education

BLOOMINGTON — District 87 has seen a slow but steady decline in students since the fall of 2012 and officials expect that trend to continue.

Overall district enrollment this fall is 5,292, down from 5,357 a year ago, according to figures provided at Wednesday night's school board meeting. That total is projected to dip to 5,269 next year.

Herschel Hannah, assistant superintendent of human resources, said Thursday that “given what we're looking at next year, staffing more tightly,” some personnel may need to be shifted around.

While enrollment is declining overall, from a high of 5,624 in fall 2012, some individual schools have seen recent increases.

Irving Elementary School grew from 341 students in 2015 to 370 this fall and is projected to grow to 414 next year.

“It looks like we have a growing pocket in that area,” said Cindy Helmers, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

Oakland Elementary School has the largest student population this fall with 495 students.

Meanwhile, Washington Elementary School fell from 435 students last fall to 418 this year and is projected to drop to 359 students next year.

Bloomington High School climbed from 1,339 students last fall to 1,371 this fall, but is projected to decline slightly next year to 1,358. The junior high went from 1,228 students last year to 1,204 this fall, but is projected to rebound to 1,243 next fall.

Helmers, said, “We continue to monitor the numbers and look at those as we look at staffing and facilities.”

Also at Wednesday's meeting, the board heard a report on new course proposals and course description changes for the 2017-81 school year at BHS.

Helmers said the high school piloted a couple of classes this year that went well — Senior STEM Math and photography — and wanted to include them in the regular course catalog.

“They are going to be good additions to our program for our students,” she said.

The Senior STEM Math course provides a fourth year of math for students who have completed Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry. The Photograph 1 and 2 courses provide elective credit and explore digital photography and using manual functions on digital cameras.

Another new course would be Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles.

Helmers said, “We are excited about our partnership with State farm in IT pathways.”

The IT Pathways program is designed to provide students with a background and training in information technology. State Farm Insurance is providing mentors for the students.

One pathway includes advanced placement classes in computer science; the other is aimed at the operations and systems side, and includes computer maintenance courses at the Bloomington Area Career Center, she explained.

The high school also is expanding dual credit courses through Heartland Community College that enable students to receive both high school and college credit, she said.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota

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