School boards in Thunder Bay are watching enrolment numbers closely as thousands of students head back to class today.

And while the city’s Catholic school board anticipates a two per cent decline in enrolment from last year’s 8,100 students, the public board says it's too early to predict whether the 13,000 students enrolled last year will increase or decrease.

Some students will notice that improvements to their schools were made over the summer, as the public board spent more than $5 million on renovations.

At St. Martin school, students will encounter an active construction zone while the Catholic board oversees the construction of a four-classroom addition to accommodate full-day kindergarten next September.

The Lakehead public board said full-day kindergarten classes at all elementary schools are being offered for the first time this year. The board is also rolling out a new information technology plan — including upgraded infrastructure to support the use of wireless technology in all its schools and will supply more laptops and smartboards


More than 21,000 students in Thunder Bay head back to class today. (Getty Images/CBC)

Catholic board Director of Education Joan Powell said her schools will focus this year on two specific areas:  academic success and student well-being.

Thunder Bay’s Catholic board operates 20 schools, while the Lakehead public board operates 30 schools, as well as an adult education centre.