Corporation Gains 217 Students
Recently, Greenwood Schools experienced an increase in students to the district. Even with some students leaving the corporation — which can include students who move as well as those who transfer to other schools or commit to homeschooling — the grand total showed a 217 student increase.
“That is more than double the next nearest school corporation in the county that had a net gain of 108. One district gained four while three other districts had a net loss of 197, 370 and 577 students,” Dr. Kent DeKoninck, superintendent, outlined in an email to faculty and staff.
In that same email, Dr. DeKoninck indicated that his take would be that “our programs, culture, and staff attract far more folks that we lose.”
Net gain deducts the number of students who left from the number who enrolled to create an amount that calculates the growth or decline in the corporation student numbers. Being land locked with no room for new housing additions predicts a net loss for Greenwood because new families are not moving into new homes, apartmentments and trailer parks, but through efforts to keep Greenwood Schools growing, the corporation not only achieved a net gain but a significant one.
There are a few factors that have led to these results. One of them could have been Greenwood’s longer open enrollment period, which means that out-of-district students were able to enroll more easily over a longer period of time.
“One of the reasons for the net gain is that there are some corporations that don’t allow other students to come in and go to school there. Another reason is that we keep our open enrollment open for a longer period than some of our neighboring schools. They do have open enrollment, but they don’t have the longer application time; they have a very small window compared to ours,” Mr. Todd Garrison, principal, said.
While there are other factors that play into students’ and parents’ decisions regarding their choice of schools, sometimes it is just about what they see as a good fit. Greenwood Schools’ smaller school size promotes relationships between staff and students, and many parents and students are looking for that as they make their choices.
“I don’t think it’s any different than when seniors graduate and find an environment that is more conducive to how they think they can learn (for college). I do think and I’m aware that some of our students that are out-of-district come to Greenwood High School because they like the smaller environment compared to the school district that they were living in,” Mr. Garrison said.
Senior Hailie Martinez has attended 12 different schools in her educational career. Currently, she lives in Bargersville in the Center Grove school district but drives 20 minutes to school each morning to attend GHS.
“I chose to go to Greenwood because I feel more comfortable here,” Martinez said. “Most of the other schools I went to in Indiana were much bigger; even the middle schools I went to were a lot bigger. This school’s much smaller, and I think it makes everything a little more personal.”
Junior Dawson Pierpont had gone to Franklin Central schoolls since first grade, but decided to make the switch to GHS his junior year.
“I like in Indianapolis – right outside of Beech Grove. The school I was at was starting to go downhill,” Pierpont said. “My second cousin works here, and my mom’s boss went here too and told me good things about it, so we signed the district papers, and here I am. I’m doing way better as far as grades go.”
Because of the smaller population, GHS students know one another better and avoid some of the conflicts present in other corporations.
“I feel like it’s a lot less complicated. A negative effect of that is it could cause more drama because everybody knows everybody,” Martinez said. “At the same time, there were a lot more outbreaks of fights at the other schools I went to. There were so many people that I feel like it was overwhelming and even boring.”
Education quality attracts students, too.
“We offer programming, we offer a culture, we offer teacher relationships; we just offer things that our students appreciate and tell their friends and their family members about, and hopefully it’s something that other families in other areas are looking at,” Mr. Garrison said. “Since Dr. DeKoninck has become superintendent and has allowed out-of-district enrollment, I believe the numbers have risen each year.”
These additional students actually can help the school financially because when new students come in, the school gets more money to work with from the state.
“The state will fund schools based on the number of students they have, and then there are additional amounts for people who are involved in different programs and things of that nature. Basically, the more students you have, the more funding you receive,” Mr. Todd Pritchett, assistant superintendent, said.
The money generated with additional students coming to Greenwood helps individual schools throughout the corporation meet student needs.
“It is possible that we would have [funding for] what assists the school overall, like possibly recruitment and retention of teachers. It would possibly help schools in being able to offer additional programs; it would just provide more revenue for the school to utilize as they see fit, so it is advantageous for our students when our revenue is up,” Mr. Pritchett said.