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Crook County schools see 2.6% fall enrollment growth

Crook County School District

(Update: Info from Bend-La Pine, Jefferson County schools)

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Crook County School District said Tuesday it continues to buck state and national trends with continued enrollment growth of 2.6% to start the new school year.

The data were presented to the school board during Monday night’s meeting. Total enrollment stands at 3,313, or 83 more students than at the same time in September of last year.

School boards around the region are being given early enrollment data this week, though numbers firm up before final figures, usually in early October.

The Bend-La Pine School Board learned from staff Tuesday evening that the district's initial enrollment at this point is 17,552 students, down 96 students from a year ago but up 184 students from last May.

Jefferson County School District 509-J spokesman Joseph Prechtl said so far, they have seen a small increase in the number of students but are waiting until the October 1 official enrollment date for a clearer picture.

Here's the rest of the Crook County news release:

Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson says the increase is healthy and sustainable - allowing the district to plan for the future adequately. She also says teachers and staff are owed much of the credit for contributing to strong school culture and making students feel welcome.

“Families often vote with their feet and will come and go from school districts based on their experience. Positive enrollment is directly related to strong culture thanks to the dedication and hard work of our teachers and staff,” explained Johnson. “When considering our work to safely keep schools open during the pandemic, growing Career & Technical Education programs at every grade level, improved math scores, and one of the best high school graduation rates in the state, all of that makes for a winning recipe.”

School Board Chair Jessica Ritter also points out that, unlike many districts in Oregon, CCSD continued to grow during the pandemic, thanks to a rapid response to improved technology, more online resources, and additional educational choices through hybrid programs.

“The enrollment numbers this school year exceeded my expectations, but I’m also not surprised. We have fantastic leadership and staff in Crook County," Ritter said. "The academic and educational options we provide families are exceptional, and every one of these new enrollments represents an individual whose family has placed their trust in us to educate their child. We are honored by that responsibility and up to the task.”

The freshman class at Crook County High has 271 students, making it one of the largest freshmen classes in recent years. At most schools, enrollment increased, with slight decreases at Crook County Middle School and Grizzly Mountain Homelink, the district’s hybrid learning program. The uptick in enrollment is also aligned with earlier projections, which means the district is on budget for the year.

After processing outgoing and incoming students, CCSD also has 183 brand-new students in the district, excluding kindergarten students since they’re always considered new. Those students came from various places, including Bend, Redmond, the Willamette Valley, and online charter schools.

“We know that the public school system is a major factor when families are looking to relocate to a new community. Family engagement and school culture are two important focus areas for us this year because we want staff, students, and families to feel good about their local schools. It’s exciting to see CCSD remains a popular choice,” said Dr. Johnson.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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