Enrollment in the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) dropped by 5% this year. According to data from an HUUSD enrollment survey on October 1, 2019, 1,668 students were enrolled in the HUUSD. On October 1, 2020, that number dropped to 1,586 enrolled students, net 82 fewer than last year. Compare that to the year prior. From 2018 to 2019, enrollment in the HUUSD dropped by about 1% as the district lost net 14 students.
This year, enrollment dropped in every school except Waitsfield Elementary School (WES), which gained net 13 new students. The biggest decrease came from Harwood Union High School and Middle School, which have 31 fewer students this year after dropping from 599 students in 2019 to 568 students in 2020. Specifically, the middle school has net 12 fewer students this year, and the high school has net 19 fewer students, despite enrollment gains in the senior and sophomore classes.
Thatcher Brook Primary School (TBPS) had the second highest decrease in enrollment, with net 19 fewer students starting in 2020, bringing total enrollment to 320. Next is Crossett Brook Middle School (CBMS), with net 16 fewer students than last year, bringing the total to 288, followed by Moretown Elementary School (MES), which has 15 fewer students, bringing the total to 106. Warren Elementary School (WS) is starting the 2020 school year with net 13 fewer students, with a total of 115 in the school this year, while Fayston Elementary School (FES) only has one less student than last year, with a total enrollment of 59.
In the elementary schools, every school except Fayston is starting the year with a smaller kindergarten class. The biggest drop in kindergarten enrollment came from Warren, which saw a 35% decrease in class size as kindergarten enrollment dropped from 17 to 11 students this year. When factoring in the year prior, one can see that Warren has lost 50% of its kindergarten enrollment, which was 22 students in 2018.
The HUUSD enrollment survey also examined who moved in or out of the district and why. Of the 61 new students that the HUUSD gained this year, 41 came from out of state and 20 came from somewhere else in Vermont. The majority of new students, 81%, enrolled in the HUUSD because their families moved to the district. The majority of new students enrolled at Waitsfield and Thatcher Brook, with 24% of new students starting at Waitsfield and 32% of new students starting at Thatcher Brook. Note that Thatcher Brook still saw a decrease in enrollment because of students who left the school district or graduated. Moreover, Thatcher Brook saw a 15% reduction to its incoming kindergarten class, which dropped from 68 to 58 students this year.
Of the 136 students who transferred out of the school district this year, the majority, 38%, did so to pursue homeschooling. Homeschool transfers came from every school and every grade. The next most popular reason for transferring out of the district was moving out of the district, with 23% of students leaving the district because they moved. The third most popular reason for leaving the district this year was to pursue early college, with 16% of students leaving the district to start early college. All early college-goers left before entering their senior year.
The HUUSD also collected information on how many students are enrolled in the Harwood Union Remote Academy (HURA) this year. A total of 117 students are enrolled from every class and every grade. Younger students make up the biggest proportion of HURA enrolled students, with 50% of HURA enrolled students coming from grades K-4, 35% coming from grades 5-8, and 15% coming from grades 9-12.
Finally, the survey collected data on how many students used the HUUSD’s Intradistrict Choice (IDC) policy to transfer into another school in the district. While every school had both inward and outward IDC applicants, Fayston, Moretown, Warren and Harwood Union Middle School (HUMS) all had more outbound transfers. Crossest Brook, Waitsfield and Thatcher Brook on the other hand, had more inbound IDC applicants. Crossett Brook saw the greatest influx of inbound IDC students, with 81% of its IDC students choosing to come to Crossett Brook from another school and only 19% of students using IDC to leave Crossett Brook.
Conversely, HUMS saw the most students leaving through IDC. At HUMS, 88% of students used IDC to transfer out, while 12% of students used IDC to transfer in.