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Higher enrollment at reservation schools; Wyoming Indian the biggest at 653 pupils

Sep 17, 2015 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Enrollment at the Wind River Indian Reservation's school districts generally is up for the new school year. Classes began in late August. Officials note that enrollment figures can be erratic in the first days of the term but usually are more stable after Labor Day.

St. Stephen's

As of Aug. 28, 219 students were enrolled at St. Stephen's schools. Staff recorded 105 students in grades K-5, 42 students in grades 6-8 and 72 students at the high school.

At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, the schools reported having 218 students.

Business manager Pam Swiderski said schools will have a waiting list for some grade levels. For instance, kindergarden currently has a waiting list, while more students are needed in other grades.

St. Stephen's is not a Wyoming public school district, operating instead under a federal contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Arapahoe

Fremont County School District 38 saw a small increase this fall compared to last year. The Arapahoe school district finished the 2014-15 school year with 451 students. There were 281 students in grades pre-K-5, 114 students in grades 6-8 and 56 in high school.

As of Aug. 28, the district reported 462 students. Currently there are roughly 309 students in grades pre-K-5 and 117 students in middle school. There are 36 high school students. A few more students enrolled Aug. 31, so the count will change, superintendent Kenneth Crowson said.

"It usually doesn't level out until after Labor Day," Crowson said. "We're excited ... there's a lot of good things that are starting to happen."

The pre-K classrooms are not at capacity yet, he said, but other grades are reaching their limit. The district is monitoring closely the number of students in each classroom.

Crowson said the current student-to-teacher ratio is 15-to-1, but the district may consider hiring a new teacher.

"We still have a little bit of wiggle room," Crowson said.

Fort Washakie

In District 21, superintendent Terry Ebert agreed that enrollment numbers usually stabilize after Labor Day. As of Aug. 28, however, the district had 508 students in grades pre-K-12.

"We want to see more students report for attendance at the high school, which is ahead of last year by a few, but still needs to increase, as it is at 45 and could be around 60 students," Ebert said.

Junior high enrollment numbers are higher while the elementary school is showing "normal" numbers, he added.

"We encourage Fort Washakie school district parents and guardians who have not yet enrolled their students to please do so," Ebert said.

Wyoming Indian

The Wyoming Indian school district reported a boost in student numbers this year.

Owen St. Clair, who began his role as superintendent July 1, said 653 students are enrolled at District 14.

"Compared to years past, we are up a few kids," St. Clair said. "Our high school has seen the biggest jump in numbers, up by about 20."

Despite the big jump, St. Clair said the teacher-to-student ratio remains at a good number, and there are enough staff members to cover all classes and subjects.

The elementary and middle school enrollment figures are down by about 10 students, he added, but there are still eight spots open at the preschool. The district will continue to accept new enrollments.

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2017-10-22

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