Aspen schools see record enrollment |

Aspen schools see record enrollment

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – When the bell rings at Aspen High School Thursday, the school will see more students than ever passing through the doors. The same will hold true when middle and elementary school students start classes Tuesday.

“We’ve had more families just coming in to register than we expected; families that just moved to Aspen … surprisingly more families,” Aspen Middle School Principal Tom Heald told the Aspen School Board Tuesday night.

Aspen Elementary School currently has 42 new students registered, which puts the school “beyond capacity” with six classes at each grade level, according to Principal Doreen Goldyn.

The school, however, is prepared for the influx of students, she said; in fact, the teachers have gone to great lengths this year to make the school building more “educationally inviting.”

At Aspen High, the biggest jump in student enrollment is in the freshmen class. Last year, there were 122 ninth-graders. This year, 155 students are registered, which could put the school above its capacity of 550 students; total enrollment hovered at 530 last year.

Aspen High Principal Art Abelmann is “very welcoming; he sees a great opportunity in bringing in new students,” Aspen Superintendent John Maloy told the school board. Maloy added that additional lockers have been ordered to accommodate the increased high school student population. “However, we know there are limitations and we respect that.

“But keep in mind, these numbers will continue to change.”

To get a more accurate enrollment picture, each of the three Aspen schools will do a “head count” – counting actual students in the classrooms, as opposed to those just registered on paper (currently 558 at the elementary school and 451 and 548 at the middle and high schools, respectively, including in-district and out-of-district students) – for at least the first week of school.

After that, school administrators and district officials will decide if the increased enrollment warrants further discussion.

“We are aware of the situation, and we will keep an eye on it,” Maloy said. “Our priority is the kids.”