Enrollment is up for Frazee, LP-A
There's good news for lakes area school districts this fall: Enrollment is up.
Detroit Lakes isn't the only district reporting an increase in students over this time last year: Numbers are up for K-12 enrollment at both Frazee-Vergas and Lake Park-Audubon as well.
From September 2011 to the first day of school in 2012, Lake Park-Audubon has seen an increase of 23 students in grades K-12, according to LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie.
"We have been increasing (enrollment) by about 20 students per year for the past couple of years," he said.
"In the fall of 2011, we had 357 students in the elementary, and at the high school, we had 292, for a K-12 total of 692. Last week, the numbers were 371 at the elementary and 301 at the high school, so our total this fall is 672, which is an increase of 23 students, September to September," he added.
Hogie attributed the increase not only to improved facilities -- including a new $20 million high school in Lake Park and $3 million in renovations to the elementary building in Audubon -- but also to a high level of student achievement and an investment in new technology that included laptops for all students in grades 10-12.
"Our elementary students do fantastic on statewide testing," Hogie said. "They score higher than the state average by leaps and bounds... and our high school students test right at the state average.
"We do offer exceptional opportunities for our students, and we have some very strong teachers."
In Frazee, the numbers are even better. At the high school, grade 7-12 enrollment on opening day was up by a whopping 39 students since the last day of school in May, according to Frazee-Vergas Principal Rob Nudell.
"We ended the (2011-12) year in May with 383 kids at the high school, and on the first day of school this month we had 422," Nudell said. "That was a pleasant surprise for us."
Part of that increase could be attributed to the fact that last year's graduating class of seniors was much smaller than this year's incoming class of seventh graders, but even so, Nudell said, "There's a lot of new faces in our school, and that's a very good thing for us.
"For every grade, we're up (in enrollment), and that's exciting for us. We're glad they're here."
The numbers are also holding steady at Frazee Elementary, according to Dean of Students Troy Haugen.
"This year we started with an opening day enrollment of 494," Haugen said. "We were at 496 this time last year, and 485 the year before that.
"We had a good bump (in enrollment) last year, and the high school had a good bump this year."
One particularly good sign, Haugen said, is that kindergarten enrollment numbers are up.
"We have a really good kindergarten enrollment this year, with 74 students," he said. "That's a little higher than what we expected."
Overall, Haugen added, "we're very pleased with our enrollment. The most important thing is to be stable, or growing, and we're right there."
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.