Big Walnut school enrollment growing faster than first thought


By Lenny C. Lepola - For The Gazette



Big Walnut Schools could experience enrollment growth between 62 and 79 percent over the next decide, the district’s superintendent told the local chamber of commerce last week.

Superintendent Angie Pollock was the keynote speaker during last week’s Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce membership breakfast at NorthStar Golf Club.

Pollock discussed the district’s 10-year enrollment study that is being assembled by Tracey Healey of FutureThink.

Using preliminary numbers, Pollock said at the July Big Walnut board of education meeting that the district would grow 51 percent by 2025. Those preliminary numbers were incomplete, as several townships had not yet responded to requests for residential growth estimates.

With additional numbers available, Pollock said Friday morning that Healey now projects a likely 62 percent growth during the next decade, with 79 percent being at the high end.

“Big Walnut serves 3,400 students now; in 10 years we’ll be at 5,400 to 6,000,” Pollock said. “We are aware of that as a school district, and we’ve assembled an economic development committee that’s getting involved in looking at the numbers, and what we have to do to accommodate that growth.”

Pollock began her talk with an overview of her tenure with the district: She came to Big Walnut seven years ago from Johnstown, served as Big Walnut Middle School principal, director of academic achievement, and assistant superintendent before taking the reins in May when former superintendent Steve Mazzi retired.

“We’ve had an exciting start to the school year,” she said. “We feel blessed to be in a community like this, and we appreciate the community support of our last levy. We’re a growing area, and as we move forward, we want to make sure we’re growing academically.”

Noting that the demands placed on both educators and student in a changing academic world, and the task of preparing today’s students for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet, Pollock showed a video titled “Big Walnut 2020 Vision” produced in-house by the school district.

The video emphasizes how Big Walnut recognizes a changing work environment and, through project-based, personalized learning, is preparing students to succeed in a world that’s being constantly reinvented.

“I’m excited about the administrative team that we’ve assembled, they’re very student-focused,” Pollock said. “But we also recognize how important the chamber of commerce is to our success; we appreciate your continued support.”

The three-minute video is on the district’s website – bigwalnut.k12.oh.us.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: newsguy@ee.net.

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: newsguy@ee.net.