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Shen sees high enrollment, attendance

Shen sees high enrollment, attendance

Data says 90 percent plus rates in all grades for the past three years for 9,700-student district
Shen sees high enrollment, attendance
Photographer: GAZETTE FILE PHOTOGRAPH

The Shenendehowa Central School District has, for the last three years, seen steady school attendance at over 90 percent for all grade levels, with minimal drops in enrollment throughout the school year, according to recently released district data.

At its Sept. 10 meeting, the school board was presented with new data by Bob Melia, assistant superintendent at Shen of Management Service and Quality Control, from the previous school year that contained various categories that the district uses to evaluate performance as a whole, including enrollment rates throughout the year, as well as attendance rates.

The 2018-2019 school year began with 9,725 total students. That number dropped to 9,648 by June. The district tracks enrollment month by month, with the graduation cycle stretching from early graduation in January, to later graduations in August, said Melia.

A three-year roundup of attendance rates, from the 2016-2017 school year to the most recent year, showed month-to-month attendance rates that generally peaked in the beginning of the year, dropped minimally during the winter months, and then returned to peak numbers as the school year ended.

In September of the 2018-2019 school year, district attendance was reported at about 97 percent of students in attendance at the various grade levels. 

The lowest attendance levels were reported for all three years in the month of February, dropping to around 94 percent district-wide. 

Levels for then steadily went back up in all three years, to about 96 percent districtwide in June.

Specifically, students in kindergarten had the highest attendance numbers throughout the school year, hovering close to 100 percent attendance all year. 

Grade 12 saw the lowest attendance numbers, with students at 96 percent attendance in September, decreasing until it hit 93 percent in June. In the 2018-2019 school years, one percent of students dropped out in grade 12, and two percent of students who had attended school since grade nine did not complete their high school careers.

“Everybody comes to school in the month of September. It starts to go down a little bit, and dwindles in the colder months, and then has a pick up and comes back as it heads into June,” Melia said.

The district pulls from various communities to make up its student population -- Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Ballston Lake, Round Lake, Malta and parts of Waterford, Rexford, Mechanicville and Stillwater.

The district has three middle schools, eight elementary schools and a high school divided into two buildings — High School West, which houses freshmen, and High School East, which houses sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Shen has remained among the most populated school districts in the Capital Region and has seen steady enrollment numbers for the last few years. 

However, within the district’s elementary schools, class sizes continuously shift, with some schools functioning over recommended student capacities, and some schools coming in under the total number of students the buildings were designed to accommodate.

Last year, there was an average of 425 students in each elementary school, with 680 at Arongen Elementary, which has been the district's largest elementary school for a number of years.

Melia noted that the presentation the board received was generally a rough rundown of data collected throughout the year. Administrators at each school, he said, received detailed reports regarding attendance and enrollment. 

More data, he added, is collected at the high school level than any of the other grade levels.

“We have much more detailed reports that go to the schools, and the principals can see that and they can look at it for each other their grade levels that are in there,”he said.

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