CRESTVIEW — North county school populations have surpassed 2012's enrollment by more than 200 students, school officials say.
With 2,024 students as of Aug. 30, Crestview High School remains the county's biggest school. The school's population has increased by nearly 100 students.
"Our numbers are way up," Principal Bob Jones said on opening day. "We registered 2,050. Niceville (High School) was 1,980."
School officials credited most of the increase to having the largest freshman class in the school's history — 641 students as of Friday. Last year's freshman class was 400 students.
As of Friday, Niceville High School had 1,968 students. Fort Walton Beach and Choctawhatchee high schools had 1,769 and 1,618 students, respectively.
Riverside's 936 students have made it the county's largest elementary school. The school had to deny some waiver requests, Principal Tammy Matz said.
"We're over projection," she said. "We're just bustin' at the seams."
With 921 kids, Davidson is the district's second-largest middle school, surpassed by Ruckel's 988 students.
Because student enrollments continue to fluctuate as students transfer to other schools or move away, an official population count is unavailable until October.
Most Crestview schools saw population increases, though Riverside and Walker elementary schools and Shoal River Middle School saw slight decreases.
Northwood Elementary School principal Dr. Donna Goode attributed an increase in 65 Cougars to the school's designation as an arts and sciences institute.
"We've been publicizing that we offer drama and we offer dance and music. We're going to have productions," she said.
"We're getting ready to do a whole lot of fun and exciting things as well as the Common Core (State Standards Initiative), and that has attracted parents and kids who are excited about the new program."
A realignment of the Emerald Coast Career Institute at Richbourg School resulted in a decrease of 78 students, many of whom were integrated into middle and high school programs.
In area kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools, Baker and Laurel Hill schools saw slight population increases.
Currently 10,037 students are enrolled in north county schools, an increase of 185 over 2012's student population.
"We wouldn't mind going up to about 800 students," Goode said. "Our door is open."
Area school populations
School 2011-12 2012-13 Aug 2013
Antioch Elementary 786 832 869
Baker School 1,337 1,367 1,373
Bob Sikes Elementary 799 823 880
Crestview High 1,862 1,930 2,024
Davidson Middle 904 888 921
Laurel Hill School 452 431 437
Northwood Elementary 705 689 754
Riverside Elementary 847 952 936
Shoal River Middle 875 862 858
Walker Elementary 700 714 703
Richbourg E.S.E. 49 53 58
Southside Center 178 197 188
Emerald Coast Career 104 114 36
Total enrollment 9,598 9,852 10,037
Source: Okaloosa County School District
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.