Golden Springs Principal Betty Merriweather was encouraged by the participation.
“It’s important to me because I feel that the parents are interested,” she said. “They’re very interested in what goes on with their children and with the school.”
It also helps the first day of school go smoothly. So, Anniston High School Principal Sherron Jinadu said the school has been calling students who have not registered to prod them into coming.
“It’s important for securing the data we need,” Jinadu said.
Over the summer, addresses and contact information such as phone numbers may have changed, she said.
Registration was set up in the high school cafeteria. Tables ran the perimeter of the room and seated at each table teachers and volunteers were answering questions, tweaking schedules, handing out school supply lists or helping students and parents purchase school memorabilia from the “dog pound.”
“We’re trying to inspire school pride,” Jinadu said, nodding toward the setup in the corner of the cafeteria where there were T-shirts and supplies emblazoned with the school mascot.
The school opens the store, which they call “the dog pound,” during the school year. But this is the first time it’s been opened during registration. Jinadu is hoping to have every student wearing the school emblem each Friday and at athletic events, she said.
At another table, Marilyn Stansil, Parent Teacher Organization president, was helping register parents for the organization and letting them know how they can volunteer.
“This has worked out real well,” Stansil said. “We’ve picked up a whole lot of membership.”
The high school is expecting about the same amount of students as last year, give or take 20, Jinadu said. In recent years, enrollment at the high school has been between 500 and 600 students.
At Constantine, administrators were expecting about the same number of students as the previous year, but were optimistically hoping for more, said Principal Kimberly Garrick. The problem is the area has seen families move out and housing has fallen into disrepair or been demolished.
“Until we get more housing in the area that this school is located, we’re going to struggle with that,” Garrick said. “Everyone wants, regardless of their economic situation, everyone wants a decent place to live and a safe place to live.”
Golden Springs and Tenth Street elementary schools were expecting an increase in numbers. Merriweather said families are migrating into the area and also some families are taking their students out of private schools and enrolling them in the public school.
“We have more children getting ready for school, and as I observe the community, I just see more people still moving into this area,” Merriweather said.
Both Cobb Elementary and Anniston Middle schools were expecting lower enrollments this school year, but middle school Principal Lynwood Hawkins was optimistic that the school will see at least as many enrollments or hopefully more than last year.
“As far as the actual number, I really don’t know yet,” he said. “We would like to think we would reach 500 students this year. We really would like to have that.”
Last year, the school finished the year with 475 students. The state awards teachers and funding based on school enrollment. So if enrollment drops, the schools lose money, and nobody wants to see that happen, Hawkins said.
As of Friday afternoon, the school had 371 students registered. But there will be students coming in right up to the first day of school and even after to register, Hawkins said.
“It can get pretty congested sometimes when parents come in on the first day or that first week,” Hawkins said with a laugh.
It’s easier on everybody if the students are already registered, he added.
“We want to have everybody in school and in class the very first day, so teachers can begin instruction,” he said.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.