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System continues to add students
School enrollment likely to remain fluid
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Forsyth County News

By the end of the first day of the 2011-12 year, the Forsyth County school system’s enrollment stood at 36,689.

It added another 14 students the next day, Friday. And when the system’s Forsyth Academy and iAchieve Virtual Academy open this week, Sue Derison expects that number to grow.

Derison, the system’s director of student information services, said she also expects to see an attendance bump Monday, particularly since school opened midweek this year.

"It’s been a really busy season," Derison said of summer registration. "We’ve had continued growth … and it’s going to creep on up."

Students will continue to enroll through next week and beyond, said Candy Norton, chief human resources officer.

There are two major enrollment peaks, Norton said. After the first 10 days, the flow of incoming students slows, before picking up again after Labor Day.

That puts the system in a holding pattern, Norton said.

"We’ve done the teacher movement that we needed to do," she said. "What we may be doing is hiring additional positions to cover the student enrollment. We’re going to keep an eye on it over the next week or two."

Norton said the district has budgeted for about nine more teaching positions, but principals are awaiting final numbers to see what grades have the most need.

While the system added 77 new teachers, total staffing levels are lower than the 2008-09 school year, when there were about 5,000 fewer students.

"We’ve made it tighter and tighter and tighter," Norton said. "We didn’t feel like we could squeeze it any more without affecting the quality."

Derison said the system expects to add 1,500 students by January.

"We always have a slow growth right up through the end of the first semester," she said. "It’s just a constant revolving door … they’re coming in and going out all the time."

As for transportation, director Garry Puetz said the department has never started smoother.

"[Thursday] was our best opening day ever," he said. "I’m sure we had some bumps … but we showed marked improvements over last year in terms of being on time the first day.

"I look for, starting Monday, us to have at least as good a day as we had [Friday] and increasingly improve. I would think we’ll be on schedule and where we need to be by the middle of the week."

Traffic delays have been a problem near Lambert High School, Puetz said. There are also a few "crowded buses we’re trying to balance out a little bit."

"But those are routine things for the first day or two of school," he said.

Puetz encourages parents to be patient early this week as the department works out kinks and as students readjust to the routine.