District 518's enrollment continues to growWORTHINGTON — In line with the enrollment trend for the past five years, Worthington Independent School District 518 continues to experience an increase in student enrollment.
WORTHINGTON — In line with the enrollment trend for the past five years, Worthington Independent School District 518 continues to experience an increase in student enrollment.
Total enrollment for this academic year is 2,599 — up by almost 80 students from the year before.
Based on a four-year projection, District 518 is expected to have 2,844 students enrolled by 2014.
In making projections, the administration depends primarily on students it is aware of, ranging from census information to transition of seventh– and ninth-graders from St. Mary’s Catholic School or Worthington Christian School.
While the district has managed to make “good” projection numbers, District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard said that there are four further indicators that dictate enrollment — open enrollment, increased housing, new business or current business expansions.
With enrollment numbers steadily increasing — and in order to maintain ideal class sizes — the school district has added almost 25 new positions within the last two years.
Landgaard said that the district is fortunate because the school board has been “very adamant” in maintaining class sizes of between 20 and 25 students in Prairie Elementary and maximum class sizes of 28 students in the middle school.
When enrollment at Prairie Elementary increased to 1,057 in 2009, the district opted to move fifth-graders to the middle school. Two years later, numbers at Prairie are nearly back to where they were before — the current enrollment at the school is approximately 1,053 students.
“The original change to the middle school was meant to be a seven- to 10-year plan,” Landgaard said. “Because of our enrollment growth, it has now become a two- to five-year plan.”
An addition to the high school this year was a hub that creates space for 10 teachers on their prep times.
Insufficient space, however, has overflowed from classrooms to common or supplementary areas like the cafeteria, gym, and music and art rooms.
“We’re close to our limits,” Landgaard said. “You can add classroom to alleviate some of the problems.”
As a measure to address the spur of enrollment growth, District 518 started a new committee this year. The facilities and grounds committee, consisting of several community members, teachers and administrators, will be providing recommendations to the school board on ways approach the lack of space in buildings as well as outside facilities, he explained.