Enrollment reports vary by system

Published 10:52 am Monday, September 12, 2016

Enrollment numbers are in for area schools with the public school district seeing an increase, Catholic schools seeing a decrease and a private school staying the same.

Vicksburg Catholic Schools have seen a slight decrease in their enrollment going from 527 last year to 505 this year — a drop in 22 students. The elementary and high schools are split nearly even with 247 students at St. Francis Xavier and 258 students at St. Aloysius.

Recently the schools’ principals attended a meeting at the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and learned that enrollment in Catholic schools is down statewide as well as nationally.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am

“That’s just a national trend right now,” director of development and alumni affairs Ann Roberson said. “We’ve gone down and back up before, and it’s not anything that we’re concerned about.”

Of course, she said, the school would still love to have more students. She isn’t sure what dictates enrollment trends, but said a few students moved out of Vicksburg at the end of last year and the numbers continually fluctuate.

The schools’ identity stays the same throughout the years, she said, and the administration doesn’t worry too much about how other schools operate or what the future will bring.

“We continue to keep our commitment to academic rigor and developing not only the academics but the moral and spiritual aspects of our students,” Roberson said.

She said the schools are constantly innovating like through their implementation of technology with MacBooks and iPads in the classroom. Plus, the schools are adding to their elementary curriculum through STREAM science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math.

“We’re looking at all kinds of different ways to differentiate ourselves further in the community,” Roberson said.

Porters Chapel Academy’s enrollment has stayed essentially the same from last year after about three years of growth in their enrollment numbers, principal Pam Wilbanks said. Enrollment last year was 275 and this year it is 274.

“That means that we’re holding steady,” Wilbanks said. “I wouldn’t consider that a decrease.”

In K4 through sixth grade there are 100 students and in seventh through 12th grades there are 174 students.

“That was about our expectation,” Wilbanks said. “Sometimes you hope for a few more students.”

A significant factor in the enrollment numbers at Porters Chapel is the economy, she said.

“The economy is difficult for people. I think that plays a role,” Wilbanks said. “Parents are sacrificing to send their children here.”

The Vicksburg Warren School District has seen an increase in enrollment going from 8,125 to 8,335 in one year — a jump of 210 students.

Broken down into grade levels, the elementary schools, which consist of pre-k through sixth grade, have gone up by 180 students from 4,580 to 4,760. The junior high level made up of seventh and eighth grade dropped by 62 students from 1,213 to 1,151. The high schools, ninth through 12th grade, grew by 92 students from 2,332 to 2,424.

A Vicksburg Warren School District spokesperson from the information management department said while numbers are up from last year, it is too early to call it a trend because students are consistently moving in and out of the district. The district hopes to retain and attract students through new programs and its focus on students graduating from high school college and career ready.