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Enrollment growing in Mount Vernon
August 23, 2013 · Ann Gruber-Miller

The Mount Vernon School District is growing.

As of Monday, Aug. 19, 1,404 students are enrolled in the district. Preliminary enrollment figures have 578 in early childhood through fourth grade; 416 in fifth through eighth grades; and 410 in ninth through 12th grades, including home-schooled and alternative education students. The high school enrollment does not include any Lisbon students taking classes in Mount Vernon.

These numbers will probably change by the time the official count of students enrolled in the district is done in October, but right now the numbers are up from last year.

"The MVCSD is a growing district, largely because of the number of families who wish to open enroll," Mount Vernon superintendent Gary O'Malley said. "This increase is gradual and incremental. That's good, because it gives us time to prepare when numbers are similar from year to year."

Preliminary figures indicate that so far this year the district has 275.4 students open enrolled into the district, including four home-schooled students who attend only a few classes in the schools; 72.6 students are currently open-enrolled out of the district.

Kindergarten through third grade classes now all have five sections each, and fourth grade has four sections. Kindergarten, with 111 students, has class sizes of 22 or 23 students. Fourth grade, with a current total of 94 students, has class sizes of 23 or 24 students.

O'Malley said that he and the teachers had met before school started to consider the appropriateness of these class sizes:

"The number of students in kindergarten is a little higher than anticipated, but we're comfortable moving forward with the numbers we've got," he said. "We looked at class sizes for our kindergarten and decided to stay at five sections (five teachers). We looked at fourth grade and decided to stay at four sections. We also looked at our numbers in our secondary schools.

"The size of a class does have an impact on teaching and learning, so we work diligently to ensure that our class sizes are appropriate at all levels."

O'Malley emphasized that "PK-12 teachers make numerous accommodations to individualize in a group setting. Working to personalize education is difficult work and teachers use a variety of instructional strategies to engage learners."

Middle school principal Bob Haugse added, "We're still a growing district. It is known around the state that Mount Vernon offers a quality education, and people want to come here."

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