More students than expected in Esky

ESCANABA — The Escanaba School Board heard an update on the status of enrollment throughout the district during its Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.

Superintendent Coby Fletcher explained that when the board was in budgeting session, it budgeted conservatively due to a predicted decline of about 60 students for the school year. However, current numbers show that enrollment is up and healthier than assumed.

“We have some very preliminary numbers..and anticipate that this is going to change a little bit,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher noted the numbers consists of 10 percent spring count and 90 percent fall count, that creates a “real, honest to goodness” blended count.

Currently, the blended count stands at 2,332.37, which is 103.79 FTE students over the predicted amount. The last estimate, which was calculated with the help from a Stanford and Associates study, was 2,228.58 students.

“That is a really, nice encouraging number,” said Fletcher, adding he believes the rise in the number in enrollment comes from the proactive measures the district has taken over the past year including the creation of the Webster Kindergarten Center, and extra work put into reaching out into the community to make more opportunities for students.

“I think people are seeing and feeling that vibe,” said Fletcher. “I think we’re starting the year very good.”

Fletcher stressed these numbers are very preliminary and could change at the next count, noting he is hopeful for a continued positive trend.

Board members present were also updated on the status of the breakfast in the classroom initiative happening at the district’s elementary schools. Food Service Director Nancy LaFave said the number students being served breakfast and lunch has skyrocketed at the district’s elementary locations.

At the same time last year, LaFave explained food service was serving breakfast and lunch to 184 students. Today, 1,118 students are being served each day.

The CEP program, which is federally funded, allows for students in K-6 to eat breakfast at no cost in their classrooms.

With the program in its early stages, LaFave said staff members are still working out the kinks, but she expects it to be very successful.

In other business, the board discussed the district’s new “Leader in Me” program, which helps instill leadership qualities into young students. Webster Kindergarten Center Principal Krista Johnson, said teachers and other staff members are just beginning to implement the first stages of the program. The program has seven stages including “Be Proactive,” “Begin with an End in Mind,” and “Think Win-Win.” Some of the goals are “private victories,” where students can feel the good for themselves, while others are “public victories.”

In other action, board members present approved to hire Katie Curtis as the new student services coordinator at the Escanaba Junior and Senior High School. Secretary Bob Chaillier and Trustee April Chaillier were absent from Monday’s meeting.

The next school board meeting will take place on Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Courtyard Room located at the Escanaba Upper Elementary School.