Continuing to buck the local and national trends, enrollment at De remains stable and strong as we begin our 116th year. By design, we pick up right where we were in May. De is now the third largest Catholic high school in Minnesota, with a total 9-12 enrollment of 760 students, including 215 ninth graders and 18 transfers who were welcomed during New Student Orientation on August 24.
Over 400 eighth grade students and over 40 prospective transfers applied for admission in the past year. The admission team at De — Director of Admission, Patrick Felicetta `01 and Vice President for Enrollment, Mike O’Keefe `78 – have already been giving tours to prospective applicant families for 2016-17, even though the application deadline is six months away.
After four years of rapid growth — a 26 percent enrollment increase from 2011-2015 — the strategic and budgetary goal for this year was to keep overall enrollment at the same level after graduating over 200 students in May. We have met the goal, with the help of many positive referrals from current parents and students. The Class of 2019 comes to Nicollet Island from 83 different middle schools, stretching across the metro area from Rogers to Woodbury.
Six of the new ninth graders and transfers are considered “international students,” coming straight to DeLaSalle from another country to study for one year or more. We now enroll a total of ten such “international students,” in addition to another 57 who were born in another country but previously had emigrated to the United States and studied in a Twin Cities middle school before coming to De. Across the entire student body, 41 percent of the students self-identify as a student of color. This, too, reflects a priority of DeLaSalle’s Strategic Plan: In an era in which the entire world is at a student’s fingertips, and the nation’s demographics and economy are rapidly changing, few Catholic high schools can match the global, racial, cultural, and neighborhood diversity of the DeLaSalle student body.
Accounting for the relatively small Class of 2016 (155 seniors), we expect to grow again in 2016-17 and then reach a cap on the enrollment. Part of the strategic rationale for constructing the Center for Innovative Learning (CIL) and corresponding building addition at De, is to add sizeable and flexible classroom space to our campus and more comfortably accommodate an enrollment of 775-800 total students by September, 2016..
The stable enrollment remains the school’s largest since 1970-71, when 780 students, all boys, were studying in three buildings – the current “A” and “B” buildings and also the original “C” building, which stood in the area now known as Founder’s Park from 1900 to 1972. From a peak of 1654 boys in 1963-64, De’s enrollment had steadily declined to a 77-year low of 306 boys and girls in 1990-91. From that point, enrollment steadily climbed over 20 years and accelerated rapidly this decade.