Isle of Wight consultants project school enrollment growth

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—The county’s public schools will see enrollment growth of 800 to 875 students over the next decade, consultants told the Isle of Wight County School Board on Thursday night.

Representatives of Richmond-based Eperitus, in presenting the results of a recent demographic study, also showed geographical data that can help the school division pinpoint where current students and potential students live throughout the county, therefore making it easier to prepare for the future student population.

According to the study, school enrollment has tracked the county’s total population, which grew from 29,728 in 2000 to more than 34,000 in 2006.

From 1995 to 2007, the average annual enrollment growth rate for the schools was 1.21 percent, with 1998 and 2006 recording the highest growth at 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. The 2006 growth was linked to new housing developments in the county, the consultants said.

The study also showed that in 2005, 876 residents of Isle of Wight County attended private schools, whether inside the county or elsewhere.

A second presentation was given Thursday night by Windsor High School Principal Bill Owen and Dean of Students Bruce Carroll, who praised an after-school tutoring program that was put into effect last year, mainly to help student-athletes do better in their schoolwork. The program consisted of faculty members and teachers staying after school hours to work with kids who needed help. Many of the students were required to participate.

&uot;Because I was available after school,&uot; said WHS history teacher Danny Gottfried, &uot;more and more students came to me after school seeking help.

&uot;This program has allowed us faculty members to be more proactive in our approach to academic problems.&uot;

The school board gave WHS $5,000 to compensate the teachers who worked in the program, as they had to spend a lot of time after hours with the kids. Owen said many of the teachers didn’t want the compensation; they were happy just to help the kids.

In 2007, the average GPA of student-athletes was 2.52; it rose in 2008 to 2.59. This is a sign that this program is working and greatly helping the kids in need, proponents said.

School board member T. Hayes Griffin commended the school for its efforts and expressed the desire to see the SOL scores of the students who were required to participate in the program. A motion was passed to keep the program going and allow the school to keep the remainder of the compensation money to use toward future tutoring.

In other news, David Goodrich was appointed as the chairman of the school board and Herbert DeGroft as the vice chairman.