News

Bayview continues to grow

Enrollment is higher than district anticipated

BAYVIEW — Bayview School’s enrollment has jumped more than 20 percent this year.

With 76 students instead of the expected 64, that means the school’s administration may have to do more with less.

Though Bayview School principal Scott Mauk’s predicted enrollment would jump, the district had projected a decrease in line with the overall decline in enrollment across the district last year.

But as the summer vacation faded away for Mauk and his administration, he continued to receive requests from students to attend his school, 14 in all.

“About two weeks ago, I was thinking it was going to be somewhere between 68 and 70. By Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, it was going to be 75, and now it is going to settle somewhere around 76,” Mauk said.

Mauk understands why and how the district projects enrollment. It’s about the numbers.

“The district, looking at the graduating class, looked at just the straight numbers without accounting for the other variables. I see they are less about accounting and more about sociology,” Mauk said. “They decided to make the number lower than what I thought it was going to be.”

Mauk is not exactly sure what caused the upsurge in enrollment, but he has some guesses.

“Kids are really feeling that they don’t belong, feeling that they are marginalized or disaffected,” he said.

“I am hearing kids say ... ‘I don’t connect with the teachers,’ and they come here because they want to feel connected.”

Whether students come of their own free will or they have been forced by the courts or their parents to attend, they find that Bayview School accepts them with open arms and a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

“This place is who’s here,” Mauk said during a gathering of students at one of the school’s “town meeting.” The meetings are held every Thursday so students can get to know each other and their instructors.

“Who’s here is who we are. We are so small and we are so close, that who we are is totally dependent on who shows up and how they are in the community,” Mauk added. “There is a sense of closeness and we value a sense of community, a sense that we can be ourselves. That sense of community belongs to us and to no one else.”

“I think it is more of a family here,” said Carrie Garrison, 19, of Coupeville. “I really want to be here. I want to make it happen and I want to graduate.”

Garrison has heard the stereotype about Bayview students, and that the school isn’t academically challenging. It is, she said.

“Bayview is not easy like some people say. It is the same amount of work. If you are not good at homework, then you should not be here, because there is a lot of it and you have to do it,” Garrison said.

In addition to a family-like atmosphere, students feel comfortable and safe at Bayview.

“I feel like I fit in like puzzle pieces. We all came from somewhere else where we didn’t,” said Jemima Bentley, 17, of Freeland.

“I think there always needs to be a place where people who are out of the loop, out of the box,” she said.

“Before I came here, I never talked with my classmates. Here, everybody shares, everybody has their stories,” Bentley said. “I feel really safe to share what I think.”

Mauk said schoolwork at Bayview stresses components such as the graduation portfolio, because he said testing such as the WASLs does little for his students.

“Things like the WASLs are so disconnected from the reality of these kids and families that we just refuse to stand in the line. We want to challenge. I think there is room for both ways,” he said.

“I am an alternative educator. What attracted me here was the opportunity to create the portfolio graduation requirement and work with somebody who I thought was on the cutting edge of understanding what kids needed,” he said.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or at swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com

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