Birmingham schools report increase in student enrollment

Walking the halls of Wylam K-8 School, Principal Jesse Daniel says he has seen an increase in student enrollment lately."Our enrollment has increased...138 compared to last year," said Daniel.{}He credits a larger student body dedicated to smarter programs as the motivating factor behind students' excitement to learn. He also says parent involvement is better.{}"We try to create different things to get students to come school. We have a school wide initiative that we call the 'Wheel of fortune," he said.{}Data shows student population in Birmingham City Schools is beginning to stabilize, with fewer than 100 students leaving the district. A majority of those leaving are from the middle schools, which new programs are being used by district officials to maintain and increase enrollment. {}{}Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr.Craig Witherspoon says the district is successfully using a "wraparound approach" to education, a technique that provides students with challenging classes, counseling and medical and career services."Three and four years ago, we knew we were loosing students to other school systems because of the academic programming that existed in other places. Well, since that time, we have time we have an international baccalaureate program, we have the primary years and middle years program that's being developed, we have seven career academics across our high schools," he said.{}Huffman High is one school with a career academy where students can learn a trade and better preparing them for life after high school. {}Some of the career programs at the school include cosmetology, culinary arts and construction.{}"I think the parents have realized that Birmingham city schools have made a renewed commitment to academic excellence. {}They have seen the new facilities, the new resources that have been recently put in throughout the district and they have decided to bring their students back," said Principal John Lyons.{}Dr. Witherspoon believes the district is on the right track though he acknowledges there is still work to be done. As for the future, Witherspoon says he would like additional programs throughout the city's school system and more students in the classroom.{}"We're an improving school system. So, I would invite anyone and everyone to come visit and sit down with one of our principals, have a conversation about academics, about extra-circular and what's going on," said Witherspoon.{}