So, how many students to you have at Friends School?

That’s an interesting question.

When I arrived a week before school started we had 17 registrations which is unusually high for recent years. Conversations with the past three principals of the school indicated that some (many?) students who might use our school do not even think about it until all their friends have gone back to school in the fall.  It has been our experience that we get several enrollees in September and early October.

This year we had 20 enrolled by mid-September but the expected increase in late September and October did not materialize. A few additional students have enrolled throughout the year and our current enrollment is 26.  Our attendance is not 26.

One student (I debated using the students names which would have made this more personal but chose not to), following many disruptions, was finally told that he could no longer attend. Two students whose family is gang related were moved out of the city to another city ‘far far away’ for their safety. Three more students have stopped attending and have informed us that they will not be returning but their parent or guardian has never withdrawn them so they remain on our books.

Each of these students is a story. Some of those stories break my heart. I will be glad to tell you in person but I will not share them here except to say that I find it particularly tragic when a student who is academically gifted chooses to go on the street.

A few other students have moved or withdrawn and an equal number have entered. So my current comment, when asked about our enrollment, is, “We started the year with 20 students and we will end the year with 20 students.”  And then, with a rueful smile and slight shake of the head, “Not the same 20 students.”

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