Stevenson enrollment increases after nine year decline

Stevenson enrollment has increased for the first in nine years by 101 students. This year’s increase is the largest increase in the Stevenson population since 2002. The school has reported a total enrollment of 3,887 students with the Freshmen class being the largest grade at 1,024 students.

Although the exact cause of the enrollment increase is unknown, Superintendent Eric Twadell suggests it might be due to economic improvements as more families with children move into the school district. Because the school district has received higher student increases in the past, the recent increase is insignificant, according to Twadell.

“From 1965 to 2006, all of the communities that serve Stevenson were still growing communities and the schools were growing,” Twadell said. “The decrease in student enrollment after 2006 was primarily due to the economy. Houses weren’t selling, and there was very little available land to build on.”

Based on the enrollment rates of previous years, this year’s enrollment were predicted to increase by a median of roughly 40 students. However, more aggressive projections correctly predicted that around 100 more students would enroll.

The increase in Freshmen class size compared to preceding years has presented certain challenges within Freshmen programs, including the Freshmen class board and Freshmen mentor program (FMP). Although the number of FMP advisories remained the same, each class contains around 26 students whereas the number used to be around 17 students, according to FMP Advisor Zara Dittman.

“It is taking a bit longer for the mentors to really get to know each student as an individual because that takes time and conversation,” Dittman said. “It’s harder due to the increase in activity days and class sizes.”

With a larger group of students, Freshmen events might also be more challenging to plan in terms of venue and attendance. The Freshmen class board along with student senate has made it a goal to reach a 40 percent class attendance at unity and service projects, said Daniel Miller, Co-sponsor of Freshman class board. So far, Miller is pleased with the work class board has done for Homecoming.

“I think it’s easier to identify students who are asserting themselves and getting involved in the club with a larger class board,” Miller said. “It’s nice to see some students stepping into leadership roles already whether they’re interested in a leadership role or it’s a natural skill for them, and they’re excited to lead the way.”

While the size of the Freshmen class has prompted certain changes within class board and FMP, the increase did not significantly impact the school since it was built to accommodate up to 4500 students. Twadell predicts that, in upcoming years, the Stevenson population will remain at a steady number with minimal fluctuations.