Total Enrollment for 2008-2009 Marks Largest in History

Amelia Raether

Amid the frenzy of a new school year, returning students may not notice that the school is growing in numbers, but this fact makes a great deal of difference to the admissions department. In fact, this year’s student enrollment marks the largest in BSM history. “This year, 14 percent more students applied than last year, and we have the facilities to admit more,” said Kate Leahy, Associate Director of Enrollment Management.

To fulfill the part of BSM’s budget that comes from student tuition, BSM must have at least 1,150 students enrolled each year, said Ms. Leahy. The admissions department’s enrollment grid, with precise class size for each grade since 1990, shows that last year towards the end of August, there were roughly 1,150 students enrolled compared to this year’s 1,168 students. This may seem like a measly jump of 18 students, but compared to the previous years with increases or decreases of two to three students, this makes a difference. This change for the most part has been gradual, as the number has increased by 138 students over the past 10 years.

This increase in students could be the result of many things, but Ms. Leahy said it was probably due to increased advertising. “We increased our budget for advertising and advertised not only in the 7-country metro, but also at Twin Cities spots like the Guthrie Theater, the Ordway, and in city magazines,” said Ms. Leahy.

The admissions department also sent out more direct mail to prospective students by buying lists with names of middle school students in Twin Cities suburbs and sending them three postcards to appeal to families that otherwise wouldn’t consider BSM.

Ms. Leahy also cites a number of cuts from the Robbinsdale school district as a possible increase in applicants, as public school class sizes increased and certain sports programs were cut.

Ms. Leahy noticed that results of BSM’s Link Crew efforts to make incoming freshmen more comfortable were apparent when assessing the enrollment facts. “I think Link Crew has also helped us retain our freshmen unlike [in previous years] as the number of tenth graders is increasing as well,” she said.

The high school has enough lockers to accommodate even more students in the future, and while the junior high class sizes are getting larger, the administration is making changes to adapt to a larger number of students.

This year, BSM also hired new faculty including a technology and learning director to introduce technology into the classroom, a full-time high school learning specialist, and a new French teacher to accommodate the growing student body.