GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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September 17, 2013

Student numbers up in city schools

The overall enrollment in the Gloucester Public Schools has grown by 2.1 percent at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year compared to a year ago, at least temporarily reversing a trend of annual enrollment declines that have plagued the city schools for a number of years, preliminary figures by the superintendent’s office show.

The figures, released Monday by Superintendent Richard Safier, show total enrollment for the current school year grew by a net 64 students to 3,084 from 3,020 in the 2012-13 school year, with the largest gain of students in fourth grade (up 56 students), kindergarten (up 49 students), seventh grade (up 22 students) and eighth grade (up 16 students).

Those gains, possibly fueled in part by the closure of the St. Ann and Gloucester Community Arts Charter schools, help offset enrollment losses from in sixth grade (down 28 students), ninth grade (down 21), 10th grade (down 18 students) and second and third grades (each down 13).

The School Department figures show current enrollment at Gloucester High School is 940 students, while 673 students are enrolled at Ralph B. O’Maley Middle School.

The largest student body among the city’s elementary schools remains at West Parish School, which has begun its final year with 361 students. West Parish is being targeted for replacement by the School Committee, with plans for a new school to be built on the same site. But school officials are also planning to relocate the West Parish students for the next school year, site the former ITT Rule industrial plant site among the candidates for a temporary location.

The West Parish enrollment is followed by Beeman Elementary School (334 students), East Gloucester Elementary School (260 students), Plum Cove Elementary School (221 students), Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School (215 students) and the pre-school program, with 80. The pre-schoolers are being relocated from the Fuller School building to the former Gloucester Community Arts Charter School.

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