Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WRHS freshmen first to arrive

District releases 2006-2007 enrollment numbers

Express Staff Writer

On the first day of school, Wood River High School freshman Alli Sowersby, right, tries to open her locker. Fellow ninth-grader Ashley Hesteness offers a hand. The school welcomed the freshmen class Monday, Aug. 28, a day before upper classmen arrived. Express photo by Megan Thomas

Ninth-grade student Alli Sowersby forgot her locker combination amid the excitement of the first day of school.

"I had some trouble getting my locker open," Alli said.

Locker troubles aside, there were few kinks when Blaine County students returned Monday, Aug. 28, for the 2006-2007 school year.

Lucky for Alli, Wood River High School welcomed her ninth-grade class a day before the upper classmen returned. The high school introduced a freshmen orientation day this year to ease the transition for students coming from middle school. Upper classmen arrived Tuesday, Aug. 29, for the first day of school

"Every kid I talked to said the day was helpful and got rid of every apprehension they had," said Graham Hume, Wood River High School principal.

Freshmen students attended an assembly, visited an activity fair, completed a scavenger hunt, and went to a modified class schedule to meet teachers and learn the layout of the building.

A select group of high school junior and senior students, called Pack Leaders, volunteered to show younger students around the school. The students will serve as mentors to the freshmen throughout the year. The upper classmen wore T-shirts that read, "Changing the world, one freshman at a time."

Alli said, "It helped us out a lot. They showed us where our classes were."

"And, answered any questions we had," added Ashley Hesteness, also an incoming ninth-grader.

While Wood River High School freshmen wandered the high school halls, students across the district also went back to school this week.

After the first day of school, the Blaine County School District reported 2,444 students, which does not include students attending Wood River High School. Because the high school opened to upper classman on Tuesday, the high school's enrollment numbers were not available by press time.

Elementary level enrollment numbers cannot be compared to previous data this year due to the opening of Woodside Elementary in Hailey.

"We are not doing a comparison on the elementary schools this year. Next year we'll do a comparison and use this year's numbers as a baseline," said Cathy Zaccardi, Blaine County School District clerk of the board.

Opening of the new elementary school completes the district's shift to so-called "neighborhood schools." All Blaine County elementary schools now serve kindergarten to fifth-grade students.

On opening day, Woodside Elementary welcomed 350 students. The Developmental Preschool at Woodside recorded 26 students, an increase from 16 students. The preschool facility, which serves handicapped children from 3 to 5 years old, was previously located at Bellevue Elementary.

Enrollment at Ketchum's Hemingway Elementary School is 389 students. Hailey Elementary School recorded 393 students. Bellevue Elementary School has 302 students, including 21 students enrolled in a pilot preschool program.

Wood River Middle School experienced an increase of 11 students. The school—sixth through eighth grade—has 712 kids enrolled.

The Silver Creek Alternative School in Hailey tallied 29 students, compared to last year's 20.

The Carey School saw decreased overall enrollment by 22 students, bringing its total to 248. The school welcomed 15 students in the pilot preschool program.

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