Battle Ground Public Schools continue to see enrollment growth

posted Sep 14, 2017, 3:48 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Sep 15, 2017, 8:10 AM ]

Battle Ground Public Schools continue to see enrollment growth

September 14, 2017

Battle Ground Public Schools' 2017-18 enrollment numbers are in, and they confirm what those who have visited our schools in recent years already know: some buildings are pushing the limits of their intended capacity.

Overall, Battle Ground has 13,070 students enrolled, an increase of 164 students compared to a year ago, and 322 more students compared to 2012. The four primary and middle schools in the southern portion of the district have experienced the most dramatic growth, even though Battle Ground's school board revoked boundary exceptions at Glenwood and Laurin beginning last year and at the Pleasant Valley campus this year. Significant construction of new homes and apartments have contributed increased enrollment in the southern portion of the district, and more is expected. Over the past three years:
  • Glenwood Heights Primary has 160 new students, a 25.2 percent increase 
  • Laurin Middle School has 95 new students, a 16.1 percent increase
  • Pleasant Valley Middle has 56 new students, an 11.4 percent increase
Glenwood Heights Primary was built in 1956 to accommodate 484 students. This year, there are 795 students enrolled at the school. Space at Glenwood Heights’ campus neighbor, Laurin Middle School, is similarly stretched thin. Built in 1965 for 600 students, LMS has 684 students enrolled this year. 

In addition to revoking boundary exceptions to help address the growth at Glenwood and Laurin, the district added eight portable classrooms to the campus over the summer. Now, more than 40 percent of Glenwood and Laurin's classrooms are portables. Adding additional portables to the current campus is not possible going forward because the schools' core facilities, including lunchrooms, parking lots, libraries, and playgrounds cannot support additional classrooms. 

With this in mind, the district has implemented other changes to maximize available space, including: 
  • Art teachers and other specialists no longer have their own classrooms. Instead, art teachers are using carts to bring supplies to students' home classrooms.
  • Reading and math intervention specialists do their work in students' home classrooms, not a separate space.
  • Glenwood’s fourth graders eat lunch in the adjacent Laurin Middle School cafeteria because of space constraints. 
Some class sizes at these schools are approaching “overload” status, which is a contractually-defined student-to-teacher ratio that when exceeded, requires either hiring additional staff to provide aide time, or teachers must be paid additional salary. 

At the Pleasant Valley campus, where the district installed a 10-plex containing 10 classrooms just one year ago, students had to give up two classrooms this fall that were being used as a cafeteria. Now, students at Pleasant Valley eat lunch in their classrooms. Enrollment also grew at Prairie High School this year, up 59 students over last fall. 

As the entire region continues to experience housing and population growth, the BGPS Board of Directors has other options for managing increasingly limited classroom and facility space, including presenting voters with a bond and redrawing boundary lines.