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Farmington schools show growth at all levels

Enrollment in Farmington schools is ahead of projections at all levels according to a report given at Monday night’s school board meeting.

The district’s enrollment on Oct. 1 was 7,075. That includes early childhood programs. The state of Minnesota uses the Oct. 1 number to determine funding to school districts.

Riverview Elementary School was the district’s biggest elementary with 807 students. Akin Road Elementary had 714 students on Oct. 1, Meadowview Elementary had 702, North Trail Elementary had 652 and Farmington Elementary had 595.

Boeckman Middle School had 840 students on Oct. 1 and Dodge Middle School had 714.

Superintendent Jay Haugen did not compare enrollment at elementary and middle school buildings with last year’s numbers in the same buildings because the district redrew boundaries last year.

Farmington High School had 1,875 students on Oct. 1.

Gateway Academy, the district’s newest school, has 75 students enrolled in its first year.

The Farmington district went through its last big wave of growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when construction was booming. The district added more than 1,000 in just a few years.

“That was a huge percentage growth every year,” Haugen said.

Those waves typically started at the younger grades and progressed upward as students aged. At the district’s middle schools, enrollment grew by 100 students the previous two years and by 80 students this year. Haugen said those growth bubbles are about to start hitting Farmington High School.

Haugen said those bubbles of growth could start again as the housing market starts to pick up.

“We’ll just kind of prepare for the next wave of students,” he said.

Good grades for superintendent

Farmington School Board members gave superintendent Jay Haugen good marks for his efforts to bring an innovative spirit to the district’s schools.

The board discussed its annual evaluation of Haugen’s performance at a Monday night school board meeting. Board members conducted the evaluation in a special session prior to their last meeting.

Reading from a summary of the board’s evaluation, board member Julie Singewald said Haugen has created an atmosphere in the district where teachers are “fearless” when it comes to trying new things.

Haugen led the effort to have the Farmington district declared an innovation zone by the Minnesota Department of Education. That designation has the potential to remove some barriers to exploring new methods of teaching.

Board members also praised Haugen’s embrace of the district’s strategic plan.

“He’s committed to a vision to meet the needs of every individual student,” Singewald said.

Board members encouraged Haugen to develop new metrics for measuring student progress. They asked for something that is easily shared with the board and with the public.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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