San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor Back To School: A year of excitement (and anxiety) for San Carlos schools. | The White Oaks Blog
San Carlos Schools August 25, 2009

Back To School: A year of excitement (and anxiety) for San Carlos schools.

by Chuck Gillooley

back-to-school

It’s that time again…

Tomorrow marks the first day of the 2009-10 school year in San Carlos, much to the excitement of the parents who have run out of ways to keep their kids entertained, and are ready to get back to their normal routine (heads nodding everywhere.)  The new school year always brings an exciting element of change for parents and children alike.   For our family, this year marks the first time in 10 years that we won’t have a child attending Brittan Acres, as our youngest has been “promoted” to Central Middle School (see, I know the lingo!)  Talk about a tough morning habit to change!

And despite how much the kids moan about the end of another summer, it’s a big deal for them to start up the new year, too.   New schools, teachers,  classes, and seeing friends again after the summer break makes the first day of school pretty fun.  At least that’s what I’m telling my kids, anyway.

But for this school year, there are three factors that will add a significant dose of anxiety to the excitement:

#1:  Different Schools…

For a significant number of White Oaks families, tomorrow marks the first day of school at a school they hadn’t planned on attending.   As was discussed in another post on this site, the huge upside of kindergarten enrollment this past spring forced the San Carlos School District to deflect as many as 50 White Oaks families up to Heather School.   There were simply too many families on the wait list for White Oaks to accommodate, forcing the District to make some tough and unprecedented decisions.

While it may seem innocuous to those who aren’t affected, getting vectored to a different school is understandably not an easy pill to swallow for those families who are impacted.  Many residents bought homes in White Oaks so that their children could attend White Oaks School, and they looked forward to the day when they could walk their kids to their local school (where, coincidentally, all of their friends would be attending.)

Like all of the other schools in San Carlos District, Heather is an outstanding school — and this in no way should reflect negatively on Heather.  Regardless of where you live and what schools are involved, it has to be tough if you have to drive right by your local neighborhood school every day on your way to a school further across town.

#2:  Boundary Changes…

On that same note, this year will also be an anxious one for those families with kids due to start in kindergarten in the 2010-11 school year.  Because of the aforementioned overflow at White Oaks School, the San Carlos School District will very likely re-draw the school boundaries for next fall’s school year to ensure better load-balancing in the enrollment.  This equates to a nervous year of waiting for those parents just getting started in the school district here in San Carlos.   If you’re in this boat, I’d highly recommend that you stay abreast of what’s happening by attending this year’s San Carlos School District public meetings, which are held every month.

#3:  Budget Cuts…

Thanks to the passage of Measure B, the San Carlos School District was able to rescind all of the pink slips that were handed out in the spring.  We’re fortunate that no full-time positions were lost, despite the huge cutback in education funding from the state.  But the School District has been quick to warn that while their headcount may be intact, the same is not guaranteed for all of the programs that were in place last year.

The lasting effect of the Governator’s budget cuts is that our teachers will have to do more with less money.  That means certain non-essential programs may not survive the budget cuts.    Stay tuned for more on this.

But it’s all good…

Despite all of the challenges facing the School District this upcoming year, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that San Carlos boasts one of the best School Districts on the entire Peninsula.   API scores remain high at all of the schools, and San Carlos is the only city that can lay claim to having both of its middle schools designated as “Distinguished Schools” by the State of California.

So, after you wade through the first day of school and sign your life away with volunteer activities, head down to Starbuck’s and treat yourself.  And then enjoy that strange peace and quiet when you get home.  You’ve earned it!

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Back To School: A year of excitement (and anxiety) for San Carlos schools., 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
Comments 3
  • It will be interesting at the end of the year to find out what White Oaks parents think about Heather.

    While San Carlos schools may have high API scores when compared to parts of the Peninsula, it’s more useful to compare it to comparable socioeconomic Bay Area cities like Orinda, Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Ramon, Hillsborough, Millbrae, etc. In that respect, San Carlos schools are at least 100 points less on the API.

    While White Oaks has always been the benchmark for San Carlos, it remains to be seen if Heather can raise it’s scores in a comparable fashion.

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  • @maryanne

    Heather has historically been under-enrolled in terms of families within San Carlos which has enabled the school to accept out-of-district transfer students under the Tinsley program – some for whom English is not their first language. While these students have the resources to assist them in the classroom learning environment test-taking is of course a different story altogether. It remains to be seen if the number of students new to Heather this year who would have otherwise attended another SC school will effect a statisically meaningful outcome on the test scores. I suspect that given this year’s kindergarten enrollment (and hence fewer if any slots made available to out-of-district transfers) it will mean some uptick in the kinder test scores for this year and for each successive grade level in the the years to come.

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  • Just to clarify what happened with respect to the enrollment particularly at White Oaks school this year. Although at one time there was something like 70 students on the wait list, the final number turned out to only be 16. Through both attrition (which happens every year) as well as a lot of hard work on the part of the District administration to add extra capacity, a far majority of students have the opportunity to go to their neighborhood school. What’s also interesting is that a number of families who were given the opportunity to go to White Oaks instead choose to stay at Heather because of how great a school that is. There is no denying that the budget remains a problem and that the process for enrollment needs to be fixed, but the new Superintendent is putting a lot of effort this year into greatly improving that. I think you’ll see some good changes coming, which could include potentially different ways to have boundaries, but in any case will provide a much less stressful experience for all.

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