Week of 6/27: Six Weeks to Back-To-School

This week we highlight the wide variety of school start dates across the country, twelfth grade enrollment trends, and district-level observations that vary from drones to paper shortages to 'no hoodie' dress codes . . .

Burbio's ESSER III database of 5,000 districts covering over $80 billion continues to grow weekly.  Click here for sample data. 
This week we highlight the wide variety of school start dates across the country, twelfth grade enrollment trends, and district-level observations that vary from drones to paper shortages to 'no hoodie' dress codes.   More below. 
1.  School start dates vary widely across the country, with school starting in early August in some states and not until Labor Day in others.  The early-opening districts can act as a bellwether for everything from back-to-school shopping trends and, more recently, K-12 school operating policies in light of Covid 19.  Below is a chart that represents the percent of K-12 students starting by week across the US.  Burbio's dataset currently has start dates for over 80% of US K-12 students.  Note that over one-third of students will be in classrooms by the week of August 8th: 
Total US Start Date
2.  Start dates by week vary in different states.   Here are some examples that show the disparity.  First, Alabama, where school starts early: 
Alabama Start Dates
Next up is Michigan, which has a wide range of start dates across the state: 
Michigan Start Dates

Finally, here is Massachusetts, which like many states in the Northeast concentrates its start dates just before and after Labor Day: 

Massachusetts Start Dates-1
3. In previous blog posts we have illustrated grade-level enrollment trends we are seeing nationally, as well as focusing on state-by-state shifts in Pre-K and Kindergarten and ninth grade.    Nationally, twelfth grade is currently showing a 0.1% decrease for 2021/22 versus 2020/21, flat basically, but below we look at the wide variety across states.   In the analysis below, we are able to cover enrollment comparisons among districts making up 90% of US K-12 of US students, as some districts in state-level reporting are difficult to match up with NCES figures and aren't included:
12th Grade Enrollment


4.  As the 2021/22 school year comes to a close we note these highlights: 

  • Congress passed the "Keep the Kids Fed Act," described in this release from the School Nutrition Association and this New York Times piece that extends free school lunches for the summer, extends certain waivers into next year for food providers, and increases federal reimbursement rates to above pre-pandemic levels. 
  • In Nash County Public Schools, NC, the district was awarded 9 drones for elementary school students as part of a "Drones for Digital Learning and Art" program, while Roma ISD, TX is offering a free robotics summer camp. 
  • In interesting infrastructure news, Indianapolis Public Schools, IN is launching a solar energy initiative across twenty schools with a goal of reducing energy costs by $40 million per year within thirty years. 
  • Union Public Schools, OK reports adding over $500,000 to their budget for diesel and gasoline to reflect higher fuel costs. 
  • In Northville Public Schools, MI their student run credit union set a record this year for deposits with students making "386 deposits into their savings accounts which totaled $11,240.07, more than doubling the amount of deposits and dollars saved from the previous record which was set back in the 17-18 school year."
  • Corsicana ISD, TX considers modifying the school's dress code "due to safety concerns and requests from teachers and administrators" such that  "hoodies will not be allowed. Instead, students will be able to wear Corsicana spirit shirts or collared shirts all school days . . . "
  • Oceanside Unified School District, CA announces "This year there will be a delay to the final report card being mailed home due to ongoing paper shortages which include mailing envelopes. We apologize in advance for this inconvenience . .  . "
  • We continue to see free school supply offerings.  Clarke County, GA schools promotes it on their website scroll, Socorro Consolidated Schools, NM announced it last week, and Medina Valley ISD, TX is offering assistance to families in need.
  • School District of Oconee County, SC  reports that "after two years with most meals being served in classrooms, we are excited to announce that all meals will be served in the cafeteria in August . . "

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