Chesterton Tribune

Duneland Schools show enrollment increase on first day

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In stark contrast to last year, the first-day enrollment figures for the Duneland Schools showed an increase of 71 students, with noticeable gains in full-day kindergarten and fifth and sixth grades.

The count of Duneland School students on Wednesday was 5,934 students, compared to 5,863 on the first day of school last year.

Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer said he was actually anticipating a slightly larger increase, but that 71 new students is nonetheless significant. “It’s a good number,” he said.

Last year, Duneland’s first day of school showed a drop of 125 students, which Baer attributed to the opening of the Discovery Charter School. This year, Baer said Duneland didn’t expect to lose any additional students to the charter school; over the course of the school year, about 10 or so Duneland students who left for the charter school returned back to Duneland, he said.

Similarly, Duneland didn’t expect to see a big impact from the state’s new voucher program, which provides state funding for families to send their children to private schools.

Baer attributed the 71 student increase to a natural growth in the school system, now that the charter school has been established.

One of the grades that saw an increase is full-day kindergarten, which jumped 57 students. Baer said many families are opting for full-day kindergarten and likely realizing that even though there is a charge, “it still ends up being a good deal dollars and cents wise.”

At the intermediate level, the fifth and sixth grades combined increased by an overall 43 students. Baer said he finds that interesting and something to keep an eye on for subsequent years.

The elementary grades, with kindergarten included, overall decreased by 43 students. But the other levels all increased, with intermediate grades growing by 43, the middle school by 25, and the high school by 39.

As always, the numbers are bound to change, particularly after Labor Day, when students may be returning from vacations or just moving in. The “official” enrollment count day -- the count that will determine state funding for the schools -- will be held in mid September.

The following is the grade-by-grade enrollment breakdown, with last year’s first day enrollment numbers in parenthesis. The figures include all resident special education students, as well as those who attend Duneland from other school corporations.

Kindergarten, half-day: 158 (191)

Kindergarten, full-day: 216 (159)

First grade: 378 (415)

Second grade: 420 (391)

Third grade: 403 (423)

Fourth grade: 441 (480)

Fifth grade: 483 (459)

Sixth grade: 476 (457)

Seventh grade: 488 (476)

Eighth grade: 487 (474)

Ninth grade: 518 (529)

Tenth grade: 527 (483)

Eleventh grade: 484 (435)

Twelfth grade: 448 (491)

In addition to the numbers above, Duneland has seven part-day students, the same number as last year, bringing the overall enrollment this year to 5,934.


Posted 8/25/2011