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APS seeing rebound in enrollment

School up 147 students from last year at this time

The Austin Public Schools Board on Monday night received some optimistic enrollment numbers.

Director of Research Evaluation and Assessment Corey Haugen reported during the board’s monthly meeting that enrollment numbers were beginning to climb back up toward pre-pandemic levels.

As of this past Friday, Haugen reported, APS enrollment was at 5,218, compared to 5,017 students reported at the same time last year.

“We’re up 147 students from where we were last year,” Haugen said, indicating the new enrollment numbers reflect students who opted for alternative education opportunities last school year.

“Many are returning students who took other enrollment options last year,” Haugen said. “It’s nice to see those students return back to us, and that’s including kindergartners that held out a year.”

Haugen said that 21 more students who were held back because of quarantine came back Monday morning.

He also reported that minority enrollment was up slightly at around 55%.

In other news:

• During his report to the board, APS Superintendent Dr. Joey Page said that the district will soon be reaching out to the public with a survey intended to gather input on what parents and staff consider to be the strengths of the district and those resources that might be needed.

Page said that the purpose of the survey is to “gather data on education priorities.”

The survey is expected to be sent out in October.

• Page also gave an update to the current COVID-19 situation at the school. In his weekly update sent out to parents in the district last Friday, 11 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the district from Sept. 4-10, down significantly from the week prior, when 42 cases were reported.

While less than 1% of students and staff have reported positive cases, Page urged caution.

“This is a developing situation and can quickly change,” he said.

• The school continues to work with Palmer Bus to figure out an optimal bussing situation for students. Like districts across the state, APS and Palmer are working around a shortage of drivers, leading to altered bussing schedules.

“It’s not been easy,” Page said. “But the situation is improving.”

• John Alberts, director of Education Services, reported that the annual Geography Bees at the schools has been canceled indefinitely by National Geographic as it works to try to determine how the Bee will look going forward.

• Retired APS superintendent David Krenz will receive his Polaris Leadership Award this month. He was named the beneficiary of the award in May.