School Enrollment Down, Graduation Rate Up

Is it a case of quality over quantity? Local school enrollment is down, but graduation rates are up.


Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater…


Dr. Atwater: “The enrollment trickled down a little bit from the beginning of the year by about 80 kids, but the good news is that the number of little guys coming in the door in kindergarten each year is big, so we have a balancing act where we have more kids coming in than probably going out starting next year. And so that’s positive. I think we’re in a cyclical phase where we have families with young kids coming up, so that’s what you want to see. And with regard to graduation rate, our preliminary numbers indicate that the graduation rate has gone up,  that’s a real positive thing. That’s your ultimate goal is to get kids with a diploma, and so the fact that we’re having more of our students receive a diploma after four years is encouraging and real positive.”


The preliminary graduation rate this year was 82%, up from 78.3% last year. Dr. Atwater said this year’s rate will be finalized over the summer, so that figure could shift slightly.


We asked if the developments in Nikiski are boosting the student population there…


Dr. Atwater: “No, despite all the activity out there, we have not seen an influx of students at all. Our numbers stayed flat all year. They’re good numbers, and we’re happy with that, but we’re not seeing a bump of numbers in Kenai or Nikiski. That’ll probably take a little while for us to feel the effect at the school level.”

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