Now that February is drawing to a close, it appears likely that DeLaSalle will begin the 2016-17 school year with another strong enrollment, very likely to grow slightly in the coming year. Early projections suggest we will nudge closer to the maximum goals of the school’s strategic plan, calling for a total enrollment of 775-800 total students.
Should we meet this goal this would be the largest enrollment at DeLaSalle in 45 years, which speaks to the positive experiences of current students and families. Several indicators confirm the trend toward growth:
- Six months into the current school year, the total enrollment is essentially the same as at the beginning of the year. The current enrollment of 759 students (down one from last August) includes 604 prospective returning students into next year’s grades 10-11-12.
- The re-enrollment of potential returning students has been exceptionally strong. As of February 26, 590 of the 604 potential returnees (97.7 percent) have claimed a space for 2016-17.
- On February 27, the Class of 2020 will register. The Office of Admission, having received over 350 applications to date, has extended an offer of admission to 261 eighth graders and their families, with the goal of filling 175-200 places in next year’s ninth grade class.
- Additionally, DeLaSalle has already received nearly 30 inquiries for prospective transfer admission for fall, and we will place students at all grade levels as space is available.
Fortunately, in anticipation of emerging educational needs AND of enrollment growth, the new building addition and $8,800,000 Center for Innovative Learning (CIL) is still on schedule to open by fall. Not only will the school provide significantly more learning space for its students with the CIL, but the functionality of the campus will be greatly enhanced with new corridors, a new student activities entry, new areas for activities buses to load and unload, and more.
DeLaSalle also has added several new courses to its course offerings for the coming year. While the school’s operating budget for 2016-17 is not yet complete, early drafts account for additional staffing, financial assistance funds, and new programs as needed. We also will continue with the “Gateway to the Future” capital campaign through 2019 – designed to pay for the CIL and increase financial aid programs. To date, we have raised $11,000,000 in gifts and pledges.
Enrollment at DeLaSalle has fluctuated considerably over its history as seen in these 25-year increments:
- 1917 – 226 boys
- 1942 – 481 boys
- 1967 – 1231 boys
- 1992 – 353 boys and girls
- 2017 – 775-800 (projected) boys and girls
President, Barry Lieske, points out that “The enrollment growth has allowed us to expand our course offerings and programs, and hire additional teachers and staff. Thanks to the generosity of benefactors who truly believe that ALL hard-working students deserve a chance to attend a school like De, we are maintaining our historic commitment to financial assistance for kids and families with need. It’s a remarkable story.”
The current 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.