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Helmut Schmidt, Published September 04 2012

Moorhead, D-G-F enrollments up

MOORHEAD – The city’s public schools opened Tuesday with 201 more students than at this time last year, and 301 more than at the close of school last spring, the school district reported.

There are 5,664 K-12 students enrolled in Moorhead School District this fall, compared with 5,463 last fall.

A chunk of that increase came in kindergarten, where the district reported 492 children enrolled Monday, compared with 439 last fall.

The district added two sections of kindergarten in August to handle the influx, Superintendent Lynne Kovash said.

“The kindergarten enrollment is the highest since 1995,” Kovash said. “Overall, this is the district’s largest enrollment increase in years.”

The last time Moorhead public schools had an enrollment higher than last fall’s numbers was in fall 2000, with 5,622 students, spokeswoman Pam Gibb said.

From 1993 to 1998, enrollments topped 6,000 students, she said, but by fall 2005 they had dipped to 5,252.

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District enrollment also grew, Superintendent Brian Thygeson said.

The district’s K-12 enrollment is now 1,465, up 50 students from last October, he said.

This spring, 90 seniors graduated, Thygeson said. On Monday, kindergarten enrollment was about 150, with each of the elementary classes ranging from 120 to 150 students.

“It is a good sign,” Thygeson said. “We’re definitely continuing that upswing.”

In the Moorhead School District, enrollment in the Kinder Plus extended day kindergarten program is 276, up 43 students over last year’s opening enrollment, the district reported.

Enrollment at Horizon Middle School rose to 1,311 students, 58 more than last years.

Horizon parents, students and staff were upbeat Tuesday about a schedule change that has the first bell at 9:05 a.m.

Last year, Horizon’s first bell was at 7:45 a.m.

Janine Johnson said the late start makes the morning “less rushed.”

“My son seems to be a little more awake,” she said. “There was no dragging this morning.”

Horizon Principal Lori Lockhart said staff will keep tabs on when students arrive and how many walk or take the bus so the school can adjust to the new rhythms the schedule creates, Lockhart said.

Horizon is staggering bus arrival and departure times so all 1,300 students and 47 buses aren’t trying to get in and out of the area at the same time, Lockhart said.

Sixth-grader Ashley Buegel was already enjoying the late start time.

“I like it better. I can sleep in,” she said.

It’s an advantage she hopes to enjoy longer than her eighth-grade sister, who previously had to get up at 6 a.m. to make it to school on time.

At the private St. Joseph’s School in Moorhead, Tuesday’s pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade enrollment was 245 students, compared with 240 last fall, a school official said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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