Our district’s administration also looks much different, with many new faces in the central office administration and 11 principals who started their positions in the past three years. Many of our assistant principals are also within their first three years in their positions — not a surprise since many of our principals serve as assistants before moving into a school’s top role.
The fact that our student achievement continues to soar, as determined by every assessment our students take and compared to students across the state and nation, speaks to the strong culture we have in our district. We have a culture of focusing on the needs of each student, investing in the professional growth of our administrators and teachers, and aligning all resources strategically to support our classrooms.
One thing that is not changing — at least not as much as it was in previous years — is the size of our district.
Many people remember the big growth boom in Oldham County — when many of us moved here. Between 1996 and 2005, the school districted gained 4,000 students. Since then, we’ve only grown by 1,600. And, this year appears to be the first time in many years that we will actually lose students compared to the previous year. Granted, it’s only by two students, but we have predicted for several years that enrollment will decline for the next 10 years.
Of course, these are projections. We review them annually, and we look at data including the number of live births in the county. That peaked in 2003. Those students entered kindergarten in 2008 or 2009 and are now in 5th or 6th grade. Since then, the number of live births has fallen. This year, we have 100 fewer kindergarteners than we did last year, reflecting that trend. We anticipate our incoming kindergarten classes will continue to decrease.
There are changes that could impact enrollment, like the opening of the east end bridge, and we continue to monitor those and adjust our projections and plans as necessary.
These enrollment trends also greatly influence our property and facility decisions, about which the board of education has ongoing discussions. Currently, almost all our middle and high schools are nearing capacity. But with the decrease in upcoming classes, we can see those schools will likely have room available soon.
While our enrollment may not be growing at the high rates to which many of us were accustomed, I am excited to see a diverse and dynamic student population continuing to push our district to new heights. It’s an exciting time in Oldham County Schools and I hope you share my enthusiasm for seeing what the future holds.
- Dr. Will Wells, Superintendent