School counts level out, not dropping

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Some have gone and some have come, but the number of evacuee students in the Miss-Lou is holding pretty steady.

The Natchez-Adams School District has just over 500 new students, ranking them tops in the state, just behind the Jackson Public Schools, which has about 750. The Jackson district is the largest in the state.

Concordia Parish schools have 496 evacuees, as of Friday. Six Louisiana districts have more than 1,000 new students, but Concordia Parish Superintendent Kerry Laster has said her district also ranks high on the list.

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Ferriday Lower Elementary with 79 new students and Ferriday High School with 77 lead the district.

The parish peaked at a few students over 500. Natchez has continued to grow.

Natchez-Adams Assistant Superintendent Larry Little said the district has lost some students but is seeing more come in daily. Some families who originally evacuated farther away are now moving back closer to home, landing some in Natchez, Little said.

Cathedral School, at 137 new students a week ago, has dropped to 130. But the school actually lost nine evacuees and gained two.

Trinity Episcopal School has 35 students, up a few from last week, but so far hasn’t made major changes at the school, Head of School Delecia Carey said.

Some rearranging, changing part-time teachers to full-time and adding an assistant has made everything work.

&uot;I think it’s going great,&uot; Carey said. &uot;There are challenges every day, but our teachers have just made a heroic effort every day.&uot;

Trinity is expecting at least two more new students, which may throw the balance in the third-grade class. Carey expects some of the current students to be gone by then though, she said.

&uot;These kids want to go home and we want them too,&uot; she said. &uot;We are just sort place holding for them.&uot;

Carey said she had just a few more New Orleans students than Mississippi coast students.

Adams County Christian School has seven new students, up two from last week.

Evacuees have also enrolled in Holy Family Catholic School and Ferriday’s Huntington School.

Districts on both sides are working to get textbooks and desks in place. Final word on financial assistance from the state or federal government has not come. Superintendents have said they are using caution before making year-changing decisions or sinking lots of dollars into supplies. Some of the evacuees are expected to leave, others to stay.

Most new students are in the appropriate uniforms now, but schools discover new needs each day, Carey said.

&uot;There are a lot of little things you don’t think about,&uot; she said. &uot;Like somebody wanting to run cross country, but his tennis shoes are under water in New Orleans.&uot;