District enrollment down slightly in first count

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A drop in student numbers at Hayden Valley Elementary School has contributed to an overall decrease in enrollment in the Hayden School District so far this school year.

At Wednesday's Hayden School Board meeting, superintendent and elementary school principal Mike Luppes reported that overall district enrollment is down by about 12 students compared with this time last year. Most of the difference is from student numbers at Hayden Valley Elementary School, which decreased by about 20 students from the end of the 2003-04 school year, he said.

During the same meeting, middle and high school principal Troy Zabel reported that enrollment at the two schools was up slightly from this time last year. The middle school has 127 students, compared with 124 in October 2004m and the student count at the high school is 149, up from 133 last year, he said.

There are 444 students in the district, not counting preschoolers or cyber school students. When those students are included in the count, district enrollment will be higher than what the district budgeted for, thought that wasn't encouraging to Luppes.

"I'm disappointed by our overall count," he said.

The state funds school districts based on an official student count conducted Oct. 1.

Also during the board meeting, Luppes updated board members on activities at the elementary school, including how the school's new lunch/recess schedule is working. Instead of sending children to recess after lunch, school administrators have decided to have the students eat lunch after recess.

The idea is that students will eat slower and be calmer when they return to the classroom, Luppes said.

"Overall, the results we're seeing are positive," he said, adding that administrators are working out some scheduling issues with the program.

Zabel reported that special assemblies at the middle and high school made for a positive start to the school year. The events, which included a fair featuring school clubs, a safe driving assembly and a pep rally which included both schools, contributed to an optimistic atmosphere at the schools.

"Kids always celebrate the end of the school year," he said. "We need to celebrate the beginning of school."

Zabel also said he was impressed by the high school's cheerleading squad and student council, which is planning fund-raisers for school beautification projects that potentially include a fire pit, improvements to visitor bleachers at the football field and a deck outside the lunch room.

Improving Hayden students' math scores in the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests has been a hot topic since this summer, when administrators learned that students in several grades scored lower than in the prior year.

Zabel reported that administrators and staff at the middle and high school are looking at samples of new textbooks and working with a math consultant.

Homecoming plans were the topic of discussion for high school senior Chelsea Fry, who represented the student council and told the board this year's theme will be "2004 Olympiad." A community chili cook off and a kiss-the-pig contest are among events the group is planning, she said.

"We're really intent on having a lot of school spirit this year," said Fry, who added that the students want the community to be involved in the homecoming parade.

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