Mountain View Whisman saw its enrollment stabilize this school year after two years of declines that the district experienced during the pandemic, newly released data from the California Department of Education shows.
The district held steady with 4,522 students in both the 2022-23 and 2021-22 school years, according to enrollment data released this week.
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) saw a 2% drop in enrollment from 4,539 students last school year to 4,448 students this academic year.
Statewide, enrollment continues to decline, but at a slower pace than in recent years. California saw a 0.7% one-year drop in public school enrollment this past fall, a smaller decrease than in either of the past two school years. Santa Clara county saw a 2% decrease this school year compared to last.
In a press release, the California Department of Education described the statewide data as showing that enrollment has begun to stabilize and get closer to pre-pandemic trends.
The numbers come from a headcount that districts take each year in early October and report to the state. The figures may change later this year as corrections are made and more data is available, according to the state education department.
Mountain View Whisman
Mountain View Whisman's data shows that enrollment stayed equal between last school year and the current one.
The flat enrollment trend stands in contrast to the declines over the last two school years, which occurred starting with the pandemic. District enrollment has dropped by 11% since the 2019-20 school year, representing a loss of 560 students.
While student numbers dropped during COVID, the district continues to predict that its population will rise in the long term due to planned housing growth in Mountain View. The state requires the city to plan for at least 11,135 units to be built in the next eight years as part of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation process. The district has said that the increased housing will mean greater costs for the school district to educate the new students.
Though the district's overall enrollment stayed flat this fall, there is more variation at individual schools. Four out of the five schools where enrollment increased this year are in the northern portion of the district, which is where most of the housing construction is occurring.
Stevenson, Theuerkauf and Vargas elementary schools all grew in size this fall, increasing by 4.3%, 9.7% and 9.7%, respectively. Both middle schools also grew, with Crittenden increasing 0.9% and Graham expanding 4.9%.
The district's remaining elementary schools – Monta Loma, Mistral, Castro, Landels, Bubb and Imai – all shrunk this fall. The decrease at Monta Loma was the sharpest, with enrollment dropping by 9.6%. It was also the only school north of Central Expressway to see a decrease and is the district's smallest school.
There is substantial variation in the size of the district's schools. Monta Loma and Castro elementary schools both have fewer than 250 students, while Imai, Landels and Theuerkauf are all over 350. The district's largest elementary school is Stevenson, which has 456 students this year. Stevenson is a choice school, which parents apply to have their children attend, with a lottery process determining which students get the limited seats available.
In the district overall, there has been an increase in the number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, growing from 27.2% of Mountain View Whisman students last school year to 30.6% this year. This figure captures students who come from low-income families or whose parents didn't graduate from high school.
The share of students learning English also grew from 21.6% to 22.6% of the district. There was also an increase in homeless students, increasing from 4% to 5.7%.
The high school district saw its enrollment drop by 2% this school year, equating to a decrease of 91 students. That's a larger one-year decline than the district has seen in either of the past two school years. District enrollment dropped 0.5% last school year, compared to the prior year, and increased 0.3% between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. In total, the district's enrollment is down 2.2% since the 2019-20 school year.
This year's drop was concentrated at Mountain View High School, which lost nearly 100 students, while Los Altos High School stayed roughly the same. Alta Vista, the district's alternative school, increased from 62 to 69 students.
Even with the decrease at Mountain View High, it's still slightly larger than Los Altos. Mountain View has 2,220 students this school year, compared to 2,141 at Los Altos.
MVLA saw its share of socioeconomically disadvantaged students increase this school year from 15.4% of the student body to 17%. Those learning English also increased from 6.3% to 7.3% of the district. Homeless students increased from 1.2% to 1.4%, but are a relatively small number overall, totalling 61 students this school year.