School year opens as YPS enrollment climbs

District approaches 9,800 students; exceeds 1,250 employees

These Ranchwood Elementary School students are thrilled about the first day of school Thursday, Aug. 17: From left, third grader Acelynn Viurguez, third grader Wren Pickering, third grader Kai Skelton, second grader Charleigh Johnson, and third grader Carter Lara-Wedman. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

With enrollment nearing 9,800, Yukon’s new school year has officially gotten underway at the district’s 12 sites.

The first day of Yukon Public Schools’ 2023-24 school year was Thursday, Aug. 17 as students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades ended their summers.

Student enrollment has increased by several hundred just since last school year as more young families move to the Yukon area.

“We’re continuing to grow,” YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said.

There’s a strong possibility the district’s enrollment eclipses 10,000 students during this school year – thereby nearly doubling over the past 30 years.

Having more students to educate means needing more personnel.

The Yukon school district now has some 1,257 employees, with 769 certified personnel and 488 support staff.

The 2023-24 YPS calendar shows 174 days taught with five professional days and three workdays.

The first semester is due to end Dec. 22 and the last day of school is set May 22.

Other calendar highlights are:

  • Fall Break – Oct. 19-23
  • Thanksgiving Break – Nov. 20-24
  • Winter Break – Dec. 25-Jan. 5
  • Spring Break – March 18-22

Parent-teacher conferences are:

  • PreK-6th Grades: Oct. 12 and March 12
  • 7th-12th Grades: Oct. 16 and March 11
  • Combined: Oct. 17 and March 14


After threats during the last school year on YPS campuses, the district has implemented new security measures at all sites.

“We do everything we possibly can to keep kids safe,” Dr. Simeroth told News9 journalist and anchor Storme Jones this week. “Statistically speaking, (school) is really a safe place.”

The Yukon Police Department has four school resource officers stationed at the YPS secondary schools who ensure safety at all district campuses in Yukon city limits. A fifth SRO provides security at St. John Nepomuk Catholic School.

The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office also assigns a school resource deputy assigned to the two YPS sites in Oklahoma City limits.

All buildings across the district have secured entrances and security cameras both inside and outside.

Yukon’s schools’ chief looks forward to construction starting this fall on two major projects funded by a 2021 bond issue – a new YPS Performing Arts/Career Center and Indoor Activity Facility on the Yukon High School campus.

Three of the Yukon school district’s 12 sites have new head principals to start the 2023-24 school year – Karyn Garcia at Yukon Middle School, Shannon Dutton at Myers Elementary School and Randy Stowe at Shedeck Elementary School.

This is the 24th year for Yukon’s longest-serving principal, Kristin Lipe at Ranchwood Elementary School. (See related story)