Coquille Enrollment

Students walk to classes Tuesday at Coquille High School.

COQUILLE — Student enrollment is up at the Coquille School District so far this year.

As of Monday afternoon, there were 1,280 students enrolled for kindergarten through 12th grade, which is up 55 students compared to last year.

“These students are from all over the place,” said Tim Sweeney, superintendent for the Coquille School District.

However, during the district’s survey from staff, teachers and parents for its continuous improvement plan, which will be used in its application for Student Success Act funds, the enrollment numbers highlight the need for more nurses.

“The state recommends a nurse for every 350 students and the state average is one nurse every 700 students,” Sweeney said. “Interestingly, we have 1,280 students but another 59 in pre-k and 74 more 3-year-olds attending daycare, so over 1,400 children at the district. Right now, we have one nurse.”

One of the other big needs discovered in the continuous improvement plan survey was the need for more social and emotional health support, as well.

“Nursing has risen to the top of the conversation and so has social and emotional health,” Sweeney said.

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The district currently has a partnership with Coos Health and Wellness allowing someone from mental health to work at the district to help students and the district’s full-time counselor, but Sweeney said more mental and emotional help is needed.

“At the Coquille Junior and Senior High School, we have 350 students,” Sweeney said. “Of those, the principal asked the students in the last year who needed to seek a counselor for any reason, either at the district or private counseling. Of them, 273 had gone to a counselor. We believe another 10 to 20 percent would have gone to counseling but we didn’t have more counseling opportunities available. That’s pretty powerful.”

The district saw mental health struggles in its students last year when one student committed suicide and a student who graduated the year before committed suicide as well.

“Those were impactful in the district,” Sweeney said. “Then when the family had that accident near North Bay, a lot of our elementary kids played basketball the weekend before with the young girl who passed away in the car wreck. It’s those kinds of things where we need more support for our students.”

These findings from the continued improvement plan survey will be presented to the school board Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the district office for inclusion on the Student Success Act fund application. Though the district is still in the early process to apply for those possible funds, Sweeney hopes that if funds are secured then they would pay for another nurse, another mental health counselor and another teacher for class size reduction.

“Every school is presenting at that meeting and the school board will say they like it or rework it,” Sweeney said. “I don’t know what the board will do, but these are the needs we’re hearing from parents, teachers and staff.”

The Coquille School District plans on having the application for the Student Success Act submitted by Nov. 1, though the application deadline for schools is Dec. 1.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.