LAFAYETTE — First-day enrollment in the Lafayette Parish school system increased by 286 students or 1.1 percent over last year, according to enrollment figures released by the system.

On Monday, 25,498 students were counted in Lafayette public schools, according to the system. Last year’s first-day count was 25,212

The first-day count excludes pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students who report to class on Friday.

Counts captured Wednesday — the third day of school — included 26,717 students, up nearly 4.8 percent from Monday’s enrollment.

New counts next week will include enrollment of Pre-K and kindergarten.

In a news release, Superintendent Burnell Lemoine attributed the increase to the district’s schools of choice programs.

The programs offer students the chance to apply to schools with a specialized curriculum.

District schools of choice options include studies in environmental science, engineering, foreign language immersion, health, biomedical fields, career and technical fields, performing arts, visual arts and information technology.

District principals and staff handled the influx of students to help ensure one of the “smoothest school starts ever,” Lemoine stated in the release.

He invited the community to visit schools and become part of its volunteer program.

“We’re proud of what we do and we want people to see that,” he said.

For more information about the school system’s volunteer initiative, “100+ Ways to Help,” visit the United Way of Acadiana’s website at: www.unitedwayofacadiana.org.