Written by: Alex Man
On Jan. 15, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) board approved the expansion of Terman Middle School onto Bowman International School’s campus, in the case that Bowman has the opportunity to relocate itself to another location. The steadily increasing enrollment in the school district prompted this decision. According to Superintendent Kevin Skelly and Head of Data Enrollment Ann Dunkin, Terman, with the smallest campus of the three PAUSD middle schools, requires more land to fit future students. The expansion onto the neighboring school all depends on whether Bowman finds another viable location to accomodate its growing student population.
According to Terman Principal Katherine Baker, student population issues have already resulted. “Due to a higher population of sixth graders, we had to cap our sixth grade enrollment and send overflow students to Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (JLS),” Baker said. By sending those students to JLS, Baker kept the system of pairing teachers into teams intact.
Dunkin linked the changing enrollment to the the calendar change for elementary schools. “Currently, the growth in middle school enrollment is a bit higher than that of elementary schools,” Dunkin said. “However this growth is due to an earlier cutoff date for kindergarten that has caused a slight decline in elementary school enrollment.” This does not affect the high school enrollment in any particular way.Dunkin stated that in later years, there will be a slight decline in enrollment at the middle schools which would last for three years. In nine years, there is an expectation that the same pattern will occur in high schools. In 10 to 15 years from now, the board expects to see the process of planning out a new high school.
According to Skelly, the future increase in student populations at the three middle schools may require additional planning on the part of district officials. “Right now, JLS is split two-thirds going to Gunn and one-third going to Palo Alto High School (Paly),” Skelly said. “The expansion may cause more students to feed into Gunn more than Paly and as such, we may have to change the school boundaries to even out the students going to Paly or Gunn.”