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Watford schools brace for record enrollment

Posted 7/14/15 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

While school won’t begin in Watford City until Aug. 20, school administrators are already bracing for what could be another record enrollment.
Once again, it appears that the elementary school is going to bear the brunt of the enrollment increase as 680 elementary students are already pre-enrolled for the 2015-16 school year. And with the start of school still six weeks away, the district anticipates that number could go higher.
According to Brad Foss, Watford City Elementary School principal, two new modular buildings have been moved in for the establishment of four new classrooms.
“We are also turning what used to be the computer lab and the English Language Learning (ELL) classroom into two regular classrooms,” said Foss. “With the four existing modular classrooms we had last year, the two converted classrooms, and the four new classrooms, we will have a total of 10 modular classrooms for this upcoming school year.”
Until the fourth and fifth grades transition into the old high school building in January of 2016, when the new high school is open, the fourth and fifth-graders will be located in the 10 modular classrooms - five sections of fourth grade and five sections of fifth grade. Both fourth and fifth grades added one section for each grade for this upcoming school year. And the modular classrooms will all be complete and ready prior to Aug. 1, when teachers start moving into their classrooms.
According to Foss, fourth and fifth grades are not the only grade levels that grew in the elementary school. Third grade added two additional sections for a total of six third grade sections. And kindergarten, the first, and second grades are all on the borderline of adding a seventh section to each of those grade levels.
With the current student growth not slowing down anytime soon, there are definitely plans in the works, according to Foss, for building a second elementary school in the near future.
“We’ve even added some pre-registration days to hopefully get more students registered so we can start planning accordingly,” said Foss.
Pre-registration for elementary students will be taking place July 22-24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Documentation including birth certificates, proof of residency, a driver’s license, and immunization records are only needed for new students that did not attend Watford City Elementary School last year.
Regular New Student Registration will begin Aug. 5 and go until school starts on Aug. 20. The elementary office will be open for regular registration in the office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each business day, starting Aug. 5.
According to Foss, bus routes should also start running the first day of school. For parents with transportation or bus route questions, they need to contact the McKenzie County School District #1 Transportation Department at 701-444-3828, in August, prior to school starting.
Parents should also be looking for information regarding the elementary school’s open house date, which will be announced at a later date.
“I’m really excited for the coming school year,” says Foss. “I’m looking forward to all the changes that will be happening - the transitions into the new buildings, the new teaching and administration changes, and the talks of a second elementary school.”