Waterford hopes to be the choice for out-of-town students

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The hallways of Waterford High School fill up quickly between classes, but in the next few years, there could be some empty seats in some of the classrooms.

“Our enrollment projections for Waterford High School over the next four to six years will see a dip of about 40 to 50 students,” said Thomas Giard, Waterford Superintendent of Schools.

Because of that, Waterford has actively sought partnerships with nearby towns which don’t have their own high schools. So far, Bozrah and Norwich have signed on.

“The Waterford team made a presentation to our board of education,” explained Norwich Superintendent of Schools Abby Dolliver.

Norwich students already have a number of choices in addition to Norwich Free Academy. 

“Students can really, like, determine what size fits them, what their interest might be, and what might really sing to them,” said Dolliver.

There are benefits for both sending and receiving school systems. 

“By maintaining the enrollment that we have of about 840 students, it will certainly allow us to maintain what we have,” said Giard.

From Latin class to six college and and career pathways, there are a lot of choices at Waterford High, including for students studying drafting and design who may also have opportunities to work at places like Electric Boat and get credit. 

If a Waterford student goes to another town, Waterford will lose some money and may have to pay tuition to that other town, so that’s why sending districts try to make sure they also get new students in.

Waterford could get $12,012 per student through the partnerships with Bozrah and Norwich.

“It certainly helps,” said Giard.

“We pay anyway because we don’t have a high school,” said Dolliver. “Different than elementary or middle school.”

Norwich will provide bus service because it already has routes going to magnet schools along the shoreline.

Bozrah is not expected to provide bus service to Waterford.

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