08/28/07 — WCPS first-day numbers are down slightly

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WCPS first-day numbers are down slightly

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 28, 2007 1:45 PM

The return to school Monday went smoothly, Wayne County Public Schools officials said, with overall numbers down slightly from the same time last year.

First-day enrollment for the 33 schools showed a head count of 18,098 students, as compared with 17,915 registered in the district one year ago, when there were 32 schools. Wayne School of Engineering, a high school program launched this year and housed at Goldsboro High School, attracted 85 freshmen.

Traditionally, the numbers have been lower at the outset, with the targeted 10th day the measure used by the state. The 2006-07 enrollment by day 10 was 19,425, a trend expected to occur again this year, according to the district's central office.

For the most part, student numbers were down slightly at the bulk of the schools in the county. About one-third of the schools, though, experienced increases.

Eastern Wayne Middle had 618 students enrolled the first day, compared with 587 at the same time a year ago. Fremont STARS Elementary was also up, from 236 to 246, while Spring Creek Elementary rose from 834 to 904 and Mount Olive Middle had 305 compared with 284 last year.

In the southern end of the county, Brogden Middle's numbers rose from 466 to 494, while Brogden Primary had 635 compared with 620 last year.

Two elementary schools in the central attendance area also experienced increased enrollment. School Street had 188 enrolled, up from 175 and Carver Heights Elementary had 260, up from 244.

Schools in the northern end of the county showing increases this year included Northeast Elementary, with 703 compared with 675 last year; Northwest Elementary, which had 924 compared with 910 last year; and Rosewood Elementary, up 751 from 725.

Wayne Early Middle College High School, introduced last year on the Wayne Community College campus for juniors and seniors, expanded its program this year to include 60 freshmen and accepting 20 juniors. Last year it had 66 students and currently reports 129.

The start of a new school year is an exciting time for the school system, says its superintendent, Dr. Steven Taylor.

Taylor said educators and administrators anticipate a great school year, continuing to fulfill their mission to ready students to be globally competitive for the future.

Just as the student numbers will fluctuate during the first weeks of school, so will adjustments to the transportation system. As bus drivers learn routes, delays are to be expected, officials say.

The transportation director, Raymond Smith, asked for understanding among families and motorists.

"With 10,000-plus students who ride yellow buses each day, we remind parents to be patient if there are some delays at the bus stop," he said. "With new drivers, changes in bell times and new bus stops, it normally takes a couple of weeks for bus drivers to get acclimated to new bus routes to keep students on schedule."

Smith also reminded anyone who has requested new bus stops that, unless it is a safety issue, it is transportation policy to wait until the 10th day of school to make such changes.