In the upcoming school year, enrollment is expected to increase slightly, which will reopen an English teaching position for Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS).
In the spring semester of the 2018-19 school year, a ninth-grade English position was eliminated due to a lack of enrollment. This led to English teachers Ron Baer, Cynthia Barry, Journalism 1 teacher Adriana Chavira and history teacher Davy Mauermann picking up an extra English class.
According to Magnet Coordinator Leah Pevar, there are 100 incoming students who are enrolled for the 2019-20 school year, which will make up for the loss of this year’s 70 graduating seniors. So long as the school maintains these 100 incoming students by norm day, the school will be able to keep three sole English teachers for the next school year. This would eliminate Chavira and Mauermann’s current English classes. DPMHS must have a total of 340 students enrolled by norm day to add an English teaching position.
“In theory, we’ll have more students next year which would be great,” Pevar said. “But just because 100 people said they’ll be here doesn’t always mean they will.”
As a way to boost enrollment for the next school year, Pevar attended 12 out of the 17 “Meet the Magnet/High School” nights that are hosted in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Counselor Martina Torres also attended two of these events and science teacher Stephen Schaffter attended one. These evenings are designed for incoming high school students and their parents to learn about potential schools.
Next school year, Pevar plans to bring parents and students to these events so they can offer varying perspectives about DPMHS.
“It’s great to talk to a teacher,” Pevar said. “But sometimes you want a student or parent perspective.”
Smith also shared various events held on campus through social media accounts. Pevar has also invited prospective parents and students to these events through email during the year such as the David Labkovski Gallery Walk, Pearl Con and the spring concert.
“A lot has been put on social media,” Smith said. “Not only does the school do social media through PNN and The Pearl Post but I also run a lot of social media. Every single positive accolade or recognition of award has been put out.”
Although 100 students have confirmed to enroll next school year, DPMHS is still in danger of losing more students. However, this will not affect any non-academic teaching positions since those are not tied to enrollment and are paid for out of pocket by the school’s budget.
“It’s so important that people hold on to every student that is here and encourage friends to come,” Smith said. “Maybe even bump enough enrollment that (DPMHS) can get a teacher back.”
A big issue that both Pevar and Smith view as a reason for the lack of enrollment is charter schools. DPMHS is the smallest comprehensive high school in LAUSD but is being challenged by other small charter schools that have recently opened.
“Enrollment has consistently dropped because there are so many new charter schools opening in the area,” Smith said. “Parents are falsely believing that charter schools are better and that’s not true. Charter schools are not better than (DPMHS).”