Enrollment Jumps at Some Island Schools

SWANS ISLAND — A 33-percent jump in student enrollment over this time last year has the staff at Swans Island Elementary School scrambling to find enough chairs, forks and other essentials for everyone.

Last year, 39 students were registered on the first day of school. This year, the number was 52, and principal Heather Webster said she expects that to increase to 54 by Thanksgiving.

“We had 35 or 36 students most of last school year,” she said.

Part of the reason for the dramatic increase, Ms. Webster said, was the decision by one family who had home-schooled their children to send them to the public school this year. Two other families moved from Frenchboro to Swans Island over the summer. As a result, opening day enrollment at Frenchboro Elementary dropped from 11 last year to seven this year.

Another factor in Swans Island’s higher numbers this year was the loss of only two students due to graduation from eighth grade to high school.

In addition to heading the Swans Island school, Ms. Webster is in her first year as principal at Ashley Bryan Elementary School on Islesford. The opening day enrollment there dropped from 12 last year to nine this year.

Mount Desert Elementary School started this school year with 180 students, 13 more than the number enrolled on the first day of classes a year ago.

That might not seem like a big increase to some people, but to principal Scott McFarland, it is huge because it means that a healthy trend is continuing.

For more education news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]