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PISD releases first day of school numbers

Erik, Kimber and Priscilla Janush.

Nearly 900 new students have enrolled in Princeton ISD schools since the first day of school last year. To help make room for these children, the new 9th-grade center, Lovelady High School, opened its doors for the first time today with 504 students.

In addition, there are two more campuses currently under construction in PISD to help alleviate the crowding created by the growth explosion currently underway in Princeton.

Despite these high numbers, Princeton ISD experienced a very smooth first day of school Thursday.

There were 6,366 students who started classes across the district, which is an increase of 869 students over the first day of 2020. The high school population went from 1,520 on the first day of 2020 to 1,264 this year, which appears to be down, but only because the entire freshman class is at Lovelady where there were 504 9th-graders enrolled this morning. Both high school campuses combined represent a total of 1,768 high schoolers.

“The opening of Lovelady has definitely given the high school more room for growth,” said PISD Superintendent Donald McIntyre.

In addition to the growth with the high school populations, numbers reflect a similar rate of increase at other levels. In 2020, there were 2,691 elementary students on the first day of school compared to 3,175 this year, which is an increase of 484 students. For the middle school level, there were 1,423 students who reported on the first day this year, which is up 137 students from 1,286 who reported on the first day in 2020.

Southard Counselor Brooke Jones.

“We are closely watching two grade levels and expect we may have to add new positions,” Mr. McIntyre said. “The growth has created possible needs in kindergarten and third grade, as well as the need for more bus drivers to handle all the increased transportation.”

In terms of total numbers, the kindergarten class has the largest enrollment for the first day this year with 515 reporting Thursday. This year, every grade level, except 11th and 12th, has reported enrollments of more than 400, and the 1st-grade, 2nd-grade and 4th-grade levels are nearing 500 students each, with those enrollments in the 490s.

“I feel like the principals and their staffs have done an amazing job being prepared for all these new students,” Mr. McIntyre said. “Mayfield Elementary opens in 2022, which will take a step toward balancing the growth between our elementary campuses.”

Lovelady Assistant Principal Karissa Samuel.

According to long-range plans, the district opens a new campus every year for the next 10 years, and that plan continues on track this year with Lovelady High School. This 9th-grade center, located at 501 County Road 458, will eventually expand to include 9th- and 10th-graders.

The district still anticipates the addition of new students throughout the school year.

"It is common for student enrollment to continue a steady growth through Labor Day, but we don’t expect it to slow down all year," Mr. McIntyre said. "Princeton ISD was projected to have 6,780 students by October, and we are headed in the direction to be on pace with those numbers. We are right about where we expected, so I couldn’t ask for a more accurate projection.”

Beatriz Tapia and Dominic and Isabel Minor.