The Long County Board of Education met for the first time this year on Monday, Jan. 13. The board discussed this school year’s enrollment numbers and what county-wide growth might mean for the Long County School System in the coming years.
After the board voted to re-elect Chairman Dr. Carolyn Williamson and Vice-Chairman Dennis DeLoach, the board turned their attention to the growth of Long County.
According to Superintendent David Edwards, enrollment totals approximately 3,873 students as of January 2020. This is a slight decline from the number of students enrolled at the beginning of the school year in August 2019, which was closer to 4,000 students. The decline comes from the number of enrolled students at Long County High School where 1010 students are enrolled, including one pre-kindergarten class of 22 students currently housed in the high school.
However, Smiley Elementary, McClelland Elementary, and Long County Middle School have seen an increase in enrollment with 1019, 884, and 960 students enrolled, respectively. These numbers were used to predict the trajectory of growth in the school over the next three years as students in each cohort progress from lower to higher grades, though Edwards said it is hard to predict how the county will grow and therefore, how the number of enrolled students will increase or decrease.
The perception is that there will be growth as the board continues to watch for construction developments and permits in housing subdivisions throughout Long County. With the addition of more housing, there may be more students enrolling and the potential need for more classrooms and teachers, though this appears not to be eminent in the following year, according to Edwards.
Two areas of enrollment are showing improvement this year. With 96 high school students enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program that has a maximum capacity for 99 students, there is significant interest in structured extracurricular activities that could provide direction for students graduating from Long County High School. Meanwhile, 107 students participate in dual enrollment in cosmetology, welding, and certified nursing assistant courses aimed to help students find a career path upon graduating. According to Edwards, dual enrollment increased when the school system began offering morning transportation for students who could not otherwise go from one campus to another.
Edwards said this increase in dual enrollment helps to alleviate the need for more high school elective teachers and frees up classroom space for core classes.
The next Long County Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Long County Board of Education building at 468 S. McDonald St. in Ludowici.
For more information, call (912) 545-2367.