More than 47,000 students started classes at a D.C. public school today at the city’s 111 schools—-the highest enrollment numbers the system has posted in more than five school years, D.C. Public Schools announced today. These enrollment figures do not include students enrolled in charter schools. Last year, the burgeoning charter school system in D.C. had nearly 37,000 students enrolled.

DCPS also hired 500 new staff members this year, including 300 new teachers and 29 school counselors.

“We are going big this year at DCPS – with more students in our schools, longer school days across the city and a continued focus on engaging and supporting our students to strive for their absolute best, I am so excited for what’s to come,” DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in a statement.

The more than 47,000 students represent a slight increase from the 46,393 students in attendance last school year. D.C. enrollment numbers have been steadily increasing since 2008, when the school system had slightly more than 45,000 students. The 47,000 figure released today is not the official audited number.

According to enrollment data, DCPS has more than 65,000 students enrolled in 2001. Those numbers plummeted to a low of 44,718 students during the 2009-2010 school year as an increasing number of students left the traditional public school system for charter schools. In 2001, by contrast, just 10,679 students attended a charter school.

In its 2012 Capital Commitment strategic plan, DCPS said it wanted to increase enrollment numbers to more than 47,000 students by the 2016-2017 school year, which means the public schools system is ahead of schedule.

Henderson also said in the press release that 25 schools across the District will have longer school days.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery. Charts via DCPS.