The West Linn-Wilsonville School District has seen growth in enrollment this year. And with the addition of Meridian Creek Middle School, there have been shifts in the district, altering enrollment numbers in the other middle schools.
At the WL-WV School Board meeting Monday, Oct. 2, the board and administration analyzed enrollment numbers and class sizes. As of Sept. 30, there are 9,902 students enrolled in the district — 134 more than last year and 377 more than 2015. With the addition of preschool, the total is more than 10,000 students.
While several students at Meridian Creek Middle School are not new to the district, the addition of the school — which currently has 349 students enrolled — has caused a shift in enrollment numbers, especially at Inza R. Wood Middle School, which is also in Wilsonville.
Wood currently has 556 students enrolled, which is 253 less from last year; Rosemont Ridge has 47 less and Athey Creek 40 less.
"The Sept. 30 number will continue to adjust," said Aaron Downs, assistant superintendent of secondary schools. "(But these numbers) show growth as a district."
With this growth, concerns with class sizes arise.
WL-WV Superintendent Kathy Ludwig assured the board and administration that they have systems in place to make sure students are receiving proper attention from teachers and are in an inclusive, confident learning environment.
This means administration will work on ensuring class sizes don't get too big by possibly looking into if the same class can be offered at multiple times or if they can add instructional assistants. Another option if class sizes and enrollment are too high is to change attendance boundaries in a couple areas, Ludwig said. Though, she added, primary school class sizes are the lowest they've been in at least 10 years.
Core class size ranges for the 2017-18 school year are 20-25 for kindergarten to third grade, 25-28 for fourth and fifth grades and 24-30 for middle schools and high schools.
"We do have classrooms at this time that are slightly over that range," Ludwig said. "We also have quite a few that are well below; it's not a perfect science because students don't arrive here in perfect increments."
But overall, class size ranges have been similar the last two years.
"If they're above the range, we want to work with the teacher and the class," Downs said, adding that it may mean hiring additional teachers if the timing is right. "We play close attention to that."