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Enrollment stabilizes for Mountain View Whisman this school year after recent declines

Newly released data gives look at public school enrollment this fall

A parent records video and waves goodbye to her child as students enter their kindergarten classroom for the first time at Monta Loma Elementary School in Mountain View on August 10, 2022. Photo by Adam Pardee.

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.

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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.

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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%.

MVLA

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.

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Zoe Morgan
 
Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Enrollment stabilizes for Mountain View Whisman this school year after recent declines

Newly released data gives look at public school enrollment this fall

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 3:58 pm

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%.

MVLA

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.

Comments

MV Resident
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:30 pm
MV Resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:30 pm

The vision in the last major round of school construction was for 450-person schools that would have the critical mass of students and families to enable differentiated instruction and community support like strong PTAs. The current numbers are well below this… is it time to consider bigger changes to help address that gap? Seems many years of education will be happening before enrollment gets anywhere close to the capacity limits.


papa K
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:05 pm
papa K, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:05 pm

Just want to comment on the excellent online graphics in this article. Nicely done!


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:34 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:34 pm

MV Resident / that seems a good observation and comment (I participated and supported the 450 per elementary design & build policy when I was on the Bd.).
Fortunately - we at that time (Coladonato + Wheeler) were able to prevent the previous policy of enlarging South of El Camino schools to 650 each! The Administration has purposefully 'throttled' Castro enrollment [the most segregated school] to only 2 classrooms per grade level, though that new facility like all other elementaries was architect-designed to support 450. ( 3 permanent classrooms per grade)

The excess capacity that MVWSD currently has, was designed to spread classrooms (and easy access) throughout the city so there can be easily walkable school communities. The development of East Whisman will start to fill-out Vargas, and the Monta Loma numbers will eventually recover when Shoreline (Google residentials) get going. Obviously The Sky Is Not Falling on where to put the 'next 100' ('23-24 pre-enrollment gain) or even the next 865! The current 9 school design capacity is 4,050 for 100% filled permanent construction regular classrooms (surge or extra programs not considered, Like PK).

How to reduce unused capacity? How to cut administrative headcount ratios down to the county average?? (Per Pupil Ratio: Administrators is 26% more top-heavy than the county average / most recent data)


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:49 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:49 pm

There are a lot of things that are left out of the article. The enrollment in specific grade levels needs to be looked at if you want to see the impact of school age population declines. The TK enrollment is being increased by state mandate which doesn't last forever. I.e. not all the TK age kids are enrolled yet but things are moving that way. This isn't real student growth, just more coverage at the youngest age levels. The graphic shows that BOTH middle schools grew yet then counts the northern one as evidence that construction is growing in the north of the city.

As for saying "most" of the construction is happening in the north of the city, that does not seem to be true to me. What evidence backs that up? There has been so much new apartment construction happening along El Camino Real that this must be counted in to the new construction factor. The housing element is trying to force more construction to occur in the southern reaches of the city, with major plans to see the shopping centers there redeveloped to include large new apartment complexes. El Camino Real is a favored corridor for housing development. There will be big impacts from the East Whisman redevelopment but that has not yet started to occur. It remains to be seen how many kids live in each area of this new apartment construction.

You really need to separate out TK enrollment and then consider growth trends by age level. It looks to me like three could be some forthcoming declines at the middle schools, based on lackluster growth overall at the elementary schools, i.e. grades 4 and 5. These are the future 6th graders,


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 7, 2023 at 3:05 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2023 at 3:05 pm

Some trends from the grade level enrollment this year compared to last. First, overall, enrollment is still down over 500 students from what it was 2019-2020, which in turn was a small decline from the year before. So we are dealing with smaller enrollment than would have been expected in 2018.

Next look at each grade this year compared to the enrollment in the grade one lower last year, i.e. look at the effect of grade cohort progressions. They all tend to be down about 5%.. That's a pretty big trend toward population decline, even though the total stayed steady. Why did it stay steady? It would appear to be the fact that more TK kids are returning which kept grade K reporting artificially high since it combines K and TK age levels.

I think it's pretty clear that what really happened was at least a 3% drop in population over last year. So it is NOT stabilizing. People are moving away for whatever reason, faster than new people are moving in. And is talking about Fall 2022 compared to Fall 2021.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 14, 2023 at 7:10 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2023 at 7:10 pm

"Next look at each grade this year compared to the enrollment in the grade one lower last year, i.e. look at the effect of grade cohort progressions. They all tend to be down about 5%." THIS IS NOT UNUSUAL for MVWSD. For at least the last 10-12 years the I studied this school enrollment data, there has been something-like a 5?-3% grade enrollment falloff as students progress. [check the various Demographics consultant reports over that time period].

Unlike Los Altos - and Palo Alto - which (in the past) did not have this decline, families with students seemed to Move Away from MVWSD as the families got older. In the past - there was a much bigger percent drop-off going 5th (elementary) to 6th (middle school).


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 15, 2023 at 2:45 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 15, 2023 at 2:45 pm

What's different now then is that the middle school grades are not seeing such a big drop off compared to average elementary school cohort sizes. So to me, that says middle schools will be dropping more going forward. The elementary ages are not growing in size and if the departures during middle school continue, then there will be fewer still in middle school. Size is down 13% compared to 5 years ago grades 1-5. Size is down 8.5% over that 5 year period for middle school grades. Middle school ages are going to see the same drop off as elementary over the next 3 years. So I think it's premature to say that the so called decline has "reversed." It's going to stay smaller for quite a while going forward.

And of course, the numbers are STILL down 9% overall, 2022 vs 2017. That's a lot of room to grow into the schools that were just expanded while actually expecting enrollment to grow after 2017.


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