With less than two weeks remaining until school begins in Grain Valley, back-to-school activities have begun in earnest. Registration for high school students began this week, with Meet the Teacher nights at each of the district’s schools set for next week. While other area districts, such as Shawnee Mission School District, are starting the school year with numerous teaching openings left unfilled, Dr. Brad Welle, Deputy Superintendent, Student and Community Services, reports Grain Valley Schools has only one teaching opening, a special education position, unfilled now.
“This is a recent opening. Filling certain roles had been getting more difficult in recent years, but this is the first year the work of filling our teaching positions got more challenging across the board. There are fewer applicants for all teaching positions overall,” Welle said.
“Our greatest struggle is filling our non-certificated roles. We currently have openings in paraprofessionals, custodial, and Valley Kids. We will need more substitute teachers soon after the start of the school year.”
Student numbers are looking up for 2021-22, after a net gain of just 18 students in the last school year. As of this week, the district has 4,665 students enrolled in preK-12th grades.
“This number is typically artificially high in the days before school starts because it includes new students but those who have moved away but have not enrolled at their new schools are also still included in the count. Even so, we could end up with 150-175 more students than a year ago,” Welle said.
“We use October enrollment for year-over-year comparisons. Our enrollment on the first attendance day in October 2020 was 4428 and was 4410 in 2019. Our numbers last year will likely be the outlier. We have averaged a net gain of 78 students each year since 2015, with most of our growth occurring at the middle school and high school levels. We saw the most year-over-year growth in recent years in 2017-2018 with a net gain of 153 students over the previous year.”
Kindergarten numbers for the district are increasing this year after dropping off for the first time last year at this time. Welle reported kindergarten enrollment as of August 11th is 303, compared to 282 in October 2020 and 320 in October 2019.