Students head back to class at Steamboat Springs High School on Wednesday morning, the first day of school for the Steamboat Springs School District's 2012-13 academic year.

Photo by John F. Russell

Students head back to class at Steamboat Springs High School on Wednesday morning, the first day of school for the Steamboat Springs School District's 2012-13 academic year.

Steamboat schools anticipate record enrollment after 1st day of school

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By the numbers

2012-13 enrollment forecast:

Steamboat Springs High School: 646

Soda Creek Elementary School: 543 students

Strawberry Park Elementary School: 530 students

Steamboat Springs Middle School: 517 students

North Routt Community Charter School: 68

Yampa Valley High School: 22 students

Total: 2,326

Source: Steamboat Springs School District

— Books were read.

Class rules were covered.

Locker combinations were cracked.

"The teaching has begun," Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks said after he toured classes during the first day of school Wednesday. "The buildings were very well-organized, and students were excited to be here."

Before the influx of students, there was a little bit of angst and a little bit of worry.

On Tuesday night, Katelyn Hoffman made sure to memorize her all-important locker combination. She also had a complex schedule to keep track of.

But two hours into the 2012-13 school year on Wednesday, Katelyn was enjoying her first day as a sixth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

“It's a lot of fun to learn all these new things about this school,” she said as she walked around on a scavenger hunt with her classmates that taught them the history and layout of their new campus.

More than 2,000 students flocked into Steamboat schools on Wednesday morning to start another school year. Meeks said the district is currently expecting a record 2,326 students this school year.

“But a lot can happen between now and the October count,” district data specialist Deb Brabenec said, referring to the date when the district reports the enrollment for funding purposes.

The district had 2,283 students enrolled during the October count last school year.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said the growth is a "good problem to have."

He added the record enrollment forecast likely is a result of an increased birth rate, open enrollment requests and families moving to town.

The figure provided by the district includes enrollment for the North Routt Com­munity Charter School, which receives its state funding through the Steamboat district. The campus in Clark has 68 students enrolled.

Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal Tracy Stoddard said her school's enrollment quickly has grown this month from 488 students to 523.

“We're bursting at the seams,” Stoddard said as groups of students made their way through the school's arcade.

She said she was excited to see all of the students return after a long summer break.

"Because I have been here for 16 years, I feel like I'm at home," she said. "It feels good. They're all so excited to be back."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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