Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eye opening figure - 72 pre-school age children in the Osakis school district

Osakis school enrollment up
By Greta Petrich, Osakis Review

The Osakis School Board reviewed its annual census report at its regular meeting December 14.

The report looks at trends in enrollment from the first day of school. In 2009, Osakis Public School tallied 780 students September 8 – only 32 shy of its 1973 high of 812.

Osakis Superintendent Gregg Allen pointed out what may be an all-time high of 400 students in K-6.

The high school numbers dropped after bringing in a small 7th grade compared to a large graduating class last year.

A total of 234 students came into Osakis School District through open enrollment from the following areas: Minnewaska (78), Alexandria (67), Long Prairie (56), Sauk Centre (23), Eagle Valley (4), Parkers Prairie (2), Browerville (1), Minneapolis (1), Cedar Mountain (1) and Morris (1).

But some students also left Osakis to attend other schools. Sixty-one students who live in District 213 sought other options for their education, compared to 73 last year. Of these, 18 are home schooled and 11 attend Lakes Area Charter School. Other districts attended are: Alexandria (17), Sauk Centre (13) and Long Prairie (2).

The home school numbers only include ages 7-16 and do not include any Amish families living in the district.

Although Osakis loses some students, open enrollment for the 2009-10 school year gave Osakis an additional 173 students on the first day of school.

Allen commended the staff, teachers and administration for keeping kids in the district.

“Competition for students is tough,” he said. “School districts are doing interesting things to get kids to choose their schools. Our staff is doing a wonderful job keeping kids in our district.”

The report also showed 49 students enrolled at St. Agnes School in Osakis, most of whom will come to the Osakis High School in 7th grade.

The census showed that Osakis Public School’s total enrollment was up with 790 students signed up to attend Osakis Public School on the first day. That’s 25 more than last year and an increase of 58 students in the past two years.

Allen highlighted census data for 0- to 4-year-olds – an age group they watch closely. According to the report, there are 72 4-year-old children.

What isn’t on the report, Allen explained, is 4-year-olds outside the district.

“If we’re at 25 percent or more open enrollment, can you imagine what that kindergarten number could be?” he said.

He added that the parents of 4 year olds in the district will receive calls in January to determine if those children will attend school next year since some parents opt to wait an extra year for kindergarten.

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