Parents camp out to get kids enrolled at Don Callejon

January 7, 2010 12:25:55 PM PST
Some very determined Santa Clara parents did what it took to get their children a spot in kindergarten Thursday morning. They camped out overnight and sign-ups are now underway after dozens of parents waited since Wednesday afternoon to get their kids into Don Callejon School.

The Don Callejon School is only three years old, but increasingly in such high-demand, that beginning last year parents started lining up a day in advance to make sure they could get their kindergartner enrolled.

With ongoing budget cuts at the state and local levels, concerned parents say camping overnight is worth it when their child's education is at stake.

"A lot of education is about the parents and the community as well as and there is a good aspect of that here, so if that continues to build that really helps offset some dollars being lost," said parent Tim Romero.

"We're very concerned, and especially these days. You don't know how many kids are going to be in each classroom, so this is going to be problem. I mean if you go from 20 kids to 30 there will be problem," said parent Nadia Hakem.

The line of parents ran the length of the administration building at the K-through-8th grade Santa Clara school. A majority camped overnight; some arrived as early as 1:00 Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday is the first day of registration for the Don Callejon School, and it's capping enrollment at 120 students for its kindergarten classes for the 2010-2011 school year.

Students with older siblings at the school are given priority enrollment. So that was another reason pushing parents to line up early. The Santa Clara Unified School District opened this school in 2006, and its principal says word-of-mouth about Don Callejon's successful programs have increased demand in the community.

"I think you put those factors together, along with high student achievement, outstanding teachers and good leadership at all levels from both the school district and the Board and you get a very desirable school," said Don Callejon School Principal Hans Barber.

And the school expects demand to grow, now that it's proving more success. The state just released API scores, and Don Callejon gained 37-points last school year -- taking it to an API score of 806.