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All-Day Kindergarten, Student Retention Keep Tewksbury Public Schools Enrollment Steady

Sep 13, 2016 04:44PM ● By Bill Gilman

Newly hired teachers were welcomed to the Tewksbury School District at the Sept. 7 School Committee meeting.

The influx of students enrolled in the district's fledgling free, full-day Kindergarten program has helped the Tewksbury Public Schools maintain the enrollment gains it has made over the past few years.
According to information presented by Superintendent of Schools Chris Malone at the Sept. 7 School Committee meeting, Tewksbury is starting the 2016-17 School year with an overall enrollment of 3,571 students. That's down, just slightly, from the enrollment of 3,586 at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Throughout grades K-8, steady enrollment increases can be seen. The Class of 2028, now in 1st Grade, has increased from 227 to 238. The Class of 2027 (2nd grade) has increased from 246 to 256. Other class sizes are as follows:
Class of 2026 (3rd grade) is up from 254 to 260.
Class of 2025 (4th grade) is steady at 256.
Class of 2024 (5th grade) is down slightly from 268 to 265.
Class of 2023 (6th grade) is up from 269 to 276.
Class of 2022 (7th grade) is up from 313 to 316.
Class of 2021 (8th grade) is up from 301 to 306.
Class of 2020 (9th grade) is down from 314 to 246.
Class of 2019 (10th grade) is down from 249 to 233.
Class of 2018 (11th grade) is up from 242 to 249.
Class of 2017 (12th grade) is down from 264-251.
The biggest increase in Kindergarten enrollment at the Dewing and Heath Brook Schools. The elimination of tuition has resulted in an enrollment bump from 227 last year to 275 this year.
The enrollment at Tewksbury Memorial High School is 985, down slightly from 999 last year. However, TMHS has retained nearly all of the gains it has made over the past four years, since construction of the new high school complex.
"We're up close to 1,000 students now. We had been down to around 800," said School Committee Chairperson Krissy Polimeno. "I think you are seeing that many (families) are staying and choosing (TMHS) and we've also seen a lot of people who have left and come back. Come back as sophomores, come back as juniors or seniors. I also think the retention numbers in other grades are also holding high."
Polimeno said that while the new building has played a role in increased student retention, credit also has to be given to the staff and the programs being offered at the high school.
"It's also due to the wonderful things that are going on within the building," she said.

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