Fallbrook Union High School has seen a decrease in attendance in the 2012-2013 academic year, but the alternative Ivy and Oasis high schools have seen an influx in numbers.
According to Wilson Hatcher, assistant superintendent for Fallbrook Union High School District, Fallbrook High is down 107 students from last year, while Ivy is up three students and Oasis is up 23 students. However, there is a district-wide decline of 81 students.
“The Fallbrook High School decline is the result of some eighth graders last year in Bonsall and Fallbrook elementary school districts choosing not to attend FHS this year,” said Hatcher.
While Rod King, principal of Fallbrook High, declined to comment and Dale Mitchell, superintendent of the district, was unavailable for comment this week, Melissa Marovich, principal of both Oasis and Ivy, was able to provide insight on possible reasons for the increase at her sites.
Marovich stated that while attendance at Ivy is “at capacity,” total enrollment is eight to ten students less than last year at this time.
“Last year, Ivy had 154 students and this year Ivy has about 145. Due to budget cuts, I lost one section, which caused an overall reduction in the number of students I could enroll,” she said. (Meaning the increase has been for the existing classes offered).
Ivy’s purpose is credit recovery, so the incentive to attend the alternative school is that students have the ability to catch up on course work needed for graduation. Once caught up, students can choose to return to Fallbrook High School and finish their graduation requirements or stay with Ivy and earn a diploma there.
“Last year, Ivy graduated approximately 65 students and another 25 former Ivy students graduated from Fallbrook High School,” said Marovich. “The former students all attended Ivy, caught up, and returned for their senior year. Ivy is an accredited high school; our diploma is equal to any other.”
Marovich stated that Oasis, the alternative involving home study, has seen a significant increase in students. Students become aware of the opportunities available at Oasis through word of mouth.
We are up about 10-12 students, most of whom were attending schools other than Fallbrook High School. The majority of the new students came from charter schools which operate programs similar to Oasis (like Escondido Charter or River Springs in Temecula), and they decided to attend within the boundary where they live. A few others were attending other high schools on inter-district transfers, and decided to try independent study.”
The number of students that transfer from other FUHSD schools has remained the same as in years past, and the majority of students who enter the school as ninth graders enter from the Iowa Street Home School Program.
“Oasis High School offers a very individualized program – students meet one-on-one weekly with their teacher. The teacher, parent and student have a say in choosing coursework, and the feedback is immediate,” said Marovich. “Parents also like the ease with which they are able to communicate with the teacher, and get updates on their students’ progress. Students can choose to accelerate and graduate early, and they can enroll in community college courses.”
“There is a lot of freedom that comes with independent study – students can pursue other interests, such as sports, dance, modeling, etc.,” said Marovich. “We currently have a student, a semi-professional boxer, who travels a great deal. Last year, we had a student who was very involved with rodeo competitions, and another who traveled with a dance troupe.”
This year, Oasis began offering a fully online diploma program, in which students can “blend” their learning by taking one or two online courses in addition to traditional independent study.
Marovich also stated that Oasis also has a large amount of options available for students including UC A-G approved college prep classes, opportunities for Oasis students to play on Fallbrook High sports teams, some Advanced Placement courses, and more.
Hatcher believes that there are other elements that are impacting student choices, as well.
“Oasis is up because we added another teacher to accommodate the student waiting list,” said Hatcher. “I think more students are interested in the Oasis program because it is mostly online self-study. Students meet with teachers one hour each week but do all of their course work away from the school site.”
The California Basic Educational Data System’s (CBEDS) actual counts from last year to the preliminary counts this year:
School October 2012 October 2011
FHS 2,527 2,634
Ivy 146 143
Oasis 111 88