Gilroy Schools Open with Record Attendance

Debbie Flores

Gilroy’s new school year got off to a record-breaking start, with more students, teachers and expenses than ever before.
“It was our best opening day of school with very few problems,” Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Debbie Flores said Tuesday.
Classroom instruction for the 2017-18 year kicked off on Aug. 17.
“Within an hour of the opening, teachers were teaching and students were learning about all the great things that will be happening this school year,” Flores said, adding, “There was such a positive feel to this year’s start with lots of excitement and enthusiasm.”
In all, 11,485 students took to their desks at the district’s 15 school sites. They include eight grammar schools, three middle schools, two comprehensive high schools, a continuation high school and an early-college academy located at Gavilan Community College.
If past years are any indication, the student population by October could be up another 2 percent, according the GUSD’s Public Information Officer, Laura Correa-Hernandez.
The number of teachers also grew, from 542 last year to 558 this year, as did the number of GUSD employees, from 1,050 at this time last year to 1,062 now.
With more students, teachers and staff, and with salaries making up the biggest cost of running schools, the district’s general fund budget is up nearly seven percent over the prior school year, from $114,311,391 in 2016-17 to this year’s $122,206,468.
Superintendent Debbie Flores said test results were up.”Students in GUSD outperformed their statewide peers in mathematics while equalling them in English Language Arts.”
The superintendent, now in her 11th year, also noted a seven percent hike in graduation rates over the five-year period that ended with the 2015-16 school year, to 92 percent that year, and a decline in the dropout rate over the same period.
The district has set itself some important goals for the new school year.
• Implement the new English Language Arts and English Language Development textbooks and materials at all levels. Teachers will receive professional development and coaching.
• Continue support of last year’s math adoption with ongoing support for teachers.
• Expand the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) program by adding grades 2 and 3 at three elementary schools. Five elementary schools will now be implementing SEAL in K-3.
• Begin the second phase of the new classroom building at Gilroy High School in the fall, then Phase three in the spring.
GUSD also faces new challenges, officials said. One of the most visible will be building a new classroom wing at Gilroy High School while school is in session.
To read the full text of Flores’ message, go to the his web page on the Internet: http://www.gusd.k12.ca.us/superintendent.

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