Enrollment is up at two Scottsdale Unified School District schools meanwhile two others will have more time to get their numbers up, according to district officials.
Anasazi Elementary School and Echo Canyon K-8 School reached the goal of 400 students by 2020 while Navajo and Yavapai elementary schools will continue on an adopted growth plan program because of extenuating circumstances. The Governing Board heard a presentation on the schools’ progress at a Nov. 19 meeting.
In November 2018, the board placed the four schools on a growth plan to increase their populations by 10% by the following year. The board also set the goal for schools to reach more than 400 students by 2020.
In the case of Echo Canyon and Anasazi, 400 students was less than the 10% growth. Both schools hit the 400-student threshold but not the 10% growth, which was still enough to merit removal from the growth plans.
The SUSD growth plan is designed to increase enrollment at district schools, but if goals are not met, those school sites could see the potential of repurposing, which would include closure or consolidation, district officials say.
Echo Canyon recorded a population of 400 students in the kindergarten through fifth grade category while Anasazi reached 403. With the recent excess-capacity studies, the district also found Echo Canyon was just over 80% capacity for kindergarten through fifth grade, providing further rationale for removal.
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Dr. Ibi Haghighat said Anasazi’s growth was because of the school’s focus on International Baccalaureate, school staff commitment, relationships and site marketing. Anasazi jumped from 379 to 403 over the past year.
“We are celebrating that achievement, and want to thank our community, dedicated staff and SUSD for their devotion and support of Anasazi and the students we serve,” Anasazi Principal Jennifer Waldron said in a prepared statement.
Dr. Haghighat pointed to Echo Canyon’s global sustainability and partnership with Arizona State University and school staff commitment as leading the school to jump from 390 to 400 students.
“We are thrilled to have the support of our board, our district office and our community as we continue to provide SUSD students with a unique, hands-on, experiential learning environment emphasizing sustainability,” Echo Canyon Principal Kat Hughes said in a prepared statement.
“We communicated to our staff and our community what we needed to accomplish, and not only have we seen our enrollment increase, but students’ test scores have improved, as well.”
Navajo students are at a different campus because of a fire last year and Yavapai students are sharing their campus with Hohokam Elementary School students. Dr. Haghighat cited these facts as why the schools should continue in the growth plan.
Navajo sits with 340 students while Yavapai has 243 students. Both will need to hit 400 students by November 2020 to avoid potential repurposing, such as closure or consolidation, district officials say.
Navajo didn’t see growth in the kindergarten- through fifth-grade category, dropping from 344 to 340, but does have a 2018 pre-kindergarten- through fifth-grade population of 397. Yavapai also dropped from 262 to 243 and sits with a pre-kindergarten- through fifth-grade population of 267.
“We also feel that as we continue our conversations with the Coronado Learning Community and what are some of those interests and what can we do so that we can continue to work with the whole Coronado Learning Community, that Yavapai is also in a place where we should really give them the time so we can determine what are the best outcomes for the community,” Dr. Haghighat said.