McNeil Canyon Elementary kindergarten teacher, Corise Story tells her students about the daily routine on August 23, the first day of school.-Photo by Anna Frost, Homer News

McNeil Canyon Elementary kindergarten teacher, Corise Story tells her students about the daily routine on August 23, the first day of school.-Photo by Anna Frost, Homer News

Homer schools gain students at start of year

  • By Anna Frost
  • Wednesday, September 7, 2016 3:30pm
  • News

Homer area schools are seeing an unexpected increase in enrollment from previous years at the start of the 2016-17 school year.

McNeil Canyon Elementary started the first day of school with 127 students enrolled, 20 children more than the 107 projected enrollment for the year, said McNeil Canyon Principal Pete Swanson. This is an uptick for the school which has experienced declining enrollment in the last few years.

“The declining enrollment we have had has been based on numbers of kindergartners coming in and the last few years kindergarten has been less than 15 kids. We had one class just a couple years ago that was 11. The district looks at that number and then the number of sixth graders that you’ve got and in those years of having small kindergartens coming in I’ve had large sixth-grade classes going out. This year was an exception. We have 15 sixth graders and so it’s kind of even in terms of that,” Swanson said. “This year is not an exception in the sense of gaining kids, but it’s twice the amount of kids we’re picking up. Usually we pick up about 10 kids other than our kindergarten class.”

Fireweed Academy reported an increase in enrollment with 105 students set to attend the charter school as of Aug. 17. Fireweed Academy had 85 students enrolled in the previous school year, however new principal Todd Hindman was told to expect the increase, he said.

Homer High School also fell into their projected enrollment of 380 students, with 379 students enrolled during the first week of school. The 2015-16 school year ended with 352 students, said Homer High School Principal Doug Waclawski. The hope is that they won’t lose students as the year continues as the population of the high school can fluctuate due to students dropping out as well as students who change schools or move out of the area.

Chapman School has 131 students, including their 18 pre-kindergarten students. They have 19 students more than the previous year, which was comprised of 102 K-6 students and 10 pre-kindergartners. Their projected enrollment for the 2016-17 year anticipated 131 students — 111 K-6 students and 20 pre-kindergartners — which totals to the same numbers, but they have two more students in K-6 and two less in pre-kindergarten.

“I’m pleased that our schools on the southern peninsula are seeing a bump in enrollment and hope that we will be able to maintain it,” wrote Chapman School Principal Conrad Woodhead in an Aug. 24 email. “Chapman School can be anywhere in upwards of 20-30 percent transient, so I’ll be very interested in seeing if we can maintain our growth. In the world of education, good things happen when enrollment increases, so it’s exciting to see.”

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

More in News

A diagram presented by Teresa Jacobson Gregory illustrates the proposed extension of the Beachcomber LLC gravel pit and the impact it may have on the surrounding state recreation area. The red markers indicate the current gravel mining area, and the orange represents the area the extension may allow for mining if approved. (Image courtesy of Teresa Jacobson Gregory)
KPB Assembly to consider gravel-pit ordinance revisions

Proposed gravel pit ordinance follows Superior Court ruling that planning commission can deny permits.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meets on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board works to highlight students’ voices

Within the first hour of the meeting students would have up to five minutes each to address the board about any issue

Furniture awaits use in a bedroom at a cold weather shelter set to open next month on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Half of beds at Nikiski shelter are occupied

The shelter opened at the end of December 2021

A group of community members gather together on Thursday, Jan. 6 at WKFL Park to protest the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on the one-year anniversary of the attack. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
South Peninsula residents turn out to ‘defend democracy’

Members of the Homer community and the Unitarian Universalists of Homer gathered… Continue reading

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag. The state on Thursday reported a modest population growth between April 2020 and July 2021. It's the first time since 2016 the state has reported a population increase. (
State reports small population growth

Net migration still negative, but not as negative.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Health officials: Some monoclonal treatments widely ineffective against omicron

The new guidance comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State Sen. Peter Micciche fields questions from constituents during a joint chamber luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
State Senate president lays out vision for upcoming session

Micciche seeks path forward on budget, looks to pass legislation on fishing permits, alcohol regulations

Snow covers the sign on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at the South Peninsula Hospital Bartlett Street COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Local COVID-19 alert rate quadruples

State alert level per 100,000 people now is above 1,100.

Most Read