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Student numbers stable at BEA

By Staff | May 15, 2011

Dale Brandsoy

The early projections were correct.

Enrollment in next year’s kindergarten class at Blue Earth Area Schools will once again be fairly substantial.

After kindergarten roundup was held recently, the school expects to have 98 students starting their education next year.

“We expect this number to be very accurate,” BEA principal Melissa McGuire told the BEA School Board last Monday night at their regular meeting.

Superintendent Dale Brandsoy agreed, saying in the past the number has increased by a few, if anything, by the time school starts.

“We could easily get several more students and top 100,” he says, adding that there are five families with young children which may add to the kindergarten list by the time school starts this fall.

The projection shows 75 students in the Blue Earth building, 23 in Winnebago.

The sheet also had two suggested ways to split up the Blue Earth students. Using three sections, there would be 25 in each class. Four sections would mean two classes of 19, two of 18.

The school board quickly voted to authorize the administration to add a fourth kindergarten section in Blue Earth, for a total of five sections.

This will be the third class in a row which has had a fourth Blue Earth section added.

Next year’s first graders will total 108, with four sections in Blue Earth, one in Winnebago. So will second grade, with an expected enrollment of 101.

Third through fifth grades will each have three Blue Earth sections, one in Winnebago. Their enrollments will be 82, 82 and 84 respectively.

Total enrollment in the elementary next year is expected to be 555, with 441 in Blue Earth and 114 in Winnebago.

Both the middle school and high school will have one grade with 101 students; eighth and eleventh grades.

The middle school shows expected enrollment total of 282, while the high school will have 382.

The total enrollment for BEA schools next year is projected to be 1,219, exactly the same as the current school year.

In other business, the school board received a proposed new Wellness Policy presented by school nurse Sharon Hoyt.

The new policy goes into much more detail, Hoyt says, especially concerning serving healthful foods in the schools.

While the current policy is four pages long, the new version covers 10 pages.

“We have attempted to align the school policy with all federal and state guidelines,” Hoyt says. “We also want to inspire nutritional food choices and physical activity to help curb childhood obesity issues.”

The policy covers such issues as school lunch and curbing sales of sugar products and soda pop.

“We want to promote a variety of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or non-fat dairy foods,” Hoyt adds.

One area of the policy covers snacks, especially those brought into the classroom and shared.

In fact, there are several lists of suggested snack items that should be used. these include fruits, certain crackers, pretzels, yogurt and 100 percent juices.

Hoyt says part of her work will involve preparing information for parents.

“I am asking that you look over the policy for a month or two and then consider adopting it,” Hoyt says. “Then we will begin working with the teachers and parents.”