Enrollment jumps at Sequoia High School…

September 18, 2009



(And it's not all from San Carlos…)

Sequoia High School is enjoying an incredible surge in its enrollment.   Over the past three years, the student body has grown to a size that hasn't been seen on this campus in many years.   Some of this is to be expected, since more San Carlos students were vectored to Sequoia when Carlmont High School hit its enrollment limit a few years ago and stopped taking intra-district transfers.

But more students are coming to Sequoia from different parts of the Peninsula that are outside of Sequoia's traditional boundaries, such as Menlo Park, Woodside, and Belmont.   Clearly, they're making the trip because by choice, not by necessity.   I'm a big fan of Sequoia, and I proudly serve as a board member on the Sequoia High School Education Foundation, so I clearly understand why families choose to send their kids here.

The Numbers

The total enrollment at Sequoia this year is approximately 1,837 students.  This is a 17% increase from the prior year, and a whopping 25% increase from just two years ago.   Is all of this upside coming from the Freshman class?   Not necessarily — this past year, the Freshman class grew by 15%, so this indicates that part of the enrollment increase is from students transferring in at the upper class levels.

Here's a quick snapshot of the numbers:

Sequoia Enrollment

The Carlmont Syndrome

Sequoia boasts the largest campus of all of the schools in the Sequoia Union High School District.  But if enrollment keeps growing at this rate, Sequoia may someday be tackling the same over-enrollment problems that Carlmont has recently.  That means not everybody who wants to get into Sequoia will.    But that's a good problem to have, because it proves what I've been saying all along — Sequoia has the right stuff…


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  1. JF on September 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Here is something I don’t understand. San Carlos elementary and middle schools are very good. Carlmont High has OK API (not Palo Alto territory, but OK). However, Sequoia’s are still very mediocre. Where do the kids go to? Private schools? Do people move out of San carlos?

    I really like San Carlos and I’m considering buying there, but the high school situation really concerns me.

  2. Maryanne on September 19, 2009 at 5:38 am

    JF, you’re right. Carlmont’s API is OK, but nowhere near other high performing school districts. That’s because they have three levels of the same course. Take for instance, English. There’s advanced, regular and bonehead English. Math classes are structured the same way. science is the same way. You have to have a way of educating mediocre students. The advanced students get tracked into the AP program. Sequoia? Unless your child is tracked for the IB program, forget it. Just remember, IB isn’t for everyone. As one Sequoia IB parent told me; kids in the IB program are like the Green Zone in Baghdad. They’re isolated from the regualar mediocre student body.
    Where do the really smart middle school San Carlos students go to high school? The nearest alternative is St. Francis in Mt.View. Don’t believe me? Check out the shuttle bus that leaves from REI on Industrial every morning. The super smart go to Bellarmine. Again, private high schools are the best alternative if you’re talented and can afford it.
    Bottom line: You’re not going to get a Gunn or Palo Alto High caliber education from either Sequoia or Carlmont. Anyone who believes otherwise is just fooling themselves.

  3. Anonymous on September 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Being a Gunn graduate wasn’t a pleasant experience. It’s a very high stress environment where the focus is on grades and getting into Stanford. While I did both those things, I suffered from frequent periods of depression. It took a few years to understand where this stems from; parental pressure. It doesn’t suprise me to hear of the recent suicides by Gunn students in front of the Caltrain tracks.
    Now that I have my own kids, I’m determined to make sure they lead happy, normal lives devoid of the social pressure.
    Parents! Stop frothing at the mouth over this issue. Sequoia and Carlmont are just fine for your kids. It’s the parenting and love that will make a difference; not the school.

  4. Bill on September 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Sequoia Union High School District API scores are always going to be lower due to the diversity of the student body. Segments of low socio-economic students and Hispanic students with language challenges drag down the scores. This factor is not present in the more affluent districts (Palo Alto, etc.). But SUHSD schools all have excellent programs (AP/IB) for high-achieving kids. It’s the “average” kids in the middle that suffer.

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