Enrollment at PVHS Falls To Eight-Year Low


Data gathered from school profiles, WASC reports, SARC reprts, and school registrars. Graphic by Luka Ardon

Luka Ardon, Reporter

For the third year since 2013, Palos Verdes High School (PVHS) has lost more than 100 students in its 2021-22 enrollment.

This school year, PVHS enrollment decreased seven percent, losing 107 students.

For the first time in at least eight years PVHS has gone under 1500 students with 1,431 students.

Across the hill, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (PVPHS) only lost 20 students with a total number of 2,345.

“We want kids to come here; PV High is a great school,” Associate Principal Dr. Keely Hafer said.

This seven percent loss not only causes less kids to be on campus, but affects school materials.

“Yeah, we’ve had to give some of our [textbooks] away to Pen,” librarian Ashley Brockman said.

The previous eighth grade class of the Palos Verdes school district was expected to be a little smaller than the past classes, so PVHS anticipated fewer students.

“We were prepared for a little smaller, but we obviously didn’t want to lose this many,” Hafer said.

COVID-19 did not seem to be the root cause of lower enrollment in PVHS or PVPHS in the 2020-21 school year. PV only lost 36 students and Peninsula actually gained 61 students.

“It’s just a trend. I think COVID was a hiccup but it was a hiccup everywhere,” registrar Karen Mills said.

PVHS is looking for a positive enrollment year for the first in four years since the class grew by 114 students in the 2017-18 school year.

“We are going to keep doing our recruiting and talking to the middle schools, private and public schools.” Hafer said. “[We’ll keep] spreading all of the wonderful things of PV High in the community so the community knows how amazing we are here.”

The new freshman class is the smallest class of all four classes. The total number of new freshmen is 324 — 29 less students than the 2021 senior class.

“Doing all those orientation meetings, the counselors and staff seemed really friendly and dedicated,” freshman Allison Yu said.

Mills also believes that in-person open houses will help with next year’s enrollment.

“I think that’s always worked in our favor, our kids do a tremendous job selling our school,” Mills said.

The problem seems to be not just PVHS, but their biggest feeder middle school, Palos Verdes Intermediate School, going down in enrollment too.

“The bulk of our kids come from Palos Verdes Intermediate School,” Mills said.

“I used to work up there, we had almost a 1,000 students up there, so it’s a lot less.”

In Palos Verdes Estates, the median age is 52 years old compared to Torrance’s median of 42 years old.

PVE is an older city, which means less high schoolers.

“I know where I live there’s probably a street of 30 or 40 houses, but there’s probably only two or three that have school-aged children,” Mills said.

In Palos Verdes Estates, the age is changing.

The median age has gone up by four years from 2011 to 2019.

For comparison, Torrance’s median age hasn’t changed in eight years.

“Every year it’s been getting less and less and comes back to that demographic,” Mills said.

The four cities that make up the PVPUSD all are in the top ten oldest cities by median age in Los Angeles county.

Rolling Hills is ranked as the oldest city in LA county.

Palos Verdes Estates, where the PVHS campus is located, is the third oldest in LA.

In 1992, Palos Verdes High School combined with Miraleste High School and Rolling Hills High School to form Peninsula High School.

The PVHS campus became a middle school, leaving Palos Verdes with one high school and two middle schools.