Lincoln Public Schools officially counted children earlier this week and student enrollment in our school district continues to rise, with historic new highs this school year: 42,035 students are attending the school district in 2018-19, marking the first time enrollment has surpassed 42,000.
While any student growth is welcome, this year our 275-student increase slowed compared to previous years – in fact, the new total was 225 below our estimates. In past years we have come in over our estimates. And inquiring minds have asked – why?
By digging into enrollment trends over a multi-year period, we find that we are excellent at predicting live-birth rates and kindergarten enrollments. However, it is much more difficult to predict the growth at other grade levels – as students enter and leave LPS and our community. We do know that recent federal actions have limited immigration and refugee enrollment – and our English Language Learner numbers are down by a little over 100. But we also know there are additional factors. It will be interesting to see what happens next year to determine if this is an anomaly or a trend. Either way, we excitedly welcome our newest students and families to LPS.
Meanwhile, who would have thought that naming a new baby giraffe could be so much fun? We have an amazing Lincoln Children’s Zoo in our community – with a great leader, John Chapo – and we are proud to partner with them on a variety of causes. This fall we joined together to name the giraffe. And on Wednesday, with more than 2,200 suggested names submitted by LPS first graders, I joined an all-school assembly at Meadow Lane Elementary School as the winning student, Iggy Malik, shared his winning giraffe name: Phoebe. The scene in the gym was almost pandemonium as Chapo (president and CEO of the Children’s Zoo) and the zoo staff worked the kids into a frenzy in anticipation of announcing the winning name. Iggy will now forever get to boast that he was the one who named the zoo’s very first giraffe – when he was only in first grade.
Finally, believe it or not folks, first quarter is almost over.