Tag Archive | "San Carlos school district"

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The *Real* San Carlos Schools Test Scores

Posted on 10 February 2010 by vvandervort

San Carlos Test Scores

This morning the San Carlos Educational Foundation (of which I’m a proud Sponsor of) put on a presentation to the Realtor community and included this exceptionally informative slide of San Carlos schools test scores. You can click on the image to get a larger version of it.  The San Carlos Real Estate Blog may be the only place you can get this information because the San Carlos school district is uncomfortable posting this information, which I can certainly understand.  What they did in order to get this data was to only use the test scores of those students who live in San Carlos and those that are “typical” (meaning not special ed).  This takes out students who come into San Carlos for schooling from other cities anywhere in the Bay Area and also those that are in the special ed program.

Let’s look at what the API scores of Arundel, Brittan Acres, Heather, and White Oaks are that include the entire student body.

Arundel – 917

Brittan Acres – 907

Heather – 861

White Oaks – 913

Now when you look at the scores of just the “typical” San Carlos resident students, you get these numbers:

Arundel – 933

Brittan Acres – 929

Heather – 929

White Oaks – 930

Where you see the largest difference in scores between the entire student body and the “filtered” student body is at Heather Elementary and that is where English as a Second Language students go and most of that population is not residing here in San Carlos.

Here’s what Craig Baker, the superintendent of the San Carlos schools, pointed out about this data.  First, the difference between the numbers of the various schools when you look at just the San Carlos residents is insignificant.  The difference between the highest score (933) and the lowest (929) is only 4 and that does not make for a statistically different test score (remember the good old days of statistics class?).  Second, if people have a concern that by sending their child to Heather Elementary, that the child will not do as well, that fear is unfounded.

I have stated before on my blog and here’s a great opportunity to say it again… San Carlos is one lucky and desirable city because if there is not room for you in your nearest school and you do end up having to go to another school in the district, you are going to get another phenomenal school.  This cannot be said of our neighboring cities.

This information needs to get out around our community so that people stop spreading the myth that one school is better than another here in San Carlos and quite specifically, that Heather Elementary is a less desirable school.  Please forward this to others in our community to learn from.

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What do Proposed School Boundary Changes do to San Carlos Property Values

Posted on 16 December 2009 by vvandervort

elementary_school_boundary_mapAbout a week ago, I wrote a post about the San Carlos School District getting serious about the idea of changing the boundary lines for the elementary schools.  Today I’m going to put out my opinion on what will happen to property values in San Carlos if the school district implements the changes.

For the streets/blocks that are being moved out of White Oaks Elementary and into Brittan Acres, it should have a negative impact on their property values.  White Oaks elementary (API score of 913) has had the repuation for several years of being the best school in San Carlos (up until this last year, they have had the highest API score, Academic Performance Index, but this last year, Arundel obtained a higher API score).   Now these streets will be going to Brittan Acres which has an API score of 907.  The difference in scores is nominal.  The problem though is that now the families on these streets have to cross Brittan Avenue to get over to Brittan Acres and many families are not pleased.   I think some buyers are going to shy away from these streets now so that they can get access to White Oaks and so they don’t have to worry about their children crossing Brittan.

All of the streets on the east side of San Carlos are being switched from Brittan Acres over to Arundel.  I don’t think this will have much of an impact on property values in this area.  People are buying in that area for affordability and access to any San Carlos school, not a specific school.  Let me digress for a moment.  One of the reasons I think San Carlos is a fantastic town is that those who live on the “east side” are slated for  the same schools that serve the west side.  The same cannot be said of our surrounding communities of Belmont, San Mateo, or Redwood City.

The last shift that is proposed by the San Carlos School District is to move an area that is slated for Arundel elementary over to Heather elementary.  This could be big.  Heather has an API score of 861 – the lowest in San Carlos.  So this move takes those streets and moves them from the best scoring school in San Carlos to the worst.  It is my understanding that Heather elementary has the special education program for the San Carlos elementary schools and that their test scores are included in the test scores for the whole school.  If this is the case, to judge Heather by its test score is not fair.  In speaking to families who attend there, they are very pleased with the school.  However, there are an unbelievable number of buyers out there who are looking at San Carlos specifically because the schools are so strong and they are just looking at API scores.  My guess is that when they see a street has access to Heather, they will shy away from it and look for a house on a street that is slated for one of the other 3 elementary schools.

It still remains to be seen how these border changes are going to be implemented.  Some reconfiguring has to be done, but the San Carlos School Board was going to be revisiting the topic after their town hall meeting where San Carlos citizens got to voice their opinion about the proposed changes.  The board is scheduled to vote on this on January 21, 2009.

To see a list of streets that are being moved, you can see them as a PDF at the San Carlos School Distrcit site.

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How to Get a Community in Upheaval: Talk About Redrawing School Boundaries!

Posted on 07 December 2009 by vvandervort

Map of proposed boundary changes for San Carlos schools

Map of proposed boundary changes for San Carlos schools

For several years now, the San Carlos school district has ended up in a situation where there is considerable uneven distribution of students in the elementary schools based on registration numbers.  What results is that they can’t fit these students into their neighborhood school and then send them to a school somewhere else in the San Carlos school district where there is room.  White Oaks elementary tends to have too many students registering – last year there were about 50 too many kindergarteners.  Then, Heather elementary never seems to hit capacity during registration.  This year Heather elementary looks like they are almost 40 students below their capacity. 

In order to keep this from happening year after year, the San Carlos school board is trying to redraw the boarders for the elementary schools so that each year they don’t have to do a shuffling of students away from their neighborhood school.  Definitely makes sense.  But how it is done is challenging and definitely stirs up emotions in the San Carlos community!  The San Carlos school district knows that they could just take a chunk of the White Oaks area and send them to Heather, but they are trying to help keep students in a school that geographically makes sense.  They are shuffling streets (and in some cases just blocks of certain streets, e.g. Howard Avenue) around for all 4 of the elementary schools.   If you are a fan of maps, you might want to check out the map of the proposed boundary changes.

There was a town hall meeting last Monday when it was openly discussed with San Carlos residents.  Then there was a San Carlos school board meeting on Thursday, December 3rd where it was further discussed amongst the board members.  The plan at that point was to vote on it this Thursday, December 10th, but then it was decided to delay the vote on it until the last meeting in January, which they decided to reschedule for January 21st. 

Another topic the San Carlos school board discussed at the meeting on December 3rd  was sending out commitment letters to families to tell them which school they had a spot in.  This was prompted by the superintendent, Craig Baker, having a good level of confidence that the community really knew about the unusually early registration.  However after some discussion amongst the board members (one of them, Seth Rosenblatt, has his own blog, which provides a great place to pick up additional information), it was decided to hold off on sending out the letters in case there was a group significant in size that had missed out on the early registration this year which might show up in early 2010 to register.   Although prudent on the part of the San Carlos school district, on a personal level, I would love it if we could know this early where our kids are going.  Some anxiety might be reduced to know that there seems to be plenty of room in the schools.  White Oaks, Brittan Acres, and Arundel are thus far just a little below their 90 kindergarten capacity.  Heather is way below its capacity.  Each of the elementary schools has room for 90 kindergarteners, so there is room for 360 kindergarteners in all of the San Carlos school district and at one point at the board meeting it was stated that there are 305 kindergarteners currently registered. 

I was going to tackle it now, but I’ve written too much already, so come back for my opinion on what might happen to San Carlos real estate values on the streets that are being impacted by the redrawing of the school boundary lines.

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