Southern Denton County students get back to the books

Sara Bradshaw points out a few new details in the hallway to wide-eyed third graders Ana Molina and Cade McAndrew as her class walks toward the main office during the first day of school Monday at Blanton Elementary School in Lantana.

School started smoothly for 24,920 students in the Denton Independent School District, according to Superintendent Jamie Wilson, who personally visited several schools on the first day.

“We had an extremely smooth start for the first day. Many parents and community volunteers were engaged on our first day, which is what we need for our students to have a successful year,” Dr. Wilson said.

The district’s enrollment count increased by 944 students from last year’s first-day-of-school numbers. The numbers from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade was 23,976 on Aug.22, 2011.

In five years, the district has grown by almost 20 percent. On Aug. 28, 2007, the enrollment on the first day of school was 20,410 students. In 10 years, the district has grown by about 45 percent.   On Aug. 19, 2002, the first day’s enrollment was 14,249.

One change in enrollment is occurring at the high school level. In May of 2008, the district rezoned the high school boundaries to help alleviate the overcrowding at Guyer High School. It went into effect in August, 2009.

This year, the zoning affects all four grade levels at all three high schools. The enrollment figures for the first day of the three comprehensive high schools are: Denton High –  freshmen, 482; sophomores, 550; juniors, 442, and seniors, 428; Guyer High – freshmen, 583; sophomores, 555; juniors, 540, and seniors, 468;  Ryan High – freshmen, 622; sophomores, 571; juniors 514, and seniors, 424.           

“The rezoning has helped balance the enrollments of our three high schools,” Dr. Wilson said.

As a result of this zoning, Denton High had the highest leap in enrollment of 1,902 students compared to 1,680 on the first day in 2011, an increase of 222 students. 

Districtwide, the largest growth areas remain in the eastern and southern parts of the district, where school officials anticipated higher number of students.

At the middle school level, the southern schools have the largest enrollment. Next year, the district will open Middle School No. 7 in Shady Shores, which is being built adjacent to Stephens Elementary School and will help the decrease the current schools’ numbers. This year’s  middle schools enrollments are Calhoun, 771; Crownover, 1,010; Harpool, 1,016; McMath, 815; Navo, 891, and Strickland, 904.

In the elementary schools, Paloma Creek reported the largest enrollment with 732 students. In the southern section of the district, E.P Rayzor reported 694 and Blanton had 702. 

The number of elementary and pre-school students totaled 13,225, compared to last year’s total of 12,899.

School officials anticipate the enrollment figures will continue to increase through the first two weeks of school.

The transportation department, which bused about 6,500 students on the first day, will be transporting about 7,500 students on most school days. Transportation officials reported a smooth opening.

Bus drivers had most students delivered to the schools within two to three minutes for elementary schedules, five to seven minutes at the middle schools and 10 minutes for high schools, according to Transportation Director Aaron Robbins.

There were no major problems in operations, technology or other areas, school officials reported.


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