Challenge or Opportunity? Albert Lea Enrollment Spikes

August 22, 2018 08:40 PM

(ABC 6 news)-- Is it a challenge or an opportunity? Probably a little of both.

It’s a situation most school districts would like to find themselves in.


And early in the new school year, one district has.

"This is what we're about. We love having all these kids here," Diane Schultz told us.

If you believe in the concept of ‘the more the merrier’, the new school year in Albert Lea is off to a pretty merry start.

"the numbers have spiked since July first, over 140 new enrollments to the district," Southwest Middle School principal Chris Dibble said.

"About 4 years ago when I started we were at about 358 students and today we have about 426," Sibley Elementary principal Diane Schultz added.

And district-wide, K-12, "Puts us at almost 34-hundred students to this point,” Chris Dibble said.

"We've got some new job openings in the area that are bringing families to us" Chris Dibble explained.

"Housing is selling quickly in town which is great ... and young families are buying it. yay for us" Diane Schultz added. “There's always challenges with those things and we've had to add some teachers at the last minute.”

"We like to keep our class sizes to right around 30 at the max,” middle school principal Chris Dibble said. “We've had to bump them up to 32 or 33."

"And we look at each challenge ... okay, here's our problem, what's our solution," Diane Schultz said.

"That's going to challenge our teachers to be that much better to get every student to where they need to get," Southwest’s Chris Dibble said.

And since much of a school’s funding is based on per-pupil aid: “It's good to see students coming in as opposed to going out” Chris Dibble told us. “It gives us a chance to offer more opportunities."

"These are the kids that are going to be filling the jobs of tomorrow,” STEM teacher Burke Egner said. “And we need to have kids to fill those careers.”

“We're in that profession of wanting kids, to be with kids” Sibley principal Diane Schultz said. “Kids are our deal, and so having more kids yay, we get to touch more lives."


Dan Conradt

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