Refusing to lose

RHS taking steps to fight continued decline.

November 16, 2022

Roseville High School’s student enrollment has dropped over the past few years going from 2,161 in the 2007-2008 school year to 1,733 this year. If RHS keeps this decline, the student population is estimated to drop to 1,438 by the end of the  2025-2026 school year, according to assistant superintendent Joseph Landon.

Due to the opening of new high schools like West Park, Twelve Bridges, and others, district boundaries have been in dispute, leaving students the option to continue to a high school in their area or go to the newly built high schools. Unlike the new schools, RHS has no area to expand outward. The school is landlocked between the surrounding community and the cemetery.

Because of this, RHS is taking steps to attract and retain students by showing off the programs and classes it has to offer. One example of this is that they have moved High School on the Hill Night to the end of this month. RJUHSD offered to help by hiring a PR firm two years ago. 

Assistant principal, Anna Marie Clark thinks that the reason for fewer students at RHS is due to a new school, the boundaries changing, and the open enrollment policy. 

“I think that we have less students because our community is changing, we’ve added another high school so that pulls people away depending on their attendance and their boundaries. Also, our district has an open enrollment policy,” Clark said.

RHS needs to keep a high roster of students so that the wide range of classes and electives can remain. Additionally, keeping these classes allows teachers to stay and prevents force transfers. In order to further prevent the huge decline we’re currently facing. 

We have seen similar declines at our other school sites in the district with the main exception being West Park. Some sites have declined a little less slowly,” Landon said.

Some schools have been able to avoid this because of the location the school is in, something Roseville is unable to achieve due to a couple of factors such as the campus being bordered by an area where there aren’t many school-aged children and there is little house construction.

“For example, Granite Bay brings in a number of students from Loomis or Citrus Heights,” Landon said.      

“Roseville’s decline has been a bit larger than Woodcreek and Granite Bay.”

According to Principal Nicholas Richter, this can be caused by different factors, primarily the opening of West Park. Other factors of enrollment dropping can include transfers to other schools.

“The enrollment over the last four years has decreased by about 75 to 80 students per year. When I first took over four years ago we were at 1,905 students; we’re now at 1,640 at the start of this year, so we’ve lost around 300 students or so, which roughly works out to about 80 per year.” 

Enrollment over the last four years has decreased by about 75 to 80 students per year

— Roseville Principal Nicholas Richter

One of these factors is the opening of West Park further increasing the competition with schools around the district. 

“ Some of it has to do with competition with other schools, some of it has to do with the opening of West Park that’s probably been the biggest factor. We do have a large number of intradistrict transfers,” Richter said.

Though declining enrollment due to school opening is nothing new, according to activities director Brent Mattix, RHS witnessed this in the 90s.

In the mid-nineties, RHS saw a dip with the opening of Rocklin High School in 1993 and Woodcreek High School in 1994,” Mattix said.

The declining enrollment has pushed RHS to show off the classes and programs they have to offer. 

“We currently, our board and the superintendent have a policy of open enrollment, so what that means we have to make sure that everyone knows what we have to offer. However, doing this can have the opposite effect and can make RHS a not-so-new school.

“What happens is, in the absence of us sharing everything we have, people sometimes think that you may not have it. I was recently approached by someone who said ‘gosh I didn’t know you had a culinary program.’ we’ve had a culinary program for many years it’s one of our star CTE programs along with the other CTE programs that we have as well but, as an example, someone didn’t know we had that so us not saying what we offer sometimes leads people to think a reputation of ‘oh they don’t have these things,” Richter said.

The lower enrollment of students could have an effect on programs such as the culinary program, according to culinary teacher Meredith Tate, there may not be a culinary four class due to this.

“We have a culinary three now, we’ve traditionally had a culinary three, this year we’ve decided not to run the culinary four class because of lack of enrollment we didn’t have a whole class of enrollment,” Tate said.

Another program this can affect is RHS’s guitar program though it could extend further. According to guitar teacher Michael Austin, this affects VAPA as well.

“As far as enrollment goes, with guitar and the declining enrollment, there is an effect in all the art classes just because we have to actively recruit for the classes. Especially if we have to have a certain level of students,” Austin said.

 AP micro/macroeconomics and social studies teacher Mark Andreatta thinks that the loss of students can affect the program in terms of classes.

We have a culinary three now, we’ve traditionally had a culinary three, this year we’ve decided not to run the culinary four class because of lack of enrollment we didn’t have a whole class of enrollment.

— Culinary Teacher Meredith Tate

“I think it will reduce the number of AP courses we can offer as a result of the loss of teachers due to transfers to other schools,” Andreatta said.

Though according to Mattix some programs such as leadership and student government won’t be affected as much by this because it’s needed. 

“No matter what size the school is, we value empowering students, so we will have a need for leadership and student government. I don’t see any changes so far as participation in both of these classes.,” Mattix said.

According to Mattix, events have had a spike in students attending now than there were before COVID such as rallies and dances.

“We had a higher number of participants at our last dance than we did pre-pandemic.  We have had the greatest number of students in our Tiger Cage in the history of the school this year.  Those numbers are promising and speak to the positive energy of our students.  We did see fewer students at our last rally.  However, the students in attendance were very boisterous and reported that they enjoyed the rally,” Mattix said. 

RHS has a lot of traditions, according to head varsity coach Adam Reinking this can get students to attend the school by watching the games played by the Roseville Tigers.

“If you win games and the players enjoy playing for you then kids will come. Roseville has a lot to offer in regards to tradition and that you can’t get at any of the new schools,” Reinking said. 

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