Redwood City Schools’ “Downsizing” Moves Ahead

in Education/Featured/Headline

Two Redwood City School District alternative programs will have new principals next fall as part of the district’s downsizing from 16 schools to 12.

Warren Sedar, principal at Selby Lane and a 20-year district teacher and administrator, will remain in his position as his school absorbs the Adelante Spanish Immersion Program, which moves from its campus on Granger Way west of Alameda de las Pulgas.

Katherine Rivera, principal at John Gill for five years, also will keep her job when the Orion parent participation program moves to John Gill to share the Jefferson Avenue campus with the district’s Mandarin Immersion program, established at John Gill in 2015. Orion will vacate its current home on Allerton Street near downtown.

In making his announcement by email to district parents, Supt. John Baker said current Adelante principal Christine Hiltbrand and Orion principal Julie Guaspari “have done an exceptional job at their current sites and we plan to have them continue with us as part of the district’s leadership team.”

He noted that Sedar, who joined the district as a bilingual teacher, started the Spanish Immersion program at Selby Lane in 2014 and has “strong relationships with Atherton organizations and community members.” He cited Rivera’s leadership in starting the Mandarin program and her experience in leading two different programs at one site.

In another restructuring development, the school board on Thursday morning will consider preliminary proposals to house the three charter schools supported by the district at two of the closing campuses – Orion and Fair Oaks.

Baker is recommending that the board offer space at Fair Oaks to Kipp Excelencia, now enrolling about 600 students at Hoover and Taft schools. It would share the Fair Oaks site with Connect, which has about 250 students. Most current Fair Oaks students will move to Taft.

Baker also is reporting to the board that the third charter, Rocketship, enrolling 290 students at Kennedy Middle School, has offered to pay market-rate rent for an open school site. He is recommending either offering continued use of space at Kennedy or offering the Orion site for rent.

The district by law must provide space for charters at a fixed-rate rent.

The special meeting of the board will be at 8 a.m. at district headquarters, 750 Bradford St.

The district is reorganizing to close a $6 million budget shortfall created mostly by declining enrollment, which is about 7,600 today, down from 9,273 in 2011 and projected at 7,236 for 2020. Most of the 16 schools are operating at far below capacity. The fourth campus to be vacated in the fall is Hawes, at Roosevelt Avenue and Upton Street.