Enrollment drops as freshman class numbers decline

November 9, 2015 — by David Fan and Frederick Kim

Students may notice that hallways and the quad during lunch have been slightly less crowded this year. The reason? The school has about 100 fewer students, with about 1,300 now enrolled.

Students may notice that hallways and the quad during lunch have been slightly less crowded this year. The reason? The school has about 100 fewer students, with about 1,300 now enrolled.

According to assistant principal Brian Safine, this trend is in part because of the large number of seniors who graduated last year, at 358, and the below average number of freshmen coming in this year, at 304.

He said graduating and incoming classes are usually more equal. For instance, two years ago, the incoming freshman class size was 356 and the graduating class size was 340.

Another factor in the enrollment drop, said assistant principal Kerry Mohnike, is that the school usually receives 40 to 50 freshmen from private schools, while this year, it received only five.

According to Mohnike, the strong economy has also had a slight effect on the enrollment decline. When the downturn occurred a few years ago, the school saw a slight increase in student population since some families decided to switch to public schools instead of private schools due to cost.

Safine said that the enrollment decline has not affected the class sizes. This year, the average class size in the school is 27, which Safine said is “an appropriate size for learning.” Last year, the average class size was about the same, and the average two years ago was 28.

Safine said enrollment is not down districtwide. At Los Gatos High School, the student population is around 1,900 students, an almost 600 student difference between the schools.

As he looks ahead, principal Paul Robinson is not overly concerned about short-term declines in enrollment.

Because Redwood Middle School now has more eighth graders than last year, this will create a larger freshman class next year, with an expected 325 students. But after that, the next freshman class size will drop off again due to a smaller seventh grade class.

“When you are in a small district, there can be sudden shifts in enrollment,” Robinson said. “We make the best guess we can [about the school size], but we [will] never quite know for sure until everyone shows up.”

 
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