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Enrollment climbing at JPII, Oak Grove private schools

Wednesday, August 23, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
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FARGO — Enrollment continues to rise for the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network and for Oak Grove Lutheran School, both of which opened their doors for the school year on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

JPII schools had 1,258 students enrolled for the first day of classes. That was up 56 students from last year's 1,202, JPII President Mike Hagstrom said.

Last year's enrollment was also up 70 students from the 2015-2016 school year, Hagstrom said.

"We like that. A pretty substantial increase. We are very pleased. We really are," he said.

Oak Grove had about 590 students enrolled in kindergarten through Grade 12, and another 100 in pre-kindergarten, Director of Marketing Steven Rezak said.

Last year, Oak Grove had 556 students between its north and south Fargo campuses in grades K-12, plus about 100 prekindergarteners, President Mike Slette said.

"If you go back four or five years, we've grown by 50 percent," Slette said. "It's been really nice growth, pretty steady growth."

Slette said Oak Grove has benefitted from the overall growth in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and solid relationships with the families it serves.

"Our best marketing is, frankly, just satisfied families. They tell friends and neighbors. That is, far and away, the No. 1 thing driving growth," Slette said. "Our best marketing is just what happens in the classroom."

For JPII, Trinity Elementary School in West Fargo is now the biggest elementary in the system, with 279 students. It's followed by Nativity Elementary in south Fargo with 233 students, and Holy Spirit Elementary in north Fargo with 127 students.

Hagstrom said Trinity needs only about two more classrooms of children to be "comfortably full."

Sullivan Middle School has 272 students, while Shanley High School has 347 to start the school year, Hagstrom said. Both schools are located on a south Fargo campus.

Shanley's freshman class is 98 students, the largest it has had in awhile, Hagstrom said. Sullivan also has 101 sixth-graders.

Vandals recently damaged 37 windows at Nativity and the co-located Nativity Catholic Church.

Hagstrom said three classrooms still need their windows replaced. In the meantime, two classes have been moved to the art and music rooms, while the third class has been combined with another in the same grade, with the teachers co-teaching. Art will be taught by a teacher using a cart and going from class to class, while music will be taught in the chapel of the church, Hagstrom said.

"We hope that by Labor Day, we will have everything ready to go. It just depends on what happens with the construction," he said.

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