More students are attending Oklahoma City Public Schools than at any time in the past 35 years, district officials reported this week.
Enrollment rose by 2.4 percent or 1,115 students during the first quarter of the 2013-14 school year, continuing a decadelong trend of growth. An estimated 45,773 students are in the district compared to 44,658 after one quarter last year, officials said.
“If you dial back the clock, the last time we achieved that high a number was the 1978-79 school year,” Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez said during Monday's school board meeting.
Schools with the largest first-quarter increases include John Marshall High School (28 percent), Bodine Elementary School (25 percent) and Greystone Upper Elementary School (22 percent), the district reported.
A campaign to bolster enrollment is being credited with first-day and first-quarter gains throughout the district.
Officials rescheduled the first day school to fall on a Monday following a payday. Volunteers, including district administrators and teachers, walked door-to-door to raise awareness in areas were pre-enrollment numbers were low or where families lived near neighboring school districts.
Incentives like drawings for free bicycles and headphones for students with perfect attendance also helped boost attendance, said Kathleen Kennedy, district spokeswoman in charge of communications and community relations.
Additionally, the district enrolled more than 4,500 new students during the first quarter, including 3,089 prekindergarten and 1,557 kindergarten students.
“We are becoming as robust as we were in the late '70s and that's a good thing,” Kennedy said, adding that more and more families are moving to Oklahoma City.