Enrollment numbers from the city school system’s department of data management and assessment revealed a hike in growth over the 2013-14 school year.
Michael Kahrs, supervisor of data management, presented a chart to the Cleveland Board of Education with a current system total of 5,314 students.
This is a 155-student jump over the 5,159 enrollment total last year.
The elementary schools have experienced various levels of growth: Arnold lost six students; Blythe-Bower gained 13 students; Mayfield experienced no growth; E.L. Ross gained one student; Stuart Elementary gained one student; and Yates Primary gained 14.
Kahrs pointed out a majority of the growth is happening at Cleveland Middle.
Every grade level has experienced a jump of at least eight students. Sixth grade moved from 419 to 427; seventh grade from 401 to 436; and eighth grade from 401 to 411. This places the overall population of the middle school at 1,274.
Supervisor of curriculum and instruction and former Cleveland Middle Principal Jeff Elliott said the school was built for 1,200 students in the core classes.
“However, it is available for growth up to like 1,400 students,” he said. “... it was built for growth. We had about 1,100 in the middle school back when I was over there 10 years ago. Now you are looking at least 100 to 140 more students than there were 10 years ago.”
He added there is still some wiggle room at the middle school for growth before music and fine arts designated classrooms will need to be used for core subjects.
Special education teachers are currently comparing schedules and sharing classrooms in between classes. Three physical education classes are sometimes in the gym at one time to meet the exercise needs of the children.
Elliott said he and Kahrs have been monitoring the system’s fourth- and fifth-grade numbers over the past two years.
“We anticipated — especially at the middle school — we were going to see an increase, and we are,” he said. “We are about 50 over at the middle school and 70-something at the high school.”
Cleveland High currently has a population of 1,436 students. This is an increase of 79 students over the 1,357 students counted in the 2013-14 end-of-year enrollment.
Elliott pointed out every grade level at the high school experienced growth: ninth grade moved from 361 to 372; 10th grade from 339 to 349; 11th grade from 359 to 364; and 12th grade from 298 to 351.
Kahrs said he believes this will be the first year Cleveland High has a graduating class over 300 students since the school opened. The school has had grade levels with 200-something students in recent years. This is the first time all four grade levels have had more than 300 students each.
“Space is pretty tight and used up,” Elliott said. “Part of that for now is because they are using their rooms for the wellness classes, because they don’t have the [main] gym. They’ve had to find other locations, use different classrooms and reconfigure rooms.”
He pointed out the saving grace at Cleveland High is the science wing approved for construction by the school board several years ago. He said the extra classrooms have helped with the growing pains.
“We hope [growth] does not slow down,” Elliott said. “We want to see them through graduation.”
The middle school numbers reveal the next wave of growth will come in the way of class sizes with more than 400 students at the high school. Kahrs said there could “easily” be 1,600 students in the high school in four to five years.
“At the elementary and middle school [population numbers] are usually pretty stable. They may add a couple, but at the high school over the year you will just lose kids to home school or private school or other options, if they start to see they will not be successful in high school,” Kahrs said. “Last year broke the mold because we started high, dipped low and ended up exactly where we started.”
Kahrs and Elliott will continue the system numbers every 20 days through the end of the school year.