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Enrollment Declines Concern Santa Clara Unified

Santa Clara Unified School District continues to monitor the enrollment numbers. Especially after opening three brand new schools, the District is watching these trends closely.



Santa Clara Unified and school districts all over the Country are concerned about enrollment declines. At the Board of Trustees Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27, staff presented the numbers for the past five years. Director of Student Services Brenda Carrillo showed the overall enrollment decline. Almost all grades have seen decreases, except for high schools that saw a slight increase, which puzzles staff.

The greatest enrollment decline is in elementary schools, except for some growth at some schools in certain grades. Contributing factors could be the new Agnews Elementary School and changes to the enrollment boundaries. Also, Transitional Kindergarten (TK) age requirements have changed, and more students are enrolling.


Similarly, the opening of Huerta Middle School and MacDonald High School as well as the enrollment boundary changes affected middle and high school enrollment too.

Enrollment Center Manager Johanna Gonzalez says they have been able to accommodate 65% of open enrollment students. The waitlist is down to 30%, with most on the waitlist asking for Millikin Elementary School which is already at capacity


Silicon Valley Career Technical Education

The Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) program serves 40 high schools across six school districts. They as had almost 1,000 students complete SVCTE in 2021-2022, said Superintendent Alyssa Lynch from MetroED. Santa Clara Unified had 44 students earn UC A-G credit, 22 earned articulations, and 60 earned certifications.

“Sixty percent of our students are going to college. I like to say that every year because people still think that career tech ed is for that ‘other student,’” said Lynch. “Students that we have are UC-bound, CSU-bound, 2-year college bound, trade school bound and it’s still college.”

News from SVCTE includes recently welcoming Jeff Arnett as the new Principal. They also held their first summer school exploration program which was a success and Lynch said they will probably continue the program and expand it. A $250,000 donation from Supervisor Joe Simitian will go towards electric vehicle and nursing careers programs. And in January 2023, they want to start their first after-school program.

Looking forward, SVCTE is looking into bringing back and adding programs like cyber security, graphic design, game design, and mental health.


Ethnic Studies

In Fall 2021, California Assembly Bill 101 was passed requiring all public high schools to offer an Ethnic Studies course by the 2025 – 2026 school year. AB101 also requires all California public schools to add a semester course in Ethnic Studies as part of its graduation requirements by the 2029-2030 school year. Santa Clara Unified is adding a semester of Ethnic Studies which will be paired with a semester of Health during 9th grade.

According to Board Vice President Vickie Fairchild, there has been misinformation going around about the Ethnic Studies course. Director of Secondary Education Matt Baldwin and staff explained that the purpose of the California Ethnic Studies model curriculum course is to draw attention to the ethnic and racial groups whose history has been traditionally overlooked and are the focus of college ethnic studies courses: Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans as well as Sikh, Jewish, Arab and Armenian Americans.

Staff also listed the eight outcomes they hope to come out of the course: the pursuit of justice and equity, working toward greater inclusivity, furthering self-understanding, developing a better understanding of others, recognizing intersectionality, promoting self-empowerment for civic engagement, supporting a community focus, and developing interpersonal communication.

They also hope to combat misinformation by engaging with families in March and April once they develop the program further.


Other Business

The Board appointed Adam Flores as Director of Maintenance and Grounds, Jordan Queensbury as Technology Support Manager, and Michael Harris as Safety Manager. Regarding the Safety Manager, Board Clerk Bonnie Lieberman was concerned about the recent earthquake and hearing that sites didn’t follow protocols. Chief Business Official Mark A. Schiel said he was concerned too and said they will make sure it is a priority.

The Board also edited the school calendars to add Juneteenth.

They passed a full fee waiver for Santa Visits Alviso Foundation to use facilities at Mayne Elementary School.

The next Board meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 10. And the last one of the calendar year is on Thursday, Dec. 8.


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