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The Student News Site of Fremont High School

The Phoenix

The Phoenix

The Student News Site of Fremont High School

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  • The Phoenix would like to thank the Assistance League of Los Altos for their valuable donation to keep our newspaper running. With their assistance, we will be able to print quality issues that reflect the interests of Fremont High School and the wider community.
The Student News Site of Fremont High School

The Phoenix

Summit Denali Closed

Graphic+by+Raagni+Krishna+Devaki
Graphic by Raagni Krishna Devaki

The school year started with conflicting schedules, overfilled classes and students unable to switch between AP, Honors and regular class levels. The student population for the 2023-24 year was underestimated, creating many issues for the faculty and students. One of the unpredictable factors leading to the large number of new students is the closing of the Summit Public Schools: Denali, also known as Summit Denali.

Summit Denali was a charter school located in Sunnyvale, which was closed at the end of the 2022-23 academic year due to a lack of funding. Since the announcement of its closing last spring, students rushed to make transfer arrangements with nearby schools — one of them being FHS.

Due to the unpredictability of student enrollment, the influx of new students caused many issues with class schedules for FHS teachers and students alike. 

“When I first saw my class and I saw how large they were, I remember going before school started walking down [to the office] and said, this needs to change,” FHS social science teacher Moris Clark said. “There’s no way I can have this many students in my classroom.”

With many classes reaching close to 40 students, about eight students over the union-agreed student amount, teachers struggled to work closely with their students. 

“When you have students who may not be as strong, they need a little more, and they’re more dependent in their learning,” Clark said. “It’s a lot harder to reach everybody. So of course, people are gonna fall through the cracks.”

Scheduling changes can be challenging due to the multitude of factors involved. Demographers must consider past trend data and residential relocations when predicting student enrollment.

“At the beginning of the year we get projections from our demographer and then we go and we get the sections based on some of those projections,” FHS Assistant Principal Brooke Chan said. “What we found over the summer, even though we had projected to have so many students, we just kept enrolling new students — we are about a hundred students over our projection.”

As each student takes about six classes, faculty had to coordinate numerous schedules and create classes in a way that inconvenienced the fewest number of students. In order to balance class sizes, new teachers were appointed and new classes were added. During late August and early September of this year, students were notified of unrequested schedule changes made to accommodate their peers. 

“I was very frustrated because I’m the type of person that the moment they get comfortable in a place, it’s very hard for me to [switch] spaces and become comfortable again,” FHS senior Belen Cruz said. “I didn’t want to be the new person again in the classroom.”

Despite the struggles of accommodating the new students, FHS faculty have continued to assist the transfer students from Summit Denali in their process of acclimating to  the FHS curriculum.

“[The Fremont staff] have been really supportive, especially in our classes,” transfer student Kevin BeGole said. “Understanding that it’s so much different for us and [giving us] one-on-one support, I think has been really helpful.”

The World Studies department has had to work closely to change the curriculum to match the different class requirements for students coming into FHS their sophomore year, as students at Summit Denali took World History during their freshman year of high school. Other curriculum conflicts included the difference in math classes between the two schools. 

“[Summit Denali’s curriculum] went: Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3,” Chan said. “While Integrated Math 1 is equivalent to Algebra 1. It’s definitely still a transition coming here. I think anytime you transfer from another school, classes are just going to be at a different level.”

In spite of the variance in curriculum, Summit Denali students are accommodating to the change — and some even appreciate the change of pace.

“It’s so much better,” BeGole said. “At Summit they didn’t teach, they just gave you stuff to do and they were like do this. If you didn’t do [the individual work], it didn’t impact your grade at all. So a lot of kids just didn’t do any work.”

Summit Denali students continue to accommodate to the FHS way of life after the abrupt shift in their high school journey.

“It’s refreshing even though I’m not super close with anyone here yet,” BeGole said. “It’s nice because at Summit everyone knew each other but not necessarily in a good way.

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About the Contributor
Raagni Krishna Devaki, Managing Editor
Raagni Krishna Devaki, a senior and Managing Editor, is in her fourth year at journalism. If you are near her for more than an hour, she finds a way to bring up K-pop. Raagni is also an avid reader of fiction and is always looking for something interesting to read.

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