WEST FARGO — West Fargo Public Schools is now North Dakota's second-largest school district.

Initial enrollment numbers show West Fargo has 11,728 students enrolled in preschool through 12th grade.

This surpasses Fargo's numbers of 11,335 enrolled students as of Wednesday, Sept. 2.

West Fargo Public Schools’ Return to Learn Plan created two start dates for students: Thursday, Sept. 3, for students with last names starting with L-Z, and Tuesday, Sept. 8, for students with last names beginning A-K.

According to a release from the district, roughly half of the student body started on each of the two days, with the district’s virtual students also reporting Tuesday.

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Bismarck Public Schools, North Dakota's largest school district, grew by just six students in 2020. According to a Tuesday news release from the district, the unofficial total enrollment in Bismarck is 13,318. Last year, Bismarck's opening day enrollment was 13,312. BPS will certify final enrollment numbers to the state 10 days after the start of the school year.

Bismarck also opened its schools using a hybrid model of in-person and online classes.

West Fargo began its climb past Fargo more than five years ago, adding between 400 and 500 students each year. Last year, the West Fargo district had 11,501 students on its first day of the 2019-20 school year — a growth spurt of 420 more students than 2018-19.

In 2019, Fargo Public Schools reported 11,513 students in grades K-12 after its first day of school. That was up 68 more students than in 2018.

According to District Communications Specialist Stephanie Hansen, as of Tuesday evening, families were still completing the registration process and are expected to continue to do so for days to come. Historically, enrollment data fluctuates throughout September, and the district’s official enrollment number for the year will be submitted to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction based on data pulled at the end of the month.