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Reservation schools reporting enrollment increase

Aug 26, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

For the most part, schools on the Wind River Indian Reservation are reporting a rise in enrollment at the start of the 2012-13 academic year.

"We have an increased enrollment in each of the buildings as of right now, but we always get an influx after Labor Day, so we are waiting to see the final counts," Fremont County School District 14 superintendent Michelle Hoffman said.

Wyoming Indian students headed back to class on Monday.

"As it looks right now, we are up 70 students district-wide," Hoffman said. "We ended the year at 575 last year, and today we have 645 enrolled. Needless to say, my staff are working to put kids into classrooms (and) programs. That's a 'good' busy."

Tuesday was the first day of classes at Fort Washakie High School since the school transitioned from a charter operation to one unified with the district where it resides.

School officials say early figures indicate enrollment is up at the secondary level.

High school principal Shad Hamilton said the first day of school went well with 38 students enrolled.

"I believe this is more than we've ever started the school year with," Hamilton said. "Most of (the students) are returning from last year. We anticipate at least another 12 from last year as well. Many new applications are in the works as well."

The Wyoming State Board of Education last spring unanimously accepted School District 21's request to go from a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade district to also include the high school grades.

Unification was effective July 1.

"I believe our enrollment will be over 50 by the end of the week, if not approaching 60," Hamilton said. "It won't stabilize until mid-September."

Fort Washakie superintendent Richard McClements said current enrollment in grades first through eighth is 445, which is 10 more students than expected.

The number also doesn't include the 18 children registered for the pre-school/kindergarten program.

"So it is up a little bit, but it takes at least a week to settle down," McClements said.

St. Stephen's Indian School students began classes on Wednesday.

"It's going excellent," superintendent Mike Hejtmanek said about the first day of school. "The kids are very excited. We had a good five days of in-service with staff, and they are all prepared."

Hejtmanek said enrollment might be down a bit but numbers will likely not firm up for a few weeks.

School District 38 superintendent Jonathan Braack said enrollment at Arapahoe School has varied since classes began on Aug. 16.

As of Friday morning, Braack said enrollment was above 400 in pre-school through 12th grade. "We anticipate more students after Labor Day is over," he said.

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