Big turnout at ‘new students’ night reflects start of predicted Coronado enrollment upswing

       Coronado High welcomed hundreds of prospective Fall 2013 freshmen at a “new students” open house March 12, plus a number of undergraduates who will be transferring in.

The Coronado High cafeteria was filled with prospective enrollees, their families and welcoming staff and students March 12 in a night for new students, including those who will transfer from Wasson and Palmer.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Adding a twist was Coronado's expanded boundaries, which in the fall will encompass areas east of I-25 that are now assigned to Wasson and Palmer high schools.
       The new boundaries were established by the District 11 Board of Education last month after deciding to close Wasson. Each of the four remaining full-service high schools will pick up extra students as a result.
       That situation led Coronado to broaden the scope of what has annually been its spring open house to welcome and inform incoming ninth-graders. This year was also set up for students who will be in grades 10-12.
       Engstrom said he knew of about 20 such students at the open house, half from Wasson and half from Palmer. He couldn't be more exact because of the informal nature of the annual gathering, but noted that the overall student attendee estimate - 550 - was “about 150 more than normal.”
       Such numbers reflect the district's anticipation that Coronado will get roughly 100 ninth-graders from the current Wasson-Palmer attendance areas in the fall, plus any transfers. But not many of the latter will be from Wasson, possibly as few as 10.
       “We inherited a tiny, tiny area of the Wasson attendance zone,” Engstrom said. “What we're inheriting is mostly Palmer's, north of Fillmore Street and west of Union Boulevard.”
       As a result, he said the ratio of new students (in all grades) this fall will actually be about nine from Palmer's attendance area for every one from Wasson's.
       Engstrom further pointed out another offshoot of the boundary changes - that they will likely cause Coronado's enrollment to keep increasing through Fall 2016. The reason is that most of the students in the Palmer attendance area that's been assigned to Coronado will be “grandfathered” to stay at Palmer. Some of these could transfer to Coronado, but in any case the first class of ninth-graders (75 to 100 students) from that area will enroll at Coronado this fall, and they'll be joined each of the following three years by ninth-grade classes of similar numbers. So by 2016 Coronado could have 1,600 to 1,700 students, compared to a little over 1,300 students now, according to Engstrom.
       With its pre-boundary-change attendance area, mostly west of I-25, the school had enrollment that high in the late 1990s, he said. However, the numbers have dwindled since then as the population in the western part of the city has aged, statistics show.

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