BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Anthony Wayne Local Schools enrollment is at an all-time high, with a total of 4,538 students in K-12, Superintendent Dr. Jim Fritz told the board of education during its September 9 meeting.
Enrollment grew from 4,507 last year and 4,382 in the 2017-18 school year. This year’s average class size is 342 – or 357 in grades 5-12 and 320 in K-4. The eighth-grade class is the largest, with 394 students, while kindergarten is the smallest, with 274.
The high school has 1,451 students and the junior high 684 this year, while Fallen Timbers Middle School has 684 students.
Whitehouse Primary School saw the largest growth of the primary schools, adding 55 students for a total of 522.
“That’s due primarily to the growth behind the board office,” Fritz said, referring to the Steeplechase subdivision.
Enrollment in the primaries has fluctuated over the years. Monclova at one time had 710 students, but now has 577, while Waterville is at an all-time high of 581.
“We have room to grow in Monclova, and we’ve added classrooms in Waterville,” Fritz said.
Waterville is expected to grow, especially as a 252-unit apartment complex is being constructed on Pray Boulevard. Another 174-unit villa development is in the works around The Shops at Fallen Timbers, which also has nearly 200 single-family homes being planned – both of which would impact Monclova Primary and grades 5-12.
With all of the development planned, the district must continue to look at long-range plans to possibly add a fourth primary school. Keeping the elementary buildings at 500-600 is ideal, he said.
Previous discussions have focused on adding a building – possibly a middle school – to school-owned property near the board office, then converting Fallen Timbers Middle School to a fourth primary building.
Fritz said he didn’t see offering all-day kindergarten while the district operates out of three buildings. While many parents opt to have children in all-day programs in area child care centers or parochial schools, these students enter the system in first grade.
During the meeting, the district also:
• Congratulated Ahmed Amrou, Shelby Tupciauskas, Hailey Reid and Albert Zhu for their success in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) international conference this summer. Ahmed won silver and the other three students won gold medals in the conference. Students thanked Penta Career Center and Family and Consumer Science teachers Amanda Valdez and Kay-Lynne Schaller.
• Heard an update on construction projects. The tennis courts, auxiliary gym and cafeteria are 95 percent complete. Most of the entryways on the Finzel Road campus are nearly done. Whitehouse Primary School is still on track for move-in over winter break.
• Learned that the public will be welcome to tour the current Whitehouse Primary School on Tuesday, October 7 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Students will decorate the halls to welcome visitors. The board will hold its meeting in the school on that date beginning at 6:30 p.m. Another tour will be scheduled after the old school is empty, sometime in January.
• Heard that HVAC specialist/supervisor John Dobson is set to retire on December 31, while Waterville teacher Becky Johnson wlll retire at the end of the school year.
• Approved donations of $24,000, including $12,000 from the Waterville Parents Association for STEAM projects and $10,000 from America’s Farmers Grow to Waterville Primary for Project PRAIRIE (Prairies That Invigorate Inquiry Learning.