More Students

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Northside schools enjoying increase in enrollment

The start of the 2017 academic year meant continued growth at most of the Northside’s private and parochial schools.

Madison Ridgeland Academy (MRA), St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, New Summit School, St. Anthony Catholic School, St. Joseph Catholic School, the Redeemer School, First Presbyterian Day School (FPDS) and Christ Covenant School all report having more students.

Other schools say enrollment meets or exceeds projections, even though the overall student body decreased.

St. Andrew’s has 1,172 students this year, up from 1,148 at the start of the 2016-17 year.

“We’ve had a really exciting couple of years. There’s a lot of energy with the opening of our early childhood and discovery center (and our) 65,000-square-foot athletics and recreation center,” Director of Institutional Advancement Stephanie Garriga said.

“Having the added spaces (helps us) improve what we do in the classroom and we’re able to touch every student.”

MRA has also seen an increase in students, going from 1,100 last year to 1,141 at the start of this academic year.

The increase breaks the school’s previous enrollment record, which was set last year, and represents “seven consecutive years” of growth, said Director of Admissions Beth Yerger.

“Multiple grades across every area of the school now have waiting lists,” she said.

Officials there credit MRA’s success, in part, to its extra-curricular offerings, Christian emphasis and family environment. “While we are now one of the largest independent schools in Mississippi, our family atmosphere is something we value,” she said.

Jackson Preparatory School’s (Prep) enrollment sits at 843 students, fewer than the 871 enrolled there last year, but more

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 than what officials projected for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

“Based on feeder schools and market trends, we are satisfied with our enrollment for the seventh grade junior high entry point. We are also excited at how the ninth grade at Prep has become an entry point for transferring students,” said Tracie Mallard, Prep’s director of admission.

Jackson Academy (JA) has approximately 1,200 students this year, including increases in fifth through 12th grades, Interactive Media Coordinator Rachel Eason said. “JA is seeing a trend of some families delaying entry until middle and upper school. JA has noted fewer enrollees in some of its lower grades, such as K3 and first grade.”

 

First Presbyterian Day School has seen a roughly 100-student increase this year, in part, because of the addition of a new three and four-year old kindergarten program. “We’re busting at the seams,” Principal Gary Herring said. “The classes are totally full. We even have a waiting list for the four-year-old class next year.”

Both the three and four-year-old programs are capped at 50 students.

The downtown Jackson school serves students in pre-school through sixth grade and is a feeder school for Prep.

In kindergarten through sixth grade, enrollment remained steady, with only about a five-student difference from last year, Herring said.

Like FPDS, Redeemer also reports a significant increase in enrollment. And, like FPDS, much of the growth can be credited to the addition of another grade.

Redeemer, which is now in its fourth year, added its first fourth-grade class. Enrollment, as a result, has grown to 91, up from 74 at the start of the 2016-17 year, Principal DeSean Dyson said.

“We are using the whole building. If the school was to grow, this is what was going to happen,” he said. “God is faithful and we have grown.”

 

St. Joe and St. Anthony are also reporting more students in the classroom.

At St. Joe, enrollment has grown from 386 to 411 students in grades seven through 12. St. Anthony’s student body has grown from 270 to 275.

“Our small senior class (last year) was replaced by an average-sized seventh grade,” St. Joe Principal Dena Kinsey said. The school also serves a large population of students with special needs, contributing to its growth in enrollment, she said.  

St. Anthony’s population is “right on track and keeping on target from previous years,” Development Director Kristian Beatty said. The school serves students four years old to sixth grade.

New Summit is experiencing two years of consecutive growth, with 250 students reported, 35 more than the start of the previous year.

“We have grown dramatically over the last five years,” Admissions Coordinator Sarah Perkins said. Enrollment at New Summit also includes the school’s Spectrum Academy, which serves children with autism.

Christ Covenant’s overall student body has increased by seven, going from 275 to 282 at the start of the 2017-18 year, said Head of School Cathy Haynie. Much of the school’s growth comes from the middle school program, which has increased from 79 to 90 students, she said. The school serves students

Figures for St. Richard Catholic School and The Education Center School were not available.

 

 

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