Higher enrollment opens position for additional teacher

Rudraj Koppikar

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Rudraj Koppikar

In the upcoming academic year, enrollment may increase, leading to the possibility of a new teacher position opening up in the mathematics department.

“A larger student body could mean a larger selection of electives and greater scheduling options,” Principal Deb Smith said.

Enrollment for the next school year is predicted to be at 376, above the norm threshold of 371. If the school stays above the threshold by Sep. 14, Norm Day, the district will fund another teaching position in the school. Norm Day is the day a month after school reopens when the school declares its enrollment to the district. Enrollment currently stands at 336 students.

The school receives funding in two categories, norm funding and categorical funding. Norm funding is linked to the size of the student body while categorical funding is federal money and depends on factors such as the number of students enrolled for free or reduced lunch programs.

The predicted enrollment is tentative, as the school loses its entire graduating senior class and predicts the number of incoming freshmen based on completed eChoice applications. The school also can’t predict how many students may not return next year, according to Magnet Coordinator Nicole Bootel

The school fell below the norm threshold in the 2015-2016 school year with only 363 students and the predicted enrollment for 2018-2019 is the first significant increase in enrollment since then.

To increase recruitment each year, Bootel presents in middle schools during enrollment season, which is from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, and encourages students there to join the school. DPMHS also offers formal tours twice a week and informal tours to show interested parties the campus and how student life looks on a normal day. The school has also launched a new website and an app.

“We primarily target middle schools on the west side of the valley, although we also go to schools like Madison and Millikan that are on the east side,” Smith said. “Another way we increase recruitment is by word of mouth, kids talking to other kids, families talking to other families through various community activities.”

DPMHS has to compete for students with other, often larger schools. According to Smith, schools such as Granada Hills Charter High School with more developed STEM (Science, Technology, English and Math) programs are the school’s biggest competition. STEM programs attract more students and are generally one of the most popular programs in a school. Though next year the school will only be offering a single robotics class, Smith hopes there will soon be a complete pathway for engineering offered in the school.

This is one of the reasons the school began to offer a robotics class during Period 4 and after school to students this year. Currently, the school doesn’t offer Advanced Placement science classes as the small class sizes doesn’t warrant the cost of the equipment necessary for this class.

At the end of every school year, administrative staff including Smith and Bootel meet to discuss the effectiveness of recruitment efforts. The increased enrollment is a ray of hope in a school district that’s been consistently losing students.

“We’re hoping that word that word is going to get out at Mulholland that your kid doesn’t have to go to Reseda or Monroe,” Smith said.

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