters (and make no mistake about the fact that the parents whose children get into those Summit and Everest schools think of them as exclusive - many of them refer to those schools as "private schools without tuition")?

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