ISD 834 officials: New school year off to good start

District’s unofficial enrollment up over first projections

The 2013-2014 school year got off to a successful start in Independent School District 834 with unofficial numbers showing enrollment up in the district, two central office officials told the School Board Thursday night

ISD 834 Director of Elementary Education Malinda Lansfeldt and Executive Director of Secondary Education Dr. Ryan Laager both thanked staff and administration at schools for doing an exceptional job of ensuring the new school term started smoothly.

The unofficial total ISD 834 enrollment is 8,583 students on a first-day-of-school count. That enrollment is 194 more students than initially projected in Stillwater public schools this year. The growth comes on the heels of a 101-student net loss through the 2012-2013 school year. The start of school enrollment count last year was 8,476 with an end count at 8,327 students.

Disrtict enrollment breaks down to 4,290 elementary school students, 4,146 secondary students and 147 early childhood special education students.

Superintendent Corey Lunn said he believes enrollement increased from new families moving into the district and students returning to the district after learning about the dsitrict’s plans personalize learning for students.

Lansfeldt also noted that school-age care for children before and after school has increased this year to 862. Also, 260 preschool and Early Childhood Family Education students will take part in those programs. The report said 892 students take part in the district’s choice program that allows them to attend a school they might not necessarily be assigned to and 303 students are open-enrolled from other districts, Sixty of these students are new.

Laager and Lansfeldt reported that 7,000 students were brought to school on the first day with no major transportation issues. Accolades were given to Director of Operations Dennis Bloom and his team.

“In the five years I’ve been here as a principal, no one has had to bring any transportation issues to me ever and that is due to you and your department’s very hard work,” Laager said.

The presentation also noted that 90 new staff were hired for the 2013-2014 school year.

“This is primarily replacements or as a result of reorganization,” Laager said. “It’s always sad to see these people go, but the new people have brought so many positive new ideas to the districts and they are really great.”

The 90 new hires include five principals: Withrow Elementary’s Melissa Sonnek, Oak Park Elementary’s Nate Cox, Andersen Elementary’s Hugh Roberts, ECFE’s Karen Manske and Don Johnson, the interim principal at Stillwater Area High School.

Lansfeldt and Laager also discussed the new staffing models going into place, facility and security improvements that are occurring throughout the district and the district future plans.

New staffing models include lead teachers and coaches that will offer a more personalized learning environment for students and teachers.

Lansfeldt added that this year lays the groundwork for the next few years of the Bridge To Excellence plan. This year focuses on staff development to move them forward and prepare teachers as best they can for the next phases of the plan.

Laager and Lansfeldt added that their focus for this school year includes community connections, future learning, establishing systems supporting learning and growing and developing staff.

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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