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Enrollment up at local schools, officials say

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By Calen McKinney

It's been more than a week since local children went back to school, and officials say this year is off to a good start.

Enrollment figures at local schools are also up, though the numbers likely won't be final until around Labor Day.

School personnel say students have adjusted well to their new school routines and no major problems have been reported.

Following is information about enrollment at each of the schools that responded to a request before press time.

Campbellsville Middle School

Principal Elisha Rhodes said she is pleased with how the first few weeks of school has gone at Campbellsville Middle School.

Enrollment at the beginning of this year is up when compared to enrollment at the end of the year last year, she said.

Last year, there were 428 students at CMS. So far for this year, Rhodes said, enrollment stands at 437.

"Students have adjusted well and are in the swing of their new classes," she said. "We look forward to a phenomenal year at CMS."

CMS students were met with many changes this year, from physical changes inside to the implementation of the Leader in Me program.

Students have a 40-minute daily leadership period where Rhodes says they will be taught the seven habits of highly successful people.

Rhodes said the school is looking for parents and businesses to collaborate with the school to honor students. Those interested can contact her at (270) 465-5121 or elisha.rhodes@cville.kyschools.us.

Campbellsville High School

The school year is also off to a smooth start at Campbellsville High School, according to Principal Kirby Smith.

As of last Thursday, there are 278 students at CHS.

"That number could fluctuate some but not much," Smith said.

At the end of last year, there were 261 students at CHS.

"Our students have had no trouble adjusting to their new classes," Smith said. "We have had no major changes or surprises thus far.  I have been very pleased with our start this year."

Taylor County Elementary School

At Taylor County Elementary School, Principal Donna Williams said students are under way with their studies, which include learning the seven habits of highly successful people and how to apply them to their lives. This is part of the Leader in Me program, which both public school systems have implemented this school year as a part of the Race to the Top grant they received.

Enrollment at TCES, as of last week, stood at 1,161 students. Preschool begins Aug. 18, she said, and at least 40 students are expected.

At the end of last school year, enrollment at TCES was 1,209. Williams said she expects that enrollment will end up at about that total.

Williams said students enroll throughout the year, with several new students coming after Labor Day, fall break, Christmas break and spring break. These are usually the times of the year when families move to new areas.

"We have had a smooth start to our year and everyone seems very excited to begin," she said. "We appreciate all our parents for helping us get off to a great year."

Taylor County Middle School

"We've got a great year going," Principal Tony Jewell said.

At Taylor County Middle School, he said, there is an effort under way for school faculty and staff members to better communicate with parents.

"That's something we need to do better," he said.

Daily announcements and information about upcoming events will be posted via social media.

The Taylor County Schools' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/TCSchools. The Twitter page is twitter.com/TC_Schools_KY.

Jewell said he tries to use One Call alerts sparingly, because he knows parents don't like to be bothered with a lot of phone calls. And, he said, parents can check social media sites at their leisure.

"And the technology's there to do it," he said. "We hope to use that more. We'll see how the response is."

Jewell said his school personnel began the Leader in Me program on Friday and will continue discussing it in coming weeks.

Students are adjusting well to their schedules, he said. Bump Up Day at the end of the year helps with this, he said.

Enrollment at TCMS, Jewell said, stood at 601 students on Friday. He said that is nearly 30 students more than at the end of last year. By the end of this year, he said, he expects enrollment to fall at about 20 more than last year.

Several students enroll after Labor Day, he said, because some people who aren't from this area are used to school not starting until then and might not know it starts earlier in Kentucky.

Taylor County High School

Taylor County High School Principal Laura Benningfield has finished her first full week as principal.

"We have had a great start this year at TCHS," she said. "Students and teachers seem very excited about the new year."

Benningfield said she is enjoying her new position.

"I have smiled more in the last week than I ever remember smiling in my life," she said. "It is an honor to work with such a great faculty and staff, and our students have been so warm and welcoming to me."

As of last Tuesday, enrollment at TCHS was at 887. Last year, the figure was 848, for an increase of 39 students so far this year.

TCHS will host a parent meet and greet tomorrow at 6 p.m. This will be a time for parents to talk to Benningfield and other staff members.

"We will be discussing our mission at TCHS to prepare each student for college and/or careers," she said. "We will also have a variety of information tables for clubs, student-based enterprises, activities, guidance questions, college and career readiness and local colleges. We encourage all parents to come to this short and informative meeting."

The TCHS PTSO will have an organizational meeting following the meet and greet.