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PISD releases first day of school numbers

Canup opens Despite starting the new year with two instructional options for students, Princeton ISD reports a smooth first day of school on Thursday. There were 5,497 students who started classes across the district, which is an increase of 262 students over the first day of 2019. The high school population grew from 1,395 on the first day of 2019 to 1,520 this year, which is up by 125 students.

In addition to the growth at the high school, numbers reflect a similar rate of increase at other levels. In 2019, there were 2,608 elementary students on the first day of school compared to 2,691 this year, which is an increase of 83 students. For the middle school level, there were 1,286 students who reported on the first day this year, which is up 54 students from 1,232 who reported on the first day in 2019.

“We anticipate these numbers to continue to increase throughout this school year,” Superintendent Donald McIntyre said. “Princeton is building more houses this year than last year, so it makes sense that more students will come with those houses.”

New to calculating enrollment numbers this year includes the aspect of virtual education.

With the Thursday back-to-school numbers, 2,430 students have opted for the online education offered this year. This represents 43 percent of the students receiving online instruction as opposed to face-to-face. The virtual breakdown includes 1,191 elementary students enrolled in online classes, which is 44 percent of the elementary students. At the secondary level, 596 (or 46 percent) of middle school students and 643 (or 42 percent) of high school students have started school using the virtual option.

In terms of total numbers, the 9th-grade class has the largest enrollment for the first day this year with 454 reporting Thursday. This year, every grade level, except 10th, 11th and 12th, has reported enrollments of more than 400, and the 8th-grade and 3rd-grade levels are tied for the second largest at enrollments of 446.

“It’s a little unusual that we are seeing our largest growth in secondary,” Mr. McIntyre said. “Typically, the biggest increases are seen at the elementary level. With our increased numbers at the secondary level, it is good that we will be opening Lovelady High School in the fall of 2021.”

According to long range plans, the district will open a new campus every year until 2025, which started this year with Canup Early Childhood Center. Canup is located at 301 N. 5th St. in its newly renovated space that was previously Huddleston Intermediate. The special programs facility is now named for L.R. Huddleston since the district no longer has an intermediate campus.

“With the addition of Canup Early Childhood Center this year, it reduced the number of kids on the elementary campuses to allow for more growth throughout the year,” Mr. McIntyre said. “Since Mayfield Elementary School is not scheduled for completion until 2022, opening Canup allowed us to make room for more students on the five elementary campuses until then.”

The district still anticipates the addition of new students in coming weeks.

"Although it is common for enrollment to continue to grow steadily until Labor Day, we expect our growth to be continuous this school year," Mr. McIntyre said. "With the increase in the number of houses reaching completion, this should result in a continuous, steady increase in new students all year.”

In addition to the arrival of students back on campus, the school board will return to meeting in person, which begins with the August board meeting scheduled for the third Monday of the month, which is Aug. 17.