In-person classes this fall are likely to impact school enrollment numbers – Macomb Daily


Karen Rick is already excited about the school.

Last year, during the pandemic, she attended kindergarten at Mount Clemens Montessori School, but only because she was able to learn from her teacher face to face. If there had only been virtual lessons, her parents would have kept her at home.

“She appreciated. She had fun, ”said Karen’s father, Erik Rick of Mount Clemens, who served as chief petty officer in the United States Navy for 20 years before retiring. “The kids had to wear masks and follow other rules related to social distancing, but it actually went pretty well. They adapted very well and much faster than us adults.

But not all of the children were in school.

When coronavirus cases skyrocketed in March, tens of thousands of students disappeared from Michigan public schools.

Statewide, Michigan’s fall enrollment fell by 53,200 students, or 3.7%, according to unaudited enrollment data recently compiled by the state. That’s twice as many students as the state lost in 2009-10, the last year of the Great Recession, which was the biggest drop in over a decade.

Of the students lost in schools, 4,463 were in Macomb County. According to MI School Data, 126,679 students were enrolled in Macomb County schools in 2018-19. In 2019-2020, they were 124,910. The tally for the 2020-2021 school year was 120,464.

Local schools

According to registration data compiled by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, all but one of Macomb County’s public schools saw their enrollment drop in the past school year.

Richmond Community Schools, which offered both in-person and virtual learning, actually gained 24 students in 2020-2021.

Six Macomb County academies saw an increase.

• Anchor Bay School District

2019-2020: 5,838

2020-2021: 5,380

• Schools in the Armada region

2019-2020: 1,784

2020-2021: 1707

• Central line public schools

2019-2020: 2531

2020-2021: 2,427

• Chippewa Valley Schools

2019-2020: 15,688

2020-2021: 14,817

• Clintondale Community Schools

2019-2020: 2,656

2020-2021: 2,525

• Eastpointe public schools

2019-2020: 2,470

2020-2021: 2332

• Fitzgerald Public Schools

2019-2020: 2,378

2020-2021: 2,273

• Fraser Public Schools

2019-2020: 4,828

2020-2021: 4,673

• Lake Shore Public Schools

2019-2020: 3,433

2020-2021: 3,162

• Lakeview Public Schools

2019-2020: 4,357

2020-2021: 4,224

• Public schools of Anse Creuse

2019-2020: 10 163

2020-2021: 9,885

• New Haven Community Schools

2019-2020: 1295

2020-2021: 1,289

• Richmond Community Schools

2019-2020: 1,464

2020-2021: 1,488

• Romeo community schools

2019-2020: 5,218

2020-2021: 5,080

• Roseville community schools

2019-2020: 4,569

2020-2021: 4,359

• South Lake Schools

2019-2020: 1,634

2020-2021: 1,539

• Utica community schools

2019-2020: 26 599

2020-2021: 25 672

• Van Dyke Public Schools

2019-2020: 2,292

2020-2021: 2046

• Warren Consolidated Schools

2019-2020: 13,506

2020-2021: 12 949

• Warren Woods Public Schools

2019-2020: 3,248

2020-2021: 3,164

Macomb County Academies:

Eaton Academy

2019-2020: 366

2020-2021: 344

Conner Creek Academy

2019-2020: 942

2020-2021: 880

Warren Academy

2019-2020: 695

2020-2021: 640

Academy of Arts in the Woods

2019-2020: 320

2020-2021: 276

Mount Clemens Montessori

2019-2020: 297

2020-2021: 269

Merritt Academy

2019-2020: 662

2020-2021: 653

Rising Star Academy

2019-2020: 121

2020-2021: 116

Macomb Academy

2019-2020: 72

2020-2021: 69

Huron Academy

2019-2020: 631

2020-2021: 632 *

Michigan Academy of Mathematics and Sciences

2019-2020: 895

2020-2021: 907 *

Macomb Montessori Academy

2019-2020: 231

2020-2021: 251

Academy of Grands Chênes

2019-2020: 748

2020-2021: 770 *

Reach the Charter Academy

2019-2020: 593

2020-2021: 623 *

Predominance academy

2019-2020: 565

2020-2021: 664 *

Detroit’s public school community district, the state’s largest, lost 2,719 students, or more than 5%, as of the October count. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said more students have since returned to the district, and he believes the district’s numbers will eventually return to pre-pandemic levels.

“They just didn’t go to school,” he said. “Now they are slowly coming back. “

Since the start of the school year, superintendents statewide have reported that enrollment is down. The new unverified student counts give the clearest picture of the declines to date.

The numbers are still preliminary, but with such a large overall drop, updated registration data is unlikely to significantly change the situation.

What happened?

Most would agree that the numbers underscore the disruptive effect of the pandemic on the studies of thousands of students. Many parents did not want to expose their children to the coronavirus or did not want them to learn from a distance.

“I know a lot of families who were on waiting lists to enter private schools that offered in-person classes,” said Megan Blenkhorn of New Baltimore, a former teacher and member of the Mount Clemens Montessori School Board.

There were also parents who worked from home during the pandemic or were unemployed, which made home schooling possible.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, there were 45 registered / approved homeschooling sites in Macomb County and a total of 65 students were enrolled and enrolled in homeschooling.

Among the largest share of students who did not show up were kindergarten children, whose enrollments statewide fell 13,000, a drop more than twice as large as declines in the other years. Following a model that emerged nationwide this fall, many families have chosen to keep their young children in daycare or at home rather than trying to help their 5-year-old learn online.

In Detroit, preschools and first graders accounted for 75% of the decline in the city alone, according to Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, professor and researcher at Wayne State University.

“Some children will benefit from the one year delay in kindergarten, those who are a little younger and / or a little less ready to go to school. Many more won’t, ”State Superintendent Michael Rice said last spring. “Parents’ choice in a pandemic to wait a year until children can have a fuller, less choppy experience in public schools will serve some children in some schools and less well in others. schools. ”

In March, when the decline in enrollment was first reported by the Macomb Daily, Macomb Middle School District Superintendent Michael DeVault admitted the number of “lost” students was expected. “But the losses were pretty similar across the county. With families choosing home schooling, private schooling or other choices, combined with declining birth rates and student populations across the county, the numbers were doomed to go down anyway. . “

Back to normal

The good news has arrived this fall, all public schools in Macomb County will be offering in-person classes.

DeVault said preliminary comments on the districts are that they are also seeing an increase in enrollment, indicating that their kindergarten and first graders are returning.

Parents can also expect to see a lot of publicity from school districts looking to regain their enrollment numbers.

“We promote our district and our programs through our website, social media and most importantly word of mouth,” said Erik Edoff, director of public schools at L’Anse Creuse. “We were in person all school year last, and there were even fewer grade one grade 1 students than expected, but I think it’s going to bounce back this year. Each family’s perspective and reasons for sending or retaining their student are very personal and difficult to quantify. We aim to offer a variety of programs to meet the needs of families so that they can gain the best possible education.

Among the kindergarten teachers eager to see her little ones in person is Emily Jankowski from Eastpointe Community Schools.

“This will be my fourth year of teaching,” said Kindergarten teacher Crescentwood Elementary. “Because we offered face-to-face and virtual learning, our enrollment numbers were essentially the same as other years. “

But it will be good to see his class learn together rather than 17 in person and nine online.

“I’m delighted to have all of the kids back in class,” Jankowski said. “We become like a family, so it’s a good place for a child to take academic risks and grow as an individual. “

– The Associated Press contributed to this report


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