TWIN FALLS — As more school districts begin to make the shift from hybrid learning to in-person classes they are experiencing increases in student enrollments. The Twin Falls School district finds itself in that exact situation more kids return from learning remotely.
Public Relations Director for the district, Eva Craner said, “In a typical school year when we see an enrollment increase, it's pretty clear those students are new to our community. Or they’re coming in from a private or homeschool setting. This year the students who are increasing our enrollment numbers, they might have been our students last year and are just coming back.”
The majority of the increase in students is occurring at the elementary level. In September of this year, there were 4,117 students in elementary schools district-wide. As of last week, there were 4,268, an increase of 91 students since the start of the year.
Rock Creek elementary typically enrolls ten students in January when coming back from Christmas Break. This year they tripled their average enrollment.
The principal of Rock Creek, Shari Cowger, said, “When we started out the year we were sitting at about 570, but now we’re back up to 615. We’ve added 35-36 students within the past month.”
Although teachers are extremely excited to have students back in the classroom, there are some difficulties with students having to re-adapt to the classroom environment.
“There seems to be a perseverance and stamina challenge, and when you think back we haven’t been in school really for a year. So they haven’t been in a classroom for six hours,” said Cowger.
Teachers are also having their fair share of difficulties with having to manage students returning and having to hone in on what skills need work.
Cowger said, “We have to meet the student where they are and we always do, that’s not a problem. But when you have this many coming in so quickly, we’ve got a lot of skills that we have to fill in.”
Despite these challenges, the district and teachers are doing what they have throughout the pandemic, adapt.
“They have these new tools at their disposal, they’re well-practiced in all of these new digital platforms. So I'm excited to see how education continues to evolve,” said Eva Craner.
While the district is experiencing an increase in enrollments and dealing with these issues, the overall enrollment has still dropped 4% in comparison to last year. In September of 2019 there 9,766 students enrolled and in September of 2020, there were 9,285.