Central Community Schools First enrollment increase in 20 years

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By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

The halls at Central are a bit more crowded this year and not just because students and staff are sharing space with construction workers. For the first time in 20-plus years, Central is able to report an increase in its student population. And though the upward tick is a modest one, Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp sees it as a harbinger of things to come.

While it was not a major increase (+5.5 students), any increase is a positive for the long term financial outlook of the school district,” Trenkamp said. “We still have a lot of work to do but these are exciting times to be a Central Warrior!”

Central’s certified enrollment now sits at 424.1 students, up from 418.6 the year before.

“We still have work to do with our open enrolled out students,” Trenkamp continued. “Currently 74 students living in the Central School District choose to attend a neighboring school district. Central draws 53 students into our district from neighboring districts.”
Trenkamp has been at Central for six years. One of his primary goals has been to increase student enrollment.

Enrollment numbers are difficult to predict, in part due to the factors that go into it. “One of those factors is having a supportive community who invests in their school system, which we see literally on a daily basis here at Central,” Trenkamp said. “Other factors include but aren’t limited to class offerings, student-centered forward thinking, extra-curricular activities, jobs, and housing.”

When asked why numbers matter, Trenkamp provided this explanation: “School funding is set by two revenue sources, enrollment and state id. Some would argue we don’t have control over these numbers, but I disagree. I feel we do have control to a major extent with our enrollment. Our facilities, class and extra-curricular offerings, a welcoming positive staff, and community pride in our school district all contribute to increased enrollment.”

“When you take our number of students and multiply that by our state aid, any loss or gain has a major effect on the district budget. An increase in the number of students means we can maintain or even increase staff. Increased staff means more class offerings. More class offerings means we can better market ourselves when parents are shopping schools.”

“We have done a few things differently to attract new families to Central,” Trenkamp continued. “The largest, in my opinion, is providing full-day preschool. This can be a challenge as the state only funds preschool for a half-day session but it’s easier on our parents to send their child for the full-day and not have to worry about picking them up at noon and finding daycare.”

According to Trenkamp, other new ideas have included partnering with Mobile Track Solutions to offer a welding class taught by an MTS certified welders. Central has also partnered with Clayton Ridge to expand class offerings to both Central and Clayton Ridge students. These partnerships have allowed Central to expand class offerings without expanding the budget. Staff has also been trained or is currently being trained in Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Positive Behavior Interventions & Support (PBIS), Youth Mental Health, and Active Intruder Trainings (ALICE). These trainings have led to a more supportive and safer environment for students and families.  

“The most visual thing we have done is update our K-12 building, which has been received very positively by our community members and students,” Trenkamp added.


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