September 26, 2023 Status Update on Elementary Enrollment & Facilities Utilization
At the September 26, 2023 Regular School Board meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Gusick presented a status update on the District's elementary enrollment and the impact on school facilities. In addition to a review of prior enrollment and facilities information, drivers for a sixth elementary school, drivers for full-day kindergarten and possible school sites, new discussion topics were presented including:
- Kindergarten in Surrounding School Districts
- Other Emerging Full-Day Kindergarten Factors
- Alternative Plan to Building a Sixth Elementary School
- Corporate Center Renovation Considerations
Click here for the September 26, 2023 presentation slides.
Click here for a video of the September 26, 2023 presentation.
Comments and feedback about elementary enrollment and a possible sixth elementary school may be submitted to an open comment inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Presentations on Elementary Enrollment & Facilities Utilization
In February and March 2023, Dr. Richard Gusick, Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Wendy Towle, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Staff Development and Planning, held five community presentations to share an update on TESD elementary enrollment trends and the impact on facilities utilization. Community members who were unable to attend the presentation view a recording of the presentation online.
TESD families and community members may share feedback or comments about the elementary enrollment presentation by using an open comment email inbox at email@example.com.
Enrollment Increases at the Elementary Level
Historically, elementary school enrollment has steadily increased since 1995 with the exception of a dip in enrollment in the year 2020 potentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Projections indicate that enrollment numbers will be restored to pre-pandemic levels in the near future. In addition to overall enrollment increases, TESD elementary school student populations have been historically inconsistent and the largest and smallest schools often change. These numbers shift from one year to the next due to small changes in the region and other factors. This year, 2023, Valley Forge Elementary has the highest enrollment at 573 and Devon Elementary has the lowest at 375; however, the most populous school has changed several times over the last few decades. Enrollment projections indicate that over the next 10 years, there will continue to be disparity in the student population at the elementary level. Valley Forge Elementary will continue to be significantly larger in student population than the other four elementary schools, while two of the remaining four schools are projected to fall below the target population of 450-500 students.
Utilization of Available Classroom Space
When the student population increases at an individual school, it impacts how the classroom space is used in the building. As an elementary school approaches approximately 527 students, the enrollment begins to have a minimal impact on the program delivery. At the point of 574 students or greater, the potential exists for a significant impact on the program delivery and additional resources are required. Over the next 10 years, projections indicate that Valley Forge Elementary School will be consistently over 574 students each year, with two other schools approaching 500.
In addition, there has been a significant change in programming that has taken place in special education since 2012 and additional classroom space has been needed to accommodate these programs. Since 2017, TESD has needed 10 additional elementary classrooms to meet the needs of our special education students. Projecting forward over the next five years, four additional classrooms will be needed for special education programming beyond what is utilized this year.
While TESD is able to successfully deliver its educational program even when student enrollment approaches the higher end of the target, additional resources, special planning and changes to common area utilization are needed to accommodate a larger student population.
Options for Responding to Enrollment
TESD is exploring strategies to respond to the increasing elementary enrollment and disparity among the student population at its elementary schools:
- Monitor enrollment and maintain status quo
- Maximize school footprints – consider every space available and maximizing its use
- Add on or expand existing elementary schools
- Redistrict to rebalance school populations
- Build a new school
TESD families and community members are encouraged to learn more about elementary enrollment and facilities utilization by reviewing the presentation below and the additional resources on the left side of this page. In addition, the TESD community is invited to share feedback or comments about the elementary enrollment presentation by using an open comment email inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.