Volume 106, Number 22 - May 29, 2009
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Enrollment continues to increase
With another school year coming to a close, the Sublette County School District (SCSD) #1 saw its fourth straight school year with an increased enrollment of over 40.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re building the new elementary school, is that we’re well aware of these larger size groups,” said Doris Woodbury, SCSD #1 superintendent. “In fact, we anticipate over 80 students coming in as kindergartners if our predictions and patterns hold true.”
As of May 4, the school district has an enrollment of 984. In October of 2001, that number was 630.
The elementary school has settled into an average near 80 for each grade it carries. For comparison, the high school’s junior class is 68 and the senior class consists of 53 students.
“We’re 80, plus or minus five,” said Greg Legerski, Pinedale Elementary School principal. “We’ve become a lot more consistent.”
It hasn’t always been that way. The middle school has now been feeling the effects of a transient population anomaly. The current sixth, eighth and ninth grade classes all topped near 90 students.
“Basically, what the middle school is dealing with, we had about two years ago,” Legerski said. “I think we’re still a small enough district that when people move in, we don’t have an even distribution.”
The large discrepancy from grade to grade in the middle school has made for some distinct challenges.
“This year, we do have one small grade — this year’s seventh grade,” said Kevan Kennington, middle school principal. “We thought we were going to be OK, but by the time we enrolled in the fall, our numbers were exactly the same as they were in the spring of 2008 — we were right back where we started.”
This is not to say that the district isn’t combating the threat of larger classrooms.
“We try and plan for them,” Kennington said. “We do not want 30 kids in a classroom.”
In order to help with the fluctuations in numbers, the middle school and SCSD #1 have hired extra aides, especially for language arts, and added an enrichment program for upper level kids in math.
Not shown in the numbers is the amount of kids that bounce in and out of the system — a large challenge for staff in its own right.
Woodbury estimated that about a fourth to a fifth of students move in and out of the district each year. For Legerski, the more concrete number in the elementary school was close to 60.
“That’s 60 moving out — we’ve lost three classrooms,” he said. “That’s a significant number of students coming and leaving.
“The teachers, the counselors and everyone at the school have done a great job of welcoming students into the school.”
Whether more consistent numbers in the elementary school are a sign of more predictability remains to be seen. For now, all SCSD #1 can do is monitor, prepare and react.
“We’re ready,” Woodbury said. “We’re ready for the kids we anticipate we’ll get over the summer. We’re planned and prepared for them.”
SCSD #1 Enrollment Numbers (as of 5/4/2009)
Oct. 2006 841
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