The District 202 Opening of Schools Report for 2009-2010 presented at the Oct. 26 Board meeting contained the following statistics:
Enrollment: 2,891 students are enrolled in the District, down from 2,942 last year, but 31 students more than initially projected. In the 2005/06 school year there were 3,164 students, a high point in recent years.
“These projections go back many years and it’s amazing how accurate they can be,” remarked Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. He said the increase could be in part related to “a bump in students from non-public schools who are now attending ETHS … The economy certainly has something to do with that.” He said that the recent decline is projected to level off in the next couple of years. “Looking forward, we might even see a little modest growth again.”
Ethnicity – 46% of the students are white, 34% are black, 13% are Hispanic, 4% are Asian, and 3% are multi-racial. The percentage of Hispanic students has been increasing; the percentage of Black students has decreased.
Grade Level – Total ninth-grade enrollment is 819, compared to 865 in 2008-2009. Tenth-grade enrollment is 778, compared to 685; eleventh-grade enrollment is 663, compared to 704; and twelfth-grade enrollment is 631, compared to 688 in 2008-2009.
The administration is now reporting the number of reclassified students in each grade. “Reclassified” refers to students who do not have enough credits to be promoted to the next grade and who are retained as students in the grade for which they do have sufficient credits. School officials work with students and their families to help ensure that students can move ahead in a timely fashion.
A total of 79 ninth- graders had been reclassified, as well as 84 sophomores, 72 juniors and 7 seniors. Overall, the number of reclassified students increased slightly compared to last year, but is still less than the numbers when the program began in 2006/7. Minority students make up the 87% of reclassified students.
“This number will change mid-year,” said Dr. Witherspoon, “because we have some students who are very close to having enough credits to bump into the class they started with.”
Class Size – Class sizes range from a low of 18 in Speech Arts to a high of 27 in Physical Education. Core academic subjects have an average of 21 students in English, Science and World Languages; Mathematics have an average of 20 students and History and Social Science each have 24.
“All my classes this year seem much larger this year than they have in previous years,” remarked student Board member Alex Block. “I learned in statistics class that averages can be really misleading. Is that what’s happening?”
“We still support a lot of small classes … Those do pull the average down,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “We will continue to see some pretty full classes because of our budget. We just don’t have the funding right now to open another section of a class.”
Special Education – 139 students attend special education programs off-campus this year, compared to 113 last year. There has been a steady increase in the number of these students over the past five years (78 in 2005/06). Park Students began to be included in the total last year.
“Our special education department is re-examining all of those off campus placements this year to see if indeed all of those are necessary with the idea that some of those placements might be better served at ETHS,” Dr. Witherspoon said.
Private/Parochial – The number of District 202 residents reported as attending private or parochial schools decreased this year to a total of 263, compared to 288 in 2008-2009. The number of students going to Loyola Academy decreased from 164 to 148; 47 students are now attending Ida Crown Academy, compared to 55 last year. The two schools that showed an increase in students were Notre Dame Academy, which went from 3 students last year to 14 this year, and Roycemore, which went from 7 to 10.