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West Fargo grows by almost 600 students

WEST FARGO — West Fargo Public Schools has grown by nearly 600 students.

A district news release states that 10,635 students were counted on the first day of school Tuesday, August 29. It is an increase of 584 students from 2016, the first year the district topped 10,000 students with 10,051.

Kindergarten through fifth-grade enrollment grew by 238 students and sixth- through 12th-grade enrollment grew by 333 students, Communications Specialist Stephanie Hansen said in a release.

Last year, the district increased by 467 students, or 4.65 percent, over the first day of school in 2015.

In 2016, middle schools and the two high schools had the largest increase, with 258 more students in grades six through 12. Sheyenne High School had 1,169 students in 2016, up from 1,011 in 2015. West Fargo High School had 1,428 in 2016, down from 1,448.

The West Fargo district has seen record growth since the 1996-97 school year, enrolling 5,757 additional students in the past 20 years, which is a growth spurt of more than 100 percent.

District officials expect enrollment to grow by about 60 percent during the next decade, Superintendent David Flowers has said..

RSP and Associates, hired by the school district to project enrollment, projected enrollment would grow by about 480 students across all grade levels this year, which is close to growth rates in years past.

West Fargo School District enrollment is quickly catching enrollment in the Fargo School District, which welcomed 11,400 students on its first day of the 2017-18 school year Thursday, Aug. 24. Fargo was up 175 students, or 1.6 percent, from the start of the 2016-17 school year, which was close to its consultant's projections of growth between 150 and 250 students each year.

Moorhead Public Schools will release its enrollment figures after school starts on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

When kindergarten starts on Thursday, Aug. 31, West Fargo expects to welcome its largest kindergarten class to date with 963 students registered as of Monday, Aug. 28, Flowers said.

The district is transitioning from housing kindergarteners in centers such as Lodoen and Osgood to kindergarten classes at each elementary school.

West Fargo Public Schools will have kindergartners at seven sites — Osgood Kindergarten Center, Lodoen Kindergarten Center, Harwood Elementary, Horace Elementary, Brooks Harbor Elementary, Legacy Elementary and Aurora Elementary.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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