Private Schools in Northwest Suburbs See Enrollment Uptick
Some private schools across the northwest suburbs are seeing enrollment increases which school officials attribute in part to COVID-19 policies.
That includes Catholic schools, which for the first time in decades, saw an increase in enrollment last school year.
“Last year we gained over 50 new students, and this year we have about 3 to 10 new students, and we also have two new preschool sections,” said Stevi Evans, school principal at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Golden Valley.
Tuesday was the first day of class at Good Shepherd. Evans says last year’s spike in enrollment was due to the school offering in-person learning.
Overall, Catholic schools across the Twin Cities metro saw an increase of more than 1,000 new students last year. Officials are still adding up the numbers for this year, but expect the enrollment increases to continue.
At Good Shepherd Catholic School, it is recommended that students have masks on most of the day, but they’re not required in all areas of school.
“The parents get to choose for their child the preference for gym class, and then outside is optional,” said Evans. “It’s strongly recommended in the classroom, and in transition places, it’s required.”
Social distancing is also not required. School officials say it’s challenging.
“What’s the difference if they lick each other on the playground versus lick each other in the classroom? Isn’t that still close contact? So, we’re just really trying to be real. When a case presents itself, we’ll navigate,” said Evans.
While COVID-19 policy may play a role in increased enrollment, some parents say small class sizes and faith-based learning is also why they chose a Catholic school.
“We fell in love with this community of parents, and we kind of just wanted a faith-based curriculum,” said parent Piper Kosel.