published Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Hamilton County schools continue to gain students

1st Day Enrollment Count 2012-13
1st Day Enrollment Count 2012-13
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WHO LOST AND GAINED THE MOST

Up

+169 -- East Side Elementary School

+107 -- Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence

+108 -- Orchard Knob Elementary School

+90 -- Hixson High School

+77 -- Brainerd High School

Down

-146 -- East Hamilton Middle School

-86 -- Red Bank High School

-74 -- Signal Mountain High School

-70 -- Wallace A. Smith Elementary School

-60 -- Soddy-Daisy High School

Source: Hamilton County Schools

Hamilton County Schools saw another year of big gains in student enrollment.

Enrollment numbers released Tuesday show a countywide enrollment of 40,355 on Monday's first day of school, a gain of 890 students over 2011's first day.

Hamilton County's enrollment counts tend to increase over the first month of classes as students trickle into school. This year's first-day count is still about 1,900 students shy of last year's 20th day enrollment of 42,236 students, records show.

This fall, Hamilton County saw growth across all school levels, with 459 more elementary students, 256 more middle school students and 175 more high schoolers.

A spring rezoning of schools in the county's east side appears to already be quelling numbers at East Hamilton Middle/High, which has grown crowded in recent years. Monday's count of 1,841 students was down 146 middle school students and 41 high school students over last year's first day.

East Hamilton Principal Gail Chuy said the building is still crowded, but school was running smoothly.

"The problem that we have right now is we still have teachers without permanent classrooms. We've got about five floaters," she said.

Chuy said the sixth-grade class was smaller than anticipated and she expects the reduced numbers from rezoning to take a few years to trickle up into the higher grades.

East Brainerd Elementary School continued to see growth, with first-day numbers reaching 715 students, up from 667 last year. Assistant Principal Michelle Reeves said each grade level has six classrooms and the school is currently split between two buildings.

"The classes are a good size. It's eased a little bit up since we are in two different locations. But it's still a difficult juggle," she said.

East Side Elementary School saw the largest increase in this year's first-day tally. But Monday's count of 498 is still about 100 shy of the school's enrollment at the end of last school year, said Principal Stephanie Hinton.

It's possible students are just getting to school earlier in the year, she said, since East Side extended its registration hours this year and had multiple volunteers to assist with enrollment.

Still, she expects the heavily Hispanic school to see fluctuations as the school year progresses.

"We could very easily approach 600 again," she said. "I think it's a very transient kind of area. Students come throughout the year."

Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at khardy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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