(Posted March 11, 2021)
By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
Following a five-year growth trend, London City Schools experienced a 2 percent drop in enrollment this school year over last school year.
While enrollment at the middle school and high school grew modestly this year, the elementary school’s enrollment decreased by 72 students–a significant drop.
“We can attribute that specifically to a smaller kindergarten class and (an increase) in the number of children who chose to be homeschooled this year. We would suspect both of those factors are likely due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Lou Kramer, superintendent.
Despite this year’s decrease, district leaders expect enrollment to grow over the next several years.
From the 2015-16 academic year to 2019-20, the district’s enrollment grew by 180 students. Projections show an additional 200 students in the next five years as more families are attracted to London due to increases in economic development and housing in the area.
“This year was somewhat of a blip. Once pandemic restrictions ease even further back to normal, the growth pattern should be back to normal,” Kramer said.
The district will use the enrollment projections to make decisions about personnel, programs and facilities.
Existing programs are retaining and attracting students, so the district plans to continue all of its available programs, Kramer said.
In August and September 2020, district leaders met with an architectural firm to consider potential renovations at the high school, the building experiencing the fastest enrollment growth. Decision were put on hold, pending the pandemic’s impact on enrollment.
In other news, the district returned to fully in-person instruction on March 1. In the week of March 8, 20 students and staff members–out of a total campus population of 2,500–were isolated or quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
“We’re really excited to be back, and so far our students and our families are just as excited as we are,” Kramer said.
The district is providing an optional summer intervention program for all students to prepare for the 2021-22 school year.
Elementary and middle school students can sign up for a series of three two-week sessions centered around various themes. The program will take place in person on campus. The district will provide transportation, breakfast and lunch for participating students. So far, 160 elementary school students and 61 middle school students have signed up. High school students can participate in a blended program, completing most course work online with occasional in-person classes.