After starting the school year with about 1,500 fewer students than projected, enrollment in DODDS Pacific schools has almost filled out.

As of Sept. 29, about 24,505 students were registered in Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific and Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) Guam. That’s down about 252 from last year’s enrollment of 24,757 on the same date — the figure used to project enrollment for the current school year.

“The numbers are still changing. That isn’t to say come the end of October, we may have as many or even more,” said Charles Steitz, DODDS-Pacific spokesman.

Of the four Pacific school districts, Japan and Guam lost students while Okinawa and South Korea recorded gains. About 440 fewer students are attending 20 schools throughout mainland Japan this year. Projected enrollment was about 9,730 students and actual enrollment on Sept. 29 was 9,290, Steitz said.

“There’s no one school that took a large drop,” Steitz said of the Japan district. “It’s just a combination across the board.”

Enrollment fluctuations also were uneven among schools at the same base in Japan. At Misawa Air Base in northern Japan, for instance, Sollars Elementary School lost about 70 students while Cummings Elementary School gained 10, according to figures from Steitz. At Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, enrollment at Yokota East Elementary, Yokota Middle and Yokota High schools dropped by a collective 150 but Yokota West Elementary School reported a gain of 70 students.

On Okinawa, about 8,470 students are registered, exceeding last year’s total by 145. Almost all Okinawa schools reported enrollment increases, with the exception of Kinser Elementary School on Camp Kinser, where registration is down by about 30, Steitz said.

In the South Korea district, current enrollment tops 4,270, up by about 170 from last year, while on Guam, about 2,475 students were registered as of Sept. 29. That’s about 127 fewer than last year, Steitz said.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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