The Monett R-1 School District saw the largest spike in first day attendance in 10 years with enrollment rising by 91 students from last August.
"This is the fourth straight year for increases in enrollment," said Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann. "In the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of transfers in. It's great for the school that the community continues to grow. Classes will be full, but that's the way we like it."
Attendance across the district was 2,189, not counting the 90 children in the early childhood pre-school. The number of students at the high school dropped by 17. All the other campuses saw increases. At Monett Elementary, kindergarten through second grade students rose by 19. The kindergarten classes, largely watched as a barometer for future years, grew by 20 to 180. The record was set in 2006 at 204.
Attendance at Central Park Elementary at 364 students was up 26 from first day last year. Monett Intermediate School had 359 students, up 24, while Monett Middle School had 348, up 35. The high school population is still the biggest at 594. The first day record was 633 set in 2005.
This year's largest class size on opening day was the fourth graders at 189. The freshmen had the smallest group at 144.
The Purdy School District has seen falling enrollment since a peak of 737 students in 2006. This year's total attendance of 657 represented an increase of six students.
The high school had 223 students, which is 21 more than opening day last year. The freshmen remain the biggest class at 64.
Purdy Elementary School, serving kindergarten through fourth grade, had 237 students, a drop of nine from first day last year, The kindergarten class showed an optimistic boost of 14 students over a year ago. The third graders have the smallest class in the district at 39.
The Purdy Middle School, serving fifth through eighth grades, had 197 students, up six.
Superintendent Jerry Lingo reported the opening of classes went well. There was some confusion due to the reduction of one bus route, but adjustments had students and families moving easily in the new routine after a day, Lingo added.
Pierce City Schools
The Pierce City District had the most disappointing numbers at opening. The total student count of 665 represented a drop of 45 from a year ago, mostly at the high school.
Total high school attendance was 211, down 36. Last year's graduating class started at 71, compared to 57 this year.
Pierce City Elementary School had 289 students, a drop of 12 from first day last August. Second through fifth grades differed by only three students across four grade levels. The second and third graders had the smallest classes in the district with 44 students in each.
Pierce City Middle School had 165 students, up three from last opening day.
The Verona School District opened the year with 405 students, an increase of 10 from a year ago.
The elementary school, running through sixth grade, had 233 students, down one from opening day last August. The upper grades had 172 students, up 11. The smallest classes in the school are the seniors and the eighth grade at 21 students each. The largest class is the seventh graders at 45.
The big change at Verona has come with the removal of the old high school. Superintendent's Secretary Kristy Madewell said construction is continuing on the site, delaying the full use of the new parking area. The change has resulted in a switch in the bus loading pattern, addressing longstanding concerns about buses lining up on Ella Street.
Buses are now pulling up into the lot where the old school had been. Elementary students, instead of loading outside their building, are walking through the high school lobby to the exit by the library and walking to the west side of the campus. With one-way traffic where the old high school had been, buses pull into the lot from the Ella Street entrance on the south and out of the lot into the fire lane on the north, back onto Second Street, running along the campus's west side to leave.
Madewell said the system has worked very well. Parents dropping off students are now able to drive up to the elementary wing on Ella Street without negotiating around the bus fleet.