Wayzata School District Reports ‘Bumper Crop’ of Kindergarteners
Many school districts across the metro are seeing a surge in kindergarten students this fall. There are about 940 kindergartners enrolled in the Wayzata School District this fall. That’s 90 more students than last year, and students this year are still enrolling.
“We do have kind of a bumper crop of kindergartners this year,” said Kristin Tollison, Director of Administrative Services.
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Education, public school enrollment across the state decreased by two percent during the 2020-2021 school year, and now enrollment numbers are bouncing back.
“It’s more reflective of the year before that,” said Tollison. “So, this year is more in line with two falls ago, and last year kind of being an anomaly.”
Some Families Held Kindergarten Students Back During Pandemic
Tollison says there are several reasons for the sudden increase. During the height of the pandemic, many families decided to hold their students back instead of doing online learning.
“If they had a high-quality preschool, they probably are doing some really great educational activities, so some families chose to stay in their day cares. Some families chose to home school, and some families chose to wait and come to kindergarten the following year,” said Tollison.
Certain schools in the north and west parts of the Wayzata School District continue to see more robust growth. And that primarily has to do with population increases, especially in Corcoran and Medina, where new homes are being built.
“The Corcoran area which feeds to North Woods Elementary school, our newest elementary school, is very robust, and we will continue to see growth all year. Meanwhile, Greenwood serves the Medina area, and they too are continuing to see growth,” explained the administrator.
Officials say they are adapting to the increase by shifting staff to other positions.
“So, this year’s first-grade class is a little bit smaller. For example, we can move a first-grade teacher to kindergarten to help accommodate that bubble,” said Tollison.