Moorhead kicks off 2021-22 school year with record numbers

Buses and mothers await children after the first day of school Monday at S.G. Reinertson Elementary. (Photo/Russ Hanson.)

The big yellow buses rolled up at Moorhead elementary, middle and high schools Monday, delivering the largest number of students in the city’s history.

According to Moorhead Public Schools, 7,336 young people were enrolled on the first day of school Monday. That number includes not only those returning for full-time in-person learning, but also 267 enrolled in the district’s online academy.

The total is 183 more than last year, continuing the trend of recent years. In September 2020, the schools’ enrollment was 7,153; in 2019, 7,087; in 2018, 6,987; and in 2017, 6,701

Supt. Brandon Lunak welcomed the district’s return to in-person classes, noting that the pandemic has demonstrated to educators that children learn best in the classroom.

A highlight of this year’s back-to-school schedule was the opening Monday of the Moorhead High School Career Academy. The career-minded center marks the first stage of a five-year high school transformation project that includes not only replacing the high school itself but adding innovations to the whole secondary experience. The new, flexible learning environment for grades 9 through 12 encompasses one school on two campuses with a common experience.

Construction of the new Moorhead High School began in May. While students continue to attend classes in the 1968-era building, the building project will continue in stages through the 2024-25 school year.

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