On Mon., March 22, Milford School District Board of Education heard projected enrollment numbers for the 2021-22 school year. Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, explained that enrollment projections would be critical as the district brings more students back into the classroom.
“Our goal is to return all students back to the classroom next fall,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We also have a lot to learn as we continue to go forward with DPH, the CDC and other state guidelines. We do believe the CDC guidance of three feet in conjunction with DPH also opens up more possibilities as we go forward and obviously puts us on a better trajectory for next year to return to full in-person learning.”
Dr. Dickerson believes that the efficiency of vaccinations in the state that prioritizes educators will also help the district return students to school. He also stated that staff has been working diligently to try to bring more students into classroom learning, talking to families who have been in full remote learning about the safety of in-person learning.
“We would like to know who is returning back to school in order to bring more students in,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We are talking through it, everything from transportation to what it means with three feet, how many we can fit in the classroom and all the safety protocols we need to follow.”
According to Dr. Dickerson, Banneker could have 497 students this fall compared to 469 for this year with 65 percent of the student body in a hybrid model. Ross has the highest enrollment of all elementary schools in the district with 684, compared to 670 this year. Without the first immersion program, Ross could have an enrollment of 630, which still puts it well above the other two schools. The school has around 73 percent of their students attending hybrid learning.
“We have more space at Ross and I know Mrs. McKenzie likes having that space,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We are utilizing that space as much as possible, but if we continue with the immersion program, we are going to have to look at some things to try to have some students utilize the entire campus to offset some numbers.”
Mispillion Elementary is projected to have 494 students which is less than this year’s 517. With the first immersion program, the school could have 543 students with 66 percent of them attending in a hybrid learning method. Dr. Dickerson explained that the schools were in state testing and there are students coming in for testing services. Some students have chosen to shift to a hybrid model after coming in and seeing the safety protocols that are in place.
“MCA, from a space concern, even trying to return students back here a little more the rest of the year is our biggest challenge,” Dr. Dickerson said. “The projected enrollment for MCA is 1,064 which is almost exactly the same as last year. Right now, we are at 57 percent hybrid and we expect to stay that way next year simply due to the space requirements we will have to follow under COVID guidelines. We have a very large 7thgrade class that will keep those numbers up and, if we see some growth with the building that is happening in Milford, that will add to those totals. MCA is also expanding programs so we need to figure out space to fit those programs as well.” Dr. Dickerson explained that the district may need to place an additional modular or work out spacing with the high school.
Milford High School could have 1,184 students next year, up from 1,155 this year. Approximately 40 percent of the students are in hybrid learning. Dr. Dickerson explained that the projected numbers for high school are often higher than the actual enrollment. Morris is expected to have between 425 and 450 students next year, compared to 433 this year.
“One thing I would like to point out is that Morris is 83 percent hybrid learning,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We appreciate the work our teachers have been doing from a concurrent standpoint. Concurrent is totally different from what our teachers are used to doing, but they have been flawless in making it the best they can for our students and families. I do have to commend our schools and staff for successfully implementing concurrent learning.”
School board member Scott Fitzgerald asked how the district developed the projections and Dr. Dickerson explained that there are various statistics used to compile the projections each year.