Wiregrass, Pasco high schools chart big enrollment gains

Hordes of Wiregrass Ranch High School students head to portable classrooms each morning, as the school copes with an enrollment of 2,255.

Students stream toward their classes at Wiregrass Ranch High School, which has 30 portable classrooms to accommodate its burgeoning enrollment. The school must have four lunch periods to feed its hungry masses. (Courtesy of Wiregrass Ranch High School)

Students stream toward their classes at Wiregrass Ranch High School, which has 30 portable classrooms to accommodate its burgeoning enrollment. The school must have four lunch periods to feed its hungry masses.
(Courtesy of Wiregrass Ranch High School)

The school now has 30 portable classrooms, and must have four lunch periods to accommodate its swelling enrollment, said its principal, Robyn White. The high school, at 2909 Mansfield Blvd., in Wesley Chapel, had 165 more students this year than last, as of the 10th day of classes, according to Pasco County school district figures.

Some of that growth was anticipated because of a larger freshman class, White said. But the school picked up about 70 more students than it expected.

She attributes that growth to an increase in the construction of new homes and apartments in the area.

The school added 10 portable classrooms this year, enabling it to reduce the number of teachers floating between classrooms, White said. Last year, there were 11 teachers who floated between classrooms. This year, there are four.

Pasco High School’s enrollment grew by 182 students — the biggest increase among the district schools within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area.

As of the 10th day, Pasco’s enrollment was 1,575.

“We weren’t shocked,” said Pasco principal Karin Kadlub. “We were ready for those numbers.”

The school, at 36850 State Road 54 in Dade City, keeps a close pulse on enrollments at its feeder schools, Kadlub said. Because the number of eighth-graders was up at Pasco and Centennial middle schools last year, Kadlub knew there would be more freshmen at Pasco High this year.

She also knew that the school would pick up students from Academy at the Farm, a public charter school that doesn’t have a high school program.

Increased development in the area also is boosting Pasco High’s enrollment, Kadlub said.

John Long Middle School, at 2025 Mansfield Blvd., also experienced an uptick in its enrollment. Its 10th-day count was 1,659, up 116 students over last year at the same time.

Seven Oaks Elementary School, 27633 Mystic Oak Blvd., in Wesley Chapel, grew by 96 students, bringing its total to 1,009.

Most of the public schools within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area had enrollment fluctuations of fewer than 50 students, plus or minus. Some exceptions were Sand Pine Elementary School, down by 64; Centennial Middle School, down by 62; and Weightman Middle School, down by 87.

Pasco Middle School was up by 62, Watergrass Elementary School was up by 60; and Sunlake High School also was up by 60.

Published September 10, 2014

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