Turlock Unified School District has made a concerted effort to retain students as well as attract new ones and the efforts can be seen in the District’s inter-district transfer rates. Despite the number of students leaving being greater than those entering, TUSD still has a net gain of 124 students in TUSD for the 2013-2014 school year which has generated roughly $750,000 for the District.
Students tend to transfer out of Turlock for geographical reasons. For instance, students who live out in the country and have attended TUSD schools Chatom Elementary and Mountain View Middle School often transfer to Hilmar High School since it is closer to them than Turlock High School. The same rule applies to the Denair and North Eastern Turlock border. The Allen Bill, which allows student to attend school in the district in which their parent teaches, is another significant reason for inter-district transfers. In the 2013-2014 school year TUSD had roughly the same number of students enter and exit the District due to the Allen Bill.
Students also tend to transfer in search of the best academic environment or for athletic reasons. In the 2012-2013 school year TUSD saw an influx of students from Denair, which continued at the rate of 253 students entering TUSD in the 2013-2014 school year. The District also witnessed 123 students leave Turlock for Denair this school year indicating a number of students returning to DUSD despite the district’s calamitous situation.
“Some students favor a smaller learning environment, so those that came from Denair to Turlock find the 2,000-student high schools to be overwhelming. Or some may transfer to a smaller school even for athletic reasons. A student who would be first string at a smaller school like Denair may be second or third string at THS. The reasons vary,” said TUSD Director of Student Services Gil Ogden.
A large draw for students to enter TUSD has been the eCademy Charter at Crane. The charter school adds students as the year continues, but Ogden estimates around 200 transfers in the past year. Another draw for student is the Bridge Program, which is comparable to the eCademy Charter program, and presents a blended learning approach through direct classroom and online supplemental instruction. The Bridge Program has been implemented at Pitman High School and Turlock High School. The program has been so well received that the District is planning to implement it in junior high schools as well.
“It has really helped us retain students. Those high school students who need credits can do so with our online Credit Recovery Program. Students can take their regular class and simultaneously make up credits online, in turn putting them back on track to graduate. That’s our goal, getting them to graduate.” said Ogden.