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Ravenswood enrollment decline worse than predicted

Consultant says district could have fewer than 1,800 students by 2023

An enrollment consultant is projecting that the Ravenswood City School District will lose 27 percent of its 2,400 students over the next five years, a decline that is far sharper than the district itself has predicted.

The K-8 East Palo Alto district has already the region's "most severe" enrollment decline, according to the San Mateo-based Enrollment Projection Consultants, and is facing challenging years ahead. While skyrocketing housing costs and falling birth rates are the main culprits of enrollment decreases in school districts throughout Silicon Valley, the opening of a new charter school, Kipp Valiant Community Prep, and the private Primary School in East Palo Alto compounded those losses for Ravenswood.

The picture that Enrollment Projection Consultants paints is "bleak," Partner Tom Williams wrote in his report. He told the school board Thursday evening that in his 33 years of enrollment consulting, the recent declines in local school districts is "something I've never seen before."

He estimates Ravenswood will lose 583 students by 2021. In sharp contrast, the district had estimated in January that it would lose 136 students over the next three years.

While virtually all districts in the region are losing students, Ravenswood's 27 percent enrollment decline is "far greater" than what his organization is forecasting for the other 23 districts they work with in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The decrease will happen in both elementary and middle school grade levels and in every elementary attendance area of the district, according to Williams' report.

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In five years, Ravenswood will be down to just 1,747 students, Williams estimated -- a sharp contrast to the 3,547 students enrolled in 2012. Even without charter schools, Ravenswood's regular enrollment fell by 1,161, or 33 percent, from 2012 to 2018 — including a loss of 307 students in just the last year.

In the last year, Ravenswood's regular enrollment, not counting the charters, dropped by 11 percent, according to the report. The report provides the rates for nearby districts as points of comparison: Redwood City School District declined by 3 percent, Menlo Park City School District by 1 percent, Las Lomitas Elementary School District by 6 percent and Portola Valley Elementary School District by 6 percent.

Ravenswood's kindergarten enrollment took a major hit in the 2017-18 school year, when Kipp opened and The Primary School added its first kindergarten class. The combined effect was that Ravenswood's kindergarten enrollment dropped below 400 and then 300 students to about 200 students in the last two years. Kipp, which opened with kindergarten, first and sixth grades, also caused a much larger net loss in the number of students graduating from fifth to sixth grade, the report states.

The low kindergarten enrollment will continue, Williams said Thursday, estimating that there will be no kindergarten class significantly more than 200 students in the next five years.

Most Kipp students live within the district and all Primary School students do, so "the majority of both of those school's students probably otherwise would have been enrolled in the district's regular schools," Williams wrote. These trends are expected to continue until Kipp and The Primary School are fully enrolled.

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The report also underscores the region's housing crisis. East Palo Alto families are leaving the area due to unaffordability and "further decline will occur if a larger-than-projected portion of the students, in net, who are in temporary housing or are living in vehicles need to leave the district before 2023," Williams wrote.

There are some local housing developments on the horizon that could help stabilize Ravenswood's enrollment, but the number of units or potential students that could be generated remains unclear.

Williams highlighted three positive findings in his report. Ravenswood saw small rebounds this year in students who live in what's defined as "relatively modest" single-family detached homes. The birth counts in the San Mateo County portion of the 94303 ZIP code also went up rather than declined in 2018. Lastly, a large number of potential units in below-market-rate developments in the area could help bring more students to the district and also provide stable housing for students who live in temporary housing or are sleeping in cars or RVs, Williams wrote.

The school board did not discuss the enrollment study extensively. Trustee Marielena Gaona-Mendoza said it is now their and the interim superintendent's responsibility to "brainstorm ... how we attract more students to come here."

Trustee Sharifa Wilson floated one suggestion: "challenging" the Voluntary Transfer Program, or Tinsley program, which allows East Palo Alto students to enroll in neighborhood districts through a lottery.

"Are these students better off staying in those schools or coming back to the district?" she asked. "As we're looking at projections we need to push back on that a little."

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Ravenswood enrollment decline worse than predicted

Consultant says district could have fewer than 1,800 students by 2023

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 11:43 am

An enrollment consultant is projecting that the Ravenswood City School District will lose 27 percent of its 2,400 students over the next five years, a decline that is far sharper than the district itself has predicted.

The K-8 East Palo Alto district has already the region's "most severe" enrollment decline, according to the San Mateo-based Enrollment Projection Consultants, and is facing challenging years ahead. While skyrocketing housing costs and falling birth rates are the main culprits of enrollment decreases in school districts throughout Silicon Valley, the opening of a new charter school, Kipp Valiant Community Prep, and the private Primary School in East Palo Alto compounded those losses for Ravenswood.

The picture that Enrollment Projection Consultants paints is "bleak," Partner Tom Williams wrote in his report. He told the school board Thursday evening that in his 33 years of enrollment consulting, the recent declines in local school districts is "something I've never seen before."

He estimates Ravenswood will lose 583 students by 2021. In sharp contrast, the district had estimated in January that it would lose 136 students over the next three years.

While virtually all districts in the region are losing students, Ravenswood's 27 percent enrollment decline is "far greater" than what his organization is forecasting for the other 23 districts they work with in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The decrease will happen in both elementary and middle school grade levels and in every elementary attendance area of the district, according to Williams' report.

In five years, Ravenswood will be down to just 1,747 students, Williams estimated -- a sharp contrast to the 3,547 students enrolled in 2012. Even without charter schools, Ravenswood's regular enrollment fell by 1,161, or 33 percent, from 2012 to 2018 — including a loss of 307 students in just the last year.

In the last year, Ravenswood's regular enrollment, not counting the charters, dropped by 11 percent, according to the report. The report provides the rates for nearby districts as points of comparison: Redwood City School District declined by 3 percent, Menlo Park City School District by 1 percent, Las Lomitas Elementary School District by 6 percent and Portola Valley Elementary School District by 6 percent.

Ravenswood's kindergarten enrollment took a major hit in the 2017-18 school year, when Kipp opened and The Primary School added its first kindergarten class. The combined effect was that Ravenswood's kindergarten enrollment dropped below 400 and then 300 students to about 200 students in the last two years. Kipp, which opened with kindergarten, first and sixth grades, also caused a much larger net loss in the number of students graduating from fifth to sixth grade, the report states.

The low kindergarten enrollment will continue, Williams said Thursday, estimating that there will be no kindergarten class significantly more than 200 students in the next five years.

Most Kipp students live within the district and all Primary School students do, so "the majority of both of those school's students probably otherwise would have been enrolled in the district's regular schools," Williams wrote. These trends are expected to continue until Kipp and The Primary School are fully enrolled.

The report also underscores the region's housing crisis. East Palo Alto families are leaving the area due to unaffordability and "further decline will occur if a larger-than-projected portion of the students, in net, who are in temporary housing or are living in vehicles need to leave the district before 2023," Williams wrote.

There are some local housing developments on the horizon that could help stabilize Ravenswood's enrollment, but the number of units or potential students that could be generated remains unclear.

Williams highlighted three positive findings in his report. Ravenswood saw small rebounds this year in students who live in what's defined as "relatively modest" single-family detached homes. The birth counts in the San Mateo County portion of the 94303 ZIP code also went up rather than declined in 2018. Lastly, a large number of potential units in below-market-rate developments in the area could help bring more students to the district and also provide stable housing for students who live in temporary housing or are sleeping in cars or RVs, Williams wrote.

The school board did not discuss the enrollment study extensively. Trustee Marielena Gaona-Mendoza said it is now their and the interim superintendent's responsibility to "brainstorm ... how we attract more students to come here."

Trustee Sharifa Wilson floated one suggestion: "challenging" the Voluntary Transfer Program, or Tinsley program, which allows East Palo Alto students to enroll in neighborhood districts through a lottery.

"Are these students better off staying in those schools or coming back to the district?" she asked. "As we're looking at projections we need to push back on that a little."

Comments

Enough
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 29, 2019 at 4:55 pm
Enough, Menlo Park: other
on Mar 29, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Let's be honest, what parent that actually values their child's education would want them going to a Ravenswood School? These schools are consistently (for 40 years) ranked as some of the worst in California. Parents that care use the Tinsley program to move their kid(s) to a better school/district. The school board has had no success improving the schools and by their continued support of the previous superintendent they were actually worsening the problem. The district seems to have been mismanaged and in some cases it looks like people were profiting off of their positions by hiring family for high paying jobs. Personally I think the DA should investigate some of the people running the district and some of the School Board members.

The only way to slow the downward enrollment trend is to improve the education they are providing. As I said, that has not happened in 40 years so I would not hold my breath.


Things Wont Change
Belle Haven Elementary
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:49 pm
Things Wont Change, Belle Haven Elementary
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:49 pm

Enough
I too believe that Ravenswood School District will not improve. Ana Ms. Pulido and Ms. Wilson claim that their biggest accomplishment has been the opening of the middle school, but they do not tell you the number of incidents that happened (too many fights) due to lack of yard and hallways supervision. This middle school is not a comprehensive at all, as AP and SW like to call it. Some bad and unqualified teachers work there, there are not enough yard duties, regular teachers, special education teachers, or aides. The Middle school has been there only for two years and it has already had two different principals and two different vice principals. As if it was not enough there will be new administrators again next school year. How can a school succeed when there is no consistency? For the last five years leadership has been horrible, teachers parents, community members addressed the board, but the majority was covering for the superintendent, who knows what they got in return for renewing her contract when they knew she was doing so bad. She spent so much time on Buenos Dias America (Good Morning America), and it wasn't just Gloria the one who appeared in the shows, but also is not just her the one who was at these shows (yes several shows) also Lorena the assistant superintendent and DO secretaries, custodians and their friends. Thanks to these bad board members the district has wasted more than two hundred thousand dollars to get rid of her, and probably more money will spend an attorney and settlement now that Mr. Gaviglio is going to bring legal action against the district. I do not blame him for that last year's majority of the school board members did not listen to him.
I hope that Ms. Gina Sudaria does not start bringing relatives and friends to work at the district as Dr. Hernandez did. I feel disappointed ad the new board members who decided to pay her money to leave the district. Perhaps they too got a piece of the pie. I know that Sharifa and Ana did, but not sure about other ones. I got more disappointed when I found out the real reason for getting rid of her (Gaviglis investigation results). They had a good reason to fired her, and instead, they gave her money, really? I bet they even gave her a good letter of recommendation and put nothing on her file.
The new board members have already shown who they are and for these reasons, I know that the district will not improve, and parents will have to continue to take our kids to other school districts.
Another thing Pulido and Wilson brag about is getting out of RSIP, but here too, they did it because they just fake the documents, when in fact the special education students have not been getting the number of minutes that have been written in the legal contract called IEP, which by the way is again the law.


gentrify
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 30, 2019 at 10:39 am
gentrify, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 30, 2019 at 10:39 am

" ...skyrocketing housing costs and falling birth rates are the main culprits of enrollment decreases... "


Enough
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2019 at 3:43 pm
Enough, Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2019 at 3:43 pm

gentrify,

Look how many students are part of the Tinsely program. Yes Ravenswood loses students to people moving but when someone leaves others take their place. While some loss of students is expected from families with children moving and their housing taken by people without children you would not expect those numbers to be that high. The housing costs and birth rates would also be reflected across the other school districts yet Ravenswood is twice that of the other districts.

What made me laugh was Sharifa Wilson saying "Are these students better off staying in those schools or coming back to the district?" she asked. "As we're looking at projections we need to push back on that a little.""

Let's see Mrs Wilson, the schools in the district you are on the school board of have ratings (per Zillow) of 1 (Cesar Chavez and Willow Oaks) and 2 (Belle Haven). Compare that to 8 (Encinal, Hillview and Laurel) and 9 (Oak Knoll)and most Palo Alto schools are an 8 or a 9 as well. So would you think going to a school rated an 8 or 9 is better that going to a school rated a 1 or a 2?

The fact that she even asks that question proves she is either just plain stupid or completely out of touch with the performance of the schools she is supposed to be responsible for...


VPT Worked for Pulido, Fitch, and Laura Martinez
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 30, 2019 at 5:24 pm
VPT Worked for Pulido, Fitch, and Laura Martinez, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 30, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Enough:
Yes you seemed more in touch with reality than Sharifa, I heard that a board member mentioned the fact that two of the present board members were the result of the VTP, and Ana Pulido made it to the San Francisco University (even though she lied to voters during the 2018 campaign saying that she is a Ravenswood School District to get more votes), and Ms. Fitch made it to Stanford. The board member added that former mayor of EPA Laura Martines is also a product of the VPT, isn't this enough to prove that attending better schools creates better-prepared individuals? There is also Karen Landa who came to this country when she was six years old, attended Barron Park as a child and she was accepted to Stanford? I wonder how many people have been who attended Ravenswood have been accepted to Stanford or Harvard. Yes, I heard of Santi Mendoza who came to USA when he was about 9 but Cesar Chavez Middle school for very little time, later someone told her if he wants to be successful he should leave Ravenswood, and he did he attended Menlo School for the rest of the time and now he will be attending Harvard. I am sure that if he stayed in Ravenswood, he would have not been accepted to Harvard. He himself expressed badly about Ravenswood School District. Here is a link to the article .Web Link

Many east Ravenswood Students end up in gangs or in jail because they do not get the teacher's instructions or have a connection with them, so to spend time outside of the classrooms and since the principals do nothing about it, soon they start to cut school and spent time on the streets.

I feel that if the State takes over the Ravenswood School District will be in the best interest of the students. That way the political atmosphere and culture of corruption will end. The focus then will be on our students not on the corrupted administrators.



Replace Mr. Eichman
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 31, 2019 at 12:17 pm
Replace Mr. Eichman, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 31, 2019 at 12:17 pm

The reporter of this article says that
He estimates Ravenswood will lose 583 students by 2021. In sharp contrast, the district had estimated in January that it would lose 136 students over the next three years.

"In sharp contrast, the district had estimated in January" Why is Mr. Eichman getting paid so much money when he does not know how to do his job. Ronda White has corrected him a couple of times. This is clear evidence that he cannot do the job right even when the district keeps paying Ms.Prima (former CB) to assist him. Board Members, please replace Mr. Eichman with someone who has more knowledge of Mathematics. We cannot keep paying consultant after consultant to help unqualified administrators, if you know they cannot do the job, they should not be hired. It is a waste of money when we are in a financial crisis.


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