JOPLIN, Mo. — More desks filled in classrooms and fewer students logging in remotely — it’s just one trend in Joplin Schools as the fall semester settles in.
“We have a kindergarten class of about 171 this year in coming,” said Mark Drake, Monett R-1 Supt.
Bigger than normal for the Monett School District. Superintendent Dr. Mark Drake says that’s a good thing.
“Our finances are determined by how many people we have come to school and if they show up to school or not on attendance, so yeah, it’s a big deal,” he adds.
And not just in Monett. Every school district charts changes, and what that means in the classroom and for the budget. Joplin Schools leaders say the roughly 7,700 students they have enrolled is generally flat from 2021.
“Are a little lower in our middle school numbers, this point last year, but we show an increase in our elementary which is really exciting to think about our young families who are coming to Joplin. We fielded a ton of phone calls this summer, I’m moving to Joplin, I’m new, I need to enroll. And so that’s amazing for our community. And hopefully we keep those kids as they move up through our system,” said Sarah Mwangi, Joplin Assistant Superintendent.
Overall enrollment had been slightly down in recent years. But school leaders are optimistic that trend might be reversing. They’re seeing more students transition back to classroom instruction.
“Our virtual enrollment is down this year. We have a lot of families who have opted to leave the virtual setting and come back to us in seats. We’re very excited about that,” she added.
Meanwhile, other school districts like Pittsburg and McDonald County are seeing similar numbers to 2021 as well.
Meanwhile, Carthage is slightly up from 2020.
Still, other area districts are waiting for the mandated Census Day later this month to release official enrollment numbers.