At the end of the day Tuesday, districtwide enrollment had reached 39,927 students, including 467 students that enrolled since schools opened Monday morning, Cherokee School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.
“If growth continues at this rate, enrollment could top the projected peak by several hundred students,” Jacoby said, adding enrollment was forecast to reach 40,200 students this school year.
The enrollment increase includes more than 286 students who have transferred to the public school system since June 1 from Cherokee Charter Academy, which is significantly higher than expected, Jacoby said in a release.
Despite quickly rising enrollment numbers, Jacoby said the first day of school was “extremely well-planned, smooth and successful.”
Jacoby said the district’s 4,300 employees, including about 2,400 teachers, are back at work in the school’s 44 facilities.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said nothing is more important than making sure students are prepared for school and the rest of their lives.
“Today’s successful opening fills me with appreciation for the dedication of our staff and the support of our parents, partners and volunteers to ensure that each one of our students begins the school year right and has every opportunity to excel,” Petruzielo said Monday, after the first day of school came to a close. “The year ahead looks very bright for CCSD.”
When school started, the district had already enrolled 682 more students than the first day of school last year, Jacoby said.
While the district had expected some students to transfer from Cherokee Charter Academy to the district this year, by Tuesday, the number of transfer students from the charter school had already amounted to triple the number of students expected by the district, Jacoby said in a release.
“School district officials had forecast that, because of the closing of the charter school’s high school program, a portion of those students would transfer to CCSD, with the remainder choosing other options, but the totals show transfers of charter school students from across all grades to CCSD schools,” the release said.
While about 100 students who transferred from the charter school to district schools this year came from the high school grade levels, about 200 students from first grade through eighth grade also made the switch. Last year, the charter school averaged an enrollment of about 1,100 students, the report showed.
“The superintendent and his staff are closely monitoring this growth to determine where staffing adjustments may be needed in the coming weeks,” Jacoby said.
Since July 15, about 50 students transferred from the district to Cherokee Charter Academy, figures show.
Jacoby added the local district “did not see an influx of ‘refugee’ students from Central American countries.”
The replacement Teasley Middle School building opened for students this school year, and Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil said “the students and parents have continually expressed their heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the school board’s vision to build a new middle school facility for the Teasley Middle School community.”
The new 239,750-square-foot building houses about 1,350 students in sixth through eighth grade, Jacoby said.
The previous Teasley Middle School building, on Knox Bridge Highway, now houses ACE Academy, which relocated from its old facility in downtown Holly Springs.
Director of School Operations Ron Dunnavant visited the newly repurposed facility Monday, and said the first day went well.
“The staff and administration of ACE Academy ran a very smooth operation this morning,” he said. “It was as if the program had been at that location for years.”