Nine months ago, I was asked by the Escondido Union School District to participate on a task force addressing declining enrollment. At first, I hesitated to commit, as I do not have school aged children and it has been a number of years since I attended school. However, quality education IS important to the business community as we rely on the next generation to fill the work force demands.
This task force meet quarterly, with the first meeting identifying and categorizing the possible reasons student enrollment was declining. Across the state, enrollment is declining as a result of families leaving California and a lower birth rate.
But what about the other reasons? The ones we CAN change?
Escondido is over a hundred twenty five years old, hence, old schools that are in need of major repair and updating. EUSD recognized this issue and successfully passed a bond to address the major architectural concerns and update the campuses to current standards. This is a multi-year project, but a good amount of work has already been accomplished on many of the campuses.
Student safety was also a major concern, which a portion of the bond funding is addressing, from better campus security barriers to in-depth program for on campus staff working directly with students to curtail bullying and create a culture of safety.
The other factor, "competition".
There are simply more choices for students today. Not every student fits the "cookie cutter mold of education" that has defined the traditional schools for...decades...!
The school district recognizes this challenge and has made great strides in specializing education. QUANTUM Academy is a shining example of choices in education.
Also, and perhaps the most important external factor, is getting the good word out! When the only choice was the traditional public school, or the private high priced tuition school, marketing was not needed. Not so now. EUSD will be reaching out to their "customer" base, sharing the good news, and showing the quality of education through unique programs that is part of EUSD's traditional school offering.
I am proud of the EUSD for recognizing an issue, gathering a diversified group of city leaders, and taking the information to heart. EUSD is hosting, for the first time ever, a State of the District Address on February 27th. The link to RSVP is in the left column. I hope you come!