Paul Brinson, director of information services at School District 65, presented the Opening of Schools Report for 2010-11 at the Board’s Dec. 6 meeting. 

Enrollment: The report reflects that 6,573 students are enrolled in the District’s elementary (k-5) and middle schools (6-8), up 234 students from last year. The number of students in the elementary schools increased by 187 students; the number in the middle schools increased by 47 students. 

Ms. Taira said the “official enrollment,” which includes students in the elementary and middle schools, Park School, Rice School and students aged three and up receiving special education services at the Joseph E. Hill Center, is 6,692, up 234 students from last year. 

Kindergarten Enrollment: 832 students are enrolled in kindergarten, 35 more than last year. Ms. Taira said 91% of those students had pre-K experience in a home or center daycare, pre-school or Head Start. 

Pre-K: 344 children attend an early childhood education program at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, 27 fewer than last year.  

Ethnic Breakdown of the Official Enrollment: 44% of the students are white, 26% black, 18% Hispanic, 7% multi-racial, and 5% Asian. In the last 10 years there has been a drop in the percentage of black students enrolled in grades K-8 at District 65 from 45% in 2000 to 26% in 2010; a part of this drop may be due to a multi-racial category being introduced in 2005. During the same period, the percentage of Hispanic students attending District 65 has increased from 8% in 2000 to 18% in 2010. 

At the kindergarten level, 46% of the students are white, 21% black, 19% Hispanic, 6% Asian, and 8% multi-racial. 

Ethnicity by School:  In accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Seattle School District case, the District no longer uses race as a factor in admitting students to the magnet schools or in granting permissive transfers. This year two schools, Orrington and Willard, have racial groups that exceed 60 percent of the student body at the school. Orrington is 68% white; Willard is 61% white. Two schools – Orrington and Willard – exceed or are at the 60% ratio at the kindergarten level. Orrington’s kindergarten class is 62% white and Willard’s is 60% white. 

Low Income: 2,771 students, or 40% of all students, are identified as low-income (using free/reduced-price lunch as the criteria). The percentage of low-income students at the District’s schools ranges from a high of 68% at Oakton to a low of 19% at Orrington. 

Homeless Students: There are a total of 168 students from households who said they were homeless, up from 31 in 2004-05. 

Special Education: 771 students ages 3-14, or 12% of all students, are in special education programs. Of those, 37% are black, 25% white, 25% Hispanic, 5% multi-racial, and 4% Asian.

Last year, 814 students were in special education programs.   

ELL/TWI: 744 students are English Language Learners (ELL). Of these, 285 are enrolled in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI), 127 are in a transitional bilingual program, 19 are in a bilingual special education program, 148 are enrolled in an English as a Second Language program, and 165 have waived services. There are a total of 36 TWI classrooms at five different schools: Dawes, Dewey, Oakton, Washington and Willard. 

ACC: 100 students are enrolled in the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program at Oakton School, 19 in kindergarten, 14 in first grade, 16 in second grade, 16 in third grade, 16 in fourth grade, and 19 in fifth grade. 

Class Sizes: The average class size for general education classes at the K-5 levels are as follows: kindergarten – 20.3 students; first grade – 19.8 students; second grade – 20.9 students; third grade – 18.7 students; fourth grade – 20.4 students; and fifth grade – 21.0 students. 

 There is a wide disparity in the average class sizes, ranging from 15 students at the second and third-grade levels at Oakton to a high of 25 students at second grade at Dawes and fifth grade at Walker. 

Busing:  2,660 students are eligible to take the bus because of distance, safety or a program placement. Of these, 33% are black, 32% are white, 23% Hispanic, 7% Asian, and 6% multi-racial. The report does not reflect the number of students who actually take the bus.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...