WATERLOO — Enrollment is down overall at the Cedar Valley’s parochial schools, but students are still enrolling at some of them.
The 10 Christian schools in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Gilbertville and Raymond tracked by The Courier reported a total of 1,704 kindergarten through 12th-grade students on the first day of classes last week, 51 less than last year.
For the first day of classes, “we’re pretty close to where we normally are, plus or minus from last year,” said Dale Monroe, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools chief administrator. “It’s just a little bit down.”
While the system’s middle and high schools had small changes in enrollment, there was a bigger dip at its three elementary schools, which had 35 fewer students overall in kindergarten through fifth grade. In addition, the elementaries had 129 preschool students.
As of the second day of classes Friday, though, Monroe noted families were still coming to the CVCS offices and enrolling their children.
He expects the official enrollment count Oct. 1 to be higher than the first-day numbers.
After a large increase last year, the Bosco Catholic School System’s Immaculate Conception/St. Joseph School also saw an enrollment drop. There were 18 less students at the two-campus school, with kindergarten through first grade at St. Joseph in Raymond and second through eighth grades at Immaculate Conception in Gilbertville.
“We had a group of 32 come out from eighth, only 14 come in for kindergarten,” said Principal Sharon Meyer.
Waterloo Christian School had a small decrease in its K-12 enrollment. “It’s very close to last year,” said administrator Jennifer Neifer. “We had seven graduate and we have eight in our kindergarten class this year. Everything is fairly steady.”
Small increases were seen at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville and Valley Lutheran School in Cedar Falls, which includes K-12. The largest increase in a single school was seen at St. Patrick Catholic School in Cedar Falls.
“We are up to 219 in kindergarten through eighth,” said Principal Bev Mach. That is 12 more students than the school reported on the first day last year, and an even larger increase since classes ended last spring. St. Patrick also has 43 preschool students.
“Besides the new kindergartners, we have transfer students,” she said. “We are very excited about our growth.”
Typically, the school’s enrollment hovers around 200. Mach noted this fall’s growth has been in third through fifth grades.
“This year is definitely a sign of growth,” she said. “Everyone is just really excited about that.”