Class in session at Re-1

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff
Students in Jim Hardcastle's (plaid shirt at right) third grade class at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs pass a globe beach ball around the circle to take turns telling a little bit about themselves on Monday, which was the first day of class for most students in Roaring Fork Re-1 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt. Incoming Re-1 kindergarten students have until Sept. 3 before they begin school.
John Stroud / |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials weren’t anticipating a huge enrollment swing one way or the other as the new school year began Monday, though kindergarten students don’t report for another week yet.

Classes began Monday for most students at Roaring Fork Re-1 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

Kindergarten, which is where the biggest enrollment shifts usually occur, does not start until after the Labor Day weekend, on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The district won’t have a good handle on districtwide enrollment numbers until probably the end of next week, said Shannon Pelland, assistant superintendent in charge of business services for Re-1 schools.

But, based on preregistration for kindergarten, the numbers appear to be down some at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs and up just slightly at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, she said.

“Keep in mind these are very tentative numbers still,” Pelland said.

As of Monday, Sopris Elementary was looking at an incoming kindergarten class of 91, compared to 112 kindergarten students last year. Glenwood Elementary had a list of 101 preregistered kindergarten students, up from a class of 97 last year.

“We had a rush of preregistrations at Glenwood Elementary last week, but we ended up with fewer than we thought,” Pelland said.

Elsewhere in the district, Carbondale’s Crystal River Elementary School had a preregistration count of 93 kindergarten students, which would be down from 110 last year.

“Basalt had the biggest gain by far,” Pelland said of the 142 kindergarten students who are preregistered at BES. That’s up from the 126 kindergarten students last school year.

“We will be OK with that number, but it is a full school already,” she said. “They did have one new classroom open up, which will help.”

Basalt Elementary is one of three elementary schools in the district, along with Sopris Elementary and Glenwood Springs Elementary, that are closed to out-of-attendance-area and out-of-district enrollments due to capacity issues.

“I’m not hearing of anything unusual at the other grade levels,” Pelland said. “Usually, if there is a concern we will know about it by now and be able to adjust for staffing.”

Districtwide, Roaring Fork schools had 5,569 students last school year, which was up by about 90 from the previous school year, she said.

“We’re pretty much where we thought we would be,” said Sopris Elementary School Principal Kathy Whiting. “We’re about 20 down in kindergarten, but we’re about 40 up in the rest of the building.”

That would put Sopris at about 660 students total, she said.

“It’s pretty well spread out through the grades, and we still have a couple of big bubbles in some of the grades that are coming through,” Whiting said. “Nothing like a couple of years ago when we had 100 new kids in the fall. That was kind of a shock.”

Glenwood Springs High School Principal Paul Freeman said it’s hard to tell for sure at the high school level in particular what enrollment will be until after Labor Day.

“If students leave over the summer, they don’t always tell us that they’re not coming back,” he said.

GSHS had 790 students last school year, and Freeman anticipated the final enrollment would end up about the same this year.

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