Students, staff happy to be back in school; enrollment down slightly
Students are learning, teachers are educating and operations are running smoothly at all six Baldwin School District buildings.
As of Thursday, all of the students in the district started the 2009-2010 school year. The five principals are excited about the new year and their students.
“The school year has started off very well,” said Dan Wallsmith, first-year principal at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center. “Most of the kids are happy to be back with their friends at school. Things are great.”
Despite the excitement of the building administrators, early enrollment numbers project the district to be down this year. On Monday, the district’s total head count was 1,417 students.
A year ago, when the enrollment numbers were calculated in September, the district’s head count was 1,457. The district’s enrollment numbers won’t be official until Sept. 21.
“We’re a little bit lower as a district this year,” said Connie Wright, Baldwin Junior High School principal. “I don’t think we had as many kids move in as we usually do each year. I think that’s the main reason for the decrease.”
BJHS was one of two schools to maintain its enrollment from the 2008-2009 school year. On Monday, BJHS had 335 students enrolled, which is the same number it had a year ago.
Wallsmith’s BESIC has increased a few students from a year ago. BESIC is up from 218 students to 224 right now. However, every other school is down from last year.
Baldwin High School lost a large senior class in May and has a small senior class this year. However, BHS is only down seven students, from 435 to 428, from the 2008-2009 school year.
BHS is now the smallest school in the Frontier League. Gardner-Edgerton is still the largest at 1,171 students. Following GEHS is Ottawa (678), Paola (648), De Soto (636), Spring Hill (582), Louisburg (510) and Eudora (451).
“We graduated a large senior class, so that is part of the reason we’re down a few students this year,” said Shaun Moseman, BHS principal. “We only have 82 seniors this year.”
Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center is down from 254 to 247, but they expect a few more students to enroll in the Preschool Education Program. Marion Springs Elementary School has decreased from 125 to 103. MSES did lose an afternoon 4-year-old class that moved to BESPC this year. Vinland Elementary School is down from 90 to 80 this year.
Despite the decreased enrollment, MSES and VES Principal Gus Wegner is happy to be back at school.
“The kids are happy to be back and excited for the school year,” Wegner said. “I think it helps that it’s not as hot outside, because they can enjoy recess more. It’s nice to be back with the kids and parents.”
The elementary schools had half-day classes on Aug. 18-19 and started full-day classes Aug. 20. Deb Ehling-Gwin, BESPC principal, has enjoyed the first week of school.
“The kids seem really happy and everyone is learning and having fun,” she said. “We’ve had a few changes that will take some getting used to by parents and faculty. First, we start at 8 a.m. and finish at 3:15 p.m. Second, the buses are dropping kids off at our front door, so parents need to be aware of that and the drop-off signs and zones.”
Several changes have been made at BHS, too, but Moseman thinks they are for the better.
“Our phone system upgrade was needed,” he said. “Now calls can go directly to teachers and they can check their voicemail when they have time. With the bond issue, we were able to put projectors in every classroom. We also have a new computer lab and we are starting our broadcasting classes. Things are rolling right along.”