Week of 11/21: A Fourteenth Grade

This week we look at Pre-K's role in district's enrollment shifts, a report out of Connecticut on remote learning, and 2022/23 enrollment announcements.

1.  As Burbio has been compiling district-level enrollments from across K-12 one of the things that has struck us is the jump in Pre-K enrollment in the aggregate figures.  We did a state level analysis in June but wanted to revisit by looking at districts whose enrollment shifts would look most different if you removed the Pre-K comparisons.  Thirty-five states reported Pre-K enrollment for the 2021/22 and 2020/21 school years.  Those thirty-five states had an aggregate enrollment increase of 0.24% from 2020/21 to 2021/22.  However, in the K-12 grades only (removing the Pre-K comparisons) enrollment decreased by -0.18%.
We examined districts with over 10,000 students in this group, and below are districts whose enrollment shifted by 1.5% or more when the Pre-K comparison was removed.  We also added New York City at the bottom for perspective:
Big Pre-K Chart
On the subject of the role of Pre-K expansion and district enrollment levels, we noted this letter from the Denver Public Schools Superintendent this past week discussing school closures due to declining enrollment: "The unfortunate reality is that students at fully-enrolled schools have more access to art, music, physical education, foreign language, STEM classes, and mental health support like a full-time school psychologist rather than part-time. Students at under-enrolled schools do not have this same access. This is unacceptable . . . For years, DPS has engaged in work to proactively address the complicated and ever-growing problem of declining enrollment, including expanding preschool as a way to help fill seats in our elementary schools . . . "
In another example, the District of Columbia Public Schools issued a release celebrating that "enrollment increased to 50,204 students this school year, up from 49,035 students (2.4%) in the 2021-2022 School Year. This is the highest number of enrolled students reported since the 2019-2020 School Year," while noting "DCPS saw growth in Pre-Kindergarten grades. Preschool (PK3) enrollment increased by more than 6 percent, and prekindergarten (PK4) enrollment increased by more than 5 percent from the previous school year . . . "    
2,  In Connecticut, the Remote Learning Commission issued a wide-ranging report on virtual learning.   Among the excerpts:
  •  "The Remote Learning Commission recommends that a statewide remote learning school that serves students in grades kindergarten to 12, inclusive, does not have the ability to meet the expectations for teaching and learning, instruction, assessment, and accommodations with wrap-around supports . .  . does not have the ability to provide options to ensure that students who are receiving or participating in remote learning have adequate parental or adult supervision, educational support, technical assistance, continuity of attendance, and engagement . .  . (the commission) recommends not to embark on the process of establishing a . . . . statewide remote learning school . . .  at this time due to the projected annual cost of $576,396,770 . . . "
  •  "Students eligible for free/reduced-price meals and English learners tended to be remote at greater rates than their peers (during the 2020/21 academic year). While statewide about 26% of all students (approximately 134,000) were remote, 33% of English learners and 37% of those eligible for free or reduced-price meals were remote for the entire school year . . . Chronic absence was most prevalent among predominantly remote students and least prevalent among in-person students, with rates for hybrid students falling in between."
  • "During the pandemic, in all grades and most student groups, students who learned fully/mostly in-person lost the least ground academically while those who learned in hybrid or fully/mostly remote models showed substantially weaker achievement and growth . . . This pattern held true for students with high needs and students without high needs . . . A similar pattern is seen in all grades and most student groups . . . While the academic impacts were seen in all subjects, the observed differences were largest in math . . . "

3.  Two more states recently announced 2022/23 enrollments, Delaware and North Dakota.  Delaware's enrollment has increased 0.4% in 2022/23 versus 2021/22, after having increased 1.3% from 2020/21 to 2021/22.   Below shows the breakdown by NCES Locale Codes for Delaware.  Red is the change that occurred between 2020/21 and 2021/22, and yellow is the more recent change from 2021/22 to 2022/23.  All locale growth figures are lower this year than last: 

DE Locale Trends

In North Dakota enrollment increased by 1.3% this year versus last.  The previous enrollment shift was 1.6%.  Below are locale breakdowns, with red being the 2020/21 to 2021/22 comparisons and yellow being the 2021/22 to 2022/23 comparisons.  Rural districts showed a big jump this past year: 

ND Enr Trend by Locale

4.  In news from around the country: 

  • In Anson County Schools, a nine school district in North Carolina, the Superintendent announced on November 8th that four schools were going remote due to student and staff illnesses, then on November 9th announced that two additional schools were going remote for the same reason. 
  • While most Covid-19 specific mitigations have been eliminated we still see some in place.  Baltimore City Schools, MD, for example, recently announced, "Before the Thanksgiving and Winter breaks, we will provide COVID test kits to every student and all staff. Students and staff should take the tests 1 to 2 days before returning to school and report any positive cases to our contact tracing team."  Cambridge Public Schools, MA will be giving out tests before Thanksgiving as well. 
  • In Los Alamos Public Schools, NM the district is instituting "enhanced strategies" due to high levels of Covid-19 in the county, including spacing students out when possible in class and at lunch  . . .  limiting large group gatherings, holding meetings virtually when possible, encouraging mask wearing and hand washing, limiting the use of shared supplies and materials, and limiting non-essential visitors at schools and in classrooms."
  • In Midlothian ISD, TX the district notes, "Midlothian ISD has several sporting events taking place this Friday, November 18, 2022, that will take many buses and bus drivers away from the district at elementary and secondary dismissal times. Due to this shortage, we want to prepare families for a delay in bus routes on Friday afternoon. Students may arrive home later than usual. We appreciate your patience on Friday as we work diligently to get students home safely with fewer buses and fewer drivers. . . ."
  • Arcadia Unified School District, CA reinstated its club program at Highland Oaks Elementary after a two year pause due to Covid-19.  "When organizing the students in each club, the staff allows students to choose their top . . .choices for clubs . . . Due to the nature of the robust variety of club offerings being a chance for students to explore current and new interests, (the principal) explained, “It is very important that it is a student selection, not what a parent wants their child to do. We do not send it [the list of club options] home; they pick their choices at school.” 


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