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Schools open to more students

Posted 9/01/10 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

It may come as no surprise, but area schools have all reported an increase in enrollment.
Johnson Corners Christian Academy increased by five students, Alexander Public School increased by 10 students and the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 saw a net increase of 43 students.
“The increase was to be expected with the influx of oilfield-related families,” says Murray Kline, Alexander Public School superintendent. “Even with 10 new students, we still have below average student-to-teacher numbers, so we haven’t added any additional staff.”
As of the first week of school, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 had 581 students enrolled in kindergarten through the twelfth grade compared to 538 students at  the end of May, 2010. Alexander Public School District No. 2 saw its enrollment increase from 63 students last spring to 68 students to start this school year, while Johnson Corners Christian Academy’s enrollment increased from 16 to 21 students.
Both Alexander and Johnson Corners were able to accommodate students with their current staff. However, the Watford City Elementary School was not.
“We are in the process of hiring a third kindergarten teacher to accommodate our 43 kindergarten students and Mr. Diede, the high school principal, is teaching a section of Geography, says Steve Holen, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 superintendent. “Thankfully, Donna Johnson, one of our recently retired teachers was willing to come back and teach the kindergarten class until we have someone in place.”
According to Holen, Watford City High School was a pretty crazy place to be on the first day of school.
“We had 40 new students at the high school,” adds Holen. “We wanted to make sure that all of the new students received the attention they needed. It made for a crazy day, but things worked out pretty well.”
While Alexander and Johnson Corners aren’t concerned about their student numbers throughout the year, it is something they will be watching at the Watford City schools.
“I’m not really concerned about our numbers throughout the year, but it is something we will definitely be watching,” adds Holen. “Our staff is very professional and I have no doubts that they can handle the added students. But, we will still continue to monitor the numbers and make any necessary changes.”