The first month of the school year soared by at a sprinter’s pace and we continue to see signs of increased health in our district data.
We have deliberately avoided the term “back to normal” in our discourse. Rather, our district philosophy has always been focused on strong growth and improvement. There are several data points that show we are on that strong growth path.
Our enrollment is strong this fall. We are proudly serving more than 5,700 students from preschoolers to seniors. These numbers show strong resemblance to our 2018-19 enrollment. With rapidly increasing home construction in the area, our hope is that enrollment will hold strong throughout the school year.
Student attendance was spectacular across the district in September. The daily attendance rate for the month was 96%. That is incredible and will benefit learning immensely. For comparison, a year ago the rate was 10% lower. With all students present, relationships are built faster, and the development of strong learning practices are embedded early. These are all positive indicators that our learners will do well in school.
Participation in school events and activities is also a powerful indicator of school health. Recently more than half of our high school students attended the Homecoming dance. That is more than 800 students. Middle school athletics participation is also growing, as is participation in most after school activities. What is most exciting is that students are again leading activities which provide strength to the school culture. Our booster clubs, parent organizations and partnerships are showing energy and enthusiasm toward achievement, participation and positive engagement.
We are also in the final month of construction at the Yelm Middle School athletic fields. Completing this project will allow our students to compete at their own school and our community will have more outstanding facilities to use after school hours. It has been an incredibly fast two and a half years constructing YMS and Southworth. We have remained on schedule and well within our budget.
Please attend a school event and feel the excitement our students bring. Take in an athletic event, a concert or the fall play. Our school and district websites are there for you to see the calendar of activities. Our students and staff are doing really amazing things. It has been a great start. Help us keep it going.
Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.