Shrewsbury school administrators break down 2021 enrollment data

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Floral kindergarteners William Chiu and Alexis Nikale were hard at work on their classwork. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – This new school year saw changes for Shrewsbury Public Schools, including a new elementary school, new school zones and full-day kindergarten for all students for the first time. 

Superintendent Joe Sawyer laid out the district’s enrollment numbers during a Nov. 17 meeting.

“This is a very good news story for the community because, really, these are the fruits of the investments our community has made in our school district,” Sawyer said.

Those investments, he said, included having enough teachers to meet class size targets as well as having enough space and programming opportunities.

As of Oct. 1, there were 5,885 students enrolled in preschool through grade 12 in Shrewsbury.

Full-day kindergarten

This is the first year Shrewsbury has offered tuition-free, full-day and in-person kindergarten, thanks to the town’s Proposition 2 1/2 override, which passed as a ballot question earlier this year. 

“Every single one of our kindergarten students gets to attend a full-day program in a K-4 elementary school,” Sawyer said. “We’re really excited that that became a reality for our school district.”

Floral Street School kindergarten teacher Emily Rosenzweig works with Cassandra Lee Swenson-Ansley. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

There are 343 students enrolled in kindergarten this year, which is an increase from 287 in 2020. 

“We don’t have great data on this,” Sawyer said. “But, anecdotally, we know that there are some families who decided to keep their child back [and] not have them start kindergarten because of the situation with the pandemic,” Sawyer said.  

First grade enrollment did see a drop from 407 students to 339 this year.

With the new Beal Elementary School opening, Shrewsbury implemented new elementary zones to free up space in previously crowded schools. 

Floral Street School, for example, saw its lowest enrollment in its existence, according to Sawyer, with 508 students. That is a drop from 679 last year. 

Capacity at SHS

There are 1,843 students enrolled at Shrewsbury High School (SHS), which is a decrease from 1,875 last year.

Principal Todd Bazydlo said that’s still the third highest mark in 10 years, though.

Bazydlo said the school was only built to serve 1,475 students. 

Bazydlo said about 50 percent of SHS teachers move classrooms twice per day under these current enrollment circumstances. Between 30 and 40 percent of teachers move three times a day, he said

“There’s a lot of movement happening within the building,” he said. “So, no one has their own classroom.”

Sawyer said the Beal committee will be undertaking a preschool through grade 12 space study that will, in part, consider this enrollment data.

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